Journey to Longsheng Rice Terrace

RiceTerrace Longsheng

Longsheng rice terrace

Longsheng Rice Terrace

In the past I have seen so many beautiful pictures of the Rice Terraces in many countries. Today I was really looking forward to seeing them for myself in China, such a fascinating part of the world. Our tour group journeyed by bus  from Guilin to see the Longsheng Rice Terrace at Ping’an, and the White Yao Village. The journey took about two hours. Time passed quickly with interesting scenery and information from our guide on the history of the Longsheng rice terrace.


Motor driven plough to work the rice fields.


Age old method of plowing the rice fields-water using water buffalo

Fields of Rice

Leaving Guilin we passed many  fields of rice already planted or being planted. It was interesting to see two different methods used to plough the rice fields. The traditional method using a buffalo looks a lot  easier than using a motor driven hoe.  The road took us  into the forested hills, winding upwards past  running streams of crystal clear water with rocky beds, adjacent hill-sides with  traditional brown timbered houses and soft green feathery bamboo. Very pretty scenery.

Village-houses-on-river-Ping'an rice terrace

Traditional houses along the river – feathery bamboo in foreground

An arched bridge across the river led us to a rest area and parking for buses (nice clean toilets). On one end of this building is a huge photo of the Yao women with their luxuriant long black tresses. Continuing on, the bus wound its way up the narrow road until the first sight of the Longsheng  Rice Terrace  and the Huanglo Yao  Village  came in to view. The  terraced rice fields are also known as the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces.

Billboard of Yao Women with their long black tresses-Longsheng rice terrace

Billboard of Yao Women with their long black tresses-Longsheng rice terrace

The Market Place

Stepping from the bus, greeted with  smiles and gestures, besieged by the Yao women of the village, in their bright pink jackets, lustrous long  black hair wound around their heads.  They were selling very attractive silver jewelry at a reasonable price. Elsewhere market stalls had a variety of interesting souvenirs, locally grown vegetables and produce. A colorful local shrine stands at one end of the market with a statue of the local deity.


Zhaung women selling produce at the local market – Ping’an Rice Terraces


Colorful Shrine at local market  Ping’an Village

Palanquin ride

A couple of young mad-cap girls from our group tried their hand at taking a companion up the winding hillside in a palanquin.   For a small fee the local palanquin owners will carry you to the top of the rice terrace.The girls managed a short distance to the first bend and back with with only one stop, amid laughter and encouragement from onlookers. The local lads not sure what to make of them. The girls decided it was much harder than it looked and happily handed the palanquin back to its bemused owner.



The path leading up to the  Rice Terrace, stepped in some places and paved in others. I couldn’t help but admire the locals traveling up and down the terrace every day, it is very steep. The locals are so fit! Guest houses, some perched on the lower slopes and some  higher up the terraces, houses set into the hillsides on a rock-based terrace .


Climb to Ping’an Village and Rice Terrace


Relaxing at hostel Ping’an Village Longsheng rice terraces

Long Black Tresses of the Yao women

Stopping for a rest in the mountain village about half way up to the terraced rice fields, we came across the Yao women with their amazing long silky black hair. The Yao women of the village cut their hair only once in their life-time at  a special ceremony when they are eighteen years of age. The long hair, after cutting, is kept and used as a hairpiece until their hair grows again. For a few dollars each, these lovely ladies let down their hair for us to see, their hair almost to the ground (shades of Rapunzel).  The older women showed us how they managed their hairpiece every day, worn in the same way as the younger women who had not yet had to cut-of their tresses.


Yao-Women-displaying-their-long black tresses Longsheng Rice Terrace

The  village at Ping’an

Below we could see a man hoeing a  rice terrace. A woman from the village makes her way back up the rice  terrace with a shoulder pole and baskets. Very steep, no mean feat getting up and down the terrace.


Man hoeing the rice terrace – Ping’an Terraced Rice Fields


Women with pole and baskets returning from veggie patch terrace

Women with pole and baskets returning from the veggie patch terrace

The Shoulder pole or Carrying pole

The shoulder pole carried by this women is a familiar sight in East Asian countries and a bit of an icon, and long held tradition. It can be used by a single person balancing the yoke over one shoulder with an evenly distributed load suspended from each end.

The shoulder pole allows the wearer to more easily move along the pathway and up or down the terrace; through crowded areas at a market, or through busy streets.   The shoulder pole  can also be used by two people with the yoke supported on a shoulder and the load suspended from the center of the yoke.

Villager leading horse and carrying hoeing implement

Villager leading horse and carrying hoeing implement-Rice Terrace

On the trek up we gave way to a local villager carrying a hoeing implement over his shoulder, and leading a  horse. He was on his way down to work in the terraced rice fields below. This sprightly  women from the village, also on her way down the terrace. I wonder how often she travels up and down the terrace in a day?


Village woman walking down the steps – Ping’an Village Longsheng

Continued  in my next post…. the  Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terrace at Longsheng….


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