Wandering Mountain Rice Terraces
Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
257Trip End Jan 31, 2012
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Where I stayed
yinhe luguan in Dazhai
What I did
Wander the rice terraces
Had an early start for the bus and luckily had the hostel owners to tell me I needed to go to a different bus station (compared to LP) to get the bus to Lonsheng where I needed to transfer.
Day is basically cloudy with rain and I am just hoping that the mountains arent completely hidden with cloud.
Had a nice drive up in the local buses to get to the place with some nice views, even if cloudy, of the mountains, rivers and villages along the way. Also saw a few people in the local traditional dress and the long hair women with their hair tied up in a scarf at the tourist info center where I had to buy my ticket ($12).
Read somewhere that Longsheng is suppose to have women with the worlds longest hair though all the women I saw had their hair bundled up in a scarf on top of their heads
Felt nice to be back in a real mountain area again.
Upon arriving at Dazhai was approached by people trying to take me to a hotels. Given it was raining and I didnt want to wander aimlessly around decided to at least go and take a look. Ended up taking the room for $1 less than originally asked for. Nice enough place by the river though there was one place of on the hillside that would ahve given a nicer view. Also could have walked the 1km up hill to the next town but given the weather and the fact that it probably would have cost more, decided against it.
After dumping my bag decided to put the rain coat on a go for a wander. While it was drizzling most of the first hour and raining down for part of it at least the mountains werent completely hidden by the clouds. Started out by wandering a bit up to the terraces behind the village but after a while found that the trail didnt get me to far before disappearing into the terraces.
Nice view from up here of the town below and some of the nearby rice terraces above it
Slowly made my way up the hill and found that I had found the start of the trail to the various scenic spots in the area. Decided to start out by heading to the next town Zhongliu. On the way started to pour again so ended up hiding under the eave of the other hotel listed in LP. This one was located up on the hill and had some views of the valley or at least would have if it wasnt cloudy.
Once the rain eased up a bit kept wandering up hill and found a small side trail to a waterfall. From here decided to do a small side trip towards budda peak. Didnt make it all the way but along the way wandered through another small village and along some terraces on the their outer ridges. Given each terrace is 1-1.5m high you definately would not want to slip.
Wandered around for a bit and had some nice views of the terraces. At least when the clouds cleared a bit. Lots and lots of terraces covering the whole mountain side. Could see that a number of terraces were full of water while others were empty. Even had some small water walls as water fell from some of the higher terraces to the lower ones. Definately a pity the suns not out but at least the clouds arent completely enshrouding.
Could also see people working in a number of the terraces tilling the gound with a hoe or using a hore to do it
Headed back to the main trail and continued onto the village. Found that this place was located on the mountain above a whole pile of terraces and was bigger than the village I was staying in.
While walking along the trail I passed a number of locals in traditional dress. Was refreshhing to have people say hello to you as you pass each other. Seems like a very pleasant local community spirit exists in the area. People seem to be able to make the effort to say hello to those they met. Also seems that a lot of the chinese tourists use the locals as porters to carry their stuff as they walk around the fields.
Walk through the village and saw some intersting handcraft in the area. Had thought of buying buying a drink but $1.20 for a can of coke was to much. The next place , which spoke no english, sold me a bottle of coke of $0.70 which is more reasonable (0.40 in city supermarket).
Kept walking up hill and passed by the trail I was hoping to take the following day
Kept walking uphill until I reached scenic Spot 1. Highest point I could get to and from here had some great views down into the valley of terraces full of water and refelcting light. Pity the sun wasnt willing to come out.
After taking in the views for a while headed back down towards scenic spot 2 which gave some views of the valley from another high vantage point. Unfortunately by this point some clouds were starting to roll in and it wasnt possible to see down towards the village or into the valley containing it.
Headed back to the house I was staying in but first stopped off to have a meal a restuarant along the way. Ended up getting a nice beef fried rice though given Im in China I have to wander if its got MSG in it for flavouring.
Longji - Day 2 - Walk to and back from Ping'an
Suppose to be a nice walk with and easy enough trail between Dazhai and Ping'an
Was raining when I looked out the window so decided to have a later start than originally planned. Unfortunately a little later on I mistook the sound of the river for rain so started a bit later than I might have otherwise.
Lots of chinese tourists in the area. Also seems to be a common practise among them to pay one of the locals to be a porter and carry their packs for them. Guess if you speak chinese it gives you a chance to interact with a local though not sure about how much they'll try to sell you. To be fair though. unlike Yangshou, if you say no they tend to leave you alone fairly quickly and dont keep harassing you.
Headed pretty quickly to the trail head leading to the next town. Only stop was at the place I had bought a drink the day before. In the end decided to buy a piece of cloth with some of the local stitching in it. Looks pretty good and am assuming its had done given what I had seen some local ladies doing the day before.
From looking at a map the previous day I knew I had 5km to reach the next town then a further 3km to reach my destination. Had decided to walk there and back since I was hoping that at least one of the two times I went past an area there would be no clouds and secondly wasnt too sure if I needed another ticket to get back in if I caught a bus back.
From the trail head heading up hill for a bit before cresting it and seeing another valley that was full of terraces
At this point the trail ran along a terrace and was embeded with stones so seemed pretty straight forward to follow. From here could see a number of people working the terraces either by hand, with a hoe or mechanical plow.
Along the way, ran into one local lady guiding some people who wanted to pay her for a photo. Decided to do it since I wanted a photo of someone with their long hair. While it must be true that the women in the area have the worlds longest hair, there is a guinese world record related to it, I found that this is not true of everyone. The lady I paid to take a photo of actually didnt have super long hair. Rather she entwine a number of separate lengths of hair in order to make her hair appear the length you see in the photos.
Kept walking for an hour or so longer with varying levels of cloud obsuring the views. Along the way also left the terraces a couple of times to walk through some forest area to get over a hill and reach the next area. For the most part the trail was clear except when I headed through a region with a few houses
Made it to the first town without to much trouble then had to navigate my way through it. Definately the most likely place you could loose the trail. Luckily saw a few people coming the other way (one was a large group of americans) so had a good idea which way to go. Seems that unlike me most people I saw coming the other way had paid someone to be a porter/guide.
Hill above the village definately had some nice views.
Kept walking another hour and reakon I was about a half hour from the town i was heading to before turning back. It was starting to get late and I wanted to make sure I had enough time to get back. Besides which the clouds had closed in on the trail and I seemed to be walking down further and further into them.
Managed to head back without getting lost and with varying degrees of visibility along the trail. Once again saw a number of people working in the terraces. Also occurred to be that it looked like the sides of the terraces were getting clean of all the growth they had before the terrace was plowed.
Not sure why though. Guess one possible reason is that the green stuff decomposes in the water and provides fertiliser for the rice. To be honest though dont really know. Just an observation.
Got a decent photo on the way back when I passed some chinese guys who must have paid a local to pose for then out of one of the building windows
Ended to day with a beef and potato dish and some bayberry wine though one mouthful of the winde was enough. It basically tasted the way I would expect turpintine to taste based on its smell. Also got given some alcoholic drink (I think) that was white and had the fizzy taste of cider (though it wasnt cider). Unlike the wine this was definately drinkable.
Transit to Chengdu
Woke up to find blue sky mixed in with clouds. Unfortunately the 1:30pm train means I need to catch the 9am bus to Guilin so no time to go wander. Pity I didnt get the ticket to Xian since I would have had an extra 4 hours to have gone for a walk.
Given the better weather had some nice views of the mountains on the way back to Guilin. Here had a 2 hr wait (train 30min late) before train for Chengdu arrived.
Not much to do on the train. Sat by the window for a bit, slept a bit and wrote up this blog entry before the battery on my laptop went flat. Also this time new about the hot water tank on the train so had some noodles in a cup for dinner.
Once again had to give my ticket to a conductor and got a plastic card with my ticket info on it. Guess they use it so they know when to let people know its their stop. As far as I can guess you get your actual ticket back again when the next station your arriving at is the station on the ticket.