Guiyang (贵阳; Guìyáng) is the capital of Guizhou province, China. While not the most spectacular of Chinese cities, it has much to offer as an introduction to the history, culture and natural splendor of Guizhou and China's southwest. Moreover it is drastically cheaper than the more touristed and developed provinces. It makes an excellent base for exploring mountains, caves, rivers, and minority cultures (including traditional Han Chinese culture lost in many areas) of the province.
By planeGuiyang is relatively easy to get to by air with many flights daily coming in from Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and other cities in Southwest China, particularly Kunming and Chengdu.
Guiyang Longdongbao International AirportAn international airport but options are extremely limited. There is weekly service from Hong Kong, Macao, and Bangkok and perhaps Singapore and Malaysia.
From the airport, taxis (¥60 flat rate) or the airport shuttle bus (¥10, drops off in a few locations around town) take fifteen to twenty minutes to reach downtown. Those interested in saving money may opt to catch a taxi from the bus stops in town rather than directly from the airport. Doing so brings the total for a solo traveler to ¥20 from airport to hotel.
By trainGuiyang straddles the trunk rail line linking Chongqing (12 hours) with Kunming (overnight) and points south. Train tickets to Chengdu are also readily available (17 hours). Train tickets, including for hard sleepers, are relatively easy to acquire, given the size of Guiyang's population and its significance as the commercial hub of the province. Heading in from Hunan, the train passes through Kaili before arriving in Guiyang. Tickets to Zunyi (hard seat only) cost ¥17 for the 3½ hour trip.
The area outside the downtown train station, (贵阳站) can be a bit chaotic, but taxis are readily available. There is a taxi queue across the street from the station, although some taxis will stop in mid-traffic to pick you up. Guiyang police have tried to crack down on picking up passengers in crowded areas where it will obstruct traffic, so the queue is probably the best (and safest, given Chinese driving standards) option. The train station is also the terminus for many public bus lines.
High speed rail lines have made their way to Guiyang. The journey to Kunming previously took around 7 hours. Now, travelers can pay ¥212 for a 2½-hour trip. To get from Guiyang to Guangzhou, which took 20-24 hours on normal trains, now takes 4-5 hours and ¥267.5. The line that leads from Guiyang to Chongqing, costs ¥129, and has cut a 4-hour trip in half.
Two stations, both built in the last several years, serve high speed rail. The somewhat older train station, (贵阳北站, Guiyangbei), is located in Jinyang, one of the newer districts of the city. Most of the high speed trains go through this station. Thw newest station, (贵阳东站, Guiyangdong) in Wudang district also serves some high-speed trains. Make sure you know which station you're traveling through, as the three stations are distant enough that you could miss a connection trying to get between them.
By busThe long distance bus station (金阳汽车站) is in the new JinYang development area. Buses to Jinyang leave from the train station and pass by peoples square, opposite the school. From here you can get buses to several destinations, including Guilin and Guangzhou.
Long distance buses arriving in Guiyang will likely stop at a different station near the airport where you can take a taxi into the city. The driver will probably not use the meter and will take as many passengers as he can, bargain for the price.
The long-distance bus stations are also the best location to get buses to Anshun (60-90 minutes), the gateway to Guizhou's signature Huangguoshu Waterfall. Buses north to Zunyi (two hours) depart every 30 to 60 minutes.
By carThe highway infrastructure in Guizhou is undergoing continual upgrading as part of China's Western Development Effort. Once completed, an expressway will link Guiyang to Chongqing, allowing relatively easy travel and an alternative to the train. The highways leading west and east out of Guiyang are modern and well maintained making for easy access to the western reaches of the province or east to Kaili. It is possible (although expensive, so it may be better to take the bus or train) to hire a car and driver between Guiyang, Zunyi, and other cities.
By metroThe Guiyang metro system, called Guiyang Urban Rapid Transit, or GYURT, has been open since December 2017. Line 1 is in operation between Xiaomeng Industrial Park in Guanshanhu district and Xiamaixi in Guanshanhu District. It connects to the rail network at Guiyang North and Guiyang railway station. Standard fares are ¥2-6, though each 8 km after the first 24 km will cost an additional ¥1. Line 2 is expected to open in early 2019. It starts from Baiyun District, connect the city center to Line 1, and ends at the East Bus Terminal with a stop at the Longdongbao International Airport. A further four lines are under construction, while the long term plans include a total of nine lines for the city.
By busGuiyang has a well-developed bus system, although it is entirely in Chinese and takes some getting used to. A local can help you if you know where you are going. All bus fares cost ¥2. Small local buses pick up passengers at various points around town and can take you to Huaxi or more distant districts of the city for ¥3 per person. These buses can get crowded and are forbidden to carry standing passengers. As a result, all of the standing riders are asked to duck when passing the police.
By taxiGuiyang taxis charge ¥10 at flagfall. Short trips within the city should cost ¥10. This is an excellent way to get around, as taxis are everywhere. Note that taxis charge extra late at night (¥12 starting rate although for short trips the driver may let you off with the ¥10 flat rate). Taxis heading into or out of the city center may pick up extra passengers.
By motorcycleAs elsewhere in China, motorcycle and scooter taxi services are available. Large intersections or areas with concentrations of bars or restaurants will attract a crowd of motorcyclists. Negotiate a price in advance (¥10-15). Unlike in other areas, the driver is unlikely to have a helmet available for you. Hold on tight.
By footAlthough not the smallest town in China, many of Guiyang's neighborhoods and sights can be seen with a little patience and footwork. This is also a great way to experience life in a still emerging town. The city abounds with small workshops (often in what would normally be locations for small shops or restaurants), delightful street-side restaurants, and small shops selling everything from local handicrafts to new business cards (next day availability) and sheet metal.
Guanshan Lake Parkphone: +86 851 84878411address: Guanshan Bridge, Lincheng West Road, Guanshanhu District (观山湖区观山大桥南北两侧)Guanshanhu Park is a forested park that lies 12 km from Guiyang’s city center. It lies around a pair of lakes, Guanshan North and South Lakes, and has a main paved path around them.There are also smaller paths that lead to scenic spots. In the center of the park, you can find an 18-meter-tall golden pheasant drum statue, representing luck and happiness. On the opposite side of the lake, there is a 30-meter statue of a trio of hot peppers, or lajiao, an integral ingredient in Guizhou cuisine. Other attractions within the park include Hunan Garden, home to several original buildings from a 1950s Soviet-style farm; and the National Culture Promenade, a 330-meter-long corridor of paintings and wishing pools dedicated to the 56 ethnic groups of China. The park is home to over 700 types of plant life, including purple myrtle and osmanthus trees. If you make your visit in the spring or summer, you are likely to spot a sizeable colony of wild herons on a central island.
phone: +86 851 85891208address: 168 Beijing Road, Yunyan District (云岩区北京路168号)Incorporates the Guizhou Painting Institute (贵州画院).
phone: +86 851 85831710address: 23 Jiandao Street, Nanming District (南明区箭道街23号)A museum focused on the history and culture of Guizhou's various ethnic groups.
phone: +86 851 84811809address: 107 Lincheng Road East, Guanshanhu District (观山湖区林城东路107号)Guizhou's main museum.
phone: +86 851 85832933address: 40 Ruijin Road South, Nanming District (南明区瑞金南路40号)Notable exhibitions include one on lunar exploration and one on computer databases. The museum also features a children's science & technology park and a 4D movie theatre.
Hebin Parkphone: +86 851 85956270address: 31 Ruijin Road South, Nanming District (南明区瑞金南路31号)This park is by the side of the Nanming River. There is an Egyptian feel to the square in the park, which has towering pillars lit by yellow light at night, and a gigantic UFO-shaped restaurant in the centre, help up by both bamboo and metal pillarsan apt symbol of the fusion of Chinese culture and modernity. Near the restaurant, there is a recently built bridge across the river, shaped like a Helix, and lighted up a brilliant red. Take a romantic stroll through this peaceful square at night.
Hongfu Templephone: +86 851-86825606address: Qianlingshan Park, 187 Zaoshan Road, Yunyan District (云岩区枣山路187号黔灵山公园内)The temple, built as a monastery in the early Qing Dynasty, is comparable in extent to the Lama Temple in Beijing. Surrounded by woods, the buildings have elaborate ornaments (roof corners and eaves, etc.). There are several large deity figures, a pond with carp, water well for coins for good luck, incense burning pits, a large bell you ring, some shops, and a restaurant there.
Qianlingshan Parkphone: +86 851 86826301address: 187 Zaoshan Road, Yunyan District (云岩区枣山路187号)This large city park is well worth an afternoon. Sample local food and crafts from vendors, see curious and very brave wild monkeys (accustomed to people), as well as take in the view from the hilltops near Hongfu Temple. Qianling Park also includes a zoo and small amusement park as well as tea gardens.
Huaxi Parkphone: +86 851 83851808address: 3108 Huaxi Avenue South Section, Huaxi District (花溪区花溪大道南段3108号)Another popular day trip south of Guiyang in Huaxi township, Huaxi Park is an excellent escape from the heat and bustle of the city. The park with its streams, pavilions and tea gardens is popular for Guiyang residents who enjoy setting up their own barbeques and enjoying a picnic. Of historical note, former Premier Zhou Enlai and his wife visited Huaxi Park in the 1950s. A billboard sized photograph of the couple enjoying a boat ride graces the main entrance to the park.
address: Huaxi District, Guiyang
address: Gui'an Avenue, Shiban Town, Huaxi District (花溪区石板镇贵安大道)An easy day trip from Guiyang, Tianhe Lake Park is a pleasant cave, canal and waterfall park in Huaxi township. The park includes flooded caves which guides take you through in boats, canals which weave through minority farm areas and a spectacular cascade through a narrow opening in the mountain. Following the trail into the mountain leads to a massive sinkhole and the starting point for the cave and canal boat trips. If you are feeling adventurous, rent bikes for the day from Huaxi Park, and then cycle 11km to Tianhe Lake on the country roads. It takes about 2 hours to get there, but the biking journey would be rewarding for backpackers who enjoy roughing it through and appreciate rural scenery. You can rent a motorcycle to take your bicycles back for 10 yuan each, while getting on a rented ven to get back to Huaxi Park, at the same price.
Zhenshan Villageaddress: 花溪区石板镇镇山村Zhenshan Village is a Bouyei minority village 20 km outside of Guiyang. Visit the Ming Dynasty village to observe and try Bouyei traditions, food, rice wine and architecture. The village’s houses are almost entirely built of shale dug from local mountains; walls and floors, roofs and selected items of furniture are all built with it. The main festival celebrated in the village falls on the 10th day of the first lunar month (February 14 in 2019), so the dates change every year. During that time, the main square of the village will be full of people dancing and singing to the music of the lusheng, a traditional instrument. The festival celebrates the bond between the Miao and Bouyei people in the area, and as such brings out people from both minorities in their best traditional embroidered clothing. At any time of year, visitors can enjoy the local rice wine, or try the smoked tofu, pickled vegetables and sour fish prepared by their hosts. Guesthouses are available for those who wish to spend the night.
address: Longguang Village, Nanjiang Township, Kaiyang County (开阳县南江乡龙广村)Canyon with karst scenery and several waterfalls of varying sizes. The canyon spans more than 40 kilometres and has a depth of 398 metres.
phone: +86 851 84862777address: 483 Baiyun Road South, Baiyun District (白云区白云南路483号)A popular amusement park in the city's northwest.
- Maotai Liquor (茅台酒) - produced in Maotai Town of Renhuai County in Zunyi Prefecture, Maotai holds itself to be one of the world's three most famous distilled liquors. In 1915, Maotai won global fame at the World's Fair in San Francisco (Panama–Pacific International Exposition). According to Maotai lore, the booth at the fair was largely overlooked by the liquor judges because of the cheap labels and black bottles. In frustration one of the attendants smashed a bottle of Maotai releasing the distinct aroma attracting the judges who later awarded the drink a gold medal. Since 1949, it has won 14 international gold prizes and has been exported to over 100 countries and regions. It is officially known as China's national liquor and served at state banquets. At 106 proof (53% alcohol by volume) or stronger, it is not for the faint of heart. Maotai is clear and offers a lingering mild and mellow fragrance some liken to soy sauce. For foreigners it can be a bit of an acquired taste but no visit to Guizhou would be complete without trying the province's most famous product.
- Anshun Batik (安顺蜡染画) - Batiks are a traditional handicraft of the Buyi people in the Anshun region to the west of Guiyang. Traditional ethnic designs include flowers, birds, fish and insects on indigo-dyed cotton cloth. More recently artisans have produced more colorful silk and wool batiks. There are over 1,000 different types of batik products now produced including whole cloth, bedding, tapestries, caps and purses. Anshun Batiks can be purchased at expensive tourist shops in Guiyang or for more reasonable and negotiable prices in Anshun itself.
- Guiding Yunwu Tea(贵顶云雾茶) - Produced in Yunwu Mountain in Guiding County, this tea was offered as tribute to the early Qing court. The leaves resemble fishhooks, thin and soft, with whitish hairs. This green tea is much favored for its low caffeine and high catechol content.
- Yuping Flutes - These elaborately carved flutes are made of local bamboo and produce a clear and beautiful sound. Yuping flutes are traditional local products that have gone on to win international prizes.
- Ethnic Silver Articles - Two ethnic groups, the Miao and Gejia, are famous for silver smithing. Both groups produce headgear, necklaces and bracelets. Each type has its distinct shapes, patterns and motifs. Miao ornaments mainly use dog, cat, horse, insect, flower or bird motifs. The Gejia prefer sun, stars, dragon, phoenix, bat and certain plant motifs. Both styles give Huangping silver ornaments great artistic value.
- Embroidery and Cross-stitch - Miao embroidery is a traditional local handicraft. Design motifs are typically butterflies, birds and interestingly enough marine animals. Cross-stitch patterns follow the warps and wefts of the cloth and the most popular ones are colorful geometric figures.
- Exotic stones and fossils - Guizhou's limestone hills yield a wealth of valuable stones and fossils. As the province also has impressive and commercially exploitable deposits of gold, silver and other minerals, there are a wide variety of mineral stones and samples available. Fossils of Missippian Crinoids and the Guizhousaurus (贵州龙 - a small semi-aquatic dinosaur) are available in many tourist shops. The Guizhousaurus is a common fossil and often found intact and complete so there is actually a fair chance the fossils are legitimate! The buyer will likely notice, however, that the fossils are painted to show the bones more starkly against a darker background of stone.
Qianwufu specialty foodsQianwufu, a local specialty food company, packages techan (特产), foodstuffs particular to a region, into presentable gift items. Most products are varieties of dried pork or beef sealed in boxes or big pouches. A noteworthy item is the canister of tartary buckwheat tea, an intriguing beverage of nutty and chocolaty flavor. The company has a few dedicated stores in Guiyang. One location is a store along the vendor filled entrance path to the gate of Qianlingshan Park. Another store is in the underground food court directly connected to the Shanxi Road subway station.
With a brave stomach, you could eat something new everyday for a week just by walking along the streets of Guiyang and sampling the street foods of Guizhou's minorities around the night markets. Most of these offerings come heavily spiced by default, but you can ask for a little or no spice.
Guizhou cuisineFor excellent Guizhou cuisine at very reasonable prices try Siheyuan (四合院). The restaurant enjoys a good bit of local fame and is popular with the (very) small expat community as well. The story goes that the owners were laid off from their factory jobs some years ago. Without work, they opened a street side restaurant with a single table. The food was so good that business boomed. Some 15 or 20 years later they serve a bustling lunch and dinner crowd in a multilevel but still rustic and homey restaurant. Siheyuan doesn't have a sign so finding it without a guide can be a bit of a trick. It is located a few feet down the alley opposite the Protestant Church on Qianling Xilu.
Be sure to try Bean Hotpot (豆米火祸 dōumǐhuǒguō) which is available all around the city. Just as with other hotpot styles, you choose whichever ingredients you want and cook them at your own pace. The difference is in its soup of pinto beans, bacon, and onions. You should get a bowl of spices that you can mix with the soup base for dipping.
Minority cuisines are also readily available throughout Guiyang (look for wait staff in brightly colored outfits clapping, dancing and playing oversized pan-flutes at the door). One of the most common and delicious varieties available is the Miao minority's Suan Tang Yu (酸汤鱼), a hot pot centered around a hot and spicy broth with a large whole fish chopped up inside. Like all hot pot restaurants, veggies, meats and other delicacies are purchased a la carte to be added. The dipping bowls contain the ubiquitous chili paste but also add a cube of fermented tofu (non-stinky) that makes a wonderful compliment to the fish. Be sure to wash it down with mi jiu (米酒), a sweet, dark rice wine.
Street foodNight markets are popular in Guizhou for midnight munching, particularly in the warmer months although even the winter does not shut them down. Varieties of street foods particularly grilled freshwater fish, crayfish, snails, chicken, pork, mutton, cabbage, garlic greens, onions, eggplants, mutton, chili peppers and just about anything else that can be skewered is available. For the adventurous whole marrow bones can be grilled up, cracked open and served with a straw. Guiyang's street food vendors tend to come out after sunset.
A night food market fills the entrance way to Qianling Park. Another food street is along the side of Shanxi Road on the side of A exit of the subway station. However the street vendors of Shanxi Road have been overtaken mostly in popularity by the very busy underground "Chinatown" food court--decorated curiously after overseas Chinatowns--directly connected to the Shanxi Road subway station.
For a Guizhou snack unavailable elsewhere try Silk Babies (丝娃娃). For a few kuai, you are given a stack of thin rice pancakes and chopsticks. You sit at a low table covered in bowls of raw and pickled vegetables with a small dish for mixing chili sauce and vinegar. Load the pancakes according to taste, spoon in a little sauce and enjoy.
Among Guiyang's street foods, Guiyang Style Beef Noodles (牛肉粉 niuroufen) is a staple. It can be prepared in a hot red broth or a mild beef broth according to your tastes - although not all establishments offer a choice. Fresh whole garlic cloves, crushed dried red pepper, salt, MSG and Sichuan Pepper (花椒 huajiao) can be added to taste. Don't miss this one - it really hits the spot, especially after a night of drinking! Huaxi Wang Jia Niuroufen is the best and operates a chain of franchises throughout the province but for late night munchies, just follow the crowds.
A peculiar local delicacy (given the fact that Guizhou is landlocked) is Fried Chili Squid (鱿鱼: youyu). Chopped squid is skewed and deep fried before being cooked on a separate metal plate in a bath of sizzling chili sauce. This snack is served hot from carts congregating along Zhonghua Zhonglu. The dish is safe to eat despite the distance from the ocean. One stick costs ¥1. The 鱿鱼 carts are often found in close proximity to other snack carts selling grilled tofu, mutton kabobs, spicy pickled radishes and other munchies.
Although there are hundreds of bars in the city (many of them hidden away in large buildings) the main concentration is on Qianling dong lu (黔灵东路). These bars are very local, generally offering Snow beer and Budweiser as their only beer options.
Highlands CoffeeFeatures espresso based beverages, tea, smoothies, chai, as well as cheesecake and other American pastries, and paninis. Customer service is bilingual (Mandarin and English) and WiFi is also available.
Highlands Coffee (South Location)phone: +86 0851-85826222address: 1 Liudong Street, 1 Bo'ai Road, Nanming District (南明区博爱路六洞街1号)
Highlands Coffee (North Location)phone: +86 0851-86768922address: You Yi Lu Ping Zi Xiang 6 (友谊路坪子巷6号)
Nenghui Jiudianphone: +86 851 589 8888address: Ruijin Nan Lu 38On the airport bus route, 2 bars, 2 restaurants, good staff, comfortable rooms, free in-room broadband, basic business facilities, rooms usually heavily discounted. 125 rooms.
Shenfeng Jiudianphone: +86 851 556 8888A fine hotel with high service, large rooms, and a breakfast buffet. 260 rooms, at Shenqi Lu 69, website:
- Guizhou Karst HotelNearby the Peoples Square and face the Nanming River. A new 4 star hotel with high quality service.
phone: +86 851 823 88888address: CREC International Eco City,Shuanglong Airport Economic ZoneThey have seasonal outdoor pool, hot tubs, barbecue and children's playground. 218 rooms, suites and pool villas. Offers Thai, Chinese and international food in their 6 restaurants.
For those not interested in teaching, Guiyang is home to several industrial and high-technology development zones seeking foreign investment, partnerships and experts. These include the industrial and enterprise zone in the south (Xiaohe Qu near Guizhou Normal University) and the Guiyang High-Technology Development Zone in the north. The main industries are aerospace technology and heavy industry.
Zhijin Cave - As the national scenic spot, the cave is located in Guanzhai Township, 14 miles northeast of Zhijin and 93 miles from Guiyang. It is a gigantic karst cave with the length over 6 miles. Although it looks still primitive in appearance, its karst landform is imposing and magnificent. Covering an area over 74 acres, its widest part is 574 feet and its height exceeds 328 feet. The cave consists of 47 halls and 150 scenic spots in its 11scenic areas.
Longgong Cave (Dragon Palace Cave) - As the national scenic spot, the cave is located in Matou Township, 130 kilometers from Guiyang. Longgong refers to over 90 karst caves linked up like a chain of beads that run through 20 hilltops. Within these 4,000-metre-long caves there are also underground karst lakes. Tourists can enter Longgong Caves at Tianchi (Heavenly Pool) by taking a small boat.
Red Maple Lake - As a national scenic resort, Red Maple Lake is located in the suburb of Qingzhen, 33 kilometers from Guiyang. Covering 57.2 square kilometers, it is the largest man-made lake on the Guizhou Plateau. The lake consists of the North and South lakes. It's renowned for the 170 isles, the numerous caves, the clear water and the quiet bays. Folklore of the Dong and Miao people is demonstrated in the resort.
Wuyang River - Lying in Zhenyuan and Shibing counties, the national scenic area consists of Zhuwan Gorge in Shibing and the Three Gorges in Zhenyuan and extends 50 kilometers. Wuyang River is famous for it picturesque mountain scenes and crystal-clear water. It flows among mountains in eastern Guizhou, creating secluded caves, gurgling springs, rugged rocks and spectacular waterfalls.
Xijiang - Ethnic Minority (Miao) village which is about an hour and a half journey from kaili. There are beautiful rice terraces on which you can stroll and climb. all the way to a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding paddy fields. Jump across huge drains, admire the rich variety of wild flowers, and take in the smell of cow dung and fertilizer along the way. There will also be daily performances, centred around wedding rituals, conducted in the morning and evening (5pm) which are free to watch. You do have to pay an entrance fee to get into the village though. Stay overnight at one of the hotels on the hill, so that you can open your windows to a vista of fog-shrouded houses on the hills opposite you stretching into the distance.
Museum of Great Leap Forward Relics (大跃进遗存物博物馆) - Located in the county seat of Sansui County (三穗县), about 270 kilometers from Guiyang，this is the only museum in China dedicated to preserving the memory of Mao Zedong's disastrous Great Leap Forward campaign. Sansui can be reached in just over an hour by high-speed train from Guiyang North Station. The museum is situated at 13 Xinsui Street (新穗街13号), about 4km by road from Sansui Station.