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Langde is about 27 kilometers from Kaili, in Guizhou Province, China. It is a small Miao minority village with only about 100 families, not yet very busy or commercialized.
Langde is an ideal place for getting to know about the Miao people, preserving as it does many traditional Miao customs. Now, let’s enter the village and experience its natural and unadulterated culture.
Name: Langde Miao Village (朗德苗寨, Upper Langde or Langdeshang Miao Village)
Location: Southeast of Guizhou Province. About 210 km (3 hours’ drive) from the capital city Guiyang; 27 km (45 minutes’ drive) from Kaili.
Popular activities: Enjoy the welcome ceremony, watch minority singing and dancing, walk around the village, have a meal or stay a night with a local family
Must-see: Quaint Miao buildings, the traditional life style of local people
Suitable for: Lovers of folk customs
Time needed: 1 to 3 hours
Open: All day
You don’t need to wonder what to do in the village. You may just walk around, admire the clothing and buildings of local people, and relax. There are, however, several interesting things for you to observe.
Langde villagers retain their centuries-old traditions and customs. A distinctive practice is the Welcome Ceremony. Visitors to Langde are greeted with a drink of "blocking-the-way" wine, the most respectful way of greeting guests. The welcome ceremony continues, as guests pass the welcome tables.
There are 12 “phases” in the ceremony, and guests are invited to drink two small cups of rice wine in each; signifying that good things come in twos.
In the final phase, the small cup is replaced by a large ‘cup’ consisting of an ox horn; containing 250-300 ml of rice wine! It could be quite a challenge to drink up the wine in all 12 phases.
If you don’t want to or can’t drink, you can just touch the cup with your lip to express gratitude, and you will not be forced. Be careful, however. It is better not to touch the cup or horn with your hands! If you do, you will have to drink it dry.
Discover other interesting customs in Guizhou
After you have gone through the 12 phases, you will be led to the Lusheng Square where a folk-dance show is performed for your entertainment. At the end of the show, almost everyone in the village will come to the stage, and guests are invited to dance with locals around the square.
Tip: The welcome ceremony and folk-dances are convened twice a day, around 10:30 in the morning and 4:30 in the afternoon. There may be time changes, so if you want to join in, ask your guide for advice.
After the ceremony and performance, the village returns to tranquility, and you may walk around at your own pace. Unlike some large and famous ethnic villages, most of the buildings in Langde are not reconstructed, providing excellent examples of traditional Miao architecture.
Here, you will not find parallel shops with conspicuous signboards, restaurants with sizzling sounds, nor modern buildings decorated like ancient ones. The village remains just as it has been for centuries.
Langde has become like an open-air museum. It exhibits a large number of old wooden buildings on stilts called “diaojiao lou (吊脚楼, hanging-feet buildings)”.
This is a traditional style of construction. The buildings are generally held together by means of wooden joints: mortise and tenon. They do not use nails, bolts or glue. Instead, interlocking joints are employed, such as “peg and hole” (tenon) joints, and other more particular joints (think of a jigsaw puzzle).
The houses are multi-storied and built on an incline. There is indeed method in this seeming madness, and it demonstrates how artfully the Miao people have adapted to their surroundings, ever since ancient times.
The Miao people include several different branches based on dress, such as White Miao, Black Miao and Flowery Miao. The people in Langde are called Long-Skirted Miao, for the women wear long pleated skirts, reaching to their heels.
Long-skirted Miao women are fond of and skilled in singing and dancing. You might be dazzled when they put on their splendid long skirts and dance to music.
Read more about the Miao nationality in China.
As you walk through the village, some local people may invite you for a meal. Don’t be afraid, Miao people are friendly and happy to entertain guests. They serve local cuisine, such as sour fish soup or homemade rice wine. This may not compare with luxury restaurants, but has its own special, unsophisticated flavor.
If you wish, you may even enjoy a home stay in a local guesthouse. You’d better lower your expectations, however, for the facilities are only basic; but this will be a wonderful experience of local life.
At night, look up at the sky to see the twinkling stars, scenery you may never see in a large metropolis.
Tip: If you are interested in this, ask your travel consultant or guide for more information.
Miao people celebrate dozens of festivals each year, and they are happy to invite visitors to join their celebrations.
The most important festivals:
Climbing Festival (8th of the 4th lunar month): Young men and women gather on mountain slopes for entertainment and for making friends.
Eating-New-Rice Festival (7th lunar month): Celebrating the harvest.
Lusheng Festival (11th lunar month): People play lusheng, dance and sing.
Miao New Year (12th lunar month): Every family prepares food and wine to celebrate.
Guzang Festival (celebrated every 12 years and lasting 3 years): Sacrificing to ancestors, hoping for good harvests.
Tip: The actual time of the festivals may differ from year to year and there may be some unusual events during some festivals, such as bull-fighting or rooster-fighting. Ask our travel consultant for more information.
This article might be useful: Top Guizhou Festivals in 2019
Langde and Xijiang, the most famous Miao villages in Guizhou, are both facing the problem of commercialization.
Langde is much less commercialized, and has more original minority folk-customs and fewer visitors than Xijiang. On the other hand, however, Xijiang contains more activities and events, higher-quality performances, and offers better accommodation than Langde.
Neither village is far from Kaili city. It is convenient to take a high-speed train to Kaili from Guiyang, Guilin or Chongqing, and then drive 45 minutes to Langde.
If you don’t want to stay a night in the village, we can help you book a hotel in Leishan County about 25 minutes’ drive away. Xijiang is about a 30- to 40-minute drive from Langde or Leishan.
If you don’t want to visit Xijiang, Jidao Miao Village would be another good option. Jidao is only 5 minutes’ drive from Langde, and is less developed.
Check the Top Minority Villages in Guizhou.
Miao people welcome you to their villages! Prepare with China Highlights for a trip to Langde, and other minority villages in Guizhou. With our private tour experience, you can walk around the villages at your own pace, without any strangers in tow.
Have a look at some typical Guizhou tours. Feel free to change any elements of the itinerary, or customize your own tour, with the assistance of your travel consultant.