Guizhou Province Travel Information
Due to its remoteness the landlocked Province of Guizhou in the southern part of China never played a significant role in Chinese history. Compared to other Chinese provinces the Guizhou Province has always had a lonely and somehow neglected existence within China and for a long period of time, Guizhou was one of the poorest areas of China.
It is only in the past 10 to 15 years that the central government has invested massive amounts of money and efforts into the development of Guizhou Province. New hydroelectric dams, highways, factories, a highspeed train network and residential areas came into existence all over Guizhou. However, despite the massive investments and modernization, Guizhou Province remains one of the poorer provinces of China, with the added flaw that Guizhou Province is now also one of China's most indebted provinces.
Probably the most popular export of Guizhou Province is the famous Maotai or Moutai Liquor.
GUIYANG CAPITAL OF GUIZHOU PROVINCE
Guiyang is the capital city of Guizhou and an ideal gateway for exploring the abundant Guizhou Province. Guiyang is connected to the modern highspeed train network with direct trains to Kunming, Chendgu, Chongqing and Guilin. The modern airport has direct flights to all major cities in China.
Despite the rapid modernization in recent years, Guiyang is a very pleasant city to hang out for a few days. A stroll through the alleys and small streets behind the modern facades and store fronts still reveals the old Guiyang with the old people playing mahjong, the typical cooking stalls, the street- and flea markets and the barber shops.
The history of Guiyang starts in the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), when it was founded as a military outpost for Kublai Khans troops.
One of Guiyangs main attraction it is the Hongfu Temple, which is located at the northwestern part of the city. Built in 1667 during the Ming Dynasty, the Hongfu Temple is the largest Zen Buddhist temple in Guizhou Province. A bit further out to the West are the impressive Huangguoshu Waterfalls. Cave enthusiasts can visit the impressive Zhijin caves or the Longgong caves. All these attractions are an easy day-trip away from Guiyang.
THE COLORFUL ETHNIC GROUPS AND FESTIVALS IN GUIZHOU PROVINCE
The Guizhou Province is rarely visited by western tourists and often you will find yourself all alone within the fantastic karst landscapes typical for southern China. The small Dong and Miao villages that dot the land between the rice fields and the steeply rising karst hills make the Guizhou Province an almost magical place to visit.
The Guizhou Province is also famous for the colorful Festivals that take place throughout the year. The most popular Festival in Guizhou Province is the Sisters-Meal-Festival that is celebrated every year around April by the Miao ethnic group.
The Miao ethnic group is one of the largest of the 55 officially recognized ethnic groups in China. The Miao ethnic group can be found mainly in the southern parts of China namely the provinces Guizhou, Sichuan, Hunan, Yunnan and Guangxi. Such a wide distribution led inevitably to different developments in dialects, names and clothes.
The somewhat smaller Dong ethnic group can be found mainly in the provinces Hunan, Guizhou and Guangxi in the south of China. For the Miao as well as the Dong ethnic groups agriculture is the main source of income. With the increase of visitors many local started to make their living from tourism as well. Characteristic for the Dong villages to this day are the striking "wind and rain bridges" as well as the drum towers traditionally built of wood.
GUIZHOU AND MAOTAI (MOUTAI) ALCOHOL: A “STRONG” BOND
While celebrating with Chinese friends everyone will sooner or later make the acquaintance with Maotai or Moutai Baijiu. The Chinese adore it, most foreigners first have to get used to the unique taste of Maotai Baijiu. Baijiu literally means "white alcohol", has a quite high alcohol content of over 50 percent and is usually distilled from grain. The name Maotai - also referred to as Moutai - comes from the name of the village in the Guizhou province where the Maotai Baijiu is produced. The "real" Maotai is produced at Kweichow Moutai Co, Ltd, the country's most famous Baijiu distillery.
A Maotai can only be called Maotai if the ingredients - especially red sorghum and water - come from the surroundings of Maotai city. The Maotai (Moutai) became somewhat a national drink of China and is often served at Chinese state-banquets and is often presented as a diplomatic gift.
Tradition holds that Maotai Baijiu made his contribution during the state visit of Richard Nixon in 1972 to the loosening of the then tense diplomatic relations between the two countries.