In April, two of my college besties, The Blondes, came to visit. Within 24 hours of landing in Shanghai, we had boarded a plane and jetted off to Guilin, in the southern province of Guangxi.
Two hours northwest of Guilin is nestled the beautiful town of Longji. We wandered through the quaint town which was only accessible by a lovely swaying bridge. Not a fan.
Along the way, we were greeted by women from the Yao minority population, famous for their long hair. The Yao women cut their hair only once during their lives at age 16 when beginning the search for their husband. Considered masters of handicrafts, they are also known for the wares they peddle throughout the village.
The only way to reach the top of the rice terraces is on foot. While the hiking isn't too strenuous, it does require that you carry your suitcase to the top if you are staying at one of the local hotels (we were not). Or you could pay one of the local women to do it for you.
Once at the summit, we were surrounded by beauitful views of the rice terraces below, established over 700 years ago. The terraced fields were built along the slope winding from the riverside up to the mountain top, the highest part reaching 2,800 feet (or 880 meters).
After a few hours of hiking in the rice paddies, we sat down for a lunch of traditional local food. This included rice stuffed inside bamboo shoots and cooked over an open flame.
We also feasted on Guilin noodles, eggplant, and a little Chinese beer.
Our meal did not include roasted mountain rat which was apparently a local delicacy. My guests were more than happy to miss out on that experience.