Entries Tagged as 'Guizhou Province'

Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge 程阳桥: Photo of the Week

Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge

Spiders ruin Paradise

Chenyang Bridge: Guizhou

This photo was taken at  Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge, near Sanjiang 三江 in Northern Guangxi Province. It is one of the best examples of a Dong Minority Wind and Rain Bridge. Built in 1912, it’s 64 meters long and reported not to have a single nail. This photo was taken after scrambling up a steep path to find an ideal spot to get an overview of the bridge. A pity about the crappy camara I had at the time.

The area around Chengyang Bridge is stunning. Beautiful Dong Minority villages are set amongst electric green paddy fields. In the lazy meandering rivers, huge water wheels turn slowly as they have done for centuries, tipping water into bamboo irrigation pipes. And above all there is the Chengyang Bridge. Sounds like paradise doesn’t it?

Paradise Ruined

In 2003, the only place to stay near the bridge was the lovely rambling Chengyang Bridge National Hostel, a funky wooden guest house with a great veranda for chilling, reading and knocking back a few beers right next to the Bridge. Unfortunately for Margie, it was also home to some of the biggest and fastest moving 8 legged monsters you’ll ever meet.

Chengyang Bridge. Guizhou

Spiders, big long-legged, hairy spiders scuttling across wooden beams from room to room, hiding behind the bedhead or hovering above you in the shower; Margie’s nightmare; my hassle. Travelling in Northern Guangxi and Guizhou Provinces with an arachnophobic can be quite a testing experience. The old wooden houses in the minority villages provide perfect abodes for these arthropods. And my job, as always, is to make the rooms safe before Margie will go in them. Given the spaces between the wooden slats; an impossible task.

See large photo below. [Read more →]

Long Horn Miao (Photo Video) Chang Jiao Miao

Long Horn Miao / Chang Jiao Miao

Other videos by Holachina:  Langde  /  Danba

We are travelling at the moment. We’ll be putting up lots of new material in October. Here is a photo video of our visit to the Long Horn Miao village near Suoga in Guizhou Province. I hope you enjoy the Video. We’ve manged to reduce it to just 3 minutes this time. Click here  & scroll down to read about how we got there and our impressions.

Langde Miao Village (Video Slideshow) 郎德苗村 Guizhou Province

Langde 郎德

Guizhou Province near Kaili

We hope you enjoy this video slide-show. The photos were taken in the Miao Minority village, Langde near Kaili in 2007. The accompanying songs are traditional Miao folk songs with modern music (again the slide-show is a bit too long: I  promise to get the videos down to about 3 minutes in the future). For more information about Langde and how to get there: Continue reading below the video.

Langde was once the centre of an important Miao uprising against the Qing, which took place in the 19th Century. These days the village of Langde suffers a different kind of Han invasion; that of hundreds of Han tourists, coming to get a feel what has been marketed as exotic Miao culture. Nowadays, Chinese tourists take part in traditional singing and dancing events and marvel at the elaborate dresses and jewellery of the residents of Langde. How things have changed!

Miao Minority in Langde

For the traveller Langde is still a great village to visit. Its setting is idyllic, built on a green hill overlooking an elegant slow bend in the river. Rice fields and wandering water buffalo add to the rural charm. The village itself is a classic collection of traditional Miao two or three-storey wooden buildings, draped in strings of drying chillies and corn.

Langde Houses

We were visiting in the middle of August and spent almost the entire day in and around the village. In all that time only [Read more →]

Chishui赤水 / Sidonggou 四洞沟 / Shizhangdong Waterfall 十丈洞瀑布

Chishui 赤水

Shizhangdong Falls



My Great Web page

Chishui 赤水, in the northeast of Guizhou province 贵州省, is a small but prosperous town. It owes its prosperity to its strategic location on the Chishui River 赤水河 (Chishui means Red Water), right on the border with Sichuan 四川. It’s a beautiful and fascinating area to explore if you have time. The only other tourists you’ll meet here will be Chinese.

The Chishui River 赤水河 was once part of the imperial Salt Route, which provided Guizhou with this precious condiment for many centuries. The river continues even today to be a busy commerial tranport route between Guizhou and Sichuan, with large flat bottom barges plying up and down between towns.

The city still preserves a few streets with traditional wooden houses, but in general the buildings are modern and slightly drab. Judging by the local people’s curious looks, giggles and pointing, Chishui doesn’t see too many foreigners. However, everyone was friendly and above all they seemed to enjoy having a good time. [Read more →]

Xingyi 兴义 & Maling Gorge马岭河峡谷

Xingyi 兴义

The-Lost-World of the Maling Gorge

Whether you are leaving Guizhou Province from the West, or entering it from Eastern Yunnan, you’ll probably end up passing through Xingyi (see Map), a small town undergoing rapid development. To be honest, Xingyi is not the prettiest of towns, though we didn’t find it quite as grim as it was depicted in our guidebook. It is true that the town is entirely lacking in sights and has lost all its old neighbourhoods to the rampant white-tile and concrete construction that continues to proliferate in China. However, it’s a pretty laid- back place and its major sight, the Maling Gorge, just a few kilometres out of town and easy to reach, is truly spectacular.

Locals also recommend visiting nearby Fenghuang Shan (Phoenix Mountain 凤凰山), which they claim is another natural wonder not to be missed. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to check this out.
We arrived in Xingyi on a bus from Anshun 安顺. The journey took around six hours and passes through some of the most dramatic limestone scenery you are likely to see.

As in the rest of China, rapid changes are underway even in this remote corner of the country. The future cross-China East to West Highway, currently in the initial phases of construction, will eventually pass close to Xingyi. For the moment, it’s giving China’s civil engineers and [Read more →]

Rongjiang Sunday Market

Rongjiang Sunday Market (Guizhou Province, 2007)


Arrival
Our bus bumped into Rongjiang’s run-down and grubby bus station after a gorgeous five- hour, 160- kilometre bus ride from Kaili. Rongjiang, a scruffy town spread along the banks of two rivers, the Duliujiang and the Zhaigaohe, sits firmly within the Dong heartlands. Though the town has very little to interest travellers, it makes a good base for excursions to nearby Dong villages, some of which, such as Chejiang and Zenchong, are extremely beautiful. There are also a few interesting Miao villages, like Bakai.
We arrived in Rongjiang on a Saturday, as we were interested in visiting its large Sunday Market.

The Sunday Market


Rongjiang’s Sunday market is not as huge or hectic as the one in Anshun, or as colourful as the market at Chong’an, near Kaili. Still, it is an interesting place to wander for an hour or two and watch the local Dong minority going about their business. Many of the Dong, especially the women, dress up in their finest to come to the market: some wear bright blue jackets with appliquéd and embroidered borders along the sleeves and cuffs, combined with dark, baggy trousers, while others prefer shiny indigo jackets and short skirts. Dong people tend to have strong, sculpted features, similar to their South-East Asian neighbours in Thailand or Burma.

You might also catch a few different groups of Miao, such as the ‘Top-Knot Miao’ proceeding from Basha, a village near Congjiang, whose name refers to the typical hairdo of the men who wear their hair tied up in a high bun, or the ‘High Mountain Miao’, or ‘Gaoshan Miao’, from the nearby village of Bakai, with their beautifully patterned and embroidered trousers.

The Dong traders make quite an effort to sell their wares and the vegetable displays are particularly beautiful and elaborate. The market has two parts: [Read more →]

Chong’an Market, Guizhou / 重安市场,贵州

HolaChina: Your Gateway to China

The early morning mist and heavy cloud cover bestowed an eerie atmosphere over Chong’an. The river was motionless and silky smooth like a millpond. The town and the surrounding scenery seemed as if suspended in a landscape painting. Silence reigned. Then there was a shout, a curse and the haggling began. Chong’an Market was open for business.

Buying Hats

The huge market held in Chong’an every five days is one of the best and most colourful in Guizhou. The local Miao and Gejia ethnic groups swamp the small scruffy town in a frenzy of buying and selling that lasts the entire morning and carries on into the early afternoon. Like the huge Sunday markets in Anshun and Rongjiang, Chong’an market is a farmers’ market, not a place to pick up souvenirs, but an excellent spot for people watching and soaking up the atmosphere. We got there pretty early, when things were just starting to kick off. Throngs of Miao, dressed in blue tunics and black trousers and wearing huge straw-hats over small white caps, or curious, shiny turbans of a brown, metallic material, were pouring into the market area from all sides. They were accompanied by the occasional Gejia lady, distinguishable by her multi-coloured hat with pointy side-wings and embroidered apron. The men came dressed in simple farming clothes and with the same conical straw-hats. Some of the villagers were ferried across the river to the market, while others had come over on a wooden suspension bridge, a few kilometres down-stream.

[Read more →]

Thursday August 21, 2003, Taking our packs on an excursion: Kaili – Xijiang – Kaili – Guiyang

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When we get into the lift and look down at our feet, we discover that yesterday’s floor mat, which read ‘Wednesday’, has been replaced by a ‘Thursday’ one. We wonder if this is a new fashion and whether there might be a special member of staff, responsible for keeping the lift mats up to date.

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At the bus station we catch an 8.30 bus to Leishan, which takes just one hour. The scenery is great, we follow a beautiful river that runs through green fields with rolling hills behind. The countryside is dotted with prosperous-looking wooden farmsteads, all with front balconies and rows of corn-cobs, hanging out to dry. Near the river, there are several picnic areas with little wooden pavilions, kiosks or small restaurants, where families come and spend the day relaxing, eating, dipping their feet in the river. This might answer my question as to what on earth the Kaili people do in their free time. [Read more →]

Tunbao Village, Wulong Si & Dixi Opera

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We didn’t really know what to expect when we arrived at Tunbao village, next to the larger town of Tianlong. We had heard that it was home to a special group of Han Chinese who still dressed in Ming clothes. Although we had wondered whether it was going to be some themed, Disney-style village to amuse Chinese tourists, we were actually pleasantly surprised.

The first thing we discovered came as a total shock: the women in Ming dress were the same ones we had seen haggling at Anshun market, or working the fields in nearby villages. We had previously mistaken them for Bouyi, but from our previous visit to Shitou Zhai we had learnt that they wear darker clothes, embroidered in the different way.

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The ladies in Ming dynasty clothes were definitely authentic; there were not only old ladies, but many young girls too, who continued to sport these traditional garments. There seems to be an area of villages and towns around Anshun where this practice continues.

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The Ming costume basically consists of long, calf- length blue tunics, black trousers, dark aprons and the embroidered cloth shoes that are common in this area of Guizhou. The tunics are usually bright blue, but can be turquoise, purple or pink as well. The ladies wear: For more go to: HolaChina: Your Gateway to China

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Long Horn Miao (Reflections)

The Long Horn Miao (visited in 2007)

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I’ve never felt comfortable about visiting small villages, only to gawp at the exotic inhabitants. When trekking or walking in the countryside, passing through a remote village can be a rewarding experience and a nice break, but I am always glad to move on, unless I am going to eat there or stay the night. So it was with some conflicting thoughts that we set off to visit the Long Horn Miao.

Below are our thoughts on the visit. For Further information on how to get to the Long Horn Miao villages and how they do their hair go to: HolaChina: Your Gateway to China

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Final Reflections

I am not an Anthropologist, my degree is in East-Asian History. So it is difficult for me to pontificate on what should or should not be done about the Long Horn Miao villages. I enjoyed the visit. I took some great photos. The scenery is stunning, the costumes and hair are fantastic and the villagers friendly. Nevertheless, I can’t help wondering what impact tourism will have on their society. Are we, as some of the first tourists, only the shock troops that will pave the way for hordes of well-heeled Chinese and Western tour groups on ‘adventure’ holidays who will commercialise and eventually destroy the Long Horns’ traditional lifestyle? It is something that worries and disturbs me – though I can imagine many of you thinking ‘you shouldn’t have gone then..’.

On the other hand, and looking on the positive side, tourism might help the Long Horn Miao to preserve their culture. By learning to take pride in their ethnic culture and being able to earn a living from it, the exodus of the younger Long Horns to the towns might be halted.

Change is inevitable, and the modern world has already caught up with the Long Horn Miao. The young children go to school in Soga, which is only an hour and a half away from the large town of Liuzhi, which in turn is connected to Anshun and Guizhou’s booming capital, Guiyang.

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