Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region, China (2020)

The Star Ferry is the easiest and least expensive transit mode from Kowloon (on the “Mainland” side of Hong Kong) – where our ship was docked at Ocean Terminal near the Peninsula Hotel at Nathan and Salisbury Roads -- to “Central”

The Star Ferry is the easiest and least expensive transit mode from Kowloon (on the “Mainland” side of Hong Kong) – where our ship was docked at Ocean Terminal near the Peninsula Hotel at Nathan and Salisbury Roads — to “Central” (pictured here) and the Island of Hong Kong; Special Administrative Region, China

 

Our ship pulled into Hong Kong on December 31, with plenty of time for dinner and then the well renowned fireworks – which, this year, were cancelled in lieu of a light show.  We arrived the next evening, hoping that the large-scale, planned “democracy” protests would not have gotten out of hand to the point where we would have difficulty getting to the ship at Ocean Terminal in Kowloon due to road closures (an on and off proposition over the past 6 months of protests).  We were fortunate and made it from the airport to the ship with no problems.

Over the course of several days there were no weekday (versus weekend) protests, as has been typical.  However, we were acutely aware that things were different from two years ago when we visited and even October 2019, our last visit.  On the streets, in the shops, restaurants and attractions, there were virtually no Westerners (Caucasians).  At our favorite custom tailor’s shop, the salespeople were pretty much just standing around, where normally you had to que up to get helped with your “order” – they confirmed that tourism and spending were way down and hurting them.  We understand, too, that tourist traffic from the Mainland (the People’s Republic of China) is off more than 40% from a year ago.  The demonstrations are on everyone’s mind – most Hong Kong residents are supportive of the demonstrators (peaceful) and the interest in having democratic elections and share concerns about police actions in managing the demonstrations.  We felt very badly for the local businesses that are getting impacted by the dramatic drop in tourism (and the beginnings of an exodus of Hong Kong residents that can afford it for other countries).

We had the opportunity in both October and January to visit many of our favorite restaurants, including Din Tai Fung () for their exemplary Shanghai dumplings, Spring Moon on the 2nd floor of the Peninsula Hotel for a terrific dim sum lunch, Hutong – rated as one of the top five Chinese restaurants in the world – for both their excellent cuisine and the spectacular view from the top of the high rise at One Peking Place, and Wine Central at 22 Staunton in Central, a wine bar where we had an outstanding private group dinner and wine tasting with the internationally known wine critic and owner, James Suckling.

Unfortunately, due to the weather and our busy shopping schedule, your photographer only got the one shot at the top of the blog on this trip…  We expect things to pick up picture-wise with our upcoming visits to some Philippine Islands, after a pretty rough crossing in 45-50 knot Luzon winds in the South China Seas.

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2020 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Shop local: Yangshuo market, Guangxi, China

The city of Yangshuo is the teriminus of the Li River scenic boat journeys through the Guilin karst mountains – here the mountains are visible behind a new shopping district; Guangxhi, China

The city of Yangshuo is the terminus of the Li River scenic boat journeys through the Guilin karst mountains – here the mountains are visible behind a new shopping district; Guangxhi, China

 

Our river boat ride down the Li River from Guilin, through the spectacular karst mountains, took us to the city of Yangshuo (population 300,000) where we had an afternoon of exploration, the opportunity to cook our own dinners at a Chinese restaurant and cooking school, and then attend the Liu San Jie Impression Light Show on the Li River bank in town.  Our cooking school chef and instructor – from Cloud 9 Restaurant and Cooking School — took us through the local market on Xi Jie Street (West Street), pointing out many of the ingredients for our multi-course dinner that we then prepared.  Our four courses, individually cooked by each of us in our small group, included: Gong Bao Chicken, Egg Dumplings with Pork and Vegetables, Fry Noodles with Vegetables, and Cucumber in Vinegar & Chili Sauce.

 

The Guilin karst mountains are very visible behind the city’s main shopping street, Xi Jie Street (West Street), Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China

The Guilin karst mountains are very visible behind the city’s main shopping street, Xi Jie Street (West Street), Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China

 

We passed this outdoor restaurant that was setting up for dinner, as we walked to the local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China

We passed this outdoor restaurant that was setting up for dinner, as we walked to the local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China

 

 

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #1

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #1

 

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #2

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #2

 

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #3

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #3

 

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #4

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #4

 

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #5

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #5

 

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #6

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #6 – rambutan fruit

 

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #7

The local fresh food market; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China #7 — bamboo shoots

 

Shopping and dining options in the small city of Yangshuo included both local and international options, Guangxhi, China

Shopping and dining options in the small city of Yangshuo included both local and international options, Guangxhi, China

 

This area contained a lot of street food vendors, offering snacks and light suppers to passersby, Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China

This area contained a lot of street food vendors, offering snacks and light suppers to passersby, Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China

 

One street vendor’s selection of street food, Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China

One street vendor’s selection of street food, Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China

 

We passed by a huge local festival as we headed over to the main street to catch a van to the theater on the Li River for the performance of the renowned light show, Impression Sanjie Liu; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China

We passed by a huge local festival as we headed over to the main street to catch a van to the theater on the Li River for the performance of the renowned light show, Impression Sanjie Liu; Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China

 

The first chapter of the story and performance was “Red Impression- Folk Songs” -- on the water, many fishermen are rowing their bamboo rafts in a column; either standing or squatting, they hang the large red silk in the sky and or upon the water

The first chapter of the story and performance was “Red Impression: Folk Songs” — on the water, many fishermen are rowing their bamboo rafts in a column; either standing or squatting, they hang the large red silk in the sky and or upon the water. This red picture symbolizes the enthusiasm and praises the labors of the local people”; Impression Sanjie Liu performance on the Li River, Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China

 

“Impression Sanjie Liu was premiered on March 20th, 2004 at the Sanjie Liu Sing Fair, one mile from West Street (Xi Jie).  This is the world largest natural theater which utilizes the waters of the Li River as its stage, with twelve mist shrouded hills and the heavens as its backdrop.  Mist, rain, moonlight, the hills and their inverted reflections in the river all become the ever-changing natural background.  Its auditorium is housed on the natural islands of the river with the audience standing on the designed terraces, surrounded by green plants.  The sound equipment here cannot be seen because it is in harmony with the natural environment.

 

“The valleys, the hills, the cool breeze and the gurgling streams are all elements contributing to the three-dimensional sound effect.  Day by day, different weather offers different sceneries with the four seasons refreshing the performance of Impression Sanjie Liu as well, so you will have unique experience every time you watch it. This is really a new concept opera using nature as an integral part of its performers; hence its name – ‘Human’s Masterpiece Cooperated with the God’.

 

“Maybe you have heard of the film ‘Sanjie Liu’ produced in 1961, which made the Li River famous worldwide.  Sanjie Liu is a fairy singer in the myths and legends of the Zhuang ethnic minority.  She is incomparably beautiful, and has voice to match her beauty.  In the ‘Impression Sanjie Liu’, what you can see are the impressions derived from the daily life of the people living around the Li River, rather than the specific details of the stories.” — www.travelchinaguide.com

 

As we watched the incredible light show with a total of nearly 600 actors (mostly locals, supplemented by students at the local universities), we were struck by the scale and beauty of the show – reminding us of the opening night spectacle of the opening of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing on August 8, 2008 (08-08-08).  Afterwards, on the way to our hotel, we learned from our local guide that indeed, the producer (and owner) of the Impression Sanjie Liu show and theater was Yimou Zhang, the chief director of the opening and closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games.  In 2008, Zhang was nominated as 2008 Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

 

The last chapter of the story-performance is the “Silvery Impression- Performance Grand Ceremony” -- as the 'Wonder of Lijiang Culture', this scenery reflects the traditional ceremony in Sanjie's hometown according to the legend
The last chapter of the story/performance is the “Silvery Impression: Performance Grand Ceremony” — as the ‘Wonder of Lijiang Culture’, this scenery reflects the traditional ceremony in Sanjie’s hometown according to the legend. Over 200 Zhuang girls form a long column across the bridge over the Li River; their silver dresses make the river shimmer in a mysterious manner”; Impression Sanjie Liu performance on the Li River, Yangshuo, Guangxhi, China
Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Li River and Karst Mountains (from Guilin to Yangshuo), Guangxi, China

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), China #1 – this scenery is so popular and important to China that the Guilin Li River karst mountains are featured on the national 20 Yuan (Renmimbi) paper currency (value ~ US$3.)

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), China #1 – this scenery is so popular and important to China that the Guilin Li River karst mountains are featured on the national 20 Yuan (Renmimbi) paper currency (value ~ US$3.)

 

We introduced the karst mountains of South China in our previous blog post with photographs shot from our hotel in Yangshuo, “Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort and Karst Mountainscapes, Yangshuo (near Guilin), Guangxi, China”.  We had the opportunity to spend several hours on a boat in the Li River (or Li Jiang) cruising down from Guilin to Yangshuo through the spectacular karst mountains of Guilin.  These formations are widely regarded as the most stunning karst scenery in the world.  [We have separately sailed on Ha Long Bay, outside of Hanoi, Vietnam, also home to karst hills, similar to those in Guilin; there are other, similar karst hills in Phang Nga Bay in Thailand.]  “The South China Karst is considered one of the largest and most spectacular examples of a humid tropical to subtropical karst landscapes in the world, and is therefore a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The area is spread over the provinces of Guizhou, Guangxi, Yunnan and Chongqing and covers a massive 176,228 hectares (680 square miles).  A 50 mile-section (80 kilometers) of the River Li cuts through the Karst Mountains, and cruises on this section of the river are very popular.” — www.insightguides.com

 

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #2

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #2

 

“When you picture China, do you envisage mist-covered green mountains rising in sharp peaks and jagged edges?  If so, you’re likely imagining the famous karst mountains of Guilin.  They provide some of the most captivating scenery in China, but how exactly did these strange mountains get their shape?” — https://theculturetrip.com/asia/

 

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #3

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #3

 

“Karst mountains are made of limestone, dolomite, and gypsum, which have in common the fact that they are all soluble rocks.  This means they can be easily broken down by certain acids, including the acids sometimes found in rainfall or in the surface water of rivers or lakes.  Over time, acid breaks down the limestone and creates sinkholes and caverns, and subterranean drainage systems, where water will flow and collect under the ground.” — https://theculturetrip.com/asia/

 

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #4

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #4

 

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #5

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #5

 

“In the most dramatic instances, karst mountains are created when acidic waterflow wears down limestone bedrock, creating cracks in the bedrock surface.  Once cracks are formed, water is then able to flow more quickly and with greater force, creating underground drainage paths, which, in turn, lead to greater erosion.  With time — and not a short time, but rather, millions and millions of years — much of the surrounding rock will be eroded, and with vegetation taking root in the warmer tropical climates of southern China, the erosion process is hastened and limestone mountains are formed.  Karst topography is often characterized not only by sharp peaks, but also by caves and underground streams and pools, such as the famous Reed Flute Cave in Guilin” — https://theculturetrip.com/asia/  [See our previous blog post, “Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Yan), Guilin, Guangxi, China”]

 

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #6

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #6

 

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #7

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #7

 

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #8

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #8

 

“During the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618 to 907), Guilin thrived.  Huge halls were built and stone walls erected around the city.  Today, Guilin is a rather large, bustling city that attracts visitors from around the world.  The names of the hills surrounding Guilin are poetic: Cloud-Catching Pavilion, Bright Moon Peak, White Horse Cliff, Five Tigers Catch a Goat Hill, Folded Brocade Mountain.  In fact, as well as a geologist’s paradise, this area has long been an inspiration to countless poets and artists.  Many of the traditional Chinese landscape paintings we see today were inspired by this region.

“Most visitors to the Guilin area find a boat trip down the Li River to the town of Yangshuo to be one of the highlights of their trip.  “The river forms a green gauze belt, the mountains are like jade hairpins,” Han Yu, a Tang Dynasty poet wrote.  Drifting down the Li River, it’s easy to feel lost in time.  Women kneel on the banks washing clothes.  Farmers follow along behind their water buffalo.  Small villages dot the shore.  And the boatman will likely point out animal shapes they see in the surrounding landscape as you float down the river: horses galloping through the mountainsides, a stone frog leaping into the water or what looks like a turtle in the sides of a cliff as you float down the river.” — http://www.geotimes.org

 

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #9

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #9

 

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #10

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #10

 

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #11

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #11

 

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #12

The karst mountains of Guilin, seen from the Li River (or Li Jiang), photographed on our river boat cruise from Guilin south to Yangshuo, Guangxi, China #12 — see the previous photograph for the scene without the 20 Yuan note

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort and Karst Mountainscapes, Yangshuo (near Guilin), Guangxi, China

Karst mountains seen from the Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort, Yangshuo (near Guilin), Guangxi, China #1

Karst mountains seen from the Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort, Yangshuo (near Guilin), Guangxi, China #1

 

Before sharing the photographs from our river boat trip down the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo [see our next blog post], we thought it would be a good introduction to first see images of the karst mountains in the Guilin region in the rainy, foggy weather of our last day in the area – at the Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort.  These photos were reminiscent of some of the Chinese mountainscape brush and ink drawings on scrolls that we have seen in books and museums.  It’s easy to see how Chinese poets and artists were inspired for millennia by the karst mountains and the Li River.

 

“The natural wonder of the limestone mountains in Yangshuo is a sight to behold.  It is truly breath-taking and a memory for life. Yangshuo has so much more to offer, with the Li river, the caves, the rice fields, activities like rock climbing and much more. It truly is a natural feast of visual impressions.  Against this landscape, Banyan Tree has built a mountain resort with picturesque sceneries and access to all the activities.” — www.banyantree.com/en/china/yangshuo

 

Karst mountains seen from the Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort, Yangshuo (near Guilin), Guangxi, China #2

Karst mountains seen from the Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort, Yangshuo (near Guilin), Guangxi, China #2

 

Karst mountains seen from the Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort, Yangshuo (near Guilin), Guangxi, China #3

Karst mountains seen from the Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort, Yangshuo (near Guilin), Guangxi, China #3

 

Karst mountains seen from the Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort, Yangshuo (near Guilin), Guangxi, China #4

Karst mountains seen from the Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort, Yangshuo (near Guilin), Guangxi, China #4

 

Karst mountains seen from the Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort, Yangshuo (near Guilin), Guangxi, China #5

Karst mountains seen from the Banyan Tree Yangshuo Resort, Yangshuo (near Guilin), Guangxi, China #5

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Women of Yao Ethnic Minority, Dazhai Village, Guangxi, China

While visiting Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields inside the Dazhai Village, we saw many women of the Yao Ethnic Minority in their colorful native dress – they have their own unique and interesting customs in dinning, clothes, and living styles, etc

While visiting Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields inside the Dazhai Village, we saw many women of the Yao Ethnic Minority in their colorful native dress – they have their own unique and interesting customs in dinning, clothes, and living styles, etc.; Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China

 

After photographing the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields atop the cable car to Dazhai Village our local guide arranged for two Yao women to uncoil their hear and then show us how they coil it.  The photographs below were taken with their kind permission.

“Yao women are famous because of their unique clothing and hair style.  They are famous for having longest hair in the world as they never cut their hair.  Most of the time visitors will see them wrap their hair in a bun.  Usually it costs 10 yuan to take a photo of a Yao woman.  If one [is] lucky [s/he] might get to see them wash their hair at the river side… The Yao nationality is distributed in six provinces but the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region contains the largest population of the Yao people.  They have their own language but most would also speak mandarin.  Their origins date to the Qin Dynasty.  There are several sub-groups within the Yao nationality.  Yao people are distinctive by their colorful national dress and often the women will have extremely long hair which is coiled up on top of their head.” — www.guilinchina.net

 

Two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China

Two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China

 

Two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #2

Two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #2

 

Two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #3

Two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #3

 

Two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #4

Two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #4

 

One of the two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #5

One of the two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #5

 

One of the two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #6

One of the two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #6

 

One of the two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #7

One of the two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #7

 

One of the two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #8

One of the two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #8

 

One of the two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #9

One of the two Yao women photographed with their long hair at the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields, Dazhai Village, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #9

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Longji Rice Terraces (Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields), Dazhai Village, Guangxi, China

The Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields are inside the Dazhai Village, with mountains on all sides; here the viewing was more rural and quieter than our first stop at Ping’an Zhuang Village [see our previous blog post]; near Guilin, Guangxi, China

The Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Rice Fields are inside the Dazhai Village, with mountains on all sides; here the viewing was more rural and quieter than our first stop at Ping’an Zhuang Village [see our previous blog post]; near Guilin, Guangxi, China

We enjoyed a box lunch from our hotel in Guilin in Huangluo Yao Village where we had boarded the golf carts for the ascent to Ping’an Zhuang Village to view the Longji Rice Terraces.  After lunch we drove east to Dazhai Village where we were able to board a cable car for the long ascent to Golden Buddha Peak and a scenic spot where we could view the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields.  Because it was a further drive from Guilin than our first stop at Ping’an Zhuang Village, the viewing was more rural and quieter.  We also had the opportunity there to meet some Yao women and photograph them and their long black hair — never cut, since birth [see our upcoming blog post]

“The Jinkeng Terraced Fields are inside the Dazhai Village, with mountains on all sides and known for its rich mineral resources of gold.  Here visitors should not miss its three famous scenic spots — West Hill Music or No.1 viewing platform, Large-scale Thousand-Layer Terraces or No.2 viewing platform, and Golden Buddha Summit or No.3 viewing platform [at the arrival place of the cable cars up top].  All with high elevation of more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), they are the best places for viewing the sunrise and sunset as well as overseeing the whole Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces… Dazhai Village is also equipped with hotels and restaurants for visitors’ convenience.  But it is less commercial than Ping’an.” — www.travelchinaguide.com

 

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #2

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #2

 

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #3

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #3

 

Longji Rice Terraces map

These maps of the Longji Terraced Rice Fields (also called Longsheng Terraced Fields) are courtesy of http://www.travelchinaguide.com

 

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #4

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #4

 

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #5

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #5

 

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #6

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #6

 

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #7

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #7

 

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #8; there were numerous vendors with street food, clothing, souvenirs, local arts and crafts items, and jewelry on the walkway

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields, Dazhai Village in the Longji Rice Terraces region, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #8; there were numerous vendors with street food, clothing, souvenirs, local arts and crafts items, and jewelry on the walkway connecting the viewing platforms – here homemade hot chili oil was for sale

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Longji Rice Terraces (Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces), Ping’an Zhuang Village, Guangxi, China

A panorama of the Longji Rice Terraces, literally Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, regarded as the most beautiful rice terraces in the world, Ping’an Zhuang Village (平安寨), near Guilin, Guangxi, China

A panorama of the Longji Rice Terraces, literally Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, regarded as the most beautiful rice terraces in the world, Ping’an Zhuang Village (平安寨), near Guilin, Guangxi, China; this view encompasses the so-called “Nine Dragons and Five Tigers” — the nine ridges spread from the main vein of Dragon’s Backbone, which look like nine dragons bending over to drink water from the Jinsha River; alongside, there are five tiger-shaped rock

 

On our second day in Guilin, we drove about two hours northeast up into the mountains (elevation averaging nearly 2,000 meters (over 6,500 feet) where we transferred from our small bus to golf carts in Huangluo Yao Village for the very steep, narrow and nearly straight uphill drive up to Ping’an Zhuang Village (平安寨) overlooking the spectacular Ping’an  Zhuang Terraced (rice) Fields, at an elevation of about 1,000 meters (3,300 feet).

“Longji Rice Terraces, literally Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, gains its name because the rice terraces resemble a dragon’s scales and the mountain range looks like the backbone of a dragon. It is reputed as one of the most beautiful rice terraces in the world.

“It is located in Longsheng County, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Guilin and 140 kilometers (90 miles) from Yangshuo.  The construction of incredible Longji Rice Terraces started in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and lasted till the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).  Now, the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces covers an area of 66 square kilometers (about 16,308 acres) and spans an altitude between 300 meters (about 984 feet) and 1,100 meters (about 3,608 feet).  Among them, two main and representative viewing areas are the Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields and the Jinkeng Terraced Fields where Zhuang and Yao Minority people have been living respectively for hundreds of years.  In addition to appreciate[ing] the rice terraces, visitors can learn some unique customs in Longsheng rice terraces scenic area.” — www.travelchinaguide.com

 

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #2; a close up of a section of the so-called “Nine Dragons and Five Tigers”

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #2; a close up of a section of the so-called “Nine Dragons and Five Tigers” — the nine ridges spread from the main vein of Dragon’s Backbone, which look like nine dragons bending over to drink water from the Jinsha River

 

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #3

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #3

 

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #4

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #4

 

“Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields have totally 15,862 pieces of rice terraces, some big while some tiny. Here visitors can appreciate two unique sights of rice terraces.  One is the “Seven Stars Accompany the Moon”, which is comprised of seven small piles of rocks left deliberately by people when they dig up the terraces and a moon-shaped terrace in the middle.  Looking at it from a distance, it looks like “seven shinning stars” accompanying the “moon”.  It is a perfect place for photography. Another one is “Nine Dragons and Five Tigers”.  The nine ridges spread from the main vein of Dragon’s Backbone, which look like nine dragons bending over to drink water from the Jinsha River. Alongside, there are five tiger-shaped rocks.” — www.travelchinaguide.com

 

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #5

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #5

 

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #6; a close up of the rice, ready for harvesting

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #6; a close up of the rice, ready for harvesting

 

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #7

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #7

 

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #8; your photographer couldn’t resist making a portrait of these two Chinese tourists as they posed for a friend in the rice terraces

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #8; your photographer couldn’t resist making a portrait of these two Chinese tourists as they posed for a friend in the rice terraces – behind them the trail down through the terraces from Ping’an Zhuang Village is visibly full of tourists walking through the rice terraces [note that our small group was visibly in a distinct minority as western tourists in the heart of China]

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #9; when cut, the harvested rice is laid flat on the ground to begin drying out before being removed from the fields

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #9; when cut, the harvested rice is laid flat on the ground to begin drying out before being removed from the fields

 

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #10

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #10

 

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #11

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #11

 

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #12

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #12

 

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #13 – note the rice terrace workers’ (Zhuang minority peoples’) homes and hostels-hotels in the midst of the terraced fields

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, or Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, near Guilin, Guangxi, China #13 – note the rice terrace workers’ (Zhuang minority peoples’) homes and hostels/hotels in the midst of the terraced fields

 

“The Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields (平安壮寨梯田) are the first rice terrace area in Longsheng to be developed for tourism.  They have the most roads/paths, hotels, and facilities.  It’s the most touristy area.  The terraced fields are around Ping’an Village and two smaller hamlets, inhabited by the Zhuang minority.  The villagers live in traditional wooden three-story stilted houses.” — www.travelchinaguide.com

 

The view of the mountains as we descended back toward Guilin from Huangluo Yao Village at the foot of the Longsheng rice terraces scenic area; China

The view of the mountains as we descended back toward Guilin from Huangluo Yao Village at the foot of the Longsheng rice terraces scenic area; China

 

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