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China Trip: Guangxi

The view from the hills around Langshi

China Trip Week 3: Guangxi

Week 3 of my China trip brought me deeper into the Chinese countryside.  I took a train to the outpost of Sanjiang and then a bus deep into the mountains of northern Guangxi province, walked across a landslide, took another bus to the end of the roads at the base of the Longji (Dragon Spine) rice terraces, and then hiked 45 minutes up hill to the Tiantou (Heaven’s Head) village.  This is home to the Yao minority, famous for their incredible wooden architecture and impossible rice terracing of the mountainsides.  I spent a few days hiking, exploring the rice terraces, eating locally grown rice and vegetables, and getting to know Yao traditional culture.

From Tiantou, I headed to the small fishing village of Langshi- located midway between the major tourist draws of Guilin and Yangshuo on the banks of the Li river.  Langshi is a beautiful, sleepy village that has remained relatively untouched by the surrounding tourist throngs.  It is only accessible by boat and walking (there are no cars or roads…yet).  This stunningly beautiful area is full of dramatic karsk mountains.  And has inspired artists and poets for centuries.  Back while attending an Asian art history class in college, I became enamored with Song dynasty landscape paintings like these:

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These paintings seemed almost otherworldly to me, and I always imagined there was a lot of artistic license involved in creating these landscapes.  In fact, they are incredibly realistic- these places do exist.  In Langshi, I felt transported into these landscape paintings.  Pictures hardly do it justice, it’s even more beautiful in person.  Some friends and I stayed in a Qing dynasty home for several days, hiking through the karsk peaks, swimming in the Li river, sweating A LOT (it was intensely hot and humid), getting devoured by “wenzi” (aka sand flies), and gazing at the full moon for the Mid-Autumn Festival (a Chinese holiday).  We were hosted in Langshi by a local “barefoot doctor”, a Chinese medicine practitioner responsible for the health of the entire village.  It was wonderful to learn about his practice and tell him about mine in the US.

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

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