- MEDIA CENTER
The author takes photos of traditional Bouyei ethnic weaving in Wanfenglin Scenic Area. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
In the heart of Guizhou province lies a hidden gem, Xingyi, a city that has etched itself among the surrounding mountains to create a blend of modern living and natural beauty. Here, traditions and customs run deep, and the sheer volume of captivating and exhilarating outdoor activities available should cement the city on anyone's travel list.
Xingyi is a city that breathes outdoor tourism, and my adventure began with a deep dive into the rich tapestry of local customs and traditions. The vibrant culture of the Miao and Bouyei ethnic minorities is interwoven into the very fabric of this place, pun very much intended. I was fortunate to witness the colorful attire being made, a process that requires precise handwork, traditional wooden weaving tools, and dyes extracted from local flora.
I visited the Wanfenglin Scenic Area, where my phone's battery was wiped out by my need to capture photo after photo of the latest most beautiful landscape I've ever seen. The name translates to "Ten Thousand Peaks", and refers to countless the karst mountain formations that reach toward the sky like ten thousand grasping fingers. With deep, green, and expansive valleys between, I was made to wish I had a better camera. After a serene day exploring and pondering the beauty of nature, I was ready for something more upbeat.
The author enjoys kayaking on the waters of Wangfeng Lake. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Heart-pounding adventures awaited, and Xingyi did not disappoint. For those seeking an even more adrenaline-fueled experience, Xingyi boasts white water rafting that one minute soaks you in white water rapids and makes you feel like you're in The Lord of the Rings the next. If you're lucky, your playful guide will pilot the raft under one of the many waterfalls.
In the same day, I checked out Longyin Mountain, where a team of paragliders will safely guide adventurers through the skies like a bird in flight, overlooking the karst landscape. The panoramic views of Xingyi's rolling hills and meandering rivers are breathtaking, and offer a unique perspective of the city's pristine wilderness. At a lengthy 15 minutes of gliding, you have plenty of time to count mountains, scream until you lose your voice, or ponder your place in the universe. I chose to ask my gliding instructor about his hobbies.
As much as I enjoy heart-pounding action, I also like moments of quiet with nature. This I found while kayaking on the pristine waters of Rulong Bay, a man-made lake that is right out of a movie. I paddled out to the center and took in the lush scenery, feasting my eyes. The air was still and I could hear a fish breaking the water's edge in the distance. If I focused hard enough, I swear I could hear Enya singing for me in the distance.
It's no wonder Xingyi is the home of the 2023 International Conference of Mountain Tourism and Outdoor Sports. The city and its locals exude the energy of outdoorsmanship. Many visitors have arrived this weekend to experience what they live through every day. We should all be so lucky.