In which I visit Longsheng Rice Terraces
I have to be honest, my visit to Longsheng Rice Terraces was amazing. It’s not often I get to travel and visit places with other people, as I am more than accustomed to travelling on my own now. So it was a bit of a novelty and luxury for me for Agness, Cez and I to meet up and spend a couple of days together. It’s also great when you meet people after communicating for a long time and they turn out to be even more awesome than you’d expected!
Agness and Cez arrived from Dongguan on an overnight bus and therefore I met them when they arrived at the hostel. We had a bit of a chat as it was pretty much the first time we hadn’t communicated just via email! They also brought breakfast for me with them:
Then we had a discussion about what to do. We asked the hostel reception desk about going on the river, only to be told that the boats had stopped because of an accident the previous day, and they could be stopped for the next couple of days. What?! We only had two days…
Anyway, next choice was the Longsheng Rice Terraces, rices terraces cut into the sides of hill which are over 500 years old and up to 1180m above sea level. There was a tour, but by the time we’d decided it had already left, plus it was 450RMB and we didn’t want to pay that. That’s more than the price I paid in Beijing to see the Great Wall – that doesn’t make sense at all…
We knew that there would be some way of getting there without a tour and we were determined to find it. I’d found a map in the hostel of local sights and it had details of buses on there. All I could read for Longsheng Rice Terraces was the fact that we had to get to the long distance bus station, so off we went….
Only to be told by the ticket sellers that there wasn’t a bus to Longsheng Rice Terraces. This was most likely to be a massive lie, as we’d passed many touts trying to sell us a trip to the terraces outside the bus station. So try we did to get a low price from them to get there, as it looked liked it was the only way we’d get out of the city. The three of us split up and asked different sellers, and eventually a price of 50RMB per person for a 2 hour+ car journey was reached.
The car, as it turned out, was actually really comfy and the driver not too crazy by Chinese standards. We shared the ride with 3 Chinese girls from Hunan who were actually staying in Longsheng Rice Terraces overnight too. They were a Godsend on the journey as they managed to help us agree with the driver for the return journey to Guilin, at exactly the same price despite the fact that it would only be the three of us in the car. Pretty lucky really as often the Chinese charge for a “bao che” or “full car.”
We gave the driver 80RMB each to buy the tickets for the rice terraces. Cez went with him to make sure that he wasn’t fleecing us. He wasn’t. Then we had to drive another 23km into the mountains to get to the entrance, which the driver did. We had not expected the terraces to be quite so deep into the mountains, well at least I hadn’t. The weather had also cleared up – we’d driven through rain and very low cloud on the almost 3 hour journey and we were lucky that it had cleared up enough by the time we got to Longsheng Rice Terraces that we would be able to fully appreciate them.
We had negotiated with a driver a 3 hours visit. He was trying to get us to go in the cable car (or “line in the sky” as the 3 girls had so poetically described it to us) but we decided to walk. Up and up we went through little villages until we could see the terraces themselves. They are also known as “Longji” rice terraces, which translates to “dragon’s back.” Apparently in the correct spot it looks like a dragon’s back.
Not sure I can attest to that, but needless to say, the views at the top? Wow. We were not in the season when they are filled with water, as that is in early June, however they were still spectacular, all the more so for our physical exertion!
We saw one of the ponies working the fields and walking up the terraces to do more work.
There were plenty of signs to show the way back around the loop
and plenty of hostels for those that wanted to stay the night, offering everything that someone might want.
I also found a random penguin sticker on one of the steps heading back down the terraces:
We managed the loop (it was a loop) in about 2 and a half hours so actually returned back to Guilin a little earlier than planned, but we were quite tired and happy after the brilliant hike, especially as we’d only paid 180RMB for the whole day, instead of the 450RMB tour. Score!