Monday, April 23, 2012

Chinese Hotels - Tian Ti (Longsheng)

Tian Ti Hotel - Longsheng, China - Summer 2008

On June 28-29 of 2008 my brother and I visited the Longji Rice Terraces near Longsheng, China in the village of Ti Tian. We stumbled upon this hotel shortly after arriving in Longsheng from Sanjiang. As we stepped off of our bus in Longsheng we were met by a group of individuals, 3 men and a lady asking if we would like to visit "Longji," the rice terraces. We did, so when asked if we would like to stay at this young lady's "house" we accepted.

We took about an hour bus ride up this narrow mountain road. After a number of stops of picking up and dropping off passengers and changing buses 3 times we finally arrived at Longji. Immediately we were greeted by little old ladies that looked like they were about 60 years old and maybe 5 feet tall and 100 lbs. They were offering to carry our bags for us up the mountain for a small fee of 100 RMB. My bag weighed about 70 lbs at this point from all the over packing I had done and the souvenirs I had purchased over the course of 3 weeks in China. First, I didn't feel like spending that much money to have someone carry my bags, and second, I didn't think they could carry it anyway. A few of the ladies insisted and followed us for a ways to the village from the bus depot, lowering their price as we walked. But soon they gave up.

After about 5 minutes of walking we arrived at a small village with wood houses, hotels, shops, and more. It seemed like a great place to stay and being tired from a long day of bus rides I was ready to rest, but sadly this was just the beginning of our ridiculous journey up the rice terraces.

The ladies that were offering to carry our bags kept saying it was really far, but I assumed they were exaggerating. After about 15 minutes of walking straight up this stupid rice fields I was wishing I had just paid them the money and made them carry my bags. I can't walk slow or stop, and with a huge overweight bag on my back it wasn't helping matters any. I always just think if I keep walking it'll be over sooner, so that's what we did, kept going. We passed through two villages before we arrived in Tian Ti. Each time we came to a house, hotel, or anything that looked like shelter I was hoping the young lady we came with would tell us we had arrived. With about 10 minutes left before we arrived a teenage boy met us and took us the rest of the way. I believe the girl was his older sister and she had fallen behind a ways. She had called him on a cell phone to take us the rest of the way. Even in the middle of nowhere the Chinese have cell phone service. Eventually, after about 45 minutes, we finally reached the village of Tian Ti.

Tian Ti, like all the villages in this part of the rice terrace, was very small. It seemed like it was almost empty, maybe 50-60 people at most. If there were more I never saw them and most of the buildings seemed empty, and wide open. I guess because it's not a very crowded area and not many tourists seemed to visit these villages, although there were alot of hotels. Maybe it was just the time of year, who knows. Right when we arrived another young lady, maybe 24-28, I couldn't tell, greeted us. She offered us water and immediately began cooking us food. The service was already excellent. After eating a very delicious meal we were taken to our room. This place was huge. It had a relatively large dining area with a tv and computer, but I think the computer was only intended for the boy, he played games on it nonstop it seemed like. In total I think there were maybe 20 rooms and three floors. We stayed on the third floor, so it made for a nice climb every morning and every night. We were the only one's staying there. The room was very nice, and had a great view of the terraces out our 3 large windows. Pretty much the entire wall was windows. The place was great for the summer, but there was no insolation and the roof was open at the top by the rafters on the sides, so in winter if it gets cold there you'd freeze.

The location was a little tough getting to, but once you do it is worth the trip. Unlike the rest of China we visited, it was very isolated and peaceful, not that the rest of China isn't peaceful, but it's different at the rice terraces. The village was also a good spot for starting hiking trips through the terraces. Which we did over a 2 day period. Probably 2 of the best days I spent in China.

There were a number of reasons for this. One was the hospitality. Anytime we wanted food, water, anything, the people were willing to help. Especially the young lady I mentioned before that greeted us as we arrived at the hotel. The lady that brought us there I rarely saw, I guess she has a job or something and the boy and other girl take care of the hotel.

The other reason I enjoyed this hotel was the price. It was 20 RMB a night per person. The food was a little expensive and so was the water, especially compared to other hotels in the area, but it was good so it wasn't a big issue. One thing I will mention is that they didn't show us the price of food until we checked out and put everything on the bill. They never wrote anything down in front of us so I kept wondering if they were going to charge us enough money, after seeing the food bill I don't think that was a problem. It was still only about $30 per person for two days of food and lodging.

The shower was kinda cold, but I think that's because they explained how to use it in chinese, and I didn't really catch all the directions. With it being so hot though I managed.

The people in this area are also known for their long hair and embroidery. I bought a blanket that had been sewed by one of the young ladies at our hotel, the cook. It was pretty cheap and really nicely done. I thought for all her hard work and hospitality it would be nice to buy one from her. I didn't even try to bargain with her although I'm sure I could have.

So to sum up, the location is good, but not great, only because the hike is pretty tough but definately worth it. The value was excellent for what you get. It's empty, so very clean and seemed like it had just been built not long ago. If you visit the area I would recommend staying here.

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