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Guiyang beckons with striking landscapes and intriguing cultures

2013-12-04 14:15 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Si Huan

Barren hills and turbulent rivers often are the first things that come to mind when speaking of Guizhou Province in southwest China. The out-of-the-way place is actually a mysterious land of strange karst landscapes, sour and spicy food, and an intriguing culture nurtured by the ethnic minorities dwelling in the mountainous area.

The provincial capital city of Guiyang, surrounded by mountains and forests, is an agreeable place to live. As the name suggests, sunshine, or yang, in the city is quite luxurious, or gui. Abundant rainfall makes summer the best time to visit as the average temperature remains around 24 degrees Celsius even during the hottest July.

For many tourists, Guiyang is just a quick stop en route to the magnificent Huangguoshu Waterfall and Xijiang's ethnic Miao community in the southwest, as well as Libo's picturesque landscapes of karst — typified by strange rock formations — in the south. Yet the city offers quite a lot to explore, with its combination of appealing cuisines, its own scenic karst areas and simple but exotic ethnic villages.




If you are eager to get out for a refreshing walk after your flight, check out Qianling Mountain Park. Set in downtown Guiyang, the mountain is an exceptional city park with a cheap admission price of 5 yuan (82 cents), soothing views, tranquil walking paths and strange geographic features carved by an ancient glacier. The Qilin cave is where insurgent generals Zhang Xueliang and Yang Hucheng were detained after they started an armed uprising against Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek in the Xi'an Incident of 1936. It is named after the stalactite inside that is shaped like a qilin, or Chinese unicorn, a mythical creature that symbolizes prosperity and serenity. More than 3,000 wild macaques inhabit the mountain. Be careful when you walk among the monkeys as the screeching primates may stop you for food or snatch water bottles or you bags. There have been at least 7,500 attacks from macaques in Qianling Mountain since 2004.


Dining options abound in downtown Guiyang, which has large shopping malls and plazas, trendy cafes and bars, and restaurants serving many types of cuisine, from savory Guizhou fare to Western food. Jinlusheng Restaurant in the Nanming area is a nice option for nonlocals to have a taste of local cuisine. Its serves most of the local specialties with dishes for all tastes.


Jiaxiu Pavilion has some of the best night views of Guiyang. The landmark by the Nanming River was originally constructed in 1573, and houses a collection of stone carvings, antiques, calligraphy and painting by ancient intellectuals. Join the locals for a cup of green tea in the teahouse near the pavilion while enjoying the dazzling view. Or take a walk along the river that's lined with cozy cafes and chic bars.


Many cafes, bars and clubs are located in the Fushui Road area and that's where the city's club-goers and partiers gather. Head west to Dashizi (Big Cross) Plaza for some trendy options such as MUSE and Lotus. Foodies will enjoy getting lost in a bewildering variety of snacks offered by dozens of stalls at night. Hailed as a city treasure trove, Guiyang's night snack streets provide an insight to its culinary culture. Hequn Road is the largest and most renowned night snack location in the city, while Erqi Road is better-organized and orderly. Popular dishes include barbecue, beef rice noodles, clay pot stews, fried tofu balls, ciba (cooked sticky rice pounded into paste), siwawa (sliced vegetables wrapped in a pancake) and roasted fish.

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