Expert-Led Group Tour

China group tour - Ancient Culture and Textiles of Guizhou

Departing 12th - 27th October 2019

16 days

from £3,295pp
  • Visit Miao villages to learn about ancient textile techniques and soak in the local life
  • See remote hillside Dong Minority villages surrounded by tumbling rice terraces
  • Visit museums to see the finest regional costumes

This trip is all about the ethnic people, textiles, architecture and landscapes of Guizhou Province. During the trip gain a fascinating insight into the culture and traditions of Guizhou, travelling to a part of the country far removed from the trappings of modern China.

Guizhou was cut off from the rest of China for centuries with its mountainous terrain stopping travellers and traders easily visiting its heartland. Access was usually on foot via the narrow pathways over the mountains or travelling by boat along the tributaries of the Yangtze to the lower southeast region. Historically, it was little known until the Long March passed through in 1935 and crucial Communist Party decisions were made at Zunyi. Its capital, Guiyang expanded after 1949 as Mao strategically located vital industries in Guiyang and Anshun. While the region is now more accessible, and changes are afoot, there is still a feeling that time has somehow forgotten Guizhou. The people here still uphold a traditional way of life and ancient traditions are plain to see for any traveller lucky enough to travel through the province. 

This tour is led by Gina Corrigan, an expert on textiles and embroidery. Much of the emphasis on this trip will be on textiles, learning about traditional weaving techniques and discovering the meaning of the varied and historic costumes still worn by the local people in Guizhou. During the tour, you will be given demonstrations of ancient textile techniques with Gina on hand to give narrative during home visits and visits to textile museums. There will also be opportunities to purchase textile from reputable traders known to Gina.

Why should I travel to the Guizhou region in China?

This landlocked region of China offers stunning mountains landscapes, glistening lakes, a lovely climate, delicious food, and fascinating people… this may all sound like a description of Switzerland, It is not, it is, in fact, the Guizhou Province.

Why should I join this group tour?

To travel with Gina Corrigan, a specialist in textiles and Chinese culture, who has been visiting this area for over 40 years. Also accompanied by a local guide who will offer an incredible insight into the local culture and customs enabling the group to integrate with local people and be welcomed into their homes.

What is the accommodation in China like?

This is not a luxury tour and will be visiting remote regions of China, many of which are rarely visited, therefore, the accommodation will be based in simple local hotels. Rooms will have private bathrooms but will be different to western style standards.

Is this group tour suitable for solo travellers?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour Lecturer.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.

Do I need to be fit to join this China group tour?

You don’t need to be physically fit as there will be no long trekking, however, the areas visited will be at an altitude of up to about 4,000 metres.

What are the roads like in China?

Generally, good tarmac roads throughout but as the region is remote there may be times where roads are slightly bumpy.

Do I need to be a textile expert?

No, while the emphasis will be on textiles it is also a trip exploring the local cultural beliefs and traditions in the Guizhou region.

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accommodation (as indicated)
  • Accompanied by a local English speaking guide throughout
  • Accompanied by Gina Corrigan in China
  • Entrance Fees
  • Gratuities for the local guide, driver and porters
  • Internal flights
  • Meals (as indicated)
  • Transportation (as indicated)

what is excluded

  • International flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa


Itinerary at a glance

Collapse all
Day 1

Arrive in Beijing
The afternoon is free to catch up on sleep and prepare for the following day, which will be busy and rewarding. Alternatively, you may prefer to take the opportunity to visit one of the main shopping streets near the hotel or the Museum of Women. The top floor of the museum has an exhibition of costumes from all corners of China. Also, Wangfujiang Street and Tiananmen Square are in walking distance of your hotel.

Beijing is China's capital, and a city of epic proportions. It is a cauldron of history, culture and enterprise. Offering a feast of elaborate and ambitious architecture, world famous landmarks, and culinary delights.

Meet Gina Corrigan at your hotel this evening, to take your evening meal together.

You will be staying at Capital Hotel Beijing, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Fly Beijing to Guiyang

A Tour of Guiyang
On arrival in Guiyang, meet the national guide who will travel with the group throughout the tour in Guizhou. Once in Guiyang, there will be time to visit the People's Square and see the famous statue of Chairmen Mao. Also spend some time visiting the bird and flower market, where potted plants, birds and exotic fish amongst other things can be bought.

Guiyang is the capital of Guizhou and is renowned for its many ethnic groups. One of China's 'Spring Cities' it has a pleasant climate all year.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Karst Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Travel overland from Guiyang to Huangguoshu

The journey to Huangguoshu, is around 150 kilometres which should take approximately two and a half hours.

Lao Han Historical Villages
The Chinese army came to Guizhou at the time of the Ming Dynasty to keep peace on what was then the borders. The wives came too and eventually the army personnel settled in the area. They retained their old dress traditions and the women girded their tunic with a black belt which was made using a tablet weaving technique. Gina spent many years looking for where these belts were made and as a result you will be lucky enough to see this little visited village. The government has selected key Lao Han historical villages which have been restored to become living museums. The day will be spent visiting and discovering these villages.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Huangguoshu Waterfalls Yingbin Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 4

Visit the Bouyei and Huangguoshu Waterfall
A visit will be made to one of the stone villages that the Bouyei inhabit, which have been carefully preserved. The Bouyei are very skilled at the wax resist technique in textiles, using a range of hand-made tools to create a wide variety of patterns and designs. There will be a demonstration of the techniques that are used. The Bouyei are also excellent weavers and old costumes that show their skills will be available to examine. Continue on to visit the Huangguoshu Waterfall National Park, located on the Baishui River. It is one of the largest waterfalls in China, at 78 metres high and 101 metres wide.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Huangguoshu Waterfalls Yingbin Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 5

Travel overland from Huangguoshu to Liuzhi

The journey from Huangguoshu to Liuzhi is around 100 kilometres which should take approximately two hours.

Miao Villages
Travel into the mountains through beautiful scenery to a small village where the Miao live. Locally known as the Long Horned Miao due to their hair style, the Miao use hemp for their clothes, grown, harvested, spliced and woven by the women. The men wear culottes made of hemp and the women embroider their jackets and skirts with a wide range of cross stitches. While visiting the village, there will be a performance by the Miao in their traditional festival costumes.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Zangkejiang Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 6

Drive from Liuzhi to Zhijin (Road Journey)

The journey from Liuzhi to Zhijin is around 130 kilometres which should take approximately two and a half hours.

The Miao of Zhijin
The Miao of Zhijin are particularly well-known for their wax resist, considered by many to be the highest quality in Guizhou. They use the same tools as the Bouyei and Gejia, but create smaller items with more intricate designs. When the wax is applied, it is much cooler, and the wax does not penetrate to the back of the cotton cloth. The fine manufactured cotton fabric has aided the finesse of the designs. Today there will be a performance from the Miao, in their costumes which will show off their wide range of skills, in particular their embroidery.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Hongzhou Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 7

Drive from Zhijin to Puding (Road Journey)

The journey from Zhijin to Puding is around 90 kilometres which should take approximately one and a half hours.

The Big Flowery Miao
Over the years, Miao groups have migrated from other areas. In Puding, there are two groups of Miao- the Big Flowery Miao and the Small Flowery Miao, which were once all members of one group. Many of the Big Flower Miao have become Christian, although there are as few as 1,000 Miao Christians scattered across China. During this visit there will be a chance to watch a performance where the Miao will sing hymns, that have been passed down from generation to generation from nearly 100 years ago. There will also be a chance to view their traditional costume.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Puding Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 8

The Journey to Guiyang
During todays journey to Guiyang, Gina and your guide will talk about everyday life in Guizhou and the textiles of the region. They will be happy to answer any questions throughout the journey which should take around three hours. Once in Guiyang, there will be time to visit a private costume museum or spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Karst Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 9

Drive from Guiyang to Kaili (Road Journey)

The journey from Guiyang to Kaili is around 200 kilometres which should take approximately three hours.

Full Day Miao Village
The Miao have many embroidery techniques and many of the stitches can be equated to European stitches. This village has a unique method of embroidery embellishment. Silk felt is made by the women who put the silk worms on a tray. The silk threads, instead of forming cocoons, meshes and makes a delicate fabric. It is so precious it is cut into small pieces, often dyed and then folded and stitched onto the embroidery pieces which are used on jackets and aprons.

Time is set aside to walk around the village which has a variety of old and new styled houses with superb tiled rooves. At this time the rice grown on the small terraces is ready for harvest and is usually cut with a sickle.

In the evening Gina will try and make contact with some of the Miao textile dealers she knows. She hopes to receive an invite to their homes for the group to see examples and select some to buy.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Zongheng Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 10

Folded embroidery Miao Village
In the morning, visit another Miao village that has a reputation for folding minute starched rectangles of coloured silk into triangles and stitching them into a naturalistic design on embroidery pieces. These are applied to the sleeves and collars of the womens' jackets. Other textile skills used in this village include complex weaving and braiding. You will be free to wander around this pretty village and enjoy the local life.

Visit a local tribe for batik-making
The afternoon will focus on batik, known in this area as wax resist. The technique and tools are quite different to those in Indonesia and the women use a triangular metal tool with a wooden handle to dip into the wax. The exact origin of this tool is unknown, but it is thought to go back to the end of the nineteenth century. Today it is usually made by husbands or bought at Kaili market. Transference of designs is quite unusual here. The villagers will dress in their festival costume which is dominated by geometric wax resist designs. There will be a chance to buy textile pieces.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Zongheng Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 11

Drive from Kaili to Congjiang (Road Journey)

The journey from Kaili to Congjiang is around 220 kilometres which should take around three and a half hours.

Yintan Dong Village
Today there will be the opportunity to visit a Dong village. Located 20 kilometres north of Congjiang the village of Yintan is home to approximately 1,700 people and is surrounded by woodland and rolling green hills, with a small stream running through it. Chinese yew trees grow near the village gates and drum towers are scattered amidst the local wooden houses. Ancient customs still thrive here, and the village is known for its textiles and marriage culture.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Gaozeng Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 12

Jiabang Rice Terraces
Visit the Jiabang rice terraces, considered to be the most beautiful in Guizhou. The stepped ancient terraces are surrounded by trees. During the visit, the rice may still lay golden on the fields, or the rice may have been harvested which will leave a geometric pattern.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Gaozeng Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 13

Drive from Congjiang to Rongjiang (Road Journey)

The journey from Congjiang to Rongjiang is around 80 kilometres which should take around one and a half hours.

Visit a Dong Village
On arriving at the village, the costumed villagers will create a barrier blocking your way, sing a welcoming song and offer you wine before you enter. The cuffs of their costume are embroidered in 'black work' and there will be an embroidery demonstration. The women also make a fine decorative braid which is made on a wooden stool. There may also be a chance to see indigo dying practiced in the village.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Shangpin Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 14

Drive from Rongjiang to Guiyang (Road Journey)

The journey from Rongjiang to Guiyang is approximately 350 kilometres which should take around four and a half hours.

Arrive back in the city for a late lunch.

Guiyang Provincial Museum and a Farewell Dinner
On arriving back in the city there will be the opportunity to visit the Guiyang Provincial Museum which includes displays of ethnic costumes. Alternatively have the afternoon at leisure. In the evening there will be a farewell dinner.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Karst Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 15

Fly Guiyang to Beijing

Remainder of the day is at own leisure.

Lunch and dinner are not included today. There are plenty of local restaurants in Beijing.

You will be staying at Capital Hotel Beijing, bed and breakfast

Day 16

Day at leisure in Beijing

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of China

Clare Higginson, Travel Expert

Read More

Paul Craven, Travel Expert

" I spoke to five different companies, but Paul was by far the most knowledgeable and empathetic."

"The service which I received from your Travel Expert Paul Craven was excellent, he was able to answer any queries I put to him."

"Paul must be congratulated on his expertise and great patience in dealing with all my programme changes. He must dread my phone calls!! A big thank-you from both of us to Paul and Carol."

Read More

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Enquire about this Expert Led tour:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 15

  • Moderate Activity - The tour may occasionally involve slightly longer walks, but nothing over 4 hours. The tour will involve visits to a variety of sites throughout the duration of the itinerary and be at a moderate pace.

Holiday Ideas in China

You are unique, so we believe your holiday should be too.

We listen to what you want and create a personalised itinerary tailored around you.

Your holiday. Your experience. Your way.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Call our Travel Experts on +01285 880 980
Start Your Journey


  • Established for over 25 years creating journeys across 100 destinations worldwide
  • Exclusive access to the best private guides


  • We negotiate the best rates with hotels and expert guides
  • Be protected from fluctuations in exchange rates


  • Each time you travel with us we donate £5 to a local charity in the UK and £10 to an international charity

Fully Protected

  • Your monies are financially protected
  • 24/7 Emergency UK contact whilst abroad

Featured in the Press

Financial Times
The Telegraph
Sunday Times logo

Our Partners

African Parks
Galapagos Conservation Trsut
Restless Development
Save The Rhino
Tusk Trust
World Land Trsut
Gorilla Doctors

© Steppes Travel, 51 Castle St, Cirencester, GL7 1QD, United Kingdom