Hill Tribes of China – Trekking, Homestay and Festival
Rongjiang, Zencong, Gaodiao, Yintang, Zhaoxing, Tang’an
2nd -6th AUGUST
RMB 4888 RMB
TUE AUG 2
Group meet up and dinner at Rongjiang Hotel.
Rongjiang is named for the Banyon trees that line the towns Central River. Rongjiang has the largest concentration of the Dong Ethnic Minority – but is also the closest town for many Miao, Shui, and Yao. For those arriving early — head out and explore the old riverside villages and the local markets.
Wed AUG 3
We travel from Rongjiang by car up to Zengcong – a remote Dong village boasting China’s oldest drum tower. Rice is ceremoniously revered in the more remote hill tribe cultures . Shamans direct the plantings and the ceremonies that mark the different stages of rice cultivation.
This festival celebrates the New Rice Sprouts – the completion of the first planting.
Villagers are up extra early to complete their normal chores — gathering grass from the mountains, feeding the buffaloes, chickens and pigs — then return home to dress up in their most precious embroideries, hand woven and dyed indigo, and hand beaten silverware. Many of these outfits are hand woven, and dyed the distinctive metallic Indigo blue of the Dong. Only on a festival day will you really see the true splendour of the Dong peoples traditional attire.
Eating is also a big deal. Festival foods, many prepared in the lead up, are out on big long banquet table. Villages gather around the fire pit in the drum tower for the welcoming. The shaman praises the hospitality of the hosts, prays for harmony of the tribe. Women from the host village sing thanks to the guests for bringing gifts, before the feasting ( and rice wine sampling ) commences. Its then an afternoon of singing and dancing accompanied by the fascinating bamboo lusheng orchestra.
There will be amazing opportunities for photography all afternoon. As the afternoon progresses we can hike through the rice fields and duck farms, to surrounding villages-
We overnight in Zengcong in a comfortable country Inn, that lets you be quite independent and take breaks from the festival as needed.
THUR AUG 4
From Zencong we travel to a Black Miao village near Guping. from where we begin our trek into to Gaodiao – a remote and still self sufficient Miao village where the men still where their hair long, braided and then coiled into a top knot.
We trek the small pathways that have linked the villages together for centuries. In Gaodiao you will homestay with a local Miao Family – a unique opportunity to really get up close and observe the home life of the Miao.
FRI AUG 5
From Gaodiao, we continue trekking from one Black Miao village to the other, until we reach Yingtan, a beautiful Dong village with three drum towers, where we stop for lunch.
After lunch we catch a bus to Zhaoxing, a renowned indigo producing village, that has comfortable hotels, restaurants and a shops and some of the best antique textiles collections in the country.
SAT AUG 6
Explore Zhaoxing, hike up to Tang’an village for spectacular rice terrace views. Depart anytime with easy transfers on to Congjiang high speed rail — or to Liping airport ( potentially useful if coming from Shanghai!)