Bike Aways

Hill Tribes of Guizhou Chinese New Year Festival Tour 2017

JAN 28 – FEB 3         
Guiyang, Dong NewYear Festival, Hundred Bird Miao Lusheng festival,  Lei Shan Stone and Wood Village, Kaili / Guiyang.
RMB 6800 RMB 

FEB 3-7                    
Guiyang, Lao Han Opera Festival, Long Horn Miao Flower Dance festival, Huangguoshu waterfall , Guiyang
RMB 4800

Minimum of 4 people needed for trip to run with a maximum of 12 people to make sure we are low key and mobile.
Ten percent discount will be offered to those booking the two trips together.


Guizhou is a cultural and visual feast during Chinese New Year.

Join in the songs and dances of the Dong around the communal fireplaces in the drum towers of Rongjiang County, where  the village Shaman will instruct upon how to bring fortune in the new New Year.

Hike the slopes of Leigong Mountain to where the the Hundred Bird Miao welcome Spring by dressing up in their embroidered batik gowns, then dance to the Lusheng wind pipes at the annual Lusheng Festival.

Shop for fabrics from the weavers and collectors at the charming mountainside Leishan village whilst hiking through the heartlands of the Miao.

Discover Ming dynasty China in the new year opera of the Lao Han (old Han)  –  isolated garrison villages whose martial arts operas reflect their role as expellers of the Mongol invaders!

Photograph the Long Horn Miao as they weave a buffalo-horn head dress from wool and hair,  then flirt ritualistically with potential husbands at the annual flower dance.

Ancient traditions of China’s fascinating minority nationalities are kept alive through the costumes and the festivals celebrated at this time.

Travelling from festival to festival, this unqiue itinerary is suited to photographers, textilists, historians and  any travellers who enjoy off the beaten track adventure.

Guiyang is the official starting point for this trip on January 28th – though travellers arriving by high speed rail are also welcome to join the trip in Rongjiang on the morning of the 29th.
Please advise us in advance so we can help coordinate your arrival.

Part 1 of this trip finishes in Guiyang on Thursday the 3rd of February –  but if you can get the time off – Part 2 which travels West of Guiyang is highly recommended.

This is a once a year festival trip with brilliant photography opportunities with spaces limited to twelve people only.



Arrive Guiyang.
Group meet up and dinner at Guiyang Hotel.
Guizhou’s minority nationalities palace, notable for the statue of Chairman Mao in  the Central Square out front is a great place to start exploring for those arriving early. Meet the rest of the group and discover the hot and sour flavours of Guizhou cuisine over a group dinner.

Dong New Year Festival, Rongjiang

visitors singing to the host village for health, fortune and hospitality by fire pit in the village drum tower

Dong visitors singing to the host village for health, fortune and hospitality by fire pit in the village drum tower

Travel 90 minutes by high speed rail to Rongjiang, and travel by road into the Dong heartlands.
Today is the day that the shamanistic Dong in villages around Rongjiang celebrate their new year.  Dressed in brilliant Indigo and hand-worked silver, New Year is  cele
brated around the  circular fire place in ancient drum towers that are the centre of clan life in Dong villages. The village shaman will conducts the rituals that honour and placate the animistic gods, ward off disasters and attract the blessings for the new year.

MON 30 – TUE 31
Hundred Bird Miao New Year Lusheng Festival

One hundred-bird-miao- Lusheng Festival Chinese New Year

One hundred-bird-Miao- Lusheng Festival at Chinese New Year

Travelling west from Rongjiang, we ascend the heavily terraced Lei Gong Mountain to visit the One hundred Bird Miao, famous for their batik and embroidery pastiched hundred-bird-coat.  Feathered from its coat-tails, this gown is festival-ware only and spring festival is the best time to see it.

Birds are a sacred motif of the Miao as are butterflies and other animals encountered in the mountains.  Lusheng  is a long bamboo pipe organ with a reed that makes the instrument sound like bag pipes. It is one of the oldest interments in the world and is played by Miao men in a crescent, with the women dancing in the arc. Lusheng is a key festival of ritualised flirting and checking out how well a potential wife can weave and a potential husband can make music.

WED 1  
Leishan, a quaint Miao Village.
We travel across Leigong mountain to the stone and wood Miao village of Leishan, exploring small local festivities along the way / and or hiking between small villages along the way. As we travel towards Kaili, we move towards the heartlands of the Miao, with more opportunities to shop for fabrics and handicrafts as we get closer to Kaili.

Leishan – Kaili – Guiyang

Departure day for those undertaking Part 1 only
From Leishan we travel to Kaili  visiting villages of the short skirt Miao along the way if we have time before peoples onward travels.
Kaili is on the High speed rail network connecting to Shanghai and Beijing and is a potential drop off point for people travelling north by train.

 FRI 4- SAT 5 January

Ground Opera in the Lao Han villages of Western Guiyang

In 1381 the first Ming emperor sent an army from Anhui province to subjugate the Mongol invaders left over from the Yuan dynasty.  This self sufficient “tuntian” army from Anhui survive through its descendants today who still wear the traditional Feng Yan cloth of Ming dynasty Anhui – and have retained many of the traditions that were later purged during the Qing Dynasty, along China’s Eastern seaboard.

After exploring the unique stone and tree branch lay-out of these picturesque villages, there  are small “ground” opera performances to discover. Rather than a stage, these more causal operas are perfumed on the ground, or in natural amphitheatres with villages sitting on the slopes around the show. Vibrant and energetic, the Lao Han ground Operas feature   brightly coloured wooden masks, kung fu fighting and militaristic plot lines.
Also originating in Anhui, this opera is the fore runner of the famous Peking Opera.

Long Horn Miao Festival

Long Horn Miao at the Annual flower dance Festival

Long Horn Miao at the Annual flower dance Festival

Changjiao, or Long Horned Miao are so named for the buffalo horn head dress woven from wool and ancestral hair.  There are less than 4000 “children of the horn” spread across 12 villages  3 hour west of Guiyang. Whilst the buffalo is an iconic figure for all Miao, the long hair woven around the long horns is a way of honouring the ancestors and worn ritualistically at special festival occasions.   The flower dance festival is the biggest gathering of Long Horn Miao each year, and like many festivals at this time, is an important gathering for young people to meet each other and select a potential life partner.

Departure day – transfer to Guiyang


Getting there and Away

Guiyang is the starting point for both trips.  Guiyang is two hours flight from hong kong, and  three hours from both Beijing and Shanghai. Its 5 hours in a train from Guangzhou South Station with easy connections  from Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Those arriving by train can also join in Rongjiang on day 2 – which is much closer  if coming from Guilin, Guangzhou, or Shenzhen.

Departure by train from kaili station to either Beijing or Shanghai  is also a possibility.
Please  talk to us about  ways we can facilitate your arrival if you are thinking of using the train.


All meals from arrival night dinner to breakfast on your departure day, entry tickets (single supplement available for RMB 900), Guide service,  ground transport on trip,  transfers to and from train stations.

Contact to reserve your place.

  No.30 Ta Ho Tun Ha Wai, Saikung, New Teritories, Hong Kong

Trains departing for Beijing and Shanghai from Kaili South Station 

To Beijing – One train a day taking 10h 17m

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