August 30, 2009

Longsheng Terrace Field & The Zhuang and Yao Ethnic Tribes
Longsheng is part of the greater Guilin area. The famous Long Ji (Dragon’s Back) Terraces is 27 km (16.78 miles) from Longsheng County, about 2 hours’ drive from Guilin.  The terraces are rice fields built on steep mountain terraces, shaping like spirals from the mountain foot to the top. This clever building makes the best use of the limited arable land and water resources in the mountainous area.

 

 

The rice terrace has the history of more than 600 years. It was first constructed in Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) and completed in early Qing Dynasty (1644). The Longji people are very hardworking and intelligent. When they first settled here, there is no place for them to grow crops. In order to survive, they brilliantly terraced the mountain sides, and grew rice on each small flattened surface. With their perseverance and adherence, they created the incredible Longji Terraced Rice Field.
The fields cover an area of over 66 square kilometers. The terraced rice fields looks like a dragon’s scales, while the summit of the fields is just like the backbone of the dragon. If you standing on a mountain top, you will the mountain ridges extending like a lively giant Chinese Dragon wilding on the earth. This is why people called here as the Longji Terraced Rice Field.
The most exciting thing is that the scenery of the Longji rice terrace is changed with seasons. In spring, all parts of the terrace are full of the rainwater, with the refection of the sunshine it looks like mirrors. You could see the blue sky and the fluffy clouds in the “mirror”. Local people called it the “mirror terrace”. In summer, you will see the rice plumule became maturity, just like the small green forests. Autumn is the harvest season. Most of the rice is waiting for peasants reaping. However, that doesn’t mean you can not see anything at this time, on the contrary, you will amazed seeing the “golden pagoda” on the mountain. And the charming of the rice terrace will not stop in winter, if you visit here at a time when the whole mountain is covered with snow, it just looks like a white dragon lying on the mountain.
Longji has a lot more to see except the rice terrace. The ethnic minority culture here is impressive too. Longji is a land lives various ethnic groups. Many “Zhuang”, “Yao”, minority groups are living here today. They are living in the traditional wooden and bamboo houses sited on the side of mountains. When you arrive at this mysterious land, it is like visiting a live museum of China’s ethnic minority groups. On the top of the mountains you would meet the Yao ethnic group. Yao women are especially skilled in embroidery, weaving and dying. Silver are their favorite jewelries. When you are walking in the countryside or hiking in this area, you will always meet women with heavy silver earrings. More amazingly, Yao women dress their tremendously long hairs like big hats. This has been listed in the Guiness Book of World’s Records. Besides the Yao People, you would also meet the Zhuang minority people. Each of the ethnic groups has its own language, music, food, custom, and costumes. It’s really a wonderful place to go and see.

 

August 26, 2009

Guilin is one of China’s best-known cities on account of its beautiful landscale of limestone mountains, likened in a Tang poem to jade hairpins. The city has been popular with sightseers for over 1,000 years, and many famous poets and painters have lived and worked here, celebrating its river and mountain scenery.
Once the capital of Guangxi Province (the capital was moved south to Nanning in 1914), Guilin has always been a prosperous commercial centre, profiting from its proximity to the Ling Canal which links the two major river networks of the Pearl and the Yangzi. This canal was built in the second century BC, during the reign of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China, who used it to link the middle regions of his empire around the Yangzi with the far south. But central government control of Guangxi was only intermittent, and the province remained a frontier region of the Chinese empire until the time of the Tang dynasty (618-907). Many Guangxi people are not ethnic Chinese. Around 35 per cent of the population are Zhuang, the most populous minority group in China. However, the land they occupy covers over 60 per cent of the province, and thus the province has been designated a Zhuang Minority Autonomous Region.
 [Geography] Standing at 109 16’111 30′ east longitude and 24 16~26 24 north latitude in the northeastern of Guangxi Zhang Autonomous Region. The total area is 27809 square km and the city proper occupies 565 square km with 150m mean altitude.
 [Population and Nationality] Total population of Guilin is 4,760,000, in which the city proper is 603,500, living tens of nationalities of Zhuang, Hui, Yao and Dong taking up 8.5%. The population of minority is 686,400.
[Climate] Because of subtropical region, the climate of Guilin is moderate. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 7.9C, July is the hottest with an average temperature of 28C. Yearly average rainfall is 1900mm. It is the best time for travel from April to October.
[River] Li River is the mother river of Guilin, belonging to the Pearl River system, original from Mao’er Mountain of Xing’an, a country of North Guilin. It is 160km long total through Lingchuan, Guilin, Yangshuo and Pingle.
[History] The human lived in this land 30000 years ago. After Qin Shibuang, the first emperor of Qin Dynasty, unified China, a man-made Lingqu Canal connected Li River and Xiang River. In B.C111, Hanwu Emperor began to establish Shi’an county, which capital was set in today’s Guilin. During the later 2000 years, Guilin had been the capital of state, prefecture or county set by each dynastic government. From Song dynasty, Guilin became the center of politics, military, economics and culture of Guangxi.

 

August 26, 2009

 

As the emblem of Guilin City, it lies at the meeting point of the Peach Blossom and Li Rivers, with Zi Sandbank to the east across the Li.  Elephant Trunk Hill (Xiangshan) is the badge of Guilin City, and was given its name because the hill looks exactly like an elephant drinking from the river with its trunk. It is a masterpiece of karst landscape, composed of pure limestone deposited on the sea floor 360 million years ago.

August 26, 2009

Situated at the foot of Guangming Hill in northeastern Guiln, Reed Flute Cave got its name from the kind of reed growing immediately outside the cave entrance, which is used to make fine flutes.  It has been a tourist attraction for more than 1,000 years. Inside the cave, there are various stalagmites, stone curtains, stone flowers and stone pillars, which constitute a unique charm, making it known as a palace of natural art.

 

August 26, 2009

 

The Lijiang River is the highlight and climax of any journey to Guilin. The 54 km waterway of the twisty Lijiang River between Zhujiang Pier and Yangshuo cuts between thousands of picturesque peaks. 
Created by a stirring ”Movement of Mother Nature”, the most famous attractions along the Lijiang River Cruise are the Waterfall near Yang Causeway, Misty scene of Langshi, Nine-Horse Fresco, Charming Reflection at Yellow-cloth Shoal and Xingping Wonderland. All of these make the Lijiang River Cruise a perfect everlasting memory.

August 26, 2009

Yangshuo is a county in Guilin. Surrounded by karst peaks and bordered on one side by the Li River , it is easily accessible by bus or by boat from nearby Guilin. Over the years, it has become popular with foreign backpackers.
  Situated in the center of Yangshuo County, West Street is the oldest street in Yangshuo with a history of more than 1,400 years. Over the last 20-some years, West Street has become a meeting place for eastern and western cultures, and the biggest ‘foreign language center’ in China. West Street is the most prosperous district in Yangshuo, and each year, approximately 100,000 foreigners come here as part of their travels or to attend advanced studies. Visitors are attracted to West Street by its unique mix of cultures.

 


  West Street is 517 meters (1,696 feet) long and 8 meters (26 feet) wide, meandering in an ‘S’ along its length. Being completely paved with marble it is a typical example of a traditional southern China street. It is greatly admired by foreigners for its simplistic style and courtyard-like atmosphere. There is a saying about West Street that ‘half is village while the other half is stores’.
Since being opened up to the outside world in 1978, West Street has received countless international travelers from all around the globe, and it has been reputed as the “Earth Village in China”.
  Today, the 2000-meter long street is filled with stores, bars, cafes and hotels. Nearly all the inhabitants, old and young, in the street can speak simple English, and the street is regarded as the largest foreign language corner in China.