Exploring Chinese ethnic minority villages in the southwestern province of Guizhou, one will be fascinated by the locals' exotic dress, daily life and the unique architecture of their wooden houses. Xijiang Miao village is one such place that researchers call a living fossil for the study of Miao people's history and traditional culture.
Xijiang Miao Village is located southeast of Kaili City. There are about 1,000 households in the village, so it is also called Qianhu Miao Village (Qianhu means a thousand households). The villagers build their houses at the foot of a mountain. The houses are mostly wood houses (those propped up by wooden supports with ladders leading up), or built with dark red maple wood blocks, which appear golden in the evening glow. The village enjoys a beautiful natural environment with green mountains and crystal water. It is also the homeland of Miao song and dance, and abundant local festivals.
Dubbed a "living fossil of Miao ethnic culture" by historians and researchers, Xijiang is a cultural relic under provincial level protection.
The village is also a center for grand festivals and celebrations of Miao people in the area. Famous festivals include the Lusheng Festival, the New Year, and the harvest celebration, during which the Miao people worship their ancestors and celebrate the autumn harvest. The celebrations are featured by songs and dances accompanied by the Lusheng, a Miao wind instrument.
There is only one guesthouse in the village, but many families offer accommodations for tourists. In any restaurant, visitors are treated with the best food and wine. Sounds of cheering and toasting often ring out from the restaurants.
Many local dishes are displayed on the table, with visitors sitting on one side and the family on the other. The housewife gives everyone a cup and fills it with rice wine. As soon as the wine is poured, she sings a folk song inviting everyone to drink wine.
Other family members sing one by one and toast the guests. It's a local custom that guests cannot refuse to drink. Li Zhen runs her home restaurant, which is popular for Miao people's long table dinners.
There is some exquisite silverware sold in Xijiang Miao Village, which is also known as a silversmiths' village. The cross-stitch embroidery works done by the Miao girls are delicate. Tourists can choose what they like here. Bargaining is necessary sometimes.
The public service of post office, telephones, schools and shops are convenient in the village. Tourists can live in the rest houses there, and it costs 5-15 yuan per person. They can also take a hot bath in the bathroom opposite to the Minzu Rest house, and the cost is 2 yuan per person.