The South Pacific’s Crown Jewel
The capital of China’s Guizhou Province, Guiyang is often named one of the best places to escape the summer heat. But more than that, it is a tapestry of dramatic landscapes and home to one of the country’s strongest minority enclaves. Constructed during the Yuan dynasty (1283 AD), the city was originally called Shunyuan and acted as an army base for the southwest part of the Yuan Empire. Nowadays, situated on the banks of the Nanming River, natural sights include the mountainous Qianling Park and Tianhe Lake while culture buffs will enjoy the Ancient Town of Qingyan and the region’s large Miao population. To refuel try one of the local specialties such as Guiyang beef noodle soup or siwawa (silk babies) – a local version of Peking duck pancakes.
Things to do: Guiyang
China’s largest Miao village
Although it’s more of a popular tourist attraction than a quiet village, Xijiang opens in new window – China’s largest inhabited Miao village – is worth the trip. Walk across the Wind and Rain bridge, visit a silversmith or spend the night in one of the village’s many guesthouses.
Hongfu Temple opens in new window, the largest Zen Buddhist temple in Guizhou, dates back to the 17th century. Located in Qianling Park, it’s a 40-minute walk up to the temple. Upon entering, you’ll see the Bell Tower which was cast during the Ming Dynasty and weighs more than 3000 pounds.
China’s tallest waterfall
At its highest point, Huangguoshu Falls opens in new window drops some 70 metres, making it the tallest waterfall in China. Wade from the Rhinoceros Pool (Xiniu Jian) to the Water Curtain Cave (Shuilian Dong) behind the main waterfall.
Guiyang's Ancient Town
Qingyan Ancient Town opens in new window is one of the most famous ancient cities in Guizhou. Qingyan was built during the Ming Dynasty (1386–1644) with its spectacular stone walls testament to the area’s geology. More than 30 types of ancient architecture including monasteries, temples and palaces can be found within the town.
Also known as First Scholar’s Tower, Jiaxiu Tower opens in new window, is situated on Fuyu Bridge over the Nanming River. Originally built in 1598, the three-storey tower boasts green tiles and red pillars, rising some 20 metres high. By night, it’s especially beautiful when it's glowing lanterns reflect onto the water. Entry is free.
Travel time 32 minutes
Taxi Approx RMB 50
Shuttle Approx RMB 10 (operates every 30 minutes from 8.30am to 6.30pm)Back to top
When to go
While most of China experiences stifling summers, Guiyang has a subtropical climate with cool highs and manageable humidity. Yearly temperatures average at about 15°C, peaking at an average of 24°C during the summer (June - August).
Thanks to its minority population, folk festivals are always on the calendar including the Miao New Year in Xijiang (October and November). Come January, brave the cold for rare bird sightings at Caohai Lake while in late April, the Baiyun National Kites Festival takes place. June to August is the two month long Hongfeng Lake Festival.Back to top
Local buses operate in Guiyang with fares at RMB 1. Buses no. 1 and 2 run between the Railway Station and Qianling Park. Taxi’s can be hailed from the side of the road and fares start at RMB 8.
The long distance bus station is located in Jinyang Nanlu and destinations include Anshun (RMB 35, every 20 minutes), Huangguoshu (RMB 55, every 40 minutes) and Weining (RMB 128, two daily).Back to top