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Longji Rice terraces

semi-overcast 14 °C

The next morning, we slept in and had breakfast at the hostel. We could see the beautiful harvested terraces out the window in the lobby area. Cats wandered in and out of the front door, leaving rodent treats for their owners. The hostel girls weren't too impressed. Construction rang out next door.
We used the free map to plan out our day of visiting the sights at Ping'an village and maybe the neighbouring one with the oldest rice terraces. The girl working at the front confirmed that it was possible to do.

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We started up toward the viewpoint of the Nine Dragons and Five Tigers. I wasn't sure I could do the whole hike with the uphill sections not letting up, but we eventually made it to the top. The view was pretty incredible every time we took a break. Our cameras got no rest during that climb.
The first crop of rice had been harvested and now the second crop was coming in slowly. Many of the terraces in this area were flooded, giving the spectacular views for miles. An impressive irrigation system was in place to transport water from one terrace to another via a dug channel or bamboo or cement open pathways. Small streams ran down the side of the rock path.

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At the viewpoint, the flooded terraces blended, one curve into another. Even with the overcast sky, the reflection still gleamed. A man at one of the shops at the top offered to take our picture with the Nine Dragons view in the back and we took him up on the offer. He had clearly done that a few times before. It was a bit odd to see the commercial shops up at the top of these beautiful terraces, although the terraces weren't naturally occurring either.

We walked to the next view point Seven Stars with the Moon, which took a bit longer than our first climb, maybe an hour. The green terraces rewarded our efforts along the now mainly flat trek. We passed larger bamboo forest as well as bamboo chopped and split in half that showed off the different segments.
This viewpoint had more shops and restaurants that the previous one had had, but luckily, there were enough Chinese tourists ahead of us to keep the vendors occupied. Some of the women would pay to get dressed up in ethnic-wear from the local tribes, like the Yao with a reputation for their incredibly long hair, and take pictures at the viewpoints.

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The visibility was starting to improve, the fog lifting and almost showing the mountains opposite us. We continued down the path to Old Zhuang village where the first rice terraces were a hundred or more years ago during the Qing dynasty. Our first attempt at reaching it got interrupted by us taking a random turn to marvel at more terraces at our level, but we soon realized the path would take us back to Ping'an, the village where we were staying.

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The real walk to Zhuang was pretty short and each viewpoint required a fair number of stairs. We walked on many concrete stairs and narrow paths through the village a bit to find the second viewpoint. There would be no way to bring a car up to any of these points which was why we saw everything hauled by people or animals. Chickens wandered the paths and dogs too. I couldn't help but pet an adorable one on the way down.

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We finally found the second viewpoint, a bit trickier when half the signs were uprooted and lying on the ground and we had to pick them up, reorient them and then find our way. The views again were nice, but I think the ones near Ping'an were probably the best.

The way back to the hostel was equally tricky. From our entrance point last night, we thought the town was small, but from the other side, hundreds of hotels, restaurants and other wooden/concrete buildings crawled the hillside. As we walked by, many had been locked up or were under construction. I read that during peak season, this village could hold up to 6,000 guests. A far cry from the current maybe hundred around in mid November.

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Eventually after climbing and descending many staircases, we found the road with some construction that we had walked up yesterday and we followed it down to the hostel. It was quite the trek yesterday, looking at it in the daylight. It was crazy how the body could just power through.
We settled in for a late lunch/early supper. I tried veggies and mushrooms, since they had such flavourful mushrooms around here but wished there were more of those and less greens. Ryan had his heart set on the sweet and sour pork (off the western food menu) as a French woman had recommended it to us yesterday.

Posted by Sarah.M 18:30 Archived in China Tagged dog village rice hike terrace longji zhuong

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Cool! P.S. I want that dog.

by Robsquatch

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