Worth the trip (or atleast the view)
Kaili Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
After 4 hours on a train from Zunyi (where I live) to Guiyang, the prov. capital of Guizhouâ€¦ My girlfriend and I hoped another train to Kaili (another 3 hours). Burnt out and tired we ended up grabbing a hotel near the train station in Kaili. The hotel was clean and reasonably priced but as we discovered after dropping out stuff offâ€¦ a bit far from down town.
It turns out that the train station in Kaili is on the outskirts of town which makes it hard to hop back to the hotel during a hot afternoon. Kaili itself didnâ€™t have a lot to offer. I have been living in China for two years now and the occasional pagoda or temple really doesnâ€™t do it for me; besides most of them are newâ€¦ recreated after the Cultural Revolution demolished them.
After a good nights sleep and a decent meal on a local side street (though I onl suggest this if you are used to eating things without knowing or wanting to know what you are eating), we woke up early and headed out of town. Where as Kaili didnâ€™t do much for me, The Miao villages in the out lying area did everything. You end up taking a small bus out of Kaili with about 20 other people your best bet (if you donâ€™t speak Chinese) is to find someone who is going to the same placeâ€¦ stick with them and you should be good. We ended up meeting a family that had relatives visiting from Hong Kong. We staid with them for most of our excursion as it was good company and good conversation.
We got of the bus near a large bridge and ended up walking up the minority village. There were plenty of places to buy things (though pricey) and the view was spectacular.
The village itself is set up in the mountains and while there is electricity and satellite TV it is still built as an old town and holds a good atmosphere. In the afternoon the local Miao people put on a dace for us. A curator (of sorts) went around and collected money (10rmb - 1.25USD a person). They danced and plaid music for about 45 minutes. It was beautiful.
We jumped a bus and headed back to Kaili in the evening, with lots of good pictures and plenty of fond memories.
As I have said before, the best places are the ones where people donâ€™t go. While I loved Lei Shan I donâ€™t really care much for the â€śtouristâ€ť feel of it. I think itâ€™s a great place to visit if you are looking to experience a bit of minority culture but if you are up for it I would still prefer to hike a few days and go to a place that doesnâ€™t have a main gate or tickets.
Basics for this trip:
First tip: When visiting Kailiâ€¦ donâ€™t stay near the train station. Go ahead and get into the city be fore finding a place for the night.
Second tip: Be prepared to eat anything. While you can still find Dicos (local KFC) in town, you may as well try some of the local food. Itâ€™s spicy but good.
Third tip: Donâ€™t put too much stock in the idea of seeing a pure minority village nestled in the mountains. People know what it takes to make money these daysâ€¦ even the Chinese minorities. If you donâ€™t want to pay for an entrance ticketâ€¦ go some where with out a main gate.