Surrounded by green mountains, Langde Shang Village is situated beside a crystal stream. Several roofed wooden bridges, called "Wind and rain" bridges by the locals, stretches over the stream. Several stone grain mills and mill wheels have been built on both sides of the stream. Ducks can be seen here and there, flapping the wings happily in the water. On the waist of the slope facing the village is a 150-meter-long racecourse and a flat ground, whose area is about 8 mu (mu is a traditional unit of area, equaling to 0.0667 hectare or 1/6 acre). On March 5th of the lunar calendar every year, thousands of young Miao people from the region where the four counties, Leishan, Kaili, Majiang, and Danzhai, have a common boundary, come to the place. They climb the mountains, sing musical dialogues in antiphonal styles, and race horses.
The Langde Shang Village is located at the foot of a mountain. There are five “flower roads” leading to the village. A wood gatehouse, called the "village gate", is built at the eastern, western and northern entrances of the village. Row upon row of wood houses (those propped up by wooden supports with ladders leading up) makes a picturesque scene. The roads and courtyards in the village are paved with cobbles or bluestones. There are a drum ground and a Lusheng (the reed-pipe wind instrument used by Miao, Yao and Dong nationalities in southwestern China) ground, built in the pattern of ancient bronze drum surface. Twelve short tracks, paved with blue-brown cobbles, stretch to twelve directions, symbolizing the twelve rays of lights. A cobble pattern of galloping horse is inlayed at the end of the drum ground and the Lusheng ground.
Visitors to Langde Shang Village have to drink the "block-the-way" wine (a local custom of welcoming the guests) when they arrive. Twelve tables are placed in the middle of the path from the roadside of the highroad to the gate of the villages. Several full-dressed young people will propose a toast to the guests with two bowls of wine, wishing them happy and healthy. At the last table to the village, people will use a big cow horn to hold the wine and propose toast to the guests. So the guests should drink a lot before they enter the village. However, those who are not good at drinking don't have to worry. If they don't want to drink, they can put their hands at the back, bend forward a little and touch the cup with their lip, and say " dousemo" (Miao language, meaning "thank you"). Then they can pass the table. The villagers are very hospitable, but they will never make the guests drink if they can't.
The welcoming ceremony continues when the villagers set off firecrackers, play Mangtong (a kind of local musical instrument), and sing song of toasting the guests. Then the villagers will dress up and lead the guests to the Lusheng ground. The young villagers will have the traditional dances, Lusheng dance, wooden stool dance, wood drum dance, bronze drum dance, and so on. Finally, all the villagers will go the ground and form several circles and dance. They will also invite the guests to join them. After the dancing ceremony, guests can go to the villagers' home to observe the creaking spinning wheels and the weaving machine and enjoy the quiet village life.
Solo Adventure Tips:
How to Get There?
From Kaili to Langde Shang Miao Village: tourists can take buses for Leishan County from the Kaili Bus Station and get off at the roadside near the Langde Xia Village (in Chinese, xia means lower, while shang means upper). Then walk for 20 minutes. A taxi ride from Kaili to the village costs about 100 yuan.
There are many villagers selling silverware. Some of the things may be fake silver, but the design is exquisite. Generally, it costs 40 Yuan to buy a bracelet.
Accommodation: tourists can stay in the village overnight. It usually costs 5 yuan for a plank bed per night. The Village Rest House is located in a typical Miao-styled wooden building. There are ten beds in one room, and it is clean there. There are no bathrooms, and tourists can go to take a bath in the river. The rest house is opposite to the bronze drum ground. There is an IC telephone installed behind the rest house. It costs about 10 yuan per person to eat at the villagers'home.