Guizhou, China

Position of Guizhou in China
ProvinceGuì zhōu 'precious region'
Short name Qián
Population38.562 million (2.73%) [17th] comparison table
Area174,000 km2 [67,181 mile2] (1.81%) [16th]
GDP46,228 (7.13%) [30th]
NeighborsGuangxi Yunnan Sichuan Chongqing Hunan
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Beijing Tianjin Shanghai Hong Kong Xinjiang Tibet Qinghai Gansu Inner Mongolia Heilongjiang Jilin Liaoning Yunnan Sichuan Guangxi Hainan Taiwan Guangdong Guizhou Chongqing Ningxia Shandong Fujian Zhejiang Shaanxi Shanxi Hebei Henan Hunan Hubei Jiangxi Anhui Jiangsu
Guizhou, mountains, view
Morning mists lift from Guizhou landscape

Guizhou is a mountainous southern province somewhat off the beaten track. It has high mountains to the west that step down gradually towards the east of the province. It stands on the watershed between rivers flowing north to the Yangzi and south to the Yu (Pearl) river. As in neighboring Guangxi there is a great deal of karst (limestone) scenery. Many different ethnic people (including Miao; Buyei; Dong; Yi; Shui and Gelao) live in isolated rural communities scattered among the mountains; in these communities local languages are more commonly spoken than Mandarin Chinese. The wide range of traditions give a good many opportunities to hold rural festivals including Sanyuesan Festival ; Sisters' Rice Festival and Shui New Year [held in September] .

Guizhou, terraces, fields, view
Landscape of terraced fields in Guizhou


Guiyang, at the center of Guizhou province is the largest city. Beset by moist air, sunshine here is at a premium leading to the city's name which transliterates as 'precious sun'. Qianling Shan Park to the north of the city center has many shrines set in woodland. Guiyang still has some restaurants that serve dog meat as a specialty. Jiaxia Lou is a Ming dynasty pavilion converted into a tea-house. There is also a provincial museum with many local finds.

Guizhou, waterfall
The famous Huangguoshu Falls in Guizhou

Places to visit in Guizhou

The scenic splendor of Guizhou makes the province a little known gem for visitors. The best known spot is the Huangguoshu Waterfalls to the south-west of Guiyang. It is the largest waterfall in China, there are nine 'falls' of level; eight cataracts and one large waterfall. It is possible to view the waterfall as a curtain from behind. The falls are on the Baihe ‘White River’ which flows south by many twists and turns before joining the Pearl River which eventually empties into the South China Sea. The 66 feet [20 meters] wide river falls 197 feet [60 meters] with great force into Rhinoceros Pool. It is best to time your visit to avoid the dry season that runs from November to April. There is a cavern nearby bristling with stalactites.

Guizhou, Dragon boat festival, people
An orange themed boat taking part in a Dragon Boat festival event, Guizhou Copyright © Dreamstime see image license

Other sites to visit in Guizhou include the Wuyang River ; Anshun with its batik textile industry, Yuantong Temple and Longgong Caves . Weining in the far west of Guizhou is famous for its minority festivals and bird watching on Cao Hai . Chishui in the north has nature reserves along the river. While Zhaoxing to the south east has villages of the Dong minority people with their distinctive wooden houses. Kaili is the center for the Miao (Hmong) minority people famous for the fine embroidery worn by the women. There are well established routes for hiking around the Kaili region.

Guizhou, village, minority people
An old village inhabited by Dong minority people in Guizhou

Guizhou history

Over the centuries Han people have settled in the north and east of Guizhou, forcing the indigenous people to move to the mountains. In January 1934 the Long Marchers made there way through Guizhou. At the Zunyi Conference, northern Guizhou Mao Zedong became the leader of the Communists.

maotai, liquor, alcohol, guizhou
Moutai bottle. Image by Javierpetrucci available under a Creative Commons License

Development of Guizhou started during the Japanese occupation when neighboring Chongqing became the capital of Free China. Even so, as late as the 1980s 50% of the villages still had no road to them. Recently some industry has developed including coal mining and hydro-electric power generation but development compared to its neighboring provinces has been slow. It has served as an example of the limits of centralized economic planning.


Guizhou has hot, humid summers and short cool winters. Where the mountainous terrain makes possible, tobacco; tea; rapeseed are grown. The Chinese Gooseberry (Kiwi fruit) is a native plant along with many unusual plants that are used in traditional medicine. Maotai Liquor is distilled from a wheat and sorghum base; it is famous throughout China and beyond. It is distilled at Maotai, a town in northern Guizhou. Qian cuisine is the main style in Guizhou and balances hot; spicy and sour flavors.

Guizhou, village, bridge
Zhenyuan village in Guizhou is home to many Miao minority people


Guiyang Longdongbao International Airport 贵阳龙洞堡国际机场 KWE IATA / ZUGY ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 6.8 miles (11.0 kms) from Guiyang. Live Flight information , rank in China 24
See map of location Guiyang Longdongbao International Airport
Zunyi Xinzhou Airport 遵义新舟机场 ZYI IATA / ZUZY ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 24.9 miles (40.0 kms) from Zunyi. Live Flight information , rank in China 73
See map of location Zunyi Xinzhou Airport
Map of Guizhou,Guizhou province map Sichuan Chongqing Hunan Yunnan Guangxi Hubei Show Key
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Guizhou Climate

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Major CitiesPopulation
Anshun 351,936
Guiyang 1,171,633
Zunyi 466,292

City populations for 2012, Province statistics National Bureau of Statistics 2014

See also