China - South East
redspokes 'Hidden China' adventure cycling holiday starts in Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province beginning a journey of discovery through rural South East China. Diverse ethnic minorities live in Guiyang, enriching the city with their colourful folk traditions and cultural activities. We transfer out of Guiyang into quiet minority areas where the cycling commences. Following secluded back roads, we ride up into mountain villages to discover a world far from the modern face of China.
As many as 30 different ethnic minorities live peacefully alongside one another in the areas we visit in Guizhou and northeast Guangxi, with a huge variety of cultures. Generally, Dong villages are located along river valleys whilst Miao villages are scattered amongst the hills. Minority communities have maintained their cultural traditions over centuries, living simple remote lives, away from modernity and full of unique character.
The Dong are known for their architecture, particularly the octagonal pagoda-type drum towers (Gulou), and wind and rain bridges that provide shelter for people during bad weather. Built without a single nail, they are the symbol of the Dong people and serve as a gathering place for the villagers to discuss and settle important matters and to stage festivals or entertainments. The Miao were among the first people to settle in present day China, and among the first rice farmers in China. Miao wear brightly coloured embroidered clothing and observe strong cultural traditions including a love of storytelling and music.
We discover their world as we cycle South East China reaching the Longji rice terraces (Longji Titian), known as the Dragon’s Backbone by the locals. Entire mountain sides have been transformed into rice fields creating a dramatic landscape like great chains, or ribbons extending from the foot to the top of the hills. Etched into the mountain they rise in stepped formation towards the skyline to reach mountain top village Ping An.
Having cycled the remotest of settlements up in the hills and experienced inspirational, breath-taking mountain scenery on redspokes South East China holiday we bicycle away from the rice terraces towards Guilin. The mountains and waters around Guilin have been described as the best under heaven riddled with limestone Karst formations, caves and lush greenery. Calm rivers and streams meander through the cliffs and rocks irrigating farms and villages where we will see orchards, vegetable plots, reservoirs and farmyards alive with the sound of clucking chickens.
From here you can choose to extend your holiday, cycling alongside the tranquil waters of the Li River and into the hilly landscape of Karst limestone peaks, to reach Yangshou, famous for the landscape depicted on the ¥20 note. There are also interesting caves and temples to visit.
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Key details of our Cycling holiday in China:
- Dramatic stepped mountain rice terraces.
- Dong and Miao villages.
- Drum towers, wind and rain bridges.
- Karst limestone peaks.
- Famous Scenic Li River views.
- Guilin: Reed Flute Cave.
This map is for illustration purposes only and may not show the exact route taken on this China tour.