Longsheng Rice Terrace in China

  • October 1, 2018
 

Students from Omeida Chinese Academy went to visit Longsheng, or “Dragon’s Backbone”, Rice Terrace to enjoy the stunningly beautiful scenery. The view of the rice terraces vary from season to season. In the springtime, the water is irrigated into the fields and the terraces look like great chains or ribbons hung on the hillsides. When the onset of summer, it looks like green waves rush continuously down the mountainside. The theme of autumn is the harvest, with the mountainside decorated with the gold of ripened millet. Coming into winter, the whole mountain will be covered with white snow, just like dragons playing with water.Dragon Backbone’s Rice Terraces is the most amazing terrace in China! Construction of the terraces began in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and continued until the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when construction was completed. The Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces are the culmination of both the profound wisdom and strenuous labor of the Zhuang people.

As well as its amazing scenery, Longji is also the area to visit in order to experience China’s ethnic minorities’ culture. The Zhuang and the Yao nationalities live here, though mainly it is the Zhuang people. The women dress in unique and colorful costumes, singing and dancing. Guests also can join in with them to enjoy the original Zhuang life and culture, and even stay with local families enjoying both the Longji tea and the Longji wine.

Now, the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces covers an area of 66 square kilometers (about 16308 acres) and spans an altitude between 300 meters (about 984 feet) and 1100 meters (about 3608 feet). There is a saying “Where there is soil, there is a terrace”. That can be it in the valley, with swift-flowing river to the mountain’s summit with its swirling cloud cover, or from bordering verdant forest to the cliff walls. Even though Longsheng Rice Terraces is large, it is made up of numerous patches no more than 1 mu (it is a traditional unit of area in China, currently call shimu) (about 0.16 acres). The smaller ones like snails while the bigger one like towers. The outline is very smooth with gradients between 26 degrees and 35 degrees.Located in the west side and closest to Dazhai Village, the Large-scale Thousand-layers Terraces is suitable for sunrise and sunset watching. The stairway-like layers of terraces that descend from the sky are truly a sight to behold.

Longji Terraced Fields contain three villages. They are Ping’an Village (平安寨), Jinkeng Village (金坑大寨) and Guzhuang Village (古壮寨). Ping’an Village is the one most visited by tour groups while Jinkeng Village is higher up and larger with the availability of cable cars (70 Yuan one way, 120 Yuan round trip).

Eyal and Mark are enjoying their hiking trip along the rice terrace!

The bird view from the top down is amazing and uncanny. Visitors can experience the rural lifestyle of local villages which are mainly dwelled by Yao and Zhuang minorities.

At the entrances of the village, local women gather to offer to carry your backpack or daypack in bamboo baskets attached to their back for ¥20-25 (fee varies with the weight of your bag). There are, surprisingly enough, senior local women whose English is advanced enough to act as your tour guide. They may likely approach you once inside the village or whilst walking along the paths, or your can ask at the entrance. It is possible to ask for a map at the entrances to the villages (they are not given freely), to get used to the area, and to get some background details. There are signs everywhere with maps at regular intervals as well. It’s quite easy to orientate yourself.

Sanne, Valerie, and Patricia were very excited to be here for their first time in rice terrace.

A short hike through Ping’An to the summit takes about 2 hours to complete, depending on fitness. JinKeng is slightly larger so may take more time. It is possible to hike between Ping’An and Jinkeng in about 3 hours. You can ask for guides once you enter either of the villages. Longer hikes that last for more than a day are possible. You can discover more beautiful and less touristy areas of the mountain.

 

Congratulations on the successful Saturday activity! Join Omeida Chinese Academy, and start your adventure now!

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