Do you want to know how to successfully navigate the Dazhai to Pingan hike through the eye-popping dragon’s backbone rice terraces in Longsheng, Guangxi, China? Teacake has the answer! Pop your hiking boots on and pack your snappy camera: we’re going on an adventure! Feeling like an armchair adventurer today instead? No problem! Cruise the photos and enjoy the ride!
First of all, these rice terraces kick historical ass. These beautiful, lush lands were first put together in the 13th century (go China!) and kept being constructed until the 20th Century. The Zhuang people are behind this natural wonder and keep its amazing presence up through some seriously hard grit. When you see the Chinese version of your delicate grandma carrying heavy duty loads up and down these mountains, you gotta give it to them for being such superwomen. The views are gloriously stunning and you’ll feel like a hiking superstar when you reach Pingan by foot rather than bus: most visitors come here by transport. The build up to seeing this amazing village just simply isn’t the same if you arrive here through the parking lot. Treat yourself and let this stunning civilisation slowly reveal itself to you through the clouds.
You can arrive in Dazhai by bus. It comes directly from Guilin and costs 50 yuan. Make sure to book ahead. Once you are on the bus and outside the rice terraces’ borders you will have to pay an entrance fee. It is 50 yuan for students and 100 if your student days are over (boohoo: that’s me).
To get the most out of your time here and not kill yourself in the process, Teacake recommends camping out in Tiantouzhai. It will take you around 4 hours one way to get to Pingan village from Tiantouzhai. Me and my mate started at Dragon’s Den Hostel and set off at 7am. I recommend eating your lunch and having a look around in Pingan when you get there for 1.5 hours. Then set back off again, the way you came, to return to the hostel to sleep there another night. You should get back around 4.30pm.
The trail is pretty good! There are stone pathways and the route is not terribly steep. I love my hiking shoes but did this in my converse with no problems. Make sure to pack a raincoat if you’re here in June / July. The rain can rear its head here and there. Buy some hiking snacks and water before you set off at one of the local stores in Tiantouzhai.
First of all you need to get to Tiantouzhai from Dazhai. Pass through the big red gate where the bus drops you off and keep following the signs to Tiantou village. It’s easy to get here. Just make sure to keep following the paths to the left and you will arrive safely. Once you’re in the village, it’s super cute!
Once you hit Dragon’s Den Hostel, you can visit some cool scenic spots from there and take it easy. Then, the next day, it’s time to hike buddy!
Tiantouzhai to Zhonglu Village
Go out of the hostel and turn left. Keep walking straight until you hit this signpost. Turn left and walk up the stone steps here.
Keep going. You will see this path going up. Take a sharp right up it.
Go straight then turn left here.
Take the road going up to the right.
Keep going straight and down. You will pass this signpost on your left.
Things are going to start getting really cool from here! Welcome to the lush land of open rice terraces. It’s so beautiful ♥ You’ll go over a tiny wooden bridge and pass fresh water running down the hills. Enjoy and keep following the path.
There’s shelters along the way to take a breather, pop a biscuit in your mouth and take a good gulp of water.
You will find some stone steps going down, down, down. Follow them and you will arrive at the beginning of Zhonglu Village! Turn left here to keep going.
Take the lower right path.
Turn right following the path around and keep going along this path around the sides of the village.
You’ll hit a tiny store selling drinks and snacks. Turn left here and walk down.
You’ll come out to this clearing. Walk down the steep trail which goes left then when you reach the bottom of it, make a sharp right and keep walking down this path.
You’ve just left Zhonglu Village. Let’s keep going onwards to Pingan village!
Zhonglu Village to Pingan Village
Keep walking and you will see a stone bridge on your left. Go across it, turn left and go straight and around.
Keep following the path upwards until you reach this point. Make sure you take the path to the right!
You will pass a cemetery on your right and another signpost to Pingan. Carry on matey! You’ll pass a reservoir with lots of quacking ducks, then a little building with a hell of a lot chickens. Keep following the road and before you know it, you’ll be in Pingan woohoo! Success! Victory! You’re an A* STAR hiker!
You’re in Pingan Village
If you’ve had enough and don’t feel like hiking back, there is a bus here that can take you back to Tiantouzhai Village. Ask at the Dragon’s Den Hostel for more information.