Zhaoxing is located at Liping county in Guizhou province, nearby Congjiang county in Guizhou and Sanjiang county in Guangxi. It is the largest Dong tribe village in China. The village is built during the Song Dynasty in 12th century, it’s already close to 900 years old. Visitors still can see the iconic Dong tribe tower and traditional antique wooden houses in the village.
Somehow, its popularity in China is less than Xijiang – the largest Miao tribe village. Zhaoxing was one of the few selected as “Top 6 most beautiful ancient village in China” by “Chinese National Geography”. Heard that Zhaoxing is very famous in western countries, but I’m not sure it’s true or not. However, I saw westerners in Zhaoxing, and this is not common in Guizhou. At least, I didn’t see any westerner when I was in Xijiang.
From my point of view, Zhaoxing – the largest Dong village – is more beautiful and natural than Xijiang – the largest Miao village. Xijiang is too commercialized. Its main street is full of bars and souvenir shops. The feeling is like walking on the West Street in Yangshuo, just that Xijiang is less tourists. Luckily, Zhaoxing is still maintaining its antique look. We still can see the hundred years old tower there. Even the muddy road has paved with cement and pebbles, but the pebbles are put in traditional patterns.
About 8km away from Zhaoxing is Tangan, which is a Dong tribe ecological village. There is a Dong tribe ecological museum that is built by cultural experts from both China and Norway. Also, the rice terrace in Tangan is quite pretty too. The superb sunset view of rice terrace has attracted a lot of photographers to be here. At Tangan, visitors can view the entire landscape of Zhaoxing. However, landscape shooting of Zhaoxing does not necessarily have to go to Tangan. Just about 2km away from Zhaoxing, you can view the village landscape on a hillside before reaching to Tangan. Another spot to view the Zhaoxing landscape is located at a slope nearby the main entrance.
门票/ Entrance fee：100元/ RMB100
Just happen our driver can speak the local Dong language and therefore, we didn’t pay for the entrance fee.
Although you can get the sour fish soup easily elsewhere in Southeast Guizhou, but you should try the sour fish soup in Zhaoxing especially the one next to visitor center, a small restaurant called Mei Wei Zui Dong Jia. Its sour fish soup is the most delicious that I have tried in Southeast Guizhou area. Even Dong Ga Lao, which is the popular restaurant in Kaili city, can’t compare with this small restaurant. The soup is cooked with tomato, vegetable, and fermented ingredients. Then, it only boils with fish. Each restaurant may use different fermented ingredients, and many restaurants are actually using the lower cost of paste and sauce for the soup.
There are several small hotels at the main entrance. The one that I stayed is called Flower Station At That Time Inn (I don’t know why it has such name), not far away from main entrance. The owners are a couple who came from Shenyang. The day my friends and I reached this small hotel was about 10.30pm and the owners advised us should go out for night shooting immediately as the weather might change tomorrow. Then, the lady owner led us to the slope to view the Zhaoxing landscape at night. Luckily we followed their advice, because the next day was heavy rain from afternoon till night time. Due to this reason, we couldn’t go out for dinner and had to wait in hotel for the rain to stop. We were so appreciated that the owners suggested food delivery from restaurant next door and allowed us to eat in hotel that night.
Besides the main entrance, the riverside also has a lot of small hotels. To view the night scenery, I would suggest staying near the main entrance. To view and feel the local living, I would suggest staying at the riverside. No issue on connectivity as the hotels here have WiFi.
- There are direct buses from Liping and Congjiang to Zhaoxing, also can go to Luoxiang to take direct bus to Zhaoxing. Due to the bad road condition, bus/ car riding may not be a good idea.
- Kaili and Rongjiang have buses to Liping and Congjiang, and then take the direct bus to Zhaoxing.
- From Guilin to Zhaoxing is possible too, but have to take bus to Sanjiang (ticket price RMB50, 3 hours) first, then take another bus from Sanjiang to Congjiang (ticket price RMB30, 3 hours). Sanjiang has two different bus terminals. The bus to/ from Guilin will stop at Hedong (East River) Bus Terminal. After get down from the bus, you have to walk to Hexi (West River) Bus Terminal at the other end of the bridge in order to take bus to Congjiang. Then, only take direct bus to Zhaoxing from Congjiang. If you are taking this route, I will recommend to visit to Chenyang in Sanjiang to see the famous Chenyang Bridge and Dong tribe traditional tower. The picturesque Dong village in Chenyang is worth to stay overnight before heading to Congjiang. However, visitors have to pay entrance fee to get into Chenyang Dong village. Of course, there are ways to escape from paying the entrance fee, but I won’t disclose here.
- The high speed train that links between Guiyang and Guangzhou has already started its service since end of December 2014. The high speed train has a stop at Congjiang, and the station is not far away from Zhaoxing. From the high speed train station, it just about 15 minutes bus ride. However, it’s only once or twice daily that the high speed train stops at Congjiang. During holidays, it’s tough to get train ticket to Congjiang. Amid that, I will still recommend to take high speed train as it’s cheaper and faster. From Guilin North station to Congjiang station, the train ticket is only RMB44.50, one hour can reach destination.