All Posts / China 2013

The prettiest post: Longji rice terraces

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).


A group picture at the top of the first set of stairs/first rice terrace overlooking Dazhai village. Please note that this picture was taken BEFORE we sweat through all our clothes and look absolutely abysmal.


A local seemed to be headed the same way as us for a length of time and I snapped this shot as I hiked behind her – I think she was trying to be our “guide” but we kindly refused (even though we probably honestly could have used the insider knowledge. Oh well)


Looking down on the first rice terrace view, the village of Dazhai can be seen at the bottom


Rice terraces are cute.


The only somewhat sad thing about the hike was that we went during the autumn, so all the rice had already been picked for harvest and the scenery wasn’t as green as we had seen in pictures. But to be honest, I think this only enhanced the beauty – we got to see it from a perspective that not many others do.


Giant mountains in the distance


No idea what this structure could be used for, but it’s there.


Val and Kim’s “where are we right now?!” pose


This adorable couple from Holland did the trek with us – they were so much fun and such good sports!


Thankfully there was still SOME green for us to see 🙂


Passing through a village and we could peek into some of the houses – I love seeing bits and pieces of daily life like this.


It wasn’t the clearest day, but still clear enough to see the mountains in the distance.


The winding paths dipped up and down – we walked on the tops of terraces, and then stair stepped down into valley paths. The scenery was beautiful from every perspective.


Another quick peak at daily village life – the houses in this village that we passed through were extremely precarious! It seemed like the entire village was at a slant.


The views didn’t get old.


Walking behind Sarah and another hostel companion, you can get a feel for what the paths were like.




Take me back!






Does the powerline in this photo look weird? It kind of did to me – but it was probably the only powerline in the entire hike


The view of a village we passed through on this trek – this village was the one that was literally at a slant (and maybe now you can see why!)


Not sure what this structure was. Just looked cool.


Some of the terraces still had water in them.


I’m not sure why some things were burning (a fertilization thing perhaps?), but if anything, it added to the beauty


I would like to eat the rice that comes from this mountain.


Towards the second half of the hike, we started being surrounded by these pretty, fluffy, tall grass things. This is cheesy, but it felt so magical. Like being in a fairy’s garden or something.


You can juuust see Val’s backpack in this photo






This dreamy stuff


Like I said, magical


Aaaand finally… we start to see Ping’an village (but still had to go down!)


The view of Ping’an village from the top of the rice terraces.


Again – with sunset


Could not have asked for a better day.

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.


4 thoughts on “The prettiest post: Longji rice terraces

  1. Pingback: Longji Rice Terraces (龙脊梯田): Six Hours Later | Petite Panda

  2. Pingback: Influenced by Travel { 4 } | Influenced by Books & Travel

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