Guizhou is a landlocked province in southwest China that is home to a diverse population of ethnic minorities, most notably the Miao and Dong minorities. Guizhou’s mountainous geography has helped to preserve the unique culture and customs of many minority villages by shielding them from outside influence. That and the province’s biodiversity make it a very interesting destination for those who like to travel off the beaten path. Thanks to its subtropical humid climate, it is also a very pleasant place to visit all year round, with temperatures staying in the range of 10-20 degrees celsius.
The capital of Guizhou is Guiyang. While the city is not that interesting by itself, it serves as a good base for exploring the province and offers an introduction to the food and culture of the region. Other important towns include Anshun, home of the Huanggoushu waterfalls, Kaili, gateway to the villages of the Miao and Dong minorities, and Zunyi, a site of Communist pilgrimage where Mao Zedong became a full member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party.
Guizhou is also renowned for its spicy cuisine. However, unlike the spicy cuisine of Sichuan and Hunan provinces, Guizhou cuisine makes frequent use of pickled and preserved vegetables to add a sour note to dishes. A prime example is Guizhou fish in sour soup, which is a dish of fish slices poached in a sour soup made with a base of pickled cabbage. The renowned chili sauce brand Lao Gan Ma also originates from Guizhou. One of the most famous and expensive brands of baijiu (a strong Chinese spirit distilled from fermented sorghum), Kweichow Moutai, is also produced in Guizhou, in the eponymous town of Maotai.