|Today we are heading for the Longji Rice Terraces which is located at high mountain ridges. The highest terrace spot is 1200 feet, and we will be walking for 5 hours through these marvellous terraces tomorrow.
We couldn't take our large backpacks with us to Longji as we will be staying in two different hostels and walking between them, so we needed to pack enough for 2 nights and 3 days into our small day-packs, which isn't terribly easy, but something that we managed to do. A couple of t-shirts, underwear and basic toiletries is pretty much all you can fit in, along with your camera, water, bed sheet, toilet paper, etc etc.... but, we made it all fit!
A private bus came to pick us up from our hostel in Chaolong (Outside Inn) and then took us to Yangshuo (15 mins) where we picked up our local guide for the Rice Terraces, Billy. We then travelled from there to Guilin (1.5hrs) where we needed to lock up our big backpacks for the 2 nights at the train station. Then, we started the 2 hour drive to Longji.
I've already told you about the standard of driving in this country, but this was just plain frightening! Once we started to get high up in the hills, there was a little while where the visibility was probably at about 5 metres, and our bus driver still didn't slow down! Overtaking on bends, tooting the horn to let people on the other side know you are coming... gosh! One girl on the bus just closed her eyes - after a while, I think I should have done the same! Yet, this was nothing compared to the next part of the drive.... we stopped after 2 hours at a local road-side restaurant and had some lunch and here we were told that we had to drive 20km which would take about an hour, and then walk about an hour up the mountain to our hostel! None of us were expecting a walk today, so Scott and I had to change into our runners.
This next hour was almost unbearable. I am so fortunate that the Chinese drive on the right hand side of the road, because I couldn't cope if I was on the right hand side. We were driving up the mountain around bends with no barriers on the side to stop you from falling down the side of the mountain! And, to make it worse, the road was really only big enough for about 1.5 cars and we were in a mini bus! Luckily, we only passed a few cars, but one time I just had to close my eyes and pretty soon I just wanted to get out and walk. I'm so grateful Scott was on the window side!
But, everything OK and we arrived at the Checking Office of the Jinkeng Terace Fields. We then had to walk to the Tinatou Village where our hostel was located, high up in the mountains. The walk was beautiful, and seemed quite easy compared to the Great Wall!
Our hostel was very simple, and of course, Scott and I were cheated of a western toilet and hot water!!! It seemed to depend which side of the hostel you were on as to the standard of your bathroom! And of course, those with the luxuries of a western toilet, also got fantastic views of the rice terraces. I used Skye and Ron's loo and just sat there looking out the window at the marvellous views. Better than any you'd get at home!