Wake up super early again today. We leave Kunming and take the morning flight with China Southern Air from Kunming’s Changshui International Airport (昆明长水国际机场) and arrive at Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (桂林两江国际机场).

Jacinda and I then take the taxi (25 CYN) to Wada hostel and stay at the female dormitory with 55 CYN a night per person. We spend the rest of the day at the hostel, for one, I’m still under the weather and we still have two places in our China trip itinerary.

The next day, we keep our heavy bags in the hostel storage and just take the essentials change of clothes and female kit in a smaller travel bag. Then we join with several tourists in a van (80 CYN return ticket Guilin – Longsheng – Guilin). We stay at the Longji Quan Jing Lou Hotel, Longsheng. It’s quite a 4 stars ‘hotel’, I say this loosely, but the bed and bathroom are clean, the food is good and the service is nice. Rather homey. A night is 250 CYN for a bed room for two. Best of all, the hotel is situated near the 3 scenics area so we cut the journey in half.

Longsheng (龙胜) and its nearby rice terrace, Longji (龙脊) or the Dragon’s Back Mountain, is famous for stacked terraced rice paddy fields following the topography of the mountain from top to bottom, (much like Bali, Indonesia) at 600 to 1200 meters above sea level. The people here are from the Yao (瑶族), Dong or Kam (侗族) and Zhuang (壮族) ethnic groups. It’s called the Dragon’s backbone because the rice terraces resemble the dragon’s scales. Entrance fee 120 CYN (50% off for student).

On arrival, we are told we need to hike to the hotel (around 1.5 to 2 hours with several rest stops). Our tour group hire several female porters from the red Yao (瑶族) ethnic group that are also guides around the area. They can carry your bag for 30 CYN per bag.

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Our porter carry as much as 3-4 bags in her basket. Quite modern, carrying a handphone and wearing Air Jordan sneakers but wearing the traditional Yao (瑶族) ethnic fashion. The female from the red Yao (瑶族) has long hair and they bundle up like a turban on their head. The culture is that the women only cut their hair once in their life time, when they are on the age of 16 to 18 years old.

We didn’t get to see the ladies washing their long, long hair along the riverbanks with rice water, but lucky we have guides from the red Yao (瑶族) ethnic group.

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The view from our window

Once we arrive in our hotel, we settled in our room. I share the room with Jacinda. Alas, the afternoon is wrought with heavy mist and slight drizzle. We hardly can see anything besides a few meters in front of us when we take the afternoon stroll.

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One of the viewing platform near the hotel. We hardly see anything.

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Yao (瑶族) and Zhuang (壮族) ethnic groups have almost similar house architecture using wood logs and bamboo for traditional houses, sometimes with tiled roofs and mud walls. Typical Yao (瑶族) house is on stilled with three to five rooms above and keeping farm stocks or storage underneath. Wealthier family built attached annex, forming a line following the downward hill.

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We return to the hotel and have our dinner. Our dinner consist of glutinous rice, chicken and vegetables, steamed inside the hollow of the bamboo, stir vegetables and with a hot tea to complete the meal.

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After dinner we went to bed. On the second day we wake up early. To our dismay, the day is still a little foggy but as the sun rise, we get to see the after winter rice terrace and see the fields forming like scales that gives Longsheng (龙胜) its name. Our bags are carried down by the ladies from yesterday as we descent so we don’t carry heavy bags during our hike.

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Winter is almost over and spring is coming

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Good morning

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So glad the sunshine is finally smiling on us.

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Our guide of the day from Yao (瑶族) ethnic group. Whenever we’re stopping, she works on the embroidery of the gorgeous blazer.

Yao (瑶族) fashion consisted on beautiful embroidery blouses in the color of their tribe. I see mostly pink and black on our guides. Then their hair is bundled up and decorated with hats or other ornaments. The embroidery and braiding are made from cotton threads with cross stitch technique.

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A little store on top of the hills. I love this Miao (苗族) head dress.

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We get to see the lady from the Yao (瑶族) ethnic group weaving with the gorgeous vista in front of us

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Looks like layered cake

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We finally reach the end of our journey at Longsheng (龙胜), Longji (龙脊) rice terrace. I can tell you now, I would love to come again and see the water flooding the rice terrace and make beautiful scales shines like silver. Ah maybe next time.

For now we return to Guilin bus station with the van from yesterday. The family lady in the same tour with us help us buy the bus ticket to Yangshuo and off we go an hour later to catch the night show at Yangshuo.

Gualin, Guanxi Province Trip:

Source information: China Highlights, Yao Ethnic Group Information, New World Encyclopedia

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