Shidong town is the famous dragon boat hometown of ethnic Miao in Guizhou; it’s also the place where Sisters Festival came from. Besides, it’s famous for silver accessories and embroidery of ethnic Miao. It’s located at 40km north of Taijiang county city, and about 35km from Zhenyuan old town. Because of surrounded by mountains, the road to Shidong is all hilly road.
Last year, I purposely came here for the Dragon Boat Festival, but the tar road had not paved yet, it was all muddy road. Minus the hour spent on traffic jam, the short distance of 40km from Taijiang to Shidong took me 1.5 hour to reach. This year, I returned to Shidong for the Sisters Festival and I saw the tar road has paved. This has shorten the travel hour and become more convenient.
Shidong itself doesn’t have any scenic tourist spot. It’s not as popular as Xijiang that has thousands of wooden houses on a hill and Langde that is famous for traditional ethnic Miao architecture. However, when there is a festival, the quiet town Shidong will turn to be a lively and attractive place. The rest of the Miao villages will not be able to compare with it during the festival time. Therefore, you must choose the right timing to visit Shidong.
The biggest festivals in Shidong are Dragon Boat Festival and Sisters Festival. The Dragon Boat Festival is for the men to compete and the Sisters Festival is for women to dress up. As most of the Miao do not wear traditional clothes during normal days, it is recommended to visit Shidong during both of these festivals to watch the traditional costumes, silver accessories, dances, and other activities of ethnic Miao.
You can go to Shidong from Kaili, Taijiang, or Zhenyuan. After a stretch of up-and-down hilly road from Taijiang to the direction of Shidong, you will then pass by Changtan village. Scenery surrounding this village is beautiful due to the rice terraces and elevated highway. While I was on a public bus passed by this village for the first time, I was impressed by the scenic view here. It’s worthwhile to make a stop here if you are driving or renting a car.
After that, you will pass by a number of Miao villages before you reach to Shidong. One of the villages called Laotun is the main place to host for Dragon Boat Festival and Sisters Festival. After Laotun, is Pianzhai village. You can walk into this village to see the traditional houses and rice terraces along the river. According to the local people here, the square for drumming and dancing activities has been constructed for 3 years but it’s still not completed yet. Someone has pocketed the money and forced the construction to stop. Therefore, they have to go the riverside for drumming and dancing during Sisters Festival.
After pass by Pianzhai, you will then reach to Tanglong village that is inside the township of Shidong. It just about 15 minutes walking distance from Pianzhai to Tanglong. Just go further to the main street with shops on both sides of the street. Behind the shops on the left is rice field, and behind the shops on the right is Qingshui River. The wet market is at the riverside, which is behind the shops on the right.
- 有班车从凯里和台江直接到施洞。凯里到施洞的班车比较少，通常都在早上出发。如错过班车，可先到台江，然后转车去施洞。到台江的车几乎是一小时一班。最后一班从施洞回台江的车是下午3点半。 在凯里要注意的是，买了票就上车，别等票上时间到了才上车，因为班车坐满人就开了。我去年在凯里买2点50分开往台江的车票（票价18.50元），幸好2点半就上车了，才坐下不到一分钟，车就开走了，一小时十分钟后到达台江。在台江不用先买车票到施洞，上车后才买（票价18元），车坐满人就开的。我那时也是上车后没多久，车上坐满了人，4点钟车就开始出发到施洞。
There are public buses from Kaili and Taijiang going directly to Shidong. But there are not many buses going to Shidong from Kaili or vice versa. The buses usually depart in the morning from Kaili to Taijiang. If you have missed the bus at Kaili, can take bus to Taijiang first, then change another bus from Taijiang to Shidong. The bus to Taijiang is about one hour once. The last bus from Shidong to Taijing is 3.30pm. After purchase the bus ticket at Kaili, get on the bus immediately, don’t wait until the departure time printed on bus ticket. This is because the bus will leave after full seated with passengers no matter what time it is. Last year at Kaili, I bought a bus ticket to Taijiang (ticket price CNY 18.50) that printed with departure time 2.50pm. Luckily I got on the bus at 2.30pm. Just a minute after I sat down, the bus had left the terminal and then reached Taijiang after 1 hour 10 min. At Taijiang, no need to purchase bus ticket over the counter, only purchase after get on the bus to Shidong (ticket price CNY 18). The bus will leave to Shidong after it is fully seated.
The bus from Kaili or Taijiang that is heading to Zhenyuan will pass by Shidong. Can visit Shidong first then to Zhenyuan. Or, visit to Zhenyuan first then only come to Shidong. If you come to Shidong from Zhenyuan, you can view how the Shidong town surrounding by mountains.
If you think public bus is not flexible, then can self-drive a car. With GPS nowadays, you can go anywhere with lower risk of getting lost. However, China does not accept International Driving License. There is no way for a foreigner to drive in China unless he/she holds a driving license issued by China.
- 另一个方法就是包车。我今年第二次到施洞的时候，碰巧遇上五一，向杉乡旅行社包车的，一天500元，油费和过路费另付，师傅的吃住也要照料。杉乡旅行社的杨师傅是贵州黎平人，对黔东南的路线也算熟悉，为人随和，也非常尽责，值得推荐。到贵州玩，可以联络杉乡旅行社（电话：0855 8250371，QQ: 1594127901，网址：http://lxs.cncn.com/65233）或杨师傅本人（手机：15286346045）。
Another option is to rent car with driver. My second visit to Shidong this year was during the Labour Day long public holidays in China. I got car rental services from Shanxiang Travel, CNY 500 per day, petrol cost and toll were paid separately, and had to take care of meal and accommodation of the driver. Yang, the driver from Shanxiang Travel, came from Liping in Guizhou. He is familiar with the road and route in southeast part of Guizhou. He is also very friendly and responsible. I will recommend him if anyone likes to visit Guizhou and doesn’t require English speaking guide.
Can stay at the local homestay, but limited facilities, no air-cond and hot water, and of course no WiFi. However, it’s still acceptable. Last year when I was first came here, I stayed in a homestay at Tanglong village, CNY 60 per bed per night. Pianzhai also has homestay, but Laotun doesn’t have any.
Shoplot along the main street has several hostels. Further down the street and turn left, there are also a number of hotels that have better facilities. I stayed at Mingrong Hotel just two months ago during my second visit to Shidong. The hotel food is quite nice and price is reasonable. Due to the festive season, the room rate was CNY 180 per night no matter it’s a room with two or three beds. The room has WiFi, air-cond, and toilet. Just happened they just changed all beds to the new one, the room was filled with pine smell.
Also can stay in Taijiang county city, it has more options. But during festival, it’s better to stay in Shidong.