Travel Report One

Longji Rice Terraces, Guangxi Province

The Longji rice terraces are old – probably originating 700 years ago. The villages are still home to different ethnic minorities. Many women wear traditional costumes and never cut their hair. (It may even be true that this is not just for the tourists.)

Some very small and usually not-so-young ladies will carry your bags to Ping’an and Tiantou on their backs – and they’ll do it with strength and endurance that you won’t be able to match no matter how long you’ve spent in the gym. Wow, those ladies are tough.

Accommodation: The hotels at Tiantou, home of the Thousand Layer Terraces, have spectacular views, but are a significant trek uphill from Dazhou village.

This is a hilly, rather than mountains, region. Summer is the rainey season.

There is a cable car at Dazhou, leading to a village development that includes some pleasant restaurants.

You won’t be the only one with a camera.

The papperazzi are out to snap a celebrity – a star indeed – the early morning sun over the terraces.

Guilin, the nearest city to the terraces, is something of a tourist centre itself, being the centre of amazing karst scenery. Nearby is the tourist town of Yangshuo. The trip between these two places can be done along the Li River.

There are also many ‘show caves’ in the region, with fantastical stalactite formations.

Fishermen with their trained cormorants are more than happy to be photographed, as here at sunrise on the Li River between Guiling and Yangshuo.

Guilin Liangjiang International Airport is 25km south-west of the city. That’s on the opposite side of the city to the Longsheng area and the terraces. The city is well-served by China’s excellent high-speed trains.

There are several buses every day from Guilin to Longsheng, from Qin Tan bus station, and buses to Dazhai village may be available from Guilin train station.

Guilin is in southern China, and with modest altitude of only about 150m it is rarely very cold. However, the valley at the rice terraces rises to 800m and the hills to over 1500m, so accordingly they are significantly cooler.

Hotels and Food Travel Report Two