After an overnight in Yichang (not much to report on Yichang, we only ate and slept there) and a very long (all day) train ride we finally made it to Guilin, the gateway to the Li River. Our hotel here was fantastic and in a really good location. From our hotel we could see Elephant Trunk Hill, watch the fishermen on the river (stunning the fish), and enjoy the mountains off in the distance.
We only had one full day in Guilin to do something so we decided to visit the Longji Rice Terraces and Dazhai Village. We hired a car and driver for the day and set out in the rain. This area is home to the Yao ethnic people and there are a few different villages around the terraces. It’s about a 2 hour drive from Guilin but the scenery was gorgeous and even though it was raining on and off we still really enjoyed our time there.
The name Longji means dragons backbone and these terraces do kind of look like a dragon’s back and they are ancient, they date back to the Yuan Dynasty. We loved how the villages and houses were set in among the terraces and how the little stone paths wound through different areas connecting each village. It was really picturesque!
We did a half day trek here and just soaked in the scenery and the feeling of being up in the clouds. At some points the clouds completely hid the terraces and then moments later they drifted away unveiling the magnificent views…it was mystical.
The rice was just starting to turn golden and harvesting would take place soon. It was nice to see it this colour and it’s one of the busier times for visitors in the area.
We stopped at Huangluo Yao Village on our way back to Guilin to walk around a bit. The ladies here are known as the ‘long haired women’. They believe that long hair can bring longevity, good luck, and wealth. Traditionally, they wear their hair up in a bun and if a woman’s hair is completely covered by a head scarf then she is single. Married women will only partly cover their head and leave their hair bun showing. Apparently they only cut their hair once in their life just before they are married and we were told they wash their hair in fermented rice so they never get grey hair (I wish someone would have told me about that).
It was a long day but we were glad we took the time to visit this gorgeous area near Guilin, it should not be missed!
Where we stayed: Golden Oriole Hotel