Zhaoxing is a town in Southeastern Guizhou.
Zhaoxing (肇兴) is a pretty Dong minority town nestling in a valley a long way away from anywhere. It's full of old wooden buildings, wind and rain bridges, and drum towers, and surrounded by beautiful scenery. It's had a bit of the government sponsored "Chinese Minority Village" makeover. It is well renovated and commercialized.
The local people will refer to this place as Shaoxing and having the name written down will be useful.
The motorway to the town has an exit at Congjiang East which is just outside a town called Luoxiang (洛香). Luoxiang is less than 10 km from Zhaoxing, although the road between the two is in a terrible condition (probably due to the large volume of construction vehicles passing through the area).
All access to the village is by bus. The Guiyang to Guangzhou high speed rail can get you to Congjiang or Rongjiang very quickly and is a good option if travelling onwards from Yangshuo, Guilin or Chengyang. From the Congjiang high-speed train station, minibuses (¥10) make the 7 km journey to Zhaoxing in about 15 minutes, with a short stop at the village's ticket booth where you have to pay admission (July 2018 ¥100, or ¥50 for Shanghai residents)
From Congjiang (town, not station), there are direct buses which take around 2½ hours and cost ¥15.
From Sanjiang. Take the bus at HeXi bus station (河西汽车站), it takes around 3½ hours and costs ¥32.
It is possible to fly into Liping (via Guiyang, also infrequent flights from Shanghai) and take a bus to Zhaoxing, via Liping town. The total ride is about 2 hours. First take the airport shuttle bus to liping (¥10), which stops at a bus depot in Liping, and from there you can buy a ticket to Zhaoxing (around ¥20 and a journey of about 1 hour).
Buses cannot go inside the main tourist area, so when you get off the bus you will need to walk or take a tourist golf buggy to get to your hotel.
It's a small town - walk! For those who are less mobile, regular free golf buggy-style buses run the length of the main street with frequent stops.
There are five old wooden drum towers and a few old wind and rain bridges scattered throughout town. They're best discovered by wandering through the back streets.
You can hike through the rice paddies above the town. Guest-houses will be able to help with directions. The walk up the valley is particularly picturesque.
There's a lovely 3-km walk from Zhaoxing up to the nearby village of Jitang (紀堂). And it is consistently uphill. They've a drum tower, nice old houses and a lot of peace and quiet and the villagers are lovely. There is at least one home-stay open there too - ask at the shops near the drum tower square for directions. The route from Zhaoxing is reasonably well signposted. Exit the village at the south east gate then follow the signs.
The village of Tang'an (堂安) is a pretty village about 20 minutes drive from Zhaoxing, with buses leaving every hour from the east edge of the village. The cost is ¥20 and includes a return bus. From the bus stop it is a 10-minute walk up to the village. The village is a better example of the local way of life than Zhaoxing since it is less developed for tourists, although there are a few restaurants and small shops there. Views from the village over the rice fields are beautiful. There is a walking path from Zhaoxing through the rice terraces and a couple villages. It is well marked and has stone paving the whole way. The walk is mostly uphill and takes about two hours.
There is a surprisingly enjoyable nightly performance by the villagers of local songs and plays. Entry is included with your ticket to the village.
The town has a large museum of Dong culture, entry to which is free. Exhibits have good English translations.
There are many small restaurants attached to guesthouses serving a wide range of Chinese dishes. There are also many street stalls offering grilled food sticks. Only some keep their meat sticks covered and chilled so check you are happy with food hygiene arrangements before you buy anything. Finding non-Chinese food is very difficult. Bring your own food if possible through this area if you do not like much in the way of local Chinese food or are on a special diet.
Most guesthouses and restaurants serve beer. There's a bar with a particularly fine view of town where the main road crosses the river in the middle of town. There is a KTV in the community, and a bar/restaurant next door with a second floor balcony overlooking the main road that serves cold local Guizhou beer and some western liquor (like perhaps Jack Daniels and some Vodka). This is a community, and not a "party spot" with most of the people going indoors by dark.
There are a plethora of identikit guesthouses to choose from.
The sole hotel is the aptly named Zhaoxing Hotel. There are two branches. The cheaper branch is in the middle of town at the back of the square where the buses stop. The second, more expensive, branch is by the Rantuan Roofed bridge.
- Dong Village Family Hotel. Small family hotel and restaurant. Owners are helpful and can help with your travel needs beyond just room and board.
From Zhaoxing to Sanjiang. There's no direct bus any more. Take the bus which passes through the village towards Sanjiang at around 08:90. It costs ¥16 and takes you as far as a weak bridge. Change here to a Sanjiang bound bus. The road on the Zhaoxing side of the bridge is OK, but due to the construction traffic for the new motorway and express train tracks it's clogged with lorries. On the Guangxi side it was resurfaced in 2009. It takes around 4 hours from Zhaoxing to Sanjiang in total.
From Zhaoxing to Guilin. Take the 08:00 bus as above. Once at the bridge change to the Guilin bus. You'll have to be quick as they fill up fast. If you miss the direct Guilin bus take the Sanjiang bound bus and let the bus driver know you want to go to Guilin, and another bus will magically be waiting for you outside Sanjiang.
From "Zhaoxing to Congjiang" meets at 07:30 near the drum tower. Look for 从江(Congjiang) on the bus. From Congjiang, one may travel to most destinations in the region.