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Guizhou Travel Guide

Guizhou highlights and culture experience

Guizhou is a multi-minority province in southwest mainland China. It is surrounded by Sichuan Province to the north, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to the south, Yunnan Province to the west, and Hunan Province to the east. Guizhou is famous for its marvelous landscapes, simple ethnic customs, cultural and historical relics, and pleasant climate.

Guizhou Facts

  • Chinese Name: 贵州
  • Chinese Pinyin: guì zhōu
  • English Name: Guizhou
  • Location: Southwest China
  • Area: 176,167 sq. km. (68,018 sq. mi.)
  • Population: 34.7 million
  • Languages: Mandarin, Miao, Bouyei, Dong Yi, Shui, etc
  • Capital City: Guiyang

Guizhou, the Switzerland of China

Landlocked, with beautiful mountains, lovely lakes, a nice climate, good food, and friendly people, speaking different languages in different regions… Sound a bit like Switzerland? No, this is Guizhou Province.

zhenyuan ancient townZhenyuan County, Old Town in Guizhou.

In 2011, according to a report by the Economist, Guizhou was the poorest province in China, with GDP per capita of $3,335; slightly lower than India's. In 2011, Switzerland was the richest country in the world, with GDP per capita of $88,516.

But look at the mountains in Guizhou. Listen to the people singing there. Watch them farming. See how they co-exist amicably, though they often speak different languages. Does all this not remind you of Switzerland?

Guizhou, like Switzerland, is a wonderful place for a holiday. But we're keeping this secret to ourselves. Please don't tell anyone.

Comprehensive Change, Good to Travel

high speed trainHigh Speed Train.

Shhh... Guizhou's transport system changed dramatically in January 2015, with the launch of high-speed trains through the province. It's no longer the isolated provincial island it used to be, but a hub through which the west of China connects with the east.

Something's cooking in Guizhou. Not just the distinctive (spicy) local food that has characterized the province for centuries. Change on a massive scale.


Only the weather is not changing much. Guizhou is in the humid subtropics, with a monsoon climate. That means it's pretty wet. It can also be overcast and changeable. Local people say you can experience all four seasons in one day.

The average annual temperature in Guizhou is 15°C (59°F). The coldest time of year is January, with average temperatures of 5°C (41°F); and the hottest time is July and Auguest, with average temperatures hitting 27°C (81°F).

It's not too hot in summer (at high altitudes) and not too cold in winter (at low altitudes), so Guizhou has potential to provide the perfect holiday experience.


Guizhou Province has the country's third largest minority population, after Tibet and Xinjiang. Different ethnic groups account for around 37% of the province's total population. Thus many of Guizhou's attractions are located in areas occupied by minority people.

Unique landscapes (remarkable mountains, caves and lakes), together with fascinating history and culture, are likely to make a lasting impression.

huangguoshu waterfall Huangguoshu Waterfall

Natural Attractions

Huangguoshu Waterfall, 67 meters high and 83 meters wide, is the biggest and most famous waterfall in China and Asia.

The Dragon Palace Cave is a spectacular underground karst cave 32 kilometers southwest of Anshun. You can take a boat into the cave to see around.

Caohai Lake is a 5 square-kilometer mountain lake noted as a bird-sanctuary. The area around the lake is a national nature reserve.

Cultural Attractions

In addition to enjoying the scenery, tourists can explore the rich and varied folk customs and cultures of different minorities living in the region. Many minority groups live in Guizhou, including the Miao, Bouyei, Dong, Yi and Shui.

miao minority peopleMiao minority people in Guizhou

Some minority villages remain largely untouched by tourists. This, however, is changing fast, as over the past 15 years many roads have been built linking villages to towns. There has been traffic in both directions, as young and middle-aged people have left the villages en masse to find work in cities and towns, often far away.

Do you want a taste of minority civilization in flux? Come and visit the minority people of Guizhou, traditionally hospitable and kind. You can still observe their colorful, distinctive clothing, and some of their unique customs, music and festivals.

Travel Tips

  • Roads: Be prepared for twisty mountain roads, some of which are rough.
  • Hotels: Guizhou facilities may not be as good as elsewhere. Air conditioning is now available in many hotels, but foreign breakfasts may not be.
  • Temperatures can vary greatly between day and night, so warm clothes may be required even in summer.
  • Bring some walking shoes and a rain coat.
  • Mosquito-repellent may be necessary during the warmer months, when touring village areas.
  • If you are planning to visit minority families, a small inexpensive gift from your home country may be warmly appreciated.

Tour Guizhou with China Highlights

guizhou ethic group

Like a taste of change? Try one of our Guizhou tours.

Please see our recommended tours below for inspiration. Or you can contact us to tailor-make a Guizhou tour according to your requirements.


  • We don't have Appenzeller cheese, but we do have spicy tofu.
  • We don't have Swiss fondue, but we do have Guizhou hot-pot.
  • We don't have chocolate, but we do have rose candy.

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