Nestled among the breathtaking Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces (also known as Longji, or Longsheng Rice Terraces) of Guangxi, is the fascinating Ping’an Village. Two other main villages are located within the vast 66 sq km of terraced fields, but Ping’an is the major tourist area. Home to mainly the Zhuang people, Ping’an Village has a long history that spans centuries. With a rich history and cultural significance, Ping’an Village is an attraction that cannot be missed.
- Over 300 people, comprised of about 50 families, inhabit Ping’an Village.
- The surrounding Longji Rice Terraces were first cultivated during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 to 1368 AD), and completed in the early Qing Dynasty.
- Ping’an Village sits at an altitude of 1200 m above sea level.
- Built during the Qing Dynasty, the village inhabitants are comprised mainly of the Zhuang ethnic group, with a few members of the Yao ethnic group.
History Of Ping’an Village
The Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces (or Longji Rice Terraces) cover over 60 sq km. Within that area about 100 km northwest of Guilin, is Ping’an Village, which was founded during the Qing dynasty. The rice terraces surrounding the village are often referred to as the Ping’an Terraced Fields. This section was first cultivated during the Yuan dynasty (1271 to 1368 AD) by the Zhuang people. The rice terraces around Ping’an Village are the earliest and most developed in Longsheng County.
Several hundred people reside in Ping’an, mainly from the Zhuang ethnic group. The Zhuang is the largest minority group in China. 90 percent reside within Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. There are several villages and hamlets in the area inhabited by this ethnic minority, but Ping’an is considered one of the most important.
The other ethnic group living in Ping’an Village is the Yao people. The Yao also contributed to the construction of the Ping’an Terraced Fields. This ethnic minority lives in the mountainous parts of southern China. In addition to Guangxi, the Yao also can be found in Hunan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Jiangxi, and Guangdong.
Ping’an Terraced Fields were finally completed during the early Qing dynasty (1644 to 1911). With a rich history stretching over 650 years, these terraced fields are still cultivated today. However, for hundreds of years, Ping’an Village and the surrounding rice terraces were completely unknown to visitors. In the 1990s, a photographer named Li Yashi moved to the region and began photographing the stunning beauty of Longsheng County. Unsurprisingly, his images captivated the world, and cemented Ping’an Village and the surrounding region as a must-see tourist destination.
Culture Of Ping’an Village
The terraced fields surrounding Ping’an are the oldest and most developed in the entire region. Likewise, the village and surrounding rice terraces are the most popular with tourists. Inhabited mainly by the Zhuang, villagers reside in traditional wooden houses constructed on stilts. Yet, despite it being a traditional ethnic village, Ping’an offers well-quipped modern facilities and conveniences.
The Yao people who live in Ping’an are distinctive from other inhabitants what for their long hair. All Yao woman in the village traditionally keep their hair very long – in some cases, well over a metre in length. Some Yao woman have been known to cut their hair only once in their lifetime – after becoming an adult at 18 years old.
The main scenic areas surrounding the Ping’an Village are “Seven Stars Around the Moon” and “Nine Dragons and Five Tigers”. “Seven Stars Around the Moon” is essentially eight small mounds located in the middle of eight rice paddies. The middle mound (which is filled with water) resembles a moon, with the remaining seven mounds being compared to stars. “Nine Dragons and Five Tigers” is basically nine ridges in the landscape that look like nine dragons. There are five rocks that resemble tigers in shape (hence the name). Both these spots offer incredible panoramic views of the terraced fields surrounding Ping’an.
The name of the area (Dragon Backbone) stems from the fact that the top of the mountain range resembles the backbone of a dragon. In addition, the terraced fields look like scales of such a creature.
- Ping’an villagers are very welcoming to visitors, and the village offers modern, well-equipped facilities for tourists.
- Because of the high elevation of Ping’an Village and the surrounding rice terraces, temperatures can reach below zero in the winter.
- The best time to visit the Ping’an area is from April to late October, when farmers grow rice in the terraced fields.
- Specifically May, June, September, and October ar ethe most scenic times to experience the rice terraces surrounding Ping’an.
- Ping’an Village is on of the three entrances to the Dragon backbone Rice Terraces.