Kaili (凱里; Kǎilǐ) is an industrial city in Guizhou province and the capital of the Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture. At the edge of the city, there is a huge power station burning coal. This makes the whole city dusty and polluted. The rundown buildings, new constructions in progress and other heavy industries (cement factories) don't make Kaili a terrific place for tourism. On the other hand, it is the center of a scenic region with many colorful ethnic minorities in villages nearby, so it does get quite a bit of tourism.
From Guiyang airport, you can take a mini-van (walk to the right from the airport exit till you reach the mini-van station). However, the vans depart when filled, which may cause waits. ¥60 one way as of December 2010.
There are buses from provincial capital Guiyang, a few hours away to the West. You can also reach Kaili by going North and West from Guilin in neighboring Guangxi, by bus via Sanjiang and Congjiang.
Kaili is on a railway line connecting Kunming and Changsha. You could get a train from either of those, or from Guiyang.
From Cheng Yang take the highspeed train from Sanjiang South to Duyun.
From Duyun Highspeed train station there are public buses to the next bus terminal, waiting outside the train station.
From the bus terminal there are frequent buses to Kaili (1½ hour) ending at the train station in Kaili.
There is a public bus system in Kaili, but all signs are in Chinese. The bus number 1 connects to the train station with the bus terminal in the city centre.
- Traditional markets are held in nearby villages, half an hour to two hours away by local bus. In these markets women in traditional clothes are seen, the things they bring from the villages are exchanged in the market, these are indigo they need to dye their cloth, chicken they take home to offer for worship, handwoven textile they sew for their family, silk floss for embroidery, etc.
- There are also various festivals. The rain-worship ritual is held in early August in the south of Kaili. There you will see traditional rain-worship, Dong people's music, singing and dancing under their Drum towers, indigo-dyed pleated skirts and festival jackets with silver ornaments. During this summer time, it is a short free time for the work in the fields, locals of Miao and Dong will arrange bullfights and some more festivals, such as Eating-new-rice festival. This is held almost everywhere in the south of Kaili.
- Travel agencies or hotels can arrange trips to touristic village such as Nanhua, Lang De, Xijiang and Zhaoxing, or if you're feeling adventurous and speak some Chinese, you can get there more cheaply by local bus.
- 1 Qiandongnan Prefecture Ethnological Museum (黔东南州民族博物馆), 5 Guangchang Road (广场路5号) (the museum is in the middle of Wanbo Civic Square (万博市民广场); take bus no. 1, 2, 5, 6, 12, 13, 16, 18, 21, 29 or 201), ☏ +86 855 8068089. 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:30, closed on Mondays. A museum about the various ethnic groups that live in Qiandongnan Prefecture. Free.
- 2 Luohanshan Forest Park (罗汉山森林公园, Mount Luohan Forest Park), 1071 Huancheng East Road (环城东路1071号) (there is a bus stop near the entrance called Luoshanshan Forest Park Main Entrance (罗汉山公园大门); take bus no. 7 or 15). The largest park in Kaili's urban area. It includes a zoo and a Buddhist temple. Free, apart from the zoo, which charges ¥20.
- Sunday market in Kaili - do not miss to visit the many small side streets.
- Leishan. A charming and quiet Miao ethnic town 1 hour south by bus from Kaili. A beautiful contrast to the rough industrial make-up of Kaili, and a good place to stay overnight.
- Lang De Miao village. A bit touristic, but very nice location and higher part of the village is quiet. Go there via Leishan and visit the market there.
- Also Xijiang, the largest Miao village, is not far away, or go to Datang, with its store houses on pillars in water basins.
- Chong An Jiang village with its picturesque waterfront. Pay ¥1 for the ferry to the other bank for a great view.
- Zheng Man Dong Miao village, famous for its Batik works.
- The two old towns close to Geyi (~3 km); take the bus to Geyi and than a taxi from Geyi or walk.
Sour fish soup, sour beef soup, wild pork.
The surrounding area has many villages, mostly of various minority ethnic groups, accessible by bus. Go south rather than north (cement factories and few coal mines for the next 100 km).
Leishan, 40 km south, a small city with few minority ethnic groups and nice buildings. Better place than Kaili to stay overnight.