Kaili Travel Guide

Located 195 kilometers from Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou Province, Kaili is home to 38 minority groups, with Miao, Dong, and Yao People being the largest trends.  The Miao are by far the largest group (43%).

As the hub of China's Miao ethnic culture, Kaili is the gateway to the surrounding area's many Miao villages that are scattered about the nearby mountains.

It is named by the United Nations as "a famous resort to return to nature" and is known as "the last ballad of humankind and the homeland for the exhausted souls".  Despite the tough condition of the transportation, Southeast Guizhou is definitely an ideal area to experience the spectacularly distinctive folk customs in every aspect of life and picturesque limestone hills.

Kaili Music

Kaili is a city of music, as its well-deserved nicknames bear witness; Kaili is alternately referred to as "The Homeland of Music", "An Ocean of Song and Dance", and "The City of Festivals", all of which reflects the city's role as the center of Miao culture. Moreover, the Miao are blessed by nature with good singing voices. The song is an integral, communal part of Miao society; it is a way of life that goes far beyond mere entertainment performed by a select few.

The Miao's melodious, unsophisticated music, which they play on special instruments that they themselves fashion – their primary musical instrument being a reed instrument made of bamboo, called the lusheng – is traditionally accompanied by dance.

Miao People's Festivals

The Miao celebrate a seemingly endless number of festivals during the course of a year – itself a tribute to this optimistic, positive-oriented folk – where song and dance are the major components. These festivals all take place on important dates in the age-old Miao culture calendar, and thus they are reckoned according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

If your itinerary takes you through Kaili, and if you are fond of colorful local pageantry, then you should definitely check to see whether there are any festivals scheduled during your stay in Kaili (alternatively, you might wish to deliberately plan your visit to coincide with a Miao festival.

Travel Tips

  • Traveling in winter, it can be quite cold, so travelers are advised to take good warm clothing, including a hat and gloves.
  • Some of the footpaths into several of the villages can be quite muddy and slippery, so good footwear is essential. The second pair of sport pants is a good idea, as there is a lot of mud, and the occasional slip is almost inevitable.
  • As the tour includes a fair amount of walking up and down steep mountain paths, a reasonable level of fitness is advisable
  • Hotels in remote areas are of a significantly lower standard. Heating is sometimes not available and western-style toilets usually unavailable.

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