Ping'an and the Longji Rice Terraces at Longsheng

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September 22nd 2018
Published: September 24th 2018
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We arrived in Guilin after a 1.5 hour flight from Lijiang. After collecting our bags we met a very giggly Chinese lady who was our driver for the 2.5 hour trip to Ping'an. The trip was beautiful but very slow (and included a stop to refuel and get the car washed); our driver didn't do much for certain stereotypes which exist about her gender or race...

On arrival at the gate to enter Ping'an we said farewell to our driver and avoided the women offering to carry our bags in baskets on their backs (Scott's bag has wheels and mine is a backpack so we're not sure why we needed someone to put our bags into a basket and then carry them...nor would we have felt comfortable watching a grandma lug our bags up the hill..).

After a 10 minute walk up our hill we arrived at our hotel. After entering our room I was glad I had paid a little extra to get a room with a balcony; we had the most amazing view over the mountains and rice terraces from it. It also had a bathroom door which was a nice change!

Construction of the Longji Rice Terraces commenced during the Yuan dynasty and were completed in the early Qing dynasty, making them approximately 650 to 800 years old. The terraces are carved into the hillside at altitudes of between 600 to 800m above sea level.

We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the view from our balcony and reading our books. We eventually headed down for dinner where we ordered the local specialty dishes; chicken cooked inside bamboo, rice cooked inside bamboo and some local wild vegetables. Scott had a beer and I tried the local rice wine which was a vast improvement on my last rice wine. This one tasted more like the delicious milky coloured rice wine we'd had in Korea.

The following morning I got up to see the sunrise over the mountains whilst Scott slept in. The sunrise wasn't all that amazing but it was still worth getting up for.

After breakfast we met our guide for the day; he was the approximately 60+ year old father in law of the hotel owner. We headed up the hill through Ping'an village and towards the Nine Dragons and Five Tigers viewpoint. As we got closer to the view point we encountered hundreds of Chinese tourists making their way up the stairs in high heels and dresses (you have to look pretty your selfie!). Our guide was set on getting in front of the Chinese tourists so by the time we reached the view point we were both rather sweaty and puffed.

After checking out the view for a while we headed along a track and away from the crowds in the direction of Zhong Liu. Most of this section of the walk was uphill so it was fairly tiring, particularly given the high temperature and high humidity, but the scenery was lovely so it made it worth it.

Eventually we ended up on a small path winding through rice paddies. We eventually reached Zhong Liu which apparently used to be a small village with traditional style houses, but it appears that the government (or someone) has decided it needs to be turned into another cluster of guesthouses. It was an odd place with partially finished houses and roads with no apparent residents (yet).

We continued out of the town and back into the gorgeous rice paddies. We stopped briefly at the top of one of the hills where we were accosted by a group of local 'long hair tribe' (Red Yao) women trying to sell us water. The were very enthusiastic and had cold water so we purchased some despite the somewhat inflated price which seemed to make their day. I'm sure they had a good laugh at the sweaty bum shaped patch Scott left behind when we set off through the paddies again.

About 3.5 hours after we left the hotel we reached Tiantou where we stopped for lunch (eggs and tomato, green beans and a pork and onion dish). We had about an hours break before continuing on to the viewpoint for the West Hill Music terraces.

After checking out the view we started making our way downhill. We stopped briefly at the Thousand Layer Terraces viewpoint before continuing down the hill to Dazhai. At Dazhai we met up with the driver who would take us on the 40 minute trip back to our hotel in Ping'An.

By the time we arrived back at the hotel we were quite tired and most definitely in need of a shower. We really enjoyed the walk (even with the fast pace our guide set; no doubt would have covered the route in half the time we did if he didn't have us slowing him down). The scenery was stunning and the majority of the time it was really lovely and quiet.

That night we had dinner at the hotel again (chicken with green chillies and a potato dish which has deliciously sweet onions); before heading back to our room to read books.

The following morning we set off up the hill again in the direction of the Longji village. We took a slight wrong turn in Ping'an which saw us do a nice loop (that involved many stairs). The second time we had much more luck and after not long we found ourselves among the rice terraces with a cute puppy as our guide.

The scenery was so beautiful, but unfortunately the sky was a lot more hazy than the previous day. After about 40 minutes walking the track got a lot busier (Chinese tourists in high heels...) so we figured we must be getting closer to Longji. We stopped on the outskirts of the town and had a rest before turning around and heading back to Ping'an.

After a shower and some book reading we packed up our room and checked out. After lunch we met up with the driver who would take us to our next destination. We both really enjoyed our (short) time in Ping'an; hopefully we managed to capture just how stunning the scenery was in our photos.

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