|In Guangxi Province, there are several different ethnic minorities, including the Miao, Zhuang, Dong and Yao. Each lives in a different area of Guangxi. Sanjiang County in particular is famous for the stockade villages built by the Dong ethnic minority. The Dong people also erect covered bridges with porches and pavilions which provide shelter even when it rains. The local people call these types of bridges by a beautiful name - Wind and Rain bridges. Of them, the Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge is the most famous.
Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge, also called Yongji Bridge or Panlong Bridge, spans the Linxi River of Sanjiang County. Built in 1916, it is 64.4 meters (73.43 yards) long, 3.4 metes (3.72 yards) wide and 10.6 meters (34.78 feet) high. Constructed with wood and stones, the surface of the bridge is paved with wooden boards and both sides are inlayed with railings. On the bridge itself, there are five tower-like kiosks with horns and eaves which resemble the flapping wings of birds.
To ones surprise, the builders of this bridge did not use any nails or rivets. Instead, talented Dong people dove-tailed many pieces of wood. Though several decades old, the bridge is still very sturdy. In a word, it is grand and looks like a brilliant rainbow crossing over the river.
Walking out onto the bridge, you can sit on the bench and appreciate the picturesque scenery. Looking far ahead, you will be intoxicated with what you see: the Linxi River meandering from the horizon; tea trees growing on the hills; local peasants working hard in the fields; and waterwheels turning, sending water cascading down the river.
Many visitors like to spend time here enjoying the perfect pastoral life and to experience the customs of the Dong people. There are eight famous stockade villages here that offer a peek into the Dongs life and customs. They are Maan, Pingzhai, Yanzhai, Chengyang-Dazhai, Pingpu, Pingtan, Jichang and Guandong.
Accommodation: Near the bridge, there are several hostels. If you want to have a spectacular view of the charming scenery, you may want to stay in the Drum Tower Folk Hostel built on the hill.
Food: You will have a chance to taste the local snacks, such as rice noodles and the fish with sour taste.
Getting there: Take the Sanjiang to Chengyang bus and get off at the Chengyang.
Tips: In front of the Drum Tower of Maan, you can watch performances by the Dong people. If you want to take photos there, you should pay for them. In Pingpu, there are two new Drum Towers. If you enter them, please take along money, for there is a small entry fee.
CNY 80 (for watching the performance of the local Dong ethnic minority)