How to Get to Asia’s Largest Waterfall: Huangguoshu in Guizhou, China

How to Get to Asia’s Largest Waterfall: Huangguoshu in Guizhou, China

Huanguoshu: The Largest Waterfall in Asia

Guizhou, China, is a rather far-flung destination. Most people (myself included, before I got here) couldn’t find it on a map. Yet Guizhou (pronounced gway-joe) is a powerhouse of unique destinations. Beyond it’s ethnic villages, world-class climbing, and record-breaking caves Guizhou boasts Asia’s largest waterfall.

Huangguoshu, at 77.8m tall and 101m wide, is a marvel. The waterfall takes some maneuvering to get to – it’s located outside Anshun, a city 2 hours from the capital of Guiyang.

Huangguoshu, asia largest waterfall
Suburbs of Anshun

The journey is well worth it. One can position themselves hundreds of meters distant from and above the waterfall and still be tagged by its spray (but don’t buy the ponchos locals will try and sell you!).  It dominates the landscape and creates its own ecosystem.

Huangguoshu Asia's largest waterfall
Mist Cresting the Hills

Well, an ecosystem of tourists, that is. Like most tourist spots in China Huangguoshu is crowded. The walkways leading to the falls are tightly packed. The viewing areas are even tighter. But it wouldn’t be China without the maddening groups, the good-natured shoving for position.

Asia's largest waterfall

 Getting to the Waterfall

China’s most convenient travel network is its railroads. Assuming you’re in the capital, Guiyang, your best option is to take the train (动车 or高铁). These Chinese characters signify high-speed trains.

There are two stations – Guiyang North and Guiyang East (贵阳北站 and 贵阳东站). Buy train tickets online with QuNar (a Chinese travel app) or buy them at the station. They cost about 46 yuan (7 US dollars) and the journey takes 30 minutes. You’ll need your passport to buy the tickets.

Huangguoshu asias largest waterfall
Convenient and Rather Pretty – Guizhou from the Train

From Anshun station, grab a taxi or hop on bus no. 1 or 2. This will take you to the South Passenger Bus Station, where you’ll find the tourist express that’ll ferry you into the park. Go into the pavilion to buy tickets for between 180 – 220 yuan.

Asias largest waterfall
Adjacent to the Ticket Pavilion

If you want to opt for a longer and (possibly) more scenic option you can take the bus. Go to Jinyang bus station (331 Jinyang South Raod, Jinyang Xin District, Guiyang) and get a ticket that’ll take you Huangguoshu scenic area directly. They leave between 7:40 and 12:45 AM. The advantage here is you’ll go straight to the gate, although the journey will take 2 or 2 1/2 hours.

Having trouble with communication? Just say the word ‘zou’ (走) pronounced dzo (a consonant cluster of d and z, which can take practice, followed by the pronunciation of the letter ‘O’) and then say the waterfall’s name. Don’t worry about the tones — when money’s on the line, someone will help you get there.

Huangguoshu Waterfall National Park

Rolling past verdant hills, jade rivers, and a neatly hidden assortment of 17 other waterfalls brings you to the gate of Huanguoshu. You have two options here – go down the stairs and walkway for free or pay 30 yuan to take an escalator.

Asias largest waterfall

Now, I’m not a proponent of escalators and sprawling concrete walkways in natural areas. However, one has to accept their inevitability in Chinese natural attractions.

My party took the walkway. I’m convinced this was a bad idea, as the picture below can attest. The journey took way longer than it should have with all the slow-moving tourists. The escalator is straight, and though no one moves on the steps they’ll still get you to the viewing platforms faster.

Huangguoshu asias largest waterfall
Crowded walkways

You’ll need to choose what platform you want to spend your time on. My advice? Cross the river. Less people and a closer (though strangely diagonal) view make it the most attractive place to check out the falls.

largest waterfall in asia
View from Across the River

I’m not sure if you’re allowed to swim, but it seems a set of stairs next to the walkway could take you to the waterfall’s crest, at least. Had it not been for my traveling partners I would have given swimming and rock-hopping a go and feigned ignorance in Chinese had I gotten caught. Not saying you should. But you could.

 Crowded or not, Asia’s largest waterfall is worth the hassle and money of getting there. It’s record breaking, it doesn’t see many foreigners, and it’s generally breath-taking in the way most over-the-top natural spectacles are.

 

 

 

Asias largest waterfall
Worth the Crowds

Go in July-August (or even all the way through October) to see the falls at their most robust. Winter and early spring can reduce it to a (still massive) trickle.

Unfortunately, some of the waterfall’s flow is restricted by a dam. For this reason it can seem occasionally anti-climatic, which is why I wouldn’t say it’s the best tourist destination in Guizhou. That title, for me, belongs to the Great Arch of Getu, which I’ve written about here.

Asia's largest waterfall

If you have time after the falls or you’re staying for multiple days then hit Dragon Palace Cave. It’s the longest water-cave in China and reputed to be pretty cool (I didn’t go). It’s closer to Anshun city than the waterfall is and about the same price.

Conclusions

Though the largest in Asia, I wouldn’t say the waterfall is worth the trip to Guizhou alone. However, the province has so much to offer that it’s worth putting on your Chinese travel-agenda. Great food, nice people, and a feeling of remoteness it’s hard to get outside of Western China. Be prepared, though; the English level here is nearly non-existent! Keep a lookout for other Guizhou posts and compilations in the future, and leave any questions in the comments below.

Asias largest waterfall
   Village next to my home – Guizhou an excellent place to visit for an out-of-the-way destination

 


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