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"Visiting Tiantouzai Village at Longji Terrace"
By Amy Qin, Lotus Travel Advisor
Click here to read Amy’s bio
Though I have lived in Guilin for more than twenty years, I only recently had a chance to explore Longji Rice Terrace. My impression of Longji Terrace up until this time has been limited to pictures and brief descriptions I have read. Now, I have the opportunity to share my first- hand impressions and some of my own photos.
The terrace has distinctive displays depending on the time of year one visits. When I visited in September there was a wonderful smell of fresh air mixed with the scent of recently turned soil and the scent of green grass. Green filled my eyes – the green rice shoots, all kinds of grass and plants as well as the distant green trees of the landscape. Also pleasant to my ears was the sound of the running water. In September, the predominant color of the Rice Terrace was a vibrant green.
Walking along the twisted rock path, we arrived at the destination of Tiantouzai Village (Zhuang village) this is a more remote village, known by very few people, especially compared to the more popular Ping’an village. We stayed at a hostel, which was a local family’s house located in the halfway up the hill. The owner of the hotel has close-knit family with grandparents, parents and children all living together. This is a very traditional arrangement. When we arrived, the grandmother was playing with the grandson and the owner of the home was busy preparing dinner.
He was preparing a local specialty food, which was dried bamboo shoots with bacon and bamboo rice. Preparing dried bamboo shoot is a complicated process. People usually dig up the bamboo shoots around April. It requires soaking to cull away the shell, boil the shoots and then roast them. At least, that is what I remember of the process this grandmother patiently tried to describe to me.
Unlike the dried bamboo shoot, bamboo rice is much simpler to prepare. The stem of bamboo rice is filled with peanuts, bacon, rice, and water mixture. This, along with vegetables is heated over a charcoal fire. After the delicious dinner and cleaning, the family enjoyed some spare time together and with us. During my visit, I was interested in local craft work and the grandmother we stayed with showed me their ethnic clothes and some delicate handicrafts and the weaving process.
At night, Tiantouzai village is very tranquil just like the local people’s life. It is a quiet life. They grow rice on the terrace; feed the livestock and manage the hostel. It is apparent they enjoy what they do as they wave, welcome and greet guests that visit their hostel. I felt very welcome and I would recommend this tiny village and hostel stay to anyone who wishes to visit China and step into daily life in a countryside setting. I enjoyed my time immensely.