With a city of big, leafy parks, a richly diverse cultural makeup and year-round mild weather, it's little wonder that Guiyang's people are reputed among their fellow Chinese to be among China's mellowest. Guiyang people are friendly folks, it seems, who eat well, occasionally sleep in late, and are known to stay out late, too. And thought the reputation often holds true enough, Guiyang's vibrancy and modernity can be quite an eye opener, especially when you consider that it is the capital of one of the poorest and most isolated provinces in China.
A big part of Guiyang's current success story is the city's ability to balance nature and commerce--not something that many other parts of development-driven China can boast of. In fact, Guiyang is increasingly recognized nationally for its sustainability and "green" credentials, and does indeed offer visitors a number of easily accessible natural attractions either in or near the city.
Case in point: Qianling Park's 400 hectares (1000 acres) play host to trails, temples, a zoo and a population of wild macaques 500 strong, all right downtown. Not many cities the size of Guiyang (3 million) can make a claim like that.
2.5 kilometers south of downtown is the largest municipal forest park in China. The Guiyang Forest Park comprises 532 hectares (1,315 acres) of densely wooded azelea and maple forests full of pheasants, pangolins and hedgehogs. Historical sites are sprinkled throughout the part, including a hall dedicated to Sun Yat Sen, well-preserved ancient stele and cliff carvings, but 90% of the park remains protected forest.
Other Guiyang attractions within a 45-minute drive of downtown include the Hongfeng Lake Scenic Area, the Baihua Lake Scenic Area, Huaxi Park, the Tianhe Pool Scenic Area and finally, Xiangzhi Valley, where you can get aquainted with Bouyei ethnic customs.