During our last two days’ stay in Guilin, we visited the Longji Terraced Field located in Longsheng County about two hours from Guilin. The rice terraces are built into the hillsides, and look like great chains or ribbons as they wind round the contours in tiered bands. In some places there are terraces from the bottom to the top of the hillside. The Terraces were first built in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and were completed in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) by the Zhuang people and Yao people.

We had lunch at one of the Zhuang people’s bamboo house. The woman of the house waited at the entrance of Longji when we arrived and invited us over and over to eat at her place. Within a few minutes, the four of us were surrounded by about a dozen young and older men who insisted that they would carry us up the mountain in their bamboo sedans (轿子). Joe and Guanghui resisted, but the guys followed them and eventually they each got in one as well. The sedan was lifted by two men, on in the front and one at the back. Going up, we had to be put down every 10 minutes so that the laborers could take a break. Joe felt bad for making the guys sweat for his own pleasure, but Guanghui thought that we helped them out by giving them business. The woman walked ahead of the sedans and led us to her two-story residence, the first story of which was used as the restaurant and the second motel. We ordered chicken soup, tofu, and vegetables from her garden. She promised when we came back from the top of the mountain, lunch would be ready. As we headed back to the sedans, this smiling woman dressed in a hot pink minority outfit went to catch and process the chicken for our soup (she said her hens were hiding in the mountain below her house because it was very hot).

The view from the mountaintop was breathtaking. The height of the mountains, the layers of the terraces, their diversity and color make Longji another must-see when you visit Guilin.

Our lunch was set up on the balcony facing the terrace field. It was the best meal I had in Guilin (maybe because I was starving), so tasty, fresh and 100% organic. I wish we could have stayed overnight at the bamboo house.

The Elephant Truck Hill in China is regarded as the symbol of Guilin landscape and is of attractive sceneries. A similar Elephant Trunk Hill exists in Normandy Area which is about 120 miles away from Paris. We took many pictures of the rare elephant shaped mountain in the park, tasted the fried fish from the Li River and climbed to the tower on the back of the elephant.

Joe and I flew back to Shanghai on Tuesday, taking home with us the fond memories of beautiful Guilin, its friendly people, delicious food and deepened friendship with Guanghui and his wife. We are planning to travel together again next year!