Longji Rice Terraces: Stairway to Heaven

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Last minute decision to spend a night in the Dazhai village of Longsheng to view the rice terraces.  Hiking in the rain.  Slippery, muddy paths.  Unmarked forks.  Two hours searching for my hostel located somewhere up in the mountain, and finally meeting a nice young Chinese guy who took it upon himself to help me look for it.  All worth it for these views.

Viewpoint: “Thousand layers to the heaven” with the Dazhai village below. I stumbled upon this while searching for my hostel.

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The construction of the Longji Rice Terraces began in the Yuan Dynasty (~1279-1368).  It is located in the Longsheng county in the southern Guangxi province.  The Zhuang and Yao nationalities live here and farm the fields.  It’s interesting to see the landscape changes as I travel south from when I started my trip in Beijing 4 weeks ago.  So far I’ve visited a combination of big cities (Beijing, Xī’ān, Chengdu) and little/medium-sized towns (Dàtóng, Píngyáo).  Hot and rainy weather greeted me here but the mountain air was a good change from the city smog.

These terraces are also known as the “Dragon’s backbone”.  The best ones can be viewed in the villages of PingAn and Dazhai.  One can hike to many viewpoints within a village, or from village to village.  Spend a night or two here–when the timing is right you can walk for miles with only a few villagers crossing your paths and vast rice fields as far as your eyes can see.

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One morning, after a good rain, I hiked up to this viewpoint “Music from Paradise”.  Clouds covered the entire fields and I (and a few enthusiastic photographers) waited for more than an hour for the clouds to clear up.  The view was spectacular as the clouds slowly lifted and little by little the fields unfold.

Longji rice terraces
Waiting for the clouds to lift after a rain.

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Viewpoint: “Music from paradise”

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It was interesting to watch the locals work the fields throughout the day.

A woman wearing the traditional dress

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View from my hostel. For $4/bed a night, can’t beat this view.

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local carrying suitcase Longji rice terraces
For a fee (~100 Yuan) a local woman will carry your suitcase to your lodgings. Who brings a suitcase to the mountains??

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Leave it to the Chinese to put cable cars in the middle of the rice terraces.  These will take you the highest viewpoint called “Buddha’s Peak” — or much better: you can do the 3 hour hike in time to watch the sunset.

cable cars on Longji

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To get to Dazhai village from Guilin: take the direct bus from Guilin (cost: 50 Yuan).  The bus stop is located next to the HongKong hotel in Guilin. The trip to Dazhai takes 3 hours.  The bus will stop at Heping first and someone will board the bus to sell the entrance tickets (95 Yuan). Everything will be spoken in Mandarin, just go with the flow –buy the ticket here. You need a ticket to enter the villages.  Then the bus will continue on to Dazhai and drop you off at the entrance.

2 Replies to “Longji Rice Terraces: Stairway to Heaven”

  1. I think could stay there forever..fresh air, tranquil surrounding, local dishes, beer and a nice chat with the locals every night. but I would like a heli to take me there hehe

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