5.12.2010

142. Guilin | Longsheng Terraces

Continuing on with my Asia vacation, here's a bunch of photos from when we visited the Longsheng rice terraces in Guilin. This was the highlight of my entire trip - I've been looking forward to visiting rice terraces for years. It's definately one of the most memorable days of my life..I really loved it. I guess it changed my outlook on life, after I was able to see and experience a totally different culture than my own/any I've ever experienced before. I love watching documentaries, and I've seen many of rural China - whenever I watch documentaries showing other parts of the world, it's hard to believe they actually exist (like all those from the Planet Earth series which I LOVE). I mean of course I KNOW the places exist, but sometimes before seeing them in person, it's like they only exist on-screen. Then actually visiting such a place in person, it's like you're stepping into another world. It's hard to describe & I have a feeling I'm being repetitive here lol..

I barely have any pictures from this day because my camera suddenly decided to die on me halfway through the day. I was so upset. It was the worst possible day for me not to have my camera. There were so many things I saw that day I wish I could've taken pictures of. But it's alright because I'll always have the memories, and not worrying about taking pictures allowed me to actually take in all my surroundings in a different way.

First we had a long drive from our hotel to this little village at the foot of a mountain. As I said in my previous post, it was a very very low-income area. The people who live on the mountain have been living there for the past few thousand years (I mean their ancestors) and their lifestyles have remained the same. I felt like I went back in time.
When we arrived at the mountain, we went for some food at the only restaurant there. I have to admit I was kind of nervous about eating their food, but it wasn't too bad. Everything tasted different though - the potatoes didn't taste like regular potatoes, rice didn't taste like normal rice, etc..

Live entertainment: those girls in the pink hats sang for us while we ate...


After eating, we continued on up the mountain. We had to take these vans up because of the twisting & turning roads on the sides of the mountain..and I guess you have to be a very experienced driver to navigate through them. I decided to sit at the front seat. It was such a fun ride but kind of scary as well - he drove pretty fast, and there were quite a few turns and bumps on the road..such an adrenaline rush. I managed to not go flying out the window!

This was as high as any vehicle could take us. After that, it was a final 45 minute walk/hike up to the rice terraces. You could hire one of those people to carry you up but we walked up. It would probably be scarier sitting in one of those things, you'll see why later..

Here's what we saw along the way up the mountain:



Started off with a smooth, flat road..then it became steps for the remainder. Imagine sitting in one of those chair things as the guy carrying it trips and throws you over the side!
This is the final picture I was able to take before my camera died :( The next ones were found on Flickr, of the exact same place and things we saw along the way..


(photo credit: andreelau @ flickr)

Those local villagers would help tourists carry their luggage up on their backs. There were little motels along the way but no, we didn't stay in them. I wouldn't have minded though. Maybe next time when I go I'll stay in one -- live a few days like a local villager.


(photo credit: sigurdsson @ flickr)


(photo credit: rietje @ flickr)

Here's some of the villagers..I think they're part of the Yao minority group. The black things on top of their heads are actually their super long hair wrapped around.


(photo credit: rietje @ flickr)


(photo credit: chinatravelsavvy @ flickr)


(photo credit: benbeiske @ flickr)

By the way, I wore flat shoes that day hahah. It was probably the only day I was glad I wasn't in heels! But they were Dior shoes - a little bit of luxury maintained. Needless to say, they were quite dirty and muddy at the end of the day. Totally worth it though.

Finally at the top!! This was the view - very much worth the hike up. This is actually a picture of a picture. It's from a book I bought, about the Longsheng rice terraces and the villages along the mountain. Once again, so disappointed my camera batteries were dead...

The terraces are all man-made. Since the people lived on a hill, they didn't have a lot of flat available land to grow crops. So this was the alternative to a flat piece of land; the terraces allowed for larger surface areas.

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5 comments

  1. Omg!!!! This looks like an amazing journey! One of my dream trips is to visit Lake Lugu in China as well as the mirror lake in Bolivia.

    The photos are gorgeous, I actually enjoyed seeing the rural village as much as the pictures of pictures of the rice patties hahaha Visiting rice patties is also on my to-do list along with other many things in China lol But for some odd reason I tend to push them to the bottom of my list but oh wells, shouldn't talk about travelling since I won't be doing any for a long while LOL

    I was just going to ask you when you went until I noticed the date on the photo lol The only place I've been to in China is Beijing and since I was a teeny-booper I didn't care about photos =( booo!

    P.S I just realized you had another blog! Going off to spend my day reading it now hahaha

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  2. Oh and your Dior shoes, those poor things but they must feel like a beast now haha

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  3. wow this is seriously AMAZING. I SO want to go here now! Some of the little pathways up to the terraces reminds me of the walk to one of the temples in Kyoto. We biked it but it was so hard to get through because Kyoto was so crowded. But anyway, this place looks breathtaking. How long did you stay up there?

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    Replies
    1. you should go! I always recommend visiting Guilin..there's a lot of nature/culture to see there and many refer to it as the most beautiful place in China.
      I'd love to visit Kyoto someday too..
      I think we spent a bit more than half a day here..it would be fun to stay overnight there though. Some of those houses are hotels

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  4. its the first time i visited your blog very detailed i adored Gulin's Longsheng Terraces they re amazing and your shots are so good!!

    Actually your blog is awesome just my type :)

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