Expert-Led Group Tour

China group tour - Ancient Culture and Textiles of Guizhou

Accompanied by Chinese textile specialist Gina Corrigan

16 days

from £3,795pp
  • Visit Miao villages to learn about ancient textile techniques and soak in the local life
  • Attend the Miao Lusheng Festival, a colourful time of dancing, singing and traditional activities
  • Visit a remote hillside Dong Minority village surrounded by tumbling rice terraces

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.



Departing on:
  • 12th October 2019

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

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
12th Oct 2019 27th Oct 2019 £ 3,795 £ 900 £ 475 Gina Corrigan Available

Itinerary at a glance

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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.

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 18:00 for an evening meal.


You will be staying at Beijing International Hotel, dinner only

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.


You will be staying at Karst Hotel, full board

Day 3

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- 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.

Drive from Guiyang to Huangguoshu (Road Journey)


Depart early this morning with a box breakfast for your drive to Golfito approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival to Golfito you will be transferred to the dock for the short boat ride to Playa Cativo in time for lunch.


You will be staying at Tunpu Hotel, full board

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 wax resist, 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, old costumes that show their skills will be available to be seen. 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.


You will be staying at Tunpu Hotel, full board

Day 5

Drive from Huangguoshu to Liuzhi (Road Journey)


Depart early this morning with a box breakfast for your drive to Golfito approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival to Golfito you will be transferred to the dock for the short boat ride to Playa Cativo in time for lunch.


Miao Villages
Travel into the mountains through the 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 in their fields, 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.


You will be staying at Zangkejiang Hotel, full board

Day 6

Drive from Liuzhi to Zhijin (Road Journey)


Depart early this morning with a box breakfast for your drive to Golfito approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival to Golfito you will be transferred to the dock for the short boat ride to Playa Cativo in time for lunch.


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 smaller and the designs are intricate. 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. Afterwards, there will be a performance from the Miao, in their costumes which will show off their wide range of skills, in particular their embroidery.


You will be staying at Hongzhou Hotel, full board

Day 7

Drive from Zhijin to Puding (Road Journey)


Depart early this morning with a box breakfast for your drive to Golfito approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival to Golfito you will be transferred to the dock for the short boat ride to Playa Cativo in time for lunch.


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.


You will be staying at Puding Hotel, full board

Day 8

The Journey to Guiyang
During the journey from Puding to Guiyang, Gina and Wang Jun will talk about everyday life in Guizhou and the textiles of the region. They will be happy to answer any questions throughout the journey. Once in Guiyang, there will be time to visit a textile museum or spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Drive from Puding to Guiyang (Road Journey)


Depart early this morning with a box breakfast for your drive to Golfito approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival to Golfito you will be transferred to the dock for the short boat ride to Playa Cativo in time for lunch.


You will be staying at Karst Hotel, full board

Day 9

Drive from Guiyang to Kaili (Road Journey)


Depart early this morning with a box breakfast for your drive to Golfito approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival to Golfito you will be transferred to the dock for the short boat ride to Playa Cativo in time for lunch.


Full Day Miao Village
Today, visit a Miao village, still constructed with wood and tiled roofs. There is an interesting ethnic shop just out of Kaili, a stop will be made to explore the shop. The owner has a wonderful selection of costumes for sale. Lunch will be a simple Miao hot pot. In the evening Gina will make contact with some of the Miao textile dealers she knows, and for those who wish to join, may receive an invite to their homes to see examples and select some to buy.


You will be staying at Zongheng Hotel, full board

Day 10

The Gulong Lusheng Festival
Today there will be a visit to the Lusheng Festival in Gulong. Hundreds of lusheng (a bamboo-pipe instrument) will be played. The Miao girls will be wearing silver-decorated clothes and head ornaments, and will all dance together forming one circle after another. The festival is both an exhibition of prosperity and a competition of skill and wisdom. There are many other activites to be enjoyed such as the tug of war, chess-playing and a basketball match, there is plenty to see throughout the day.


You will be staying at Zongheng Hotel, full board

Day 11

Drive from Kaili to Congjiang (Road Journey)


Depart early this morning with a box breakfast for your drive to Golfito approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival to Golfito you will be transferred to the dock for the short boat ride to Playa Cativo in time for lunch.


Biasha Miao Village
Today there will be the opportunity to visit Biasha, a Miao village. The village is a well-known village set high in the mountains, with outstanding views of the terraced slopes. The village has over 1,000 residents living in more than 400 households. Their ancestors guarded their land from bears, and to this day, men in Biasha preserve their musketeer heritage, which makes them the only tribe who can legally carry guns in China. The village is self-sufficient and the living customs and traditional dress have been maintained over hundreds of years. During the visit to the village, the villagers will put on a traditional performance which has been adapted slightly for visitors. The men will wear baggy indigo trousers and tight fitting jackets, while the women will wear fitted jackets that are discreetly embroidered, worn over a finely pleated indigo skirt.


You will be staying at Aoyue Hotel, full board

Day 12

Jiabang Rice Terraces
Visit the Jiabang rice terrace, located in the Jiabang village, 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.


You will be staying at Aoyue Hotel, full board

Day 13

Drive from Congjiang to Rongjiang (Road Journey)


Depart early this morning with a box breakfast for your drive to Golfito approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival to Golfito you will be transferred to the dock for the short boat ride to Playa Cativo in time for lunch.


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


You will be staying at Tongxiangmi Hotel, full board

Day 14

Drive from Rongjiang to Guiyang (Road Journey)


Depart early this morning with a box breakfast for your drive to Golfito approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival to Golfito you will be transferred to the dock for the short boat ride to Playa Cativo in time for lunch.


Arrive back in the city for a late lunch.


The Costume Museum and a Farewell Dinner
On arriving back in the city there will be the opportunity to visit the costume museum and discuss what has been seen on the trip. In the evening there will be a farewell dinner with Gina.


You will be staying at Karst Hotel, full board

Day 15

Fly Guiyang to Beijing


Dinner is not included but there are plenty of local restaurants in the area.


You will be staying at Beijing International Hotel, half board

Day 16

Day at leisure in Beijing

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

Tour expert

Gina Corrigan

Gina Corrigan
Gina first visited China in 1972 and has been working in the region since then, organising and leading tours. She has travelled widely throughout China, and now specialises in Southwest China and the Tibetan Cultural Region.



In 1987, Gina organised her first textile tour to Guizhou Province. She pioneered new routes and completed the Odyssey Guizhou Guide. She became fascinated by the Minority textiles, and collected and documented them. These costumes were acquired by the British Museum and by the National Museums Liverpool. She lectured widely on the subject and published.



She has visited the Tibetan region annually since 1985. In 2009, she began researching Tibetan Textiles and Jewellery of the Farmers and Nomads of Ado and Kham and her latest book, Tibetan Dress: In Amdo & Kham was published in December 2017. She has an extensive knowledge of the subject.

Other tours by this lecturer:

Enquire about this Expert Led tour:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 15

Tour Expert:

Gina Corrigan

Departure Date (S):

  • 12th October 2019

  • 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.


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