The Miao village of Xijiang, China, known as the Village of One Thousand Homes, is the largest of a collection of Miao villages that cling to the undulating foothills in Guizhou province. Xijiang is a relaxed, slow-paced agricultural community that cultivates several crops, including rice, corn, grapes, cabbages, spring onions and tangy red chilies, all sold each morning in the small square that doubles as the school's basketball court. The area has become increasingly overrun with Chinese tourists, but still warrants a visit.

Hiking across the hills and valleys is a pleasure there. Well-worn pathways splice the rice terraces, and the misty peaks yield sweeping views across the dipping valleys and neighboring villages.

High-grade silver is a regional specialty, mined from the picturesque hills. Clusters of stores along the cobblestoned village streets sell ornamental bracelets, earrings, pendants and wine cups. Prices, even before the customary bargaining ritual, are incredibly cheap. After exploring the main strip, but sure to walk up to the small pagoda that overlooks the village.

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