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“Disappointing” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Xijiang Miao Nationality Village

Xijiang Miao Nationality Village
Northeast of Leishan County, Leishan County 557100, China
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40 reviews 40 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

Photos in books and online present this village as an authentic miao ethnic minority village but ... like all interesting places in China it has been Disneyfied for the domestic tourist market. We took buses from Guiyang to Kaili (4-5 hours) and then Kaili to Xijiang (1-2 hours) and all through the hours of the bus journeys I was so looking forward to experiencing an authentic Chinese ethnic minority village.

Pay on entry (I can understand this as a means to maintain streets and public spaces) but the entry area has development taking place ... new american style jerry-built vacation huts. This was the first sure sign that commercialism has replaced authenticity in what must have once been a very picturesque village. Tourist shops line the main street and incredibly loud disco and karaoke music blare out from the bars and shops which line this street. Accommodation abounds (prices range from reasonably cheap to outlandishly expensive), shops sell tourist trash, and drunken domestic tourists wander the streets after dark.
Local miao still dress authentically, but I suspect that the tourism ethic leads this rather than any link to true cultural practice.
Poor China has lost its everyday embedded culture to the lure of the "lived cultural spectacular". And what is amazing is that Xijiang is not an easy place to get to .... but it appears that distance and poor roads do very little to protect places like this village.

Visited May 2012
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6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Natural Beauty Destroyed by Mass Tourism!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2011

I have lived travelled and worked in China for 5 years and visiting xijiang was one of the worst experiences I have had. What I am sure would have been a beautiful place once is now a pay at the gate amusement park experience with neon lights, a stage,spotlights, loud speakers and crowds. The local maio were still frendly which was it's saving grace. If this is progress and opportunity for the villagers I am not sure they would want it. Please do yourself a favor and stay away. Better option is to get as far away as you can on a walking track or hire a car. Anywhere reasonably accessible by tour buses in these parts are a waste of time and overcrowded.

Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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