Chengdu fell off the list pretty quick, since it's a minimum 10 hour train ride with a transfer in Guangzhou. Zhangjiajie national park and Fenghuang ancient town both fell off the list as being too hard to navigate without a guide.
But then I found news articles about Oriental Science Fiction Valley, a brand-new virtual reality theme park in Guiyang, Guizhou. That sealed the deal... we were definitely going to Guiyang. It's also on a direct bullet train line from Shenzhen to Guilin to Guiyang, making transportation easy. I started finding other great destinations nearby like Qianlingshan park in Guiyang, and nearby Qingyan ancient town. Guiyang - slam dunk!
AAAAaaaaand... Of course, there's no information in English online about it. I couldn't find it on a map, nothing. Luckily, our hostel host was incredibly helpful.
Key information: search 东方科幻谷 in an Apple Maps app
Apple Maps then translates that to "Dongfang Kehuan Guzhuti Park"
but won't find it if you enter the English/Pinyin writing directly.
The only way I could find Oriental Science Fiction Valley via my iDevice was using the Apple Maps app... the Google Maps app was basically useless in all of China. But the Apple Maps app let me find almost any location we were looking for AND gave excellent public transportation directions, especially in Guiyang. Once we figured that out, we took the bus all around, including to Oriental Science Fiction Valley.
The challenge with figuring out how to find the park was absolutely worth it! The place was a cheese-ball blast. Not all of the rides were open yet, the food was impressively terrible, there was no English anywhere, but it was wonderful! There was almost no one there (we went on a weekday, and it's apparently not drawing big crowds yet), and the employees were all sweet, patient, and giggled at us. They also apparently are required to greet guests with the vulcan hand sign!
On the bus on the way to Oriental Science Fiction Valley
The giant robots are sprinkled all over the park
VR really doesn't lend itself to good photos to highlight the experience... We had a blast.
I don't even remember all the questions I had before our trip... Please comment with questions so I can improve any support I can give! Traveling around China is incredibly easy once you actually get started, but planning is challenging.
If you're looking for more thoughts about traveling through China, you can find more about our trip here.