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Situated in southeastern Guizhou, Zhaoxing is one of the largest Dong minority villages in China. It lies in a basin surrounded by mountains with a small river passing through it.
Zhaoxing enjoys a critical geographical position, as Guilin can be reached in the southeast through Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, with Guiyang and Chongqing in the northwest being accessible through the county-level city of Kaili.
The village is a real masterpiece of the Dong nationality, with theater stages, singing platforms, and grain barns. There are five drum towers, which are the village’s special symbols, and they appear as five lotus flowers scattered in five naturally formed villages.
In 2001, Zhaoxing Dong Village and its drum towers were listed in the Guinness World Records.
Zhaoxing is renowned for its drum towers, which are unique to China. The five towers standing in the village individually represent the five good manners in Chinese tradition, namely benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, and trust. Each drum tower shows its unique style and characteristics.
As symbols of the Dong village, the drum towers are the tallest and most respected buildings, and a sign of good fortune and prosperity. The towers were built without using a single nail or rivet.
The interiors and exteriors of the drum towers are painted colorfully with scenes from folk tales, legendary heroes, landscapes, animals, and daily activities.
While walking into the Dong village, travelers come across many wind and rain bridges, which are roof-covered bridges across the river. The columns and planks were engineered to fit together tightly without using nails.
The bridges are covered walkways with railings and benches, giving people a place to sit and enjoy the scenery. On a rainy day, sitting in the bridge pavilion and chatting with friends is a most pleasurable experience.
Besides the drum towers, other characteristic structures, such as the wind and rain bridges, theater stages, and barns, are worth a visit.
The Dong Chorus has a history of over 2,500 years and features multivoiced folk songs without a conductor or any accompaniment. This kind of singing has been performed at many world-class events and ceremonies, and was listed as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009.
The songs focus on history, legends, love, and teaching morals. One of the most distinctive performances is the “sound chorus”, imitating sounds from nature, such as the sounds of animals.
Zhaoxing has free open-air folk art performances every night during which you can admire the Dong Chorus as well as many other folk arts, such as dancing and opera. If you are visiting the village, don’t forget to experience this.
Read about other interesting Guizhou minority customs.
The Dong dietary culture can be summarized in three words:
In Zhaoxing, you have the chance to taste some local dishes, snacks, and drinks. During festivals or ceremonies, try some red meat, pickled fish, pork salad, steamed meatballs, oil tea, and rice wine. Local people even fry grasshoppers as a snack!
Find more Guizhou food to eat.
Besides traveling in a car, travelers in reasonable physical condition can also hike between villages. Your guide can advise you about the different hiking routes, such as Zhaoxing–Xiage–Tang’an.
The hike may take about 2½ hours and has eye-catching scenery all the way, including mountaintop views, fields, and rice terraces.
Before embarking on a hike, it's a good idea to ensure you have a good pair of walking shoes. Some country roads are well constructed but others are not. A good pair of shoes will be helpful when walking on uneven surfaces.
Zhaoxing village is a cradle for Dong festivals. The important Dong festivals are the Dong New Year, the New Harvest Festival, and the Sama Festival. As well as these festivals, the Grain Rain Festival (谷雨节) and the Muddy Men Festival (泥人节) are the most fascinating celebrations.
If you are interested in the festivals, remember to confirm the actual date with your travel consultant.
Due to the lack of English services, you are not recommended to take a train or bus by yourself if you can’t speak Chinese.
Using a travel service, like China Highlights, is a good choice as you will have a travel consultant to help you customize your itinerary and will travel in a private car with a guide speaking in your language.
Read about Guizhou transportation.
Zhaoxing, as well as the neighboring district, enjoys a cool and rainy climate. You are advised to take some long-sleeved clothes with you even if you are traveling in summer as well as an umbrella.
Most of the country roads are in good condition but some are not, so wearing a pair of good walking shoes is highly recommended.
Due to the pleasant climate, Zhaoxing is suitable for visiting all year round. During peak seasons, such as Chinese national holidays and summer holidays, you are advised to confirm your booking as soon as possible.
It is unavoidable to encounter other large tour groups but just let your guide help you to keep away from the crowds.
There are lots of hotels, hostels, and guesthouses in Liping County. Although they are not as luxurious as those in large cities, they have good services and facilities.
In the village, there may only be hostels or guesthouses. You can tell us your preferences and let us manage the booking for you.
You can customize your tour to Zhaoxing Dong Village with us, and here are some ideas to manage your tour: