Kaili, jianhe, Leli, Rongjiang, Sandu, Danzai, Kaili
8th – 14th October 2017
Explore the fascinating minority nationalities of Guizhou through their stunning and diverse textiles. Travel through the steep hand carved rice terraces of the Miao. Learn about Indigo production with the Dong – also famed for their spectacular drum towers and wind and rain bridges around which clan life centres. Tin stitch, batik, embroidery, loom weaving and indigo dyeing are just a few tecniques you’ll experience on this textile exploratory.
Guizhou’s stunning landscapes and rustic villages are a great backdrop to this trip. The climax is a festival which we have designed our route around. You’ll meet the Black Collared Miao dressed in their finest, and begin to understand the motifs used in their designs and their spiritual origins.
There is NO biking on this trip but great hikes through high mountain Miao and riverine Dong villages, rice terrace drives and a rare festival that brings you close to these proud and colourful cultures.
We are all about getting you off the beaten track usually on a bicycle but sometimes not. This trip includes some hiking and homestay but no biking as the destinations have been chosen for their textile work, as well as local festivals where the dress of the hill tribes are best showed off – rather than our usual MO of first picking a route first that is great for biking.
ECO is always our Philosophy: no flags, no mega phones, heritage destinations, overlooked villages where we can spread our business, are some of the criteria in designing our trips. We stay in accommodation with personality – traditional or family run where possible.
SAT OCT 8, Guiyang and Kaili
Arrive Guiyang and then transfer to our hotel in Kaili, a regional centre for a number of different minorities, but predominantly the Miao. Meet you guide and enjoy an introduction over dinner to the fantastic diversity of the tribes in this region.
SUN OCT 9, Jianhe
Visit the Sunday market in old Kaili, a textiles market where at least five tribes of Miao bring embroidery and silver ornaments to sell in several Hutong (alleyways).These tribes include the Long-skirted Miao, Short-skirted Miao, Gejiang, and Red Miao aka Huangping Miao. They sell both machine made and hand made pieces to suit different budgets. Its a great intrdocution to a number of different styles you’ll discover further out in the countryside. In the afternoon we travel toward Jianhe，to a Black Miao village famous for the Tin-stitch – tin woven into fabric, amongst other traditional stitches.
Mon OCT 10. Leli
Travelling to the south east, we begin to enter the lands of the Dong. Around Leli we begin to see coiled-stitch and braided-stitch embroideries. We visit the Red-stitch Miao, also known as Mini-skirted Miao.
Tue OCT 11, Rongjiang.
The Dong who are well represented around Rongjiang are known for their architecture – drum towers and wind rain bridges and riverside settings. The Dong are indigo growers, and weave fine-patterned cloth from homespun cotton which they dye blue, and then pound to achieve the rose-gold sheen. You’ll visit remote villages set amidst stunning rice terraces, exploring the architecture, loom weaving and indigo production techniques.
Wed Oct 12Sandu, Hundred-bird Miao villages, and traditional markets.
The Miao hundred bird coat found at villages around Sandu are worn at festivals to worship the Miao ancestors. Hundreds of embroidered bird motifs in bright colors and exotic patterns, embody the Miao peoples traditional creation epic. These coats are amongst the most intricate of Guizhou.
THU AUG 13 Danzai White-collar Miao festival.
Numbering ten thousand people scattered throughout remote villages between Sandu and the Danzai rice terraces the white coloured Miao are skilled in both batik and embroidery which are combined in their textiles. The patterns in the batik are also seen on painted pottery from the the ancient Majiayao culture of Gansu in the far north of China, near the beginning of the silk road. There is currently a festival said to be on in this region, which should be an excellent opportunity to see the traditional outfits worn in the context they are meant to be – amidst worship and shamanistic blessing ceremonies, singing, music playing and dancing. Overnight in nearby village homestay or hotel in Danzai.
FRI AUG 14 Departure day
The festival continues for a second day. You may have time in the morning to learn some techniques of batik and embroidery before you return to Kaili/Guiyang. Please advise us off your onward travels upon booking as it may be more convenient for you to return home from a closer high speed train station than return to Guiyang, and thus maximise your time. Kaili will be the official finish point for the trip – and we can help in arranging transfers from there or from Danzai area .
All meals from Saturday night arrival dinner to Friday morning departure breakfast, twin-share accommodation (single supplement available for RMB 1200), all transport on tour from Kaili and back to Kaili, assistance organising your transfer from Guiyang or wherever you arrive in Guizhou ( this is not included as it may differ for different people), guide service and expertise.
China Visa, personal items, flights
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No.30 Ta Ho Tun Ha Wai, Saikung, New Territories, Hong Kong