Guiyang, meaning “south of the mountain”, lies in a valley on the banks of the Nanming River in central southern China. The area is still in development, slowly modernising its city while its parkland surrounds stay beautifully untouched.
Guiyang’s rise to influence was made through the railway development which linked Guiyang through connections to other major provinces. From this, it has become a major industrial centre and the city has become increasingly prosperous. This can be seen in its exponential growth seen since the 90s.
Guiyang’s population of around 4 million is made up of at least 23 minority groups, which gives it an interesting cultural edge. These groups give rise to many colourful festivals and minority activities, something that has become popular with tourists.
There are several attractions tourists should look out for on their Guiyang trip. The first is Qianming Si, a prominent attraction found on the Yangming Lang. It is the market that surrounds it that is the most appealing to visitors with an array of plants, pets and memorabilia for purchase.
Another to note down is Qianling Shan Park, a scenic area where flagstone paths lead to the Hongfu Si. While trekking up, look out for the many shrines, playful monkeys and red ribbon decorated trees. Once at the Hongfu Si, the first thing you will notice is a 10m stupa decorated to depict baby Buddha surrounded by nine elegantly coloured dragons. Head further up the hill and you will be greeted by spectacular views.
Hongfeng Lake is an essential for your to-do list, also known as Red Maple Lake. The Lake has four sections; the north, the south, the rear and the minority ethnic villages. In particular, the South Lake is recognised for its caves while the Rear Lake is noted for its picture-card countryside surroundings. The Hongfeng Lake is Guizhou’s largest manmade lake bordered by historic tomb sites from the Western Han Dynasty.
Continuing our tour of Guiyang, there are a few places not to miss out, that is the Jiaxiu Tower and the Yangming Cave. You can find the Jiaxiu Tower on the Fuyu Bridge rising 20m high with decorated architecture and is a spectacular sight at night. Within is a collection of ancient paintings that might interest those art-lovers among us.
Yangming Cave lies on Qixia Hill in remembrance of the great scholar Wang Yangming from the Ming era. He was an interesting man, starting out as a sombre and resentful being who transformed his life by accepting his truth and began to study. He would often teach others his new knowledge and gained a proud following and was much liked among the people. When you visit you will be able to see the inscribed characters that adorn his cave.
One of Guiyang’s unusual traditions is its liking of dog meat. Considered a remedy in ancient Chinese medicine, it is considered favourable to eat among the locals. Though for those visitors wanting to avoid such a local delicacy, just stare clear of restaurants with dead carcases outside.
Guiyang is also translated to “precious sun” something quite appropriate seeing as the area only receives 1150 hours of sun a year. Temperatures are very mild ranging from around 5°C in January and up to 24°C in July. Rain is a common occurrence so travelling here requires patience with the elements and a good raincoat.
All in all, Guiyang is an interesting city which is becoming increasingly developed with a large array of retail and commercial outfits. Take in the city life while exploring its nature endowed surrounds.