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A tough journey to find the original Miao culture
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The pristine vistas of the Miao People's Valley. [Photo:CRIENGLISH.com/Duan Xuelian] 

Miao people are well versed in finding a good place to live, or hide, to be more precise. A track into a Miao village in the deep mountains of Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in northwestern part of Hunan province has proved the conclusion positively true.

"Miao People's Valley", or "Miao Ren Gu" in Chinese, is situated some 18 kilometers from Phoenix town, but the difference between the two tourist sites is striking.

While Phoenix town is easily accessible and bears obvious marks of modernization, Miao People's Valley probably wouldn't be shown on a regional map and more than one third of its inhabitants don't have a television.

According to local villagers, their ancestors settled here to stay away from the bandits using the mountains and the rivers as cover. They never thought that what used to protect them would hinder the development of the village now.

But in recent years, travel buses began to transport packs of tourists to the village. Although it is one hour's bumpy ride from Phoenix town, they consider it worthwhile to experience the unspoiled Miao ethnic culture and breathtaking natural scenery.

We were struck speechless by the idyllic sight when we arrived at the village gateway. Squares of rice swayed simultaneously with the wind, the tips of the plants beginning to turn golden. Stone houses with gray roofs scattered in the open field. Hardly any people, dogs and hens roam about indolently while strings of red chili and corn hang on the walls to dry.

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