West of Longji, the main road winds through the heart of Dong country towards Guizhou Province Aside from some rustic scenery, the route takes you through one of the most culturally fascinating corners of Asia, where a host of different minority groups survive, their dark wood villages clinging to winding cobbled lanes amid steep, fastidiously terraced hillsides. The Dong people are particularly renowned for their architecture, as exemplified by the area’s largest town, Sanjiang, a couple of hours’ drive from Longsheng, where a splendid 47m tall drum tower dominates the old stone roofscape. Another hallmark of this area

Another hallmark of this area are elaborate river bridges surmounted by multi-storeyed pagoda roofs. A prime example is the Wind and Rain Bridge in the village of Chengyang, on the Linxi River to the north of Sanjiang – a vision from a bygone world. Traditional opera troupes often perform here in the evenings.

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