Hiking in China: Dazhai to Pingan Hike

By Alice Teacake

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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!

Hiking Dazhai to Pingan at Dragons Backbone Rice Terraces China

What’s so special about the Dazhai to Pingan hike?

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.

How do I get to Dazhai and how much does it cost to get in?

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).

How long does the Dazhai to Pingan hike take?

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.

Is there anything special that I need?

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.

What’s the route for the Dazhai to Pingan hike?

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!

Tiantouzhou hostel Tiantouzhou hostel

Tiantouzhou House Tiantouzhou House

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.

Tiantouzhai to Zhonglu hike Tiantouzhai to Zhonglu hike

Hiking in Tiantouzhai Hiking in Tiantouzhai

Go straight then turn left here.

Hike to Zhonglu Hike to Zhonglu

Hiking trail to Pingan Hiking trail to Pingan

Take the road going up to the right.

Keep going straight and down. You will pass this signpost on your left.

Signpost in Dazhai

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.

Snake Skin

Watch out! Snake skin about!

There’s shelters along the way to take a breather, pop a biscuit in your mouth and take a good gulp of water.

Shelter on dragon's backbone rice terraces

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.

Zhong Lu Village Entrance

Take the lower right path.

Zhonglu Village to Pingan

Turn right following the path around and keep going along this path around the sides of the village.

Trail to Pingan from Zhong Lu Village

You’ll hit a tiny store selling drinks and snacks.  Turn left here and walk down.

Zhong Lu Village

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.

Zhonglu Village exit

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.

River crossing in Zhonglu Village

Keep following the path upwards until you reach this point. Make sure you take the path to the right!

Turn 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

Pingan Village
Pingan Village Local Lady Pingan Village Local Lady

Pingan Village Dog Pingan Village Dog

Teacake’s Top Tip

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.

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Hiking the Dragons Backbone Rice Terraces from Dazhai to Pingan in China


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About Alice Teacake

I'm a feminist British kickass solo female traveller who believes in women facing their fears, pushing their boundaries and reaching their full potential through solo adventure travel! I have been featured in Nat Geo Traveller UK, Lonely Planet, the Daily Mail and Buzzfeed and spoken about solo female travel safety on BBC One, whilst working with a bunch of awesome brands. Follow me for travel advice and inspiration, so you can go forth and challenge yourself to reach your own personal goals!

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Hiking in China: Dazhai to Pingan Hike

  • Hey, is it possible to hike from Ping’an to Dazhai? We are staying in the hostel in Ping’an but wanna go for one day trip to Dazhai. I will be grateful for your response! :)

    1. Hi Angelika! Sure! You just gotta do the route backwards and that is totally possible :) Try and ask locals for help when you get stuck, and you’ll be grand. Have fun!!

  • Thanks a lot to share this hike with us. We did it last week and you are right, it was amazing! Excellent sightseeing and few people around. Thanks for your instructions, it helps us a lot.

    1. You’re welcome! These rice terraces are seen as the best in the world and rightly so. China has a lot of amazing experiences that people don`t know about. I hope to go back next year to explore Yunnan.

  • Thank you SO much for this! Ihad one of the best hikes in China today thanks to your directions. I wouldnt be able to find it without you. Since almost al the signs are rotten away.