China brims with amazing landscapes. Amongst my favourites are the fabulously beautiful rice terraces that are found across the country.
Hewn into the hills by local ethnic communities some thousands of years ago, many of them are agricultural works of art on a grand scale. Forged by the necessity to produce enough rice to support the local population, the terraces are a testament to the ingenuity, toughness and determination of the Chinese who conquered the hostile geographical conditions surrounding them.
Over the years I have had the good fortune to visit many of these man-made wonders and admire their stunning beauty in different seasons.
In the winter months the terraces are filled with water and their mirror-like surfaces reflect the colour of the sky as they glisten like crystals when the sun shines over them.
Spring is planting season and the terraces come alive with bullocks and farmers in gumboots busily planting the young seedlings in the soft mud. After a few weeks the tender-green shoots poke out of the shallow water turning the surface into fuzzy scalloped, tender-green carpets as far as the eye can see.
Autumn heralds the harvest and the terraces turn golden yellow. The rice plants sway gently in the breeze making the hills look like the back of a dragon waking gently from its slumber.
Repeat visitors have the joy to see the terraces in their different natural stages of maturation, but if you intend to visit China only once and want to experience these iconic landscapes, aim to visit in winter to experience their dreamlike magic.
The Last Hidden World
For centuries travellers have told tales of magical landscapes, incredible people and surprising creatures. Chinese civilisation is the world’s oldest and today its largest. Home to more than 50 distinct ethnic groups and a wide range of traditional life styles to be explored China does not disappoint the curious traveller.
If you would like enjoy a splendid tailor-made journey through the Kingdom of Heaven, I would be delighted to design it for you.
“The efficient land management system of the rice terraces demonstrates extraordinary harmony between people and their environment.”