In the southwest part of China, the mountainous provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou are most probably best-known for the ethnic cultures. But there is a road that once started from India, via Myanmar, Yunnan, Guizhou, and finally stretched to Chongqing, the interim capital of the Republic of China in the 1940s.
The road is the famous Stilwell Road, which is also called Yunnan-Burma Road by many people. Bound for Guizhou from Kunming (Yunnan), you'll not only see and experience the ethnic culture, Karst landforms and waterfalls, but also take in a feeling of history of the World War II.
(A Karst masterpiece by the nature, known as the Shuangrufeng or “Breast Peaks”)
Summer is fit for road tours between Yunnan and Guizhou, and in order to witness the 24 bends of the Stilwell Road, you will drive across many a destination from Kunming (Yunnan) to Xingyi (Qianxinan Prefecture of Guizhou Province).
You can begin from Kunming where you can visit the World Natural Heritage site-the Stone Forest, and stop (overnight) at Luoping County-where the worthgoing spots include Jiulong Waterfalls, Lubuge Gorge, and some Buyi ethnic villages. Of course, if you travel here in spring, you can’t help marveling at the Karst hills and the golden canola flowers.
Unlike lofty mountains in most parts of Yunnan, Karst hills scatter everywhere in places such as Luoping, Xingyi, and many places of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region-as we know, Guilin is most famous as far as Karst peaks are mentioned in China.
("Ba Yin Zuo Chang" is an authentic folk art show of the Buyi ethnic people. It's so named due to the eight kinds of musical instruments played.)
On the way, you will get surprised by people you see, because in Luoping (Yunnan) and Xingyi, the main ethnic minorities are the Miao, and Buyi, who, the latter, are known for the “Ba Yin Zuo Chang” (Eight Tones).
The section of the Stilwell Road in Qinglong is mainly the now-called "24 Bends". Such a hairpin road, built on such rugged terrain, is beyond the imagination of people-who wonder how military supplies were transported to Chongqing from India far away.
(Several stone tablets have been erected by local government with inscriptions reading: The Twenty-four Bends [left]; The Twenty-four Bends, Road for War against Japanese Invasion [upper right]; The First Bend of the The Twenty-four Bends [lower right].)
The “24 Bends” section of the Stilwell Road, measuring totally 4 km but with a direct distance of merely 350 meters, was originally constructed in September 1936, and reconstructed by the Engineer Battalion 1880 of the American Army in 1943. In 1954, the local government organised to construct a 6-km-long asphalted road downhill to connect with the "24 Bends". Nowadays, it has become a landmark of Qinglong County.
(1)-Route1: Kunming-Stone Forest-Luoping-Xingyi
Route 2: Xingyi-Wanfenglin Scenic Area-Wanfenghu Lake-Malinghe Canyon-Shuangrufeng Scenic Area-the 24 Bends.
(2)-You can tailor your tour with local travel services in Kunming and somewhere else.