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The Long Haired Women of the Longji Terraces, China

The long-haired women of Longji

The long-haired women of Longji

The entrance to the Longji Terraces is 77kms from Guilin, it is here that we board a smaller bus to take us up the winding and narrow road up 17km’s to Ping’an. The drive takes our breath away as the road winds, our ears pop and our hearts stop when we reach the corner and wait to hear the a horn blast to acknowledge there is a vehicle coming the other way!

The Longji terraces date back to China‘s 13th Dynasty. The Zhuang and Yao people have lived here from generation to generation have cultivated the land by building the terraces so that the land can be farmed and that they can grow food here. As we walk the last kilometre up through the village  to the top the path is lined with local women selling fruit, chillies, handmade sandals you can also have your photo taken in traditional dress.

The view of the terrace

The view of the terrace

We reach the top we view the Ping’an terraces that consist of the Seven Stars accompanying Moon this  is the most famous scenic spot in this area. The highlight for me was seeing the Red Yao Women, who have the world record for the longest hair group. These women cut their hair twice in their life once when they are 18yrs and again when they are married. They even collect the hair that falls out when they comb it and add it to their bundle. Unmarried women coil their hair and cover it with a black kerchief while married women twist their bundles and coil it into a bun on the top of their head.

On the decent down we stop at the a Ping’an village cafe for a traditional lunch which included traditional chicken cooked in bamboo. Looking around us at the terraces wrapped around the mountains you could explore this area and take in the amazing scenery for days.

Karen Peake

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