The Longji Rice Terraces were one of the main spots I wanted to check out when I started initially doing research on this China trip. I saw a blogpost on the ‘Dragon’s Backbone’ and saw the rice terraces looking like scales and instantly got ideas in my head of seeing ladies picking rice and tumbling hills. When I found out it was near Guilin (which also looked pretty awesome), I was set on visiting and checking it out. The Longji Rice Terraces are huge and I still don’t really understand the definition around them but I think they’re divided into two sections – Ping’an and Dazhai. Both are supposedly stunning and then amongst them are several villages where people work and you can also stay and hop between them. On our hike we saw several people with suitcases moving from one accommodation to another in a nearby place. If I was to go again I would spend two days up here and really get lost in the area as it’s absolutely incredible. For some reason I imagined open fields but the reality is because of the hills and height, you really do get lost up in the mountains (and we did). There are so many paths, twists and turns and we went on a particularly foggy day where at one point all we could see was mist.
I’m sure you can organise the trip yourself but through our accommodation in Guilin we booked a driver. We woke up at the crack of dawn and rode for two hours in a minivan whilst watching the sunrise. You know when you get close as the roads start getting really narrow and hilly – our driver was a superstar. There was a quick stop as the driver went to buy us tickets to the fields and then we arrived at the Dazhai entrance. We were given some really rough map leaflets but your best bet is to just ask the locals as the signs are super tricky. My main highlights were the Tiantou Village which is right at the top of this cluster of terraces. We stopped for lunch there at what felt like someone’s house and had the most amazing view of these horses running around the rice. After that we planned on seeing some of the scenic spots but ended up following a dog into what felt like Spirited Away. The higher we climbed the mistier it got and the more abandoned everywhere seemed to get. It is a lot of walking and a lot of uphills so do keep that in mind (maybe come in the summer as spring seemed to be quite wet and slippery). We did see a lot of Yao women carrying baskets around the small tracks and also sewing – I did actually buy a blanket from one of them and they were so charming and friendly. We asked a lot of them for directions whilst we were hiking and on multiple occasions they offered to cook us food which was really sweet. It is a really wonderful place and really does feel like you’re in a film – it’s nothing like I’ve experienced before.