Gavin Van Hinsbergh
The Gongcheng Peach Blossom Festival
Every year for about two weeks in mid March the peach trees in Gongcheng County, Guilin Prefecture, come in to bloom. Crowds are drawn to the hills around Daling Shan, to admire, walk amongst, and be photographed with the trees adorned with pale pink and maroon blossom. This is what’s known as the Gongcheng Peach Blossom Festival.
It made an enjoyable day out to visit this out of the way place, which is little visited by foreign tourists. Peach blossom is considered extremely beautiful in China and is a traditional subject of Chinese painting. I particularly liked the maroon blossom, the less common variety. The exposed limestone of the hills contrasted beautifully with the flowers and new leaves. Various local foods and souvenirs were sold by locals at the side of the mountain road thronged with tourists, which wound its way through the peach trees.
Daling Shan is a village about 6 km (4 mi) south of Xiling Town, a district level market settlement about 18 km (11 mi) north of the county town of Gongcheng. Gongcheng Town is located 80 km (50 mi) southeast of Guilin City, and 40 km (25 mi) east of Yangshuo Town.
Gongcheng is a Yao Minority Autonomous County. Yao people are famous for living among remote mountains, having different traditional costumes and customs to the majority Han Chinese, a variety of languages (mostly mienic, like that spoken by some tribes in Thailand), and drinking oil tea. Several “Gongcheng Oil Tea” shops have been opened in Guilin City, where drinking this flavorsome broth and other Gongcheng foods is becoming more popular. The “Red Yao” of Longsheng are famous for their terraced hill farming and women with very long hair. The Yao of Gongcheng are of different tribes.