Not far from Guilin, around 95kms, lie the breathtaking rice terraces of Longji. Amongst these flowing hills of lush green forest and rice, is Dazhai village. I cannot recommend this place enough, whether you’re looking for adventure and hiking or just time to relax in a serene location surrounded by some of the most beautiful country scenery I’ve ever seen!
Like many places of stunning natural beauty, it is a little remote. I travelled by local bus from the airport which was very slow and involved a few vehicle switches in small towns where no one spoke English. When I left a couple days later I discovered the direct bus which was much faster and a lot more comfortable! From my experience, unless you’re very confident on your own I would definitely recommend visiting the Longji area with private transport, or as part of a tour! For me, it’s a place not to miss either way!
I stayed in the Longji Dazhai International Youth Hostel. It’s definitely not a youth hostel in the traditional sense of low-cost backpacker style travelling. I had a wonderful king room with en suite and private balcony overlooking the centre of the village, which was also a rice field! Very comfortable indeed.
Despite being such a small town, there are quite a few local restaurants serving up fresh local produce. Every time I went for a walk, there would be friendly invites and gestures to join a table for lunch or dinner. I actually ate all my meals in the hostel, which had a great menu of wonderful variety. I had some of the freshest and most flavoursome food I’ve ever eaten during my stay!
About a 10-minute walk down the road that you come in on, is an enormous cable car ready to whisk you up to the highest point in the immediate area for incredible views of the surrounding valleys and terraces.
The area provides some excellent hiking, most of which follows small paved paths that curl and weave around the hills. Some of the greenest green that I’ve ever seen greets you around every bend and over every crest.
Dazhai and the Longji area were a wonderful escape from the flat-out-busy lifestyle of the Chinese cities. Even the drives in and out were incredible, the narrow roads following a river through the valley. Waterfalls cascade down on both sides, one even straight onto the roof of the bus as we drove past. It did rain a lot while I was there in mid-July but I felt this added to the experience. July through September is a beautiful time to go, as the crops are mid-growth and will be glistening green with the fresh rains.
Thanks for reading!