Image by BIHAIBO Getty Images
Hugely popular among domestic travellers for good reason, the 77.8m-tall, 81m-wide dàpùbù (大瀑布, great waterfall) is China's largest waterfall and understandably Guizhou’s number-one natural attraction. From June to October in particular, these falls really rock the local landscape with their cacophony, while rainbows from the mist dance about Rhinoceros Pool below. Don’t miss groping your way through the dripping natural corridor in the rock face of the 134m-long Water Curtain Cave (水帘洞, Shuǐlián Dòng), behind Huangguoshu itself.
The cascades are actually part of a 450-sq-km cave and karst complex discovered when engineers explored the area in the 1980s to gauge the region’s hydroelectric potential. Nowadays, the area is a designated national park that features other natural attractions apart from the falls. Going underground into the colossal caves within the geological Tianxing Qiao Scenic Area (天星桥景区, Tiānxīng Qiáo Jǐngqū) is a quite awe-inspiring sideshow, especially if you do not have time for the Longgong or Zhijin Caves. Doupotang Waterfall (都破塘景区, Dōupòtáng Jǐngqū) is one of Guizhou's widest waterfalls. Visiting can get extremely crowded, especially on weekends and holidays.
Transport around the park is handled by a system of one-way shuttle buses that stop firstly at Tianxing Qiao Scenic Area, then go to the main Huangguoshu Falls and then onto Doupotang Scenic Area. Buses then return back to the main entrance.
You can do Huangguoshu Falls as a long day trip from Guiyang, while it’s an easier one from Anshun. There are accommodation options in Huangguoshu village, but there is little need to overnight here.
From Anshun, bus timings can vary but generally leave the east bus station every 30 minutes or so from around 7.20am until 5pm (¥25, one hour); buses back to Anshun run until around 7pm, although do check these timings when you visit. For a quicker and easier trip, arrange a car and driver through your hotel. A coach from Guiyang to the falls leaves at 8am (¥60, two hours) from the tourist bus station on Jiefang Lu and returns to Guiyang at 5pm.