It is in Southwest China’s provinces of Guizhou (贵州), Hunan (湖南) and Guangxi (广西) that we find the Miao (苗族) and the Dong (侗族) people. Skilled carpenters, they have been building Wind and Rain Bridges (风雨桥) to link their villages to paddy fields. These bridges are true marvels of ethnic architecture in China.
Here is a list of some of the most stunning Miao and Dong Wind and Rain bridges in Southwest China.
Wind & Rain Bridges of Hunan, Guizhou & Guangxi
They are a particular type of covered bridges with reclined eaves. Their overall structure is a combination of wooden corridors lined with benches, verandas and Chinese pavilions which rest on one or several stone or concrete piers. Usually located at the entrance of villages and spanning over a river, these bridges are designed to look like a protective dragon, for this reason they are also called ‘Geomantic’ or ‘Blessed’ Bridge. In the territory of the Dong, each pavilion is home to one or a group of deities whose worship aims at protecting the village, its population and its land.
Wind and Rain Bridge showcase the carpentry skills of the Miao and the Dong ethnic minorities. No nails were used and the entire wood structure and all the beams are carefully dove-tailed
1. Puxiu Bridge | Tongdao | Hunan
Inside, we find altars dedicated to Dong ancestral deities, the red-faced Emperor Guan (关帝), the Taoist god of brotherhood and righteousness and to Wenchang (文昌), the god of culture and literature.
2. Yongji Bridge | Chengyang | Guangxi
The Yongji bridge (永济桥) that marks the entrance of the cluster of Dong ethnic minority hamlets of Chengyang in north Guangxi (广西) province near the town of Sanjiang (三江) is a travel destination in itself and should make it to your bucket-list of ethnic area to visit in the region, specially if you are heading to Guilin / Yangshuo scenic spots and the Longsheng rice terraces.
There are two other Wind and Rain bridges in Chengyang (呈阳) to look at during a hike through the different Dong hamlets.
3. Huilong Bridge | Tongdao | Hunan
The Huilong Wind and Rain bridge is located in the Dong cultural corridor near the Tongdao in the Hunan countryside.
It is one of many Wind and Rain bridges, not far from the above-mentioned Puxiu bridge.
Read the article on Tongdao for more information.
4. Gaozeng | Congjiang | Guizhou
The village of Gaozeng (高增) is located near the town of Congjiang (从江) in southeast Guizhou, just 2 hours by bus from Chengyang. The region is still fairly remote and sees tourists only during the high season.
The construction of a highway that will link Congjiang directly to Guiyang (贵阳) and development projects in the region will attract more tourists are going to change this quiet region forever.
How to get there : read the full article about Gaozeng
5. Xiaohuang | Conjiang | Guizhou
Xiaohuang (小黄) is a remote Dong village just 20 kilometers north of Gaozeng near Congjiang in Guizhou province. At the end of a scenic drive in the mountainous landscape of Guizhou, the bridge at the entrance of the village is definitely worth it.
They are other smaller bridges in the village. The Wind and Rain bridges of both Xiaohuang and Gaozeng are topped with an incredible diamond-shaped wooden structures that I did not find in other bridges of Dong areas like the Puxiu bridge near Tongdao (通道) and the Yongji bridge.
6. Xijiang | Kaili | Guizhou
Xijiang (西江) is a tourist hot-spot outside Kaili (凯里) in southeast Guizhou. Travelers make their way to the Miao village of Xijiang dubbed the largest Miao village in the world (西江千户苗寨) not only to take a look at the six Wind and Rain bridges that stretch across the river down in the valley, but also to get in touch with the Miao culture.
Let’s be fair. The Miao Wind and Rain bridges are not as impressive the Dong’s, but they are an important feature of the landscape.
How the get there : read the article about Xijiang.
7. Langde | Kaili | Guizhou
How the get there :read to full article about Langde.
Find more pictures of the Dong Wind and Rain bridges in the ‘Land of the Dong’ photo gallery.