Guilin is a glamorous scenic city in the southwest of China. It is famous for picturesque Karst mountains and the Li River. It has been the most inspiring place for Chinese poets and artists for thousands of years. The beauty of Guilin has been prized by generations to generations. There is an old Chinese saying to eulogize its amazing natural beauty: “Guilin’s beauty is the best under heaven”. However, many people don’t know about is that Guilin’s beauty is not limited in the City, the countryside and the surrounding ethnic minority villages are even more breathtaking.
One of the most spectacular ethnic minority villages close by Guilin is Longji, 100km away in 2 hours driving. Longji in Chinese means “dragon’s spine”. Many “Zhuang”, “Yao”, “Miao” minority groups are living here today. They are living in the traditional wooden and bamboo houses sited on the side of mountains. 3,280 feet high on the mountains are Longji Terraced Rice Fields where is the oldest, the most famous, awe-inspiring, and continuously farmed rice terraces in China. The rice terrace has the history of more than 600 years. It was first constructed in Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) and completed in early Qing Dynasty (1644). The Longji people are very hardworking and intelligent. When they first settled here, there is no place for them to grow crops. In order to survive, they brilliantly terraced the mountain sides, and grew rice on each small flattened surface. With their perseverance and adherence, they created the incredible Longji Terraced Rice Field.
The fields cover an area of over 66 square kilometers. How marvelous it is! The terraced rice fields looks like a dragon’s scales, while the summit of the fields is just like the backbone of the dragon. If you standing on a mountain top, you will the mountain ridges extending like a lively giant Chinese Dragon wilding on the earth. This is why people called here as the Longji Terraced Rice Field.
The most exciting thing is that the scenery of the Longji rice terrace is changed with seasons. In spring, all parts of the terrace are full of the rainwater, with the refection of the sunshine it looks like mirrors. You could see the blue sky and the fluffy clouds in the “mirror”. Local people called it the “mirror terrace”. In summer, you will see the rice plumule became maturity, just like the small green forests. Autumn is the harvest season. Most of the rice is waiting for peasants reaping. However, that doesn’t mean you can not see anything at this time, on the contrary, you will amazed seeing the “golden pagoda” on the mountain. That’s really spectacular! The charming of the rice terrace will not stop in winter, if you visit here at this time, the whole mountain will be covered with snow. Just like a white dragon lying on the mountain. So when you decide to come here you need not to worry about the seasons. If you have time you may come here anytime.
Longji has a lot more to see except the rice terrace. The ethnic minority culture here is impressive too. Longji is a land lives various ethnic groups. When you arrive at this mysterious land, it is like visiting a live museum of China’s ethnic minority groups. On the top of the mountains you would meet the Yao ethnic group. Yao women are especially skilled in embroidery, weaving and dying. Silver are their favorite jewelries. When you are walking in the countryside or hiking in this area, you will always meet women with heavy silver earrings. More amazingly, Yao women dress their tremendously long hairs like big hats. This has been listed in the Guinness Book of World’s Records. Besides the Yao People, you would also meet the Zhuang and Miao minority people. Each of the ethnic groups has its own language, music, food, custom, and costumes. It’s really a wonderful place to go and see.