Today, October 30th, we woke up to a golden peaceful view of rice and tea fields. We arrived in the Dong village District of Chenyang near Sanjiang the city of the three rivers in the north of the province of Guanxi.
The Dong are China’s 9th biggest minority group with about 3 million people living clustered in the area between the southern Hunan, northern Guangxi and southeastern Guizhou.
The Chenyang scenic area is an assembly of 8 villages that was designated a tourist area some 30 years ago. We stay in the Dong Village Hotel which is the only hotel there mentioned in all our guide books. Michael, our local guide and the owner of the hotel, learned his excellent English in school and by simply chatting with all his guests. Many of them come from English speaking countries. He tells us he always had about the same amount of western tourists, but the Chinese tourists have constantly increased for the last 15 years. We had expected it to be quite touristy, but it is Monday and life in the village seems to be going on with only a handful of curious tourists around. Several old ladies are trying very hard to sell handmade good luck charms – below you can see Tanja buying one… 🙂
Michael tells us that the village is almost self-sufficient. They grow rice, vegetables, pick mushrooms in the forest, have chickens running around, and recently started growing and selling tea in the hills. A lot of houses are being built. The village seems to be doing quite well through tourism.
Below we have included a few impressions of our visit and everyday life in the villages:
The amazing Wind and Rain bridge from 1909 at the beginning if the village. It is supposed to ward against spirits:
Locals distilling and storing rice wine:
Together with his wife he is producing and selling local tea:
When we came the rice was already harvested from the fields and was drying on streets and squares of the village:
Inventive locals using an old oil canister as a stove!
The Dong people are famous in China for their wood working skills. Carpenters building a wooden house without nails!
Our hotel was made of wood too. Finally, super cute local tourists!