China’s ancient forested city, Guiyang offers a much needed reprieve from the overcrowded bustling atmosphere of some of its urban counterparts. From historical landmarks to ornate architecture and culinary delights, there is no shortage of things to do in this wooded wonderland. Explore the area, and embark on an adventure of discovery with a day trip through Guiyang, China.
Guiyang sits in the centre of Guizhou province, atop the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau. Its weather is dictated by monsoon winds which, combined with its high elevation ensure balmy summers and cool, crisp winters. The city itself glistens like a jewel set into the thickly carpeted crown of limestone mountains that stretch as far as the imagination, and feels like a veritable El Dorado, separated by time and space from the capital. The feeling of seclusion is warm and encouraging, and there are plenty of sights and sounds for the curious traveller to feast upon.
Guiyang is a textbook example of juxtaposition, with gleaming steel skyscrapers imposing their boasts of modernity astride unassuming echoes of the past. This marriage of old and new is a sight to behold, and magnificently amplifies the air of the city – the feeling that makes it difficult to put your finger on exactly where and when you are. This is perhaps most notable when one admires the ancient Jiaxiu Tower.
Jiaxiu Tower as striking as it is beautiful. Seemingly keeping a watchful eye on the placid Nanming River, it is easy to see why so many scholars have chosen it as the last resting place of their works of calligraphy, woodcrafts and poems. These can all be perused from within, making it well worth a visit. This grand old building truly comes alive at night, lit up like a glorious gleaming centrepiece. Travelling further back in time still, we find ourselves at Qingyan, a 14th century garrison town comprised of architecture from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. This is the perfect place to explore and really get to know the old China, before refreshing yourself at an old tea house with a taste of the famous local Qingyan tofu.
Such a journey through time inspires a journey through space, and takes us to a different culture, with an exploration of the Xijiang Miao Village. It is hard not to be taken aback by the almost 1500 traditional stilted wooden households, Diao Jiao Lou, that cradle the lush green rice terraces in this emerald paradise in the hills. The houses themselves are impressively constructed without nails or bolts, proudly jutting from the steep hills as if they were grown rather than built. The views they afford are simply stunning, and definitely not to be missed. Once the atmosphere starts to soak in, it’s time to become acquainted with the culture of the Miao people as you are enchanted by traditional songs and a Batik performance. Finally, your visit would not be complete without experiencing the long table banquet. Guests are seated on one side of the long table, as the hosts welcome them from the other side with songs and toasts of rice wine, before feasting on myriad local delicacies.
Heading back to Guiyang’s welcoming arms, it’s time to reflect on the day’s experiences as your muscles and mind are put at complete ease by soothing hands and wonderfully calming fragrant oils with one of Anantara’s signature spas. The scenery is perfect, inspiring a calm mindfulness that leads you to meditate on the next day’s exploration.
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