I think it’s pretty ironic that my favorite day (day #3, Sunday) of our entire trip to Guilin was a complete accident. Sometimes you have to just go with the flow.
As I mentioned in the previous post, the hostel we stayed at had a ton of great deals and tours that we were able to take advantage of. One was to go see the famous Longji rice terraces. The rice terraces, built more than 500 years ago, were built in between mountains and still used to cultivate rice today.
We were super pumped to see the rice terraces, because we had heard that they were so beautiful, and what’s more, the village we would be starting from would have an ethnic Zhuang minority group (which I was super interested in, because the language that the Zhuang people speak is somewhat related to Thai!). However, as soon as we got into the mini van that would take us to our destination, a lady from the hostel asked us, “so, you guys are doing the hike between the two villages, right? It takes three, maybe four hours?” We all looked around at each other. “I’m down for it!”, I said, and everyone else seemed up for it too. Three hours can’t be that bad!, we thought.
Well. For a non-hiker… it kinda was.
After about an hour, we were already sore and thirsty and ready to be done. We started in Dazhai, the first village, but had already arranged to be picked up in Ping’an, the second village. We had about four or five hours until we were supposed to meet our driver. And honestly thought we were almost halfway there.
After about two hours, we were a little concerned that we were lost. The lack of signs was pretty discouraging. And all of the seemingly random villages we kept on walking into was also slightly discouraging (except all the villagers were nicely able to point us in the right direction).
After about three hours, we more or less just shut up about any complaints or expectations or soreness because the views were way too worth it. Just sunk in the beauty. And realized we were DEFINITELY not going to be in Ping’an at the time our driver suggested.
And, eventually, despite following some very strange directions (including the direction of a sign that was legitimately on the ground, off of its post), we made it to Ping’an.
I can’t say I regret ANY part of it. As sore as we all were the next day, and the day after that (and maybe the day after that), what ended up being a 17-kilometer (10.5 mile) and nearly 6 hour hike was easily one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Even if towards the end I was ready to pass out on the side of a rice terrace (but if I had, I wouldn’t be complaining – if there’s a place to die, it’s a place that already looks like Heaven).
So, honestly, enough of my banter and just let these pictures speak for themselves (even though they can never and will never quite do the place justice).
But really, like I said – these photos cannot do this place justice. If you really want to know what the rice terraces are like you’re going to just have to go there yourself. And if I just so happen to wind up in your suitcase on your way there, I have a feeling you’ll know why.