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Guizhou Province may not on your original list when planning a tour of China, for it is not so famous. But the pleasant climate, unique landscape, colorful minority culture and tasty food make it worth a visit.
This page provides travel tips for visiting Guizhou, tips about transportation, weather, customs, meals, hotels and some other tourist information.
Although most areas in Guizhou are mountainous, transportation is not a problem these days. Guizhou has one international airport connecting surrounding countries and major Chinese cities, and has railways connecting every city in the province.
Guizhou now has express highways stretching from the capital city Guiyang and connecting all attractions. Roads to and within the countryside are also generally in good condition. Journeys between villages and other attractions often take 1 or 2 hours’ drive.
Shuttle buses connect the cities with tourist attractions, but lack of English could be a challenge. The best option is to arrange private transport with a tour service (like China Highlights), providing an English-speaking guide and a private vehicle.
Our drivers have rich experience driving in mountainous areas, and they will do their best to provide a safe, comfortable and swift journey. However, some mountainous roads are twisty, which may cause motion sickness to some people. If you don’t feel comfortable, you can ask your guide to tell the driver to slow down.
For more information, refer to Guizhou transportation.
Guizhou has a monsoon climate, with lots of rainfall. Nearly half the year is rainy season. Rain gear, including umbrella, is necessary during your Guizhou tour.
Guizhou is relatively cool in summer. In July, the hottest month, the average temperature is only 25°C (77°F). The temperature may drop much lower in early morning or at night. So, you are recommended to bring some warm clothes, no matter what time of year you visit Guizhou.
Summer and autumn (June to November) are the top seasons for a Guizhou tour, for the weather and scenery in those seasons is best. Summer and autumn, however, are also peak seasons, but don’t worry: your guide can help you avoid the crowds.
If you are interested in minority customs, you can go in spring, when many local festivals are celebrated.
When visiting in summer or when traveling to the countryside, bring mosquito repellent.
Check Guizhou weather for more weather information.
Ethnic minority villages are highlights for tourists in Guizhou, like villages that specialize in batik, silversmithing, papermaking, embroidery, singing, etc. In some villages, you will have a chance to experience local traditional art and handicrafts, or to join in with minority festivals and ceremonies. Don’t miss your chance!
Local people like to drink rice wine, and are happy to serve the best wine to honored guests. In local culture, the more you drink the more respect you are showing to your host.
You will never be forced to drink, however. If you don’t want to or can’t drink alcohol, you can tell your guide, and he/she will help you explain. Not drinking is not necessarily perceived as impolite.
At some Miao villages when you visit, villagers will prepare rice wine and block the entrance, and you are supposed to drink some wine before entering. If you like alcohol, have a taste. If you don’t want to drink, you can just touch the cup with your lips.
Don’t, however, touch the cup with your hands for that signifies you should drink all the wine in the cup at one go.
If you are invited for a meal with a local family, your host will prepare plenty of mouth-watering food, as well as rice wine for you. If you can’t drink, you can tell your guide in advance. In local people’s tradition, having a good meal is more important than drinking more.
When you finish your meal, you can say “the granary is full” instead of “I’m full”.
Attending festivals is a good and interesting way to observe the lives and customs of local people. Minority people are fond of singing and dancing, so there will be many performances at festival times, and visitors will see local people dressed in their most beautiful costumes and accessories. View major ethnic festivals in Guizhou.
In Guizhou, the hotel and restaurant standards are generally acceptable, but they do not compare to those in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. In minority areas, there will be no star-rated hotels or western restaurants.
Guizhou cuisine is renowned as being spicy and sour. Remember that the dish flavors can be adjusted, and some dishes are delicious with less or no chili. If you don’t like chili, tell your tour guide in advance.
Read more about Guizhou cuisine.
If you don’t like the local food, your guide can take you for some western food. In larger cities and counties, it is possible to find some western restaurants and bakeries.
The toilets in the countryside used to be dirty and smelly, but have improved in recent years. You are still warned, however, to lower your expectations, for the conditions may not be as good as in large cities. Always bring your own tissues, and be ready to use a squat toilet.
Money-changing and -drawing services are not usually available in minority villages, and your credit card may not work so well in those areas. You can prepare cash when you are in big cities, or try to use mobile payment which is more popular in China. Your guide can help you to set up an account and teach you how to use it.
With China Highlights’ private tour service, you will have a smooth and highly efficient journey, and have a chance to experience some traditional handicrafts which are disappearing. Check the sample 6-Day Minority Adventure itinerary for reference.