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Thursday, 23 October 2014

8-Days Travel Itinerary in Guangxi, China. Stairway to Heaven - Longji Rice Terraces in Longsheng (Part 3)

To begin with, we really did not plan for this trip because initially we wanted to travel to Luang Prabang but due to unrecommended weather condition in Laos for the month of Aug & Sept, we decided to put on hold the trip. And then, we found a good deal of AirAsia promo fares for flights to Guilin, China for RM119, and so we chose Guilin.  

So many things happened prior to our trip and there is too much stuff to write here and this post gonna be real loonngg! (i) my beloved Goldie (English cocker spaniel) left us on the day of my departure to Guilin (15 August 2014, 2.30p.m.), (ii) 15 August 2014 was also the day I bid farewell to my bestie, Marmon leaving Penang for UNESCO Jakarta (iii) my iPhone 5 got stolen without my knowledge  on the 5th day of our trip (19 August 2014)  when I was on my way from 0773 hotel to Xicheng Pedestrian Street Night Market in Guilin

Ok, let’s forget about things that had happened!

We planned this trip 2 months ahead and did some research prior to our trip and saw countless beautiful photos of Guilin, which we have heard so much about the beauty of it, yet never been there. I have to admit that the place itself is overwhelming and, too touristy. 

The month of August is still summer in China, thus the weather was pretty humid when we were there. Everywhere was jam-packed and crowded with people particularly at tourist sites and entrance tickets easily sold out! (so, please avoid travelling to China during summer break). 

We arrived at the brand new KLIA 2 for the first time on 15 August 2014 (midnight) and was impressed with the structure and the comfortable waiting lounge. After a smooth 4 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur, we arrived at Guilin Liangjiang International Airport and so began our journey in Guangxi.

For this trip, we (myself and Camel) took Air Asia X flight from Penang  Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) Guilin (approx. 4 hours in the sky) –and here’s our 8-days Travelogue: (15 August 2014 – 23 August 2014) in Guangxi, China: 
<Guilin Yangshuo Huangyao (Hezhou) Longsheng   Guilin>

Day 1: 15 August 2014
PENANG Kuala Lumpur (KLIA 2)
Depart from Penang – Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA 2)

Day 2: 16August 2014 
GUILIN (Liangjiang International Airport KWL) → YANGSHUO
Depart from Guilin Liangjiang International Airport to Yangshuo country town - Silver Cave – Yangshuo Lotus Farm - West Street Night Market

Day 3: 17 August 2014
Depart from Yangshuo at 8.30a.m. (approx. 1.5hr from Yangshuo) – Explore HuangYao Ancient Town (big banyan tree, ancient brick houses, jumping stone bridge, SIMA mansion, Guo’s family mansion, ancient well, dragon bridge) – Return from HuangYao to Yangshuo at 4.00p.m. – Cormorant Fishing at Li River Bank 

Day 4: 18 August 2014
Li Jiang River Cruise (approx. 2.5 hr) – West Street Night Market

Day 5: 19 August 2014
Depart from Yangshuo to Guilin (approx. 1.5 hr) - Elephant Trunk Hill – Sun and Moon Pagoda – Statue of Wangzhenggong – Lijiang Waterfall Hotel – Zhengyang Pedestrian Street (Sangsui food street)

Day 6: 20 August 2014
Depart from Guilin South Train Station to Longsheng County Town (1.5hour) -  Arrived ticket office of Longji Terraced Fields – Hike through Jinzhu Zhuang Village (due to landslide, roads were closed for reconstruction) – took another bus up to cable car main station (final stop/station for bus) (approx. 45 minutes) – took cable car to Golden Buddha Peak (18 minutes) – final hike to the peak and Longji Panorama House Hotel passing through West Hill Music, Large-Scale Thousand Layer Terraces, Dazhai Village, Xinzhai Village (approx. 3hr) – Arrived Longji Panorama House Hotel at 4.45p.m.

Day 7: 21August 2014
Depart from Longsheng to Guilin - Bao Shu Tang - Zhengyang Pedestrian Street (Sangsui food street) - Guilin night cruise (Two-Rivers-Four-Lakes)

Day 8: 22 August 2014
Depart from Guilin to Yangshuo - Yulong River Bamboo Rafting -  600 year old Yulong Bridge  - Yangshuo (West Street Market) – Return to Guilin (by express bus) - Liusanjie Landscape Garden – Guilin Xicheng Pedestrian Street Night Market - Guilin Department Store 

Day 9: 23 August 2014
Depart from Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) →Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) Penang 
The landscape was fabulous
We visited Longsheng (or so called Long Ji Rice Terraces) on the 6th day of our trip. The journey to the base of Longsheng took us about 2 hour from Guilin South Train Station by bus. The Longsheng rice terraces (built during the Ming Dynasty, about 500 years ago) were just as picturesque as they were famed to be.  
Locals work part time as porters to carry tourist’s bags up the hills
We had to trek miles and miles of these steps
Climbing higher and higher to the peak
The journey was very challenging and most memorable to me. I have a fear of heights and walking up the stone pathway (for nearly 3 hours) with no railings by my side to hold on to, passing through  rice terrace hills  and crossing rivers made this journey extremely tough for me. One slip and I might find myself falling off the edge down below! But at the end of the day, it was a good workout for me. 

Ok, let’s talk a bit about our journey starting from Guilin to Longji Terraced Fields: 

On the 6th day of our trip, we took express bus from Guilin – Longsheng County Town (approx. 1.5hour) – After a long ride in the bus, we arrived at the ticket office of Longji Terraced Fields – We were then asked to hike through Jinzhu Zhuang Village (due to landslide, roads were closed for reconstruction) – And then, we took another bus up to the cable car main station for approx. 45 minutes (final stop/station for bus) – And next, we took the cable car to Golden Buddha Peak (18 minutes) – And, finally we hiked towards the peak and Longji Panorama House Hotel passing through West Hill Music, Large-Scale Thousand Layer Terraces, Dazhai Village, Xinzhai Village (approx. 3hr) – and we finally arrived Longji Panorama House Hotel at 4.45p.m (just in time to catch the sunset). 
Cable car for the fat and lazy like me
Impressive village in the mountains
Our climb started out on a small path that winds up through terraced rice paddies and gradually climbs higher into the mountain. We walked through the minority villages, and everything we saw was what I always wanted to see - unspoiled landscape and locals. The view was absolutely breathtaking. We paused in for a while, before whipping out our camera to capture the beautiful scene around us. 

The terraced fields have three entrances: (i) Ping'an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields, (ii) Longji Ancient Zhuang Village and (iii) Jinkeng Dazhai Red Yao Village.  We chose Jinkeng Dazhai Red Yao Village because the place is quieter and far less crowded than Ping'an, but then you need to be prepared to hike for at least 2 hour from the cable car station (our case it took me more than 3 hour!!!). The terraced rice fields and the village are more natural with less of the distractions of the tourist facilities. There are 3 main attractions here:  

The terraces were lush green during mid-autumn
Longji Rice Terraces, one of Guangxi's main treasures
Peace and amazing landscape
West Hill Music - Music for Paradise
Thousand layers to heaven
Close up of the rice terraces in Longsheng Country
A glorious escape from cities

1st View Point: “West Hill Music” (Xishan Shaoyue). It is the highest point (with an altitude of 1,180 meters) and the vision there is the broadest with sunrise and sunset view. Most of the images of Longsheng Terraces downloaded from the websites were taken at Xishan Shaoyue view point near Dazhai.  

2nd View Point: Dajie Thousand-Layer Terraces (Dajie Qiancent Titian).The terraces are fantastic and you can see the Yao people's houses from there. It is an excellent place to see a sunrise.

3rd View Point: Golden Buddha Peak (Jinfo Ding). The best place to take photos of a sunset. There is a cable way from the bottom of the rice terraces to the peak – Golden Buddha Peak – one of the best scenic viewing spots. As the fields are built into the hillsides, the best and also the only way to view these fields / mountainsides is by trekking. 

As there are a considerable number of small paths, which may easily lead to getting lost, so we hired the local black hair woman to carry our luggages and  help us find the right way to our hotel – and that’s for a fee of course. Clearly, it was quite a lucrative business! All the wooden houses in the village were connected with wooden walkways with rice paddies occupying every possible open land.

We hiked for almost 3 hour (starting point from the cable car station). And then, we finally reached the peak, just in time to catch the sunset. Stunning! The hotel we booked (Longji Panorama House Hotel) is situated in Jinkeng Dazhai Red Yao Village and surrounded by mountains covered in rice terraces, and the view was most superb!  
800 more steps to go to our hotel
Panorama House Hotel at the highest peak offers stunning views of the village and the valley below
The next morning we got up early (5.00a.m.) to catch the sunrise over the Dragon Backbone and the view was superb!
Mountains and mountains and mountains
After breakfast, the journey towards downhill continued. We slowly hiked down the terrace hills early in the morning (at 8.00a.m.) and strolled through the villages along the way. The atmosphere was almost mystical.  
Well-worth a visit
Dazhai Village in Longsheng Country
Stunning view of the village
Stunning view of the village
A simple life well lived
The Yao women
Oh yes, not to be missed, the hotel serves authentic village food of steamed rice and chicken cooked in fresh bamboo tube. Yummilicious!
Authentic village food - Steamed rice and chicken cooked in fresh bamboo
Was the trip worth it? My answer: Absolutely!   

Air Itinerary Details: 
Air Asia X: Penang - Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) – Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) /Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL)  - Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) - Penang

(i)Guilin - Starway Grand 0773 Hotel Guilin
(** 3minutes walk/ 0.2km to Elephant Trunk Hill)
Address: No. 31, Wenming Road, City Center - River Area, Guilin, China 541002

(ii)Yangshuo - YangShuo River View Hotel  
(**2-3 minutes walk to West Street night market, facing river)
Address: 19# BingJiang Road  YangShuo Town. Guilin.GuangXi, China
Tel:  086-0773-8822688
e-mail: service@riverview.com.cn

(iii) Longsheng – Longji Panorama House Hotel
(**located at the highest peak in Longsheng, need stamina to hike up the cobblestone path
Tiantou Zhai, Da Zhai Cun, Heping Township
Guilin, 541701 China
e-mail: 351128494@qq.com
Local Transportation: 
Mr. Xiao Wan (for airport pick-up, trip to Yangshuo and HuangYao)
Mobile: 0086  159 7736 1716
e-mail: yangshuowanyi88@aliyun.com
Webpage:  http://yangshuo-tour-guide.jimdo.com/  

Places of Interest / Entrance Tickets: 
  • Silver Limestone Cave (Yangshuo) – 65RMB/pax
  • Elephant trunk hill (symbol of Guilin) – 75RMB/pax
  • Lijiang River Cruise for 2.5hr – 250RMB/pax
  • Bao Shu Tang (Guilin)
  • Night cruise in Guilin - Two-Rivers-Four-Lakes (Guilin) 190RMB/pax
  • Cruise along LiangJiang Si Hu  (Yangshuo)
  • Cormorant Fishing  (Yangshuo) 3RMB/pax
  • Liusanjie Landscape Garden (Guilin)- FOC
  • Longji Rice Terraced Fields a.k.a Dragon Back Terrace (Longsheng)- 100RMB/pax
  • HuangYao Ancient Town (Hezhou) 100RMB/pax  for entry pass
  • Black hair (hong yao) woman luggage carrying service – 60RMB/way/basket
Must Try / Eat:  
  • Authentic Guilin Rice Noodles  (Guilin/Yangshuo)
  • Guilin Beer Fish  (Guilin/Yangshuo)
  • Bamboo rice + bamboo chicken (Longsheng)
  • Roasted goose at Chun Ji Restaurant (Guilin)
  • BBQ squid stick (Guilin)
  • Mango juice at Mango Mango (Yangshuo)
Read more about our travel experiences @ Guangxi, China: 

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself” -  Danny Kaye 

Welcome to Small World! This blog is not a travel agency, but rather a personal site which allows me to share my past travel experiences in a straightforward and far-reaching way. I often made great use of other peoples travel blogs and sites every time I plan for my travel itinerary as they often contained most updated information and invaluable resources from their past travel experiences.  I hope that you will find every piece of information & images contained within my blog handy and useful. Thank you very much for reading my post(s) and feel free to leave a comment/testimonial or click "Like/Share" if you love reading them all. xoxo The writer is a passionate traveler who enjoys speaking to young keen travelers about the freedom to get cultured and to taste the fullness of life. Feel free to contact the writer if you need any travel advice, guidance or tips or if you have any burning questions with regards to your upcoming trip(s)/ journey 
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1 comment:

  1. Good day to you. May I know how much have you spend for the entire 8days trips? thanks