China is full of incredible mountain landscapes, from some of the highest mountains of the word to the Dragon Ball style mountains in Yangshuo, from the cold mountains of the north to the tropical hills of the south. Close to Guilin, where the cruises depart towards the impossible landscapes of the karst mountains in Yangshuo, there is also one of those dreamed landscapes for any traveler that wants to visit Asia. Bali? Sri Lanka? Thailand? No, China!
We left Guilin early in the morning and drove for 2 hours to Longji rice terraces. Before climbing to the top, where the rice terraces are, we stopped in the small village of Huangluo Yao village. The Yao women were waiting us for a show where they dance, sing and explain different customs, traditions and above all, they show the Guinness World Longest Hair and how they make a bow with the long hair.
Their songs are strident and sharp and their movements look strong and hypnotic to the audience. Among the different traditions they explained, it was the flirtation between a man and a woman and how he asks for marriage, also the process of smashing rice to make rice noodles. They use big sticks and an accurate technique.
After the show we had a typical local lunch in this small town. And later, after a short walk along the shore of the river we took the car again and reached the base of the rice terraces. The queue for taking the cable car was so long that we decided to go by feet. The heat and humid air didn’t help us, but we took advantage of the walk to take beautiful photos while having rests.
At the top there are many small shops where you can buy souvenirs, food and drinks, also some places to rest and different short hikes to reach some viewpoints. Definetely, the views from the top are incredible and it is worth it to do the climb by walk. The best time to visit the rice terraces is end of summer and September, when the rice is grown enough and still green. We visited Longji in August.
We went down by cable car which is a nice experience to spot the rice terraces from the air too. And then we headed back towards Guilin but before that a last stop in our journey: a tea plantation. Tea and rice are crops that define Chinese society and it si not possible to understand the culture and history of this huge country without visiting the rural areas where everything start.
After visiting the fields and learning about the process of harvesting the best leaves for tea and the differences between black and green tea, we were shown how tea should be drunk. The chinese tea ceremony is also a great experience and it enriches the soul of any person being part of it. We tasted different types of teas and of course, at the end, we had the chance to buy the one that we liked the most.