Roam China 2008 travel blog

The day was long and the night balmy. To start the day a mere 15 km hike through a mountainous region so beautiful and peaceful. We ascended 800ft and down again only to ascend to 1100ft once again. It was a hard long day but we are all very proud and exhilarated to have done so. We arrived in the picturesque little villaged named Ping'An by early afternoon. The ancestors of today's Ping'an Villagers started to claim farmland for living by building stretches of terraces along the Longji Mountains nearly 700 years ago, but it is said they did not dare to think that their continuous efforts would bless their offspring with a way not only to harvest crops but also to attract tourists. Although terraces are commonplace in the south, the terraces in Longji are so attractive to tourists simply because of their scale.

Ping'an Village's population is about 1,000 and all the people are ethnically Zhuang minority. The local women the Yao have amazing long healthy hair that touches to ground.

The Longji Terraces are still serving their agricultural function for the local villagers in Ping'an Village. The farming of these terraces not only helps local people harvest rice but also gives an almost alive ambience to the terraces that would seem barren and bleak if not attended to and farmed, unfolding an impressive and rare picture of how human stamina can change for the better.

A winding road constructed beside a bubbling stream connects the village with the main highway at Heping Town, where a long-distance bus will pick us up tomorrow after a 30 min walk. .

The most significant scenery of Ping'an Village's terrace fields is called "seven stars accompany the moon," a name undoubtedly thought up recently to appeal to tourists. The so-called stars refer to the land stretches at the highest layer of the terraces built along seven mountaintops, which can be overlooked from a viewing platform on the top of another higher mountain.

However, another spectacle is the terrace dwellings that sprawl across the valley along the slope of the mountain. Mostly made of wood and bamboo, these houses are called diaojiaowu ( i think i spelt that right!), built to a traditional residential architecture and supported above the ground by wooden stakes. These houses make an awesome picture with so many of them built in the valley along the mountain slope with a certain resemblance to the terraces created by the locals of yester year.

The hilly terrain has raised the difficulty of building such houses, and also the cost, which, according to a local farmer-turned tour guide, has soared to over 100,000 yuan (US$ 12,500) for a decent wooden house as locals eager to snatch a slice of the tourism market build bigger and newer guesthouses.

It would be a wonderful thing to spend a few nights in Ping'an Village enjoying not only the peace and quiet but also the amazing views of the terraces when the sun rises over the mountain in the morning. To some extent, the terraces are incomparable to other famous historical sites. But the unmatched phenomenon fostered unintentionally by the efforts of generations of people has distinguished the area as a magnet for urban people who are interested in seeking out a way of life long since lost by their ancestors.

The frights for today were treking over the very dangers sometime 50 degree pathways. The rock was marble and slippery claiming to girls. The first whilst photographing her partner stepped backwards slipping in to a rice patty... the other on the rock the gave down a narrow and very steep patch onto the gentlemen below. No ijuries persay, but when looking back down the mountain they were very lucky indeed.

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