June 11, 2015 – June 13, 2015
Our next destination was the remote and very photogenic rice terraces in Dazhai, China. Located high in the mountainous region of Longsheng county in Guangxi province, the hills are covered in miles and miles of delicately made terraces, maintained in the region for hundreds of years.
The region is remote and will take a few bus transfers, to ever smaller and more crowded buses, and finally a 45 minute long hike from Dazhai up into the hills and nearby Tiantou village. The hills are dotted with many small rice terraced villages, and Tiantou village is one of the most remote that is set up for tourism, and perhaps the most beautiful of them.
Hiking to Ping An
Dazhai is just one of many small terraced villages dotting the countryside, and if you have time you can visit the others either by bus or, if it is not raining too hard, on foot. Ping An, perhaps the most popular of the various villages is about a 3.5 hour hike from Dazhai. It is recommended that you hire a guide, as the unmarked trail seems to wander about randomly with plenty of off shoots, none of which have anything in the way of signage. We lucked out and joined some other hikers from our hostel who had already arranged for a guide. Ask your hostel or guest house about guides, most villages have several on hand to guide tourists around.
Ping An is a very photogenic village, which when combined with its easier access by bus, makes it very popular and crowded with visitors. We hadn’t spotted so many foreigners in one spot since Shanghai. There are plenty of great views, but the village has ten times the tourists of Dazhai/Tiantou and feels a bit ‘touristy’, but well worth a day trip. We took a bus back to Dazhai and hiked back up to our hostel, which was much easier the second time without our large packs.
The View from Upper Dazhai
We spent a second day at the rice terraces, and it turned out to be a very rainy day. We spent most of our time relaxing on sofas in the nice common area of our hostel. By late afternoon, the rain let up a bit so we decided to hike up to the highest viewpoint above Dazhai and Tiantou village. We found an uncrowded view which easily rivaled the more popular Ping An, in fact we thought it was better.
From here we made our way to our last destination in mainland China, the beautiful pointy karst mountains of Yangshuo…