Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
Travel off the beaten tracks into the real China that is hidden from tourist maps to experience and learn about the true ethnic and cultural diversities that currently exist in some of the most remote parts of the country. Starting from one of the more renowned cities, Guilin, you will be taken on a humble journey through the extreme topography that reaches up to 6000 feet above sea level, through the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, located in the Southwest mountainous region of China. Witness the breathtaking views of infinite valleys and engage with the different ethnic groups, including the Miao, Dong, Zhuang, Yi and Zhao, which will give you a truly unique and informative trip into the cultural heritages that make up China.
Arrive in Guilin, on the west bank of China’s Li River, where you will be greeted and transferred by your private guide to the Yangshuo Resort. Fully-furnished in an authentic Chinese style, relax from a long flight in the comfort of your room before attending a delicious welcome dinner. Use your first night to get some rest for the eventful few days that lie ahead.
You’ll start your day off with a trip to the Reed Flute Cave, otherwise known as the “Palace of Natural Art”, where you’ll explore a mystical maze built up of stalactites and stalagmites. Continuing along the west bank of the river, a 20-minute climb will lead you up to the Ripple Riding Hill that provides exquisite views of city, before reaching the symbol of Guilin, known as Elephant Trunk Hill. After a tasty lunch, visit Yao Mountain and the nearby 500-year-old mausoleums of the Ming Dynasty. Your guide will then lead you to the largest park in Guilin where you will encounter the magnificent Seven-Star Cave. Once an underground river channel, the cave emerged through movement with the Earth’s crust to form the cavern present today.
Wake up and fuel your body for the long, exciting day ahead. You will embark on a four-hour drive to one of China’s most iconic sites: the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces. Here you will have ample opportunity to take photos of the 700-year-old terraces and immerse yourself in the spectacular views of the mountains. Enjoy a comfortable overnight stay in the Li-An Lodge, nestled in the quaint Zhuang Minority village of Ping An. Small restaurants, serving local Zhuang food, are scattered around the village and will give you an added reason to explore the local culture.
Today you will have the opportunity to do as you please. Head out on one of many hiking trails with a group of fellow travelers, or take a peaceful solo tour of the terraces and their terrain. If you are not up for walking, take a relaxing tour of the town, interact with the local Zhuang people and learn more about their culture. Souvenirs can be bought from this friendly minority group, which will be a helpful and appreciated contribution to their community.
Having gained a cultural insight into the Zhuang minority and their way of life, open your mind to a new experience offered by the Dong minority, located approximately 12.5 miles away from the Rice Terraces in Sanjiang. The town itself is not as exciting as Ping An, however the Wind & Rain Bridge at Chengyang, the longest of 108 wooden bridges that are over a quarter of a mile long, is a remarkable landmark built by the Dong minority themselves. After a tasty lunch, the Dong minority will entertain you with a traditional open-air performance to demonstrate their local customs.
After a quick one-night rest in the province of Guangxi, gather your belongings before heading out on the beautiful 4-hour journey towards the remote province of Guizhou. The provinces are separated by long, winding valleys that channel stunning flowing rivers, which will guide you to Congjiang. Here you will spend one night in a local guesthouse and dine with locals, street side.
After a pleasant stay with the local Congjiang community, get ready to be exposed to the daily life of Dong village members in Rongjiang. Here you’ll be hosted by local community members, in their basic living conditions, for the night. Local girls, dressed in traditional Chinese dresses, will excitedly congregate in the center of the town to perform several cultural dances. As you snap away with your camera, absorb this unique opportunity to experience a part of China that is completely new to the world of foreign visitors.
Allow your local family to treat you to a hearty breakfast as you prepare for the longest leg of your trip. Your guide will transport you from Rongjiang to Xijiang by car, which will be a full day’s journey. The long trip will be worthwhile, as you are welcomed in one of the most stunning regions of China by the local Miao minority, renowned for their rebellious independence. Enjoy traditional dances performed in flamboyant costumes, complemented by the famous, oversized silver hats and jewellery.
Wake up early and keep your camera handy as you head on a 2.5-hour journey to Huangguoshu, one of China’s largest waterfalls. This incredible mass of overflowing water, most prominent during the rainy season, drops down over 255 feet, providing a magnificent display of natural aquatic beauty and colorful mists. You’ll then be taken to the fascinating Tianxing Qiao Nature Park, where you take a two-hour hike deep into China’s wilderness. Before dusk, you will depart for Anshun, where you will spend three pleasant nights.
Having explored rice terraces, waterfalls and natural parks, put on some comfortable shoes as you head on a three-hour journey towards Zhijin Dong, where you can explore China’s largest caves. Impressive 600-foot hollow rocks allow enormous stalactites and stalagmites to hang from the ceiling. It’s recommended you take a tripod for your camera for this particular part of the journey, which can also be purchased nearby.
Your last day will prove to be the icing on the cake as you take a relaxing wander through the amazing Longgong Dong Caves. Located on the outskirts of Anshun, enjoy a unique experience as you float through the watery cavern on a boat. You will glide through the remarkable stone corridors that weave between strong pillars, from one end of the cave to the other. It’s the perfect end to an unforgettable exploration into the ethnic minorities of southwest China.