After a few months since my last entry, I just happened to have some time to do some writing. And yes it is about China, all positive here. Enjoy…
As our time in Chengdu came to an end, we prepare for our next destination: Guilin. Over 1100 km separate these two cities, so arranged for us to fly there.
Chengdu Shuangliu Airport (CTU) is quite big, modern and with all amenities expected of contemporary airports. This is the main airport in Sichuan province and a very important gateway for western China and Air China.
The airport handles over 50 million passengers yearly and has two runways. Our flight today was only 1.45 minutes, onboard a Shandong Airlines Boeing 787-800, I was able to issue and manage my flight’s thanks to their ticketing agreement with Hahn Air, and overall the service was decent and much superior to similar short journeys in Europe.
We landed at Guilin Liangjiang (KWL), the main airport in the Guangxi region which handles around nearly 9 million passengers yearly with one runway.
Guilin to Longsheng
We landed at 13:05 to the airport and we left straight from there to our visit to Longsheng to visit the famous rice fields. The car journey was approximately two and a half hours and distance approximately 100 km from Liangjiang International Airport.
The visit to today to appreciate the well-known Longi rice fields.
Longsheng Rice Terraces:
Longsheng Rice Terraces also named Longji Rice or Dragon Backbone Terraces, Emily told us that Longji means dragon spine in Chinese. They cover a number of villages in Longsheng including Jinkeng, Ancient Zhuang, Ping’ an, and Huangluo Red Yao Village, among others.
These terraces have a long history of over 700 years, originally built during the Yuan dynasty offer the most impressive multi-coloured agricultural view that truly took out my breath away! Literally!. While we walked under the extremely hot weather around the village we also enjoyed our guided walk.
We arrived at a village called Ancient Zhuang, we were told it is the least modernized Zhuang minority village in Longsheng, located in the middle of Yuecheng Mountain, north of Guangxi province and started hill-walking thru it. This area is home to the Zhuang people, who still preserve large wooden housing and stone carving culture.
We were both struggling with the heat but we still appreciated our local guide, Emily, telling us many stories about the local culture and how these 5 colours terraces are grown, local farmers. The terraced fields are dispersed between 300 m to 1100 m above sea level. The scenery is spectacular, sort of a piece of art painted by nature, I was pleased and captivated by it all.
The Dragon’s Backbone Terraces are the result of the deep knowledge of the land and vigorous work of the Zhuang community that came about through the centuries.
We also experienced local life by visiting a local house where we “chatted” (with my fluent Chinese right!) with the most beautiful 83 years young lady, (her skin was amazingly smooth)!. She allowed us to visit her lovely wooden house.
These type of houses are called Diaojiaolou, which sort of translate “stilt house”, they are built on a mountain slope, held over columns over the ground.
This gorgeous young-looking lady showed us around her house with pride. The ground floor is generally left just for animals, people live on the first floor. There were handicraft and souvenirs for sale at her house and we purchased some of them to thank for her hospitality.
“Oh to be a dragon!! a symbol of the power of Heaven – of silkworm size or immense; at times invisible.” Marianne Moore