Travel agencies' outing meeting at Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, Longsheng
2011-06-17China travel Guide
As a major Chinese online tour operator and travel agency, Guilin Tianyuan International Travel Service Co., LTD, under the representation of its English Department: Visit Our China, was invited to participate in a one day travel agencies' meeting at the Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces and Zhuang Village Scenic Area (龙脊古壮寨梯田观景区). Occurring on last Friday, June 10th, I had the immense honor to represent the company and get a chance to know more about the unique scenery of the Longji (龙脊) rice terraces in Longsheng County, Guilin.
Leaving at 7:30 a.m. from Guilin Railway Station, two buses were at the disposal of the more than 70 Guilin travel agents who accepted the offer to the outing offered by the Longji Scenic Area Tourism Company. Out of the Chinese people attending the ceremony, just one other western representative from another Guilin travel agency attended the ceremony like I did, a good opportunity do immerse even deeper in my job experience here in China. Spending all the day all together, I could talk with lots of other local travel agents and exchange our company's cards for letting them know about our tourism offers.
After a 2 hours route, we arrived at the Dragon's Backbone Scenic Area under a heavy rain, which is common at this season in southern China especially in the mountains (it usually rains in the morning for changing to a perfect clear weather in the afternoon). At around 10 a.m., the opening ceremony started with Zhuang dances performances displaying the Zhuang wedding dance, songs and a colorful dragon dance. The performance was joyful and impressive for the curious movements that was doing the dancers. Accompanied with the traditional Zhuang music, the moment was unique with the rice terraces as the background. That's one of the most gorgeous performances I could have the chance to see since I came in China for the first time 4 years ago. The public attending the ceremony was in a happy mood, taking pictures of every scene as well as exchanging with local Zhuang women welcoming all travel agents.
After the opening ceremony, the way to the Zhuang Village opened and we had an around half an hour hike among the rice terraces, seeing the locals busy with their daily work. A picturesque scenery even considering the misty and rainy day we had! Everywhere, the clouds gave a special hint of mystery and ancient time that I couldn't expect. The pictures can just speak by themselves!
At the village, every single path was the occasion to meet local Zhuang people, seeing them taking care of their children, grandchildren, sewing or preparing the meals for lunch. Their costumes are something that I love most! Colorful and hand-made, they just give to visitors an idea about how locals used to wear and live in ancient times, far away from the materialistic societies that we have now. By walking in the village, we could visit the local households. There, an old lady was serving visitors some local food and beverages. I could have a try at the rice alcohol (mijiu, 米酒) as well as the Dragon's Backbone Tea (Longji cha, 龙脊茶). Though strong especially for the pure alcohol at 11 in the morning, the drinks were tasty and worth it, something that I can totally recommend those planning to visit the scenic area in the future!
During the visit, all the stream of travel agents visited every corner of the village. This outing was the occasion to visit the Longji Village Museum, enhancing the unique culture of the Zhuang people living here for centuries. Some ancient rural instruments, clothes, jewels and houses were displayed for the knowledge of visitors. An interesting visit that could give us a real idea about the importance of preserving this culture and developing tourism around it!
After a good lunch all together in one of the village houses, this was the time for another little hike in the terraces before coming back to Guilin. Due to the heavy rain that beat Guilin area during the last weeks, the rafting activity that was supposed to be held in the afternoon was cancelled. A real pity for me who wanted to try it so much for a long time! But security was most important, and I could just enjoy the scenery of the rice terraces and promise me to come back again in the area for more sightseeing experiences!
Everyone immersed himself/herself in joy after such a day and got more knowledgeable about the Longji Village, its people and culture. We took our buses back to Guilin, exchanging the last business cards and saying goodbye to each other. Attending this travel agencies' outing meeting was for me a great occasion to meet other travel agents, exchanging with them, keeping some contacts as well as learning more about tourism in Guilin area. An experience that I would love to live again in the future! Come and see our beautiful China with us!
--- By Sophie (Visit Our China)