|Located approximately 27 kilometers (about 16 miles) southeast of Longsheng County, a vast region of rice terraces stretches layer upon layer, coiling around from the base of Longji (the dragons backbone) Mountain to its summit. This is the most amazing terrace in China, the Dragons Backbone Rice Terraces. Construction of the terraces began in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and continued until the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when construction was completed. The Dragons Backbone Rice Terraces are the culmination of both the profound wisdom and strenuous labor of the Zhuang people.
Now, the Dragons Backbone Rice Terraces covers an area of 66 square kilometers (about 16308 acres) and spans an altitude between 300 meters (about 984 feet) and 1100 meters (about 3608 feet). It is said, Where there is soil, there is a terrace, be it in the valley, with swift flowing river to the mountains summit with its swirling cloud cover, or from bordering verdant forest to the cliff walls. Even though the Dragons Backbone Rice Terraces is large, it is made up of numerous patches no more than 1 mu (it is a traditional unit of area in China, currently call shimu) (about 0.16 acres). The smaller ones like snails while the bigger one like towers. The outline is very smooth with gradients between 26 degrees and 35 degrees.
The Dragons Backbone Rice Terraces is a beautiful natural picture. The linked together rice terraces vary from season to season. In spring, the water is irrigated into the fields and the terraces look like great chains or ribbons hung on the hillsides. When the onset of summer, green waves rush continuously down the mountainside from the heaven. The theme of autumn is the harvest, with the mountainside decorated with the gold of ripened millet. Coming into winter, the whole mountain will be covered with white snow, just like dragons playing with water.
As well as its amazing scenery, Longji is also the area to visit to experience Chinas ethnic minorities culture. The Zhuang and the Yao nationalities live here, though mainly it is the Zhuang people. The women dress in unique and colorful costumes, singing and dancing. Guests also can join in with them to enjoy the original Zhuang life and culture, and even stay with local families enjoying both the Longji tea and the Longji wine.
HOTELS IN LONGSHENG
Panorama Hotel: Dazhais Highest Hotel
Outstanding views of Dazhai Rice Terrace Valley. The ex- and interior are entirely made of wood which gives the place a wonderful atmosphere. Cheap too: 20 yuan per bed (40 for a single) and you can stay under your blankets watching the sunrise! See my Things To Do chapter for more pictures.
Li Qing Guesthouse
We did not spend a night in Lonji Titan, with hind sight, we should have. There are plenty of guesthouses like this one in Ping An (we had lunch here). Check and pick the one you like. Please note that, not all of them are operated by locals. Some are owned by people from Yangshuo or Guilin, cashing in on the new tourist spot.
The guesthouse offers a kind of free leaf tea that has quite unique flavor. According to the owner, its picked on this mountain which can freshening you up.
Elegant Hostel: Strategic Accommodation
The Hostel is owned by the local - Hong Yao Tribe. Facilities are reasonable - hot shower, clean toilet, good local food, and wine to keep body warm. The Owner - Auntie Shu - is a friendly and warm person. From guide to chef, Auntie Shu and her family will try their best to look after fellow travellers. We feel like being part of the family.
Cozy home feeling. It is a strategic move - to stay at this hostel as it is only abt 10 mins walk from the Da Zhai town. Once u unloaded your heavy backpack (I carried a 50 Litre one), you can go trek up the 3 scenic points way up - but at an enjoyable pace. Auntie Shu is always smiling and enjoying the company of foreigners =) Note: The other hostels are high up - this means u have to walk up abt 45 - 1 hr up (Dun forget the return trip). Of cos, you can get a porter.