We visited Guilin in March 2019 and in my blog post about the trip I wrote that it was a first impression with only a few pictures of each day. “Planning to write three reports, but that will take time.“. And indeed it took time, more than two years.
But at last here is a report about one of the highlights of those holidays, the famous Terraced Rice Fields of Longji. They are located about 80 km north of Guilin and consist of three separate regions. We decided to visit the Jinkeng Terraced Fields which “enjoys the largest amount of Rice Terraces in Longji” . In this rather inaccurate diagram it is the rightmost region.
In Jinkeng Aric had booked the Panorama House Hotel, high up in the hills. It could only be reached on foot, so we left our main luggage in our Guilin hotel, and took only small backpacks.
We used public transport to travel from Guilin to Geping, where the ticketing office for Longji is located. After buying an entry ticket the bus brought us to the cable car station in Jinkeng.
There we rented a small van to the Tiantou Village, where the trail to the hotel started. But first we had lunch in the hotel/restaurant hat belonged to the van driver 😉
While he was preparing our lunch, we waited in the restaurant. It was off-season, will be more crowded during peak-season. It was cold, look how the school boys have their private heating.
The lunch was ok, a bit porky. After the lunch the driver/cook and I warmed ourselves a bit.
Near the village there is one of the famous viewpoints of Jinkeng. There was one other guest in the hotel, who knew the way, so we followed him..
It was only about 500 meter to the viewpoint, where a large viewing gallery had been built. The views were fabulous. It is called the Large-scale Thousand-Layers Terraces (千层天梯) .IN the Google Map at the end of this blog it is viewpoint no 2.
Here are a few more pictures.
After taking many more pictures, we walked back to the village and started our walk to our hotel. Here is a picture looking back to the village.
From far away we could see our hotel already. The weather was nice, the path well maintained, it took us about one hour.
When you enlarge the picture, you may be able to see the cable car, far away.
Not far from our hotel we passed another viewpoint , visible in the right picture. It is called West Hill Music (西山韶乐) (Viewpoint no 1 in the Google map)
A short final climb took us to the hotel and its rustic reception, where we checked in for our two night stay.
Here is the view from our balcony. Worth the climb 😉 .
Quite cold. Good that there was some home-brewed liquor in the restaurant to keep me warm.
I think we were the only guests in the hotel. Here we are waiting for our dinner.
We needed warm clothes. For dinner we had pork rice in bamboo, stuffed tofu and veggie. The cuisine is very local.
Next morning, view from our balcony. Very scenic with the clouds, although it did not bode well for the weather that day.
Later it cleared up a bit.
Our plan for the day was to walk to Viewpoint No 3 near the cable car station. Easy walking, a clear trail.
It started to drizzle, good that we had taken our umbrellas. Aric is in two of these pictures, I am in the third one. An advantage of traveling off-season is that we did not meet a single soul on the trail.
Halfway during our 2 hour hike.
Approaching Viewpoint No 3: Golden Buddha Peak (金佛顶)
You can reach this viewpoint by cable car
There are many viewing platforms.
View of Golden Buddha Peak (金佛顶)
Because of the easy access, there were quite a few visitors here. Pity that it rained.
We took the cable car down.
Beautiful views from our cabin, during the descent.
The cable car is mainly used by day-trippers from Guilin or Yangshuo. But to fully appreciate the beauty of Longji, it is better to stay a couple of days..
There were some simple eateries near the cable car station, where we had a basic lunch. We could add the condiments ourselves, not a bad idea 😉
We took again a van to the TIantou village, and from there we walked up to our hotel for the second time.
Boring? Not at all. Not sure if the farmers had started the irrigation or that it was just because of the rain, but many of the rice terraces were now covered with a layer of water. The water reflected the sky. Breathtakingly beautiful. Almost impossible to select pictures, because they are all so impressive.
Of course we took pictures with ourselves in it 😉 Here we are. We have done it!
We had dinner again in our hotel, and breakfast the next morning. They had done their best to prepare local food, it was quite eatable, we had chicken including the head !
Before we left , we enjoyed one last view from our balcony. Isn’t it breathtaking?
A few more pictures of the hotel before we started hiking down.. It must have been a major job to build it so high in the hills without access roads.
We had decided to walk back to the cable car station via a different route, passing small villages. The people here belong to a minority group, the Red Yao. Many ladies still wear the traditional dress.
Approaching Dazhai village.
At a souvenir shop in the village we bought some cushion covers.
From the parking near the cable car station, we took the bus back to Guilin. The map of Jinkeng was not very useful, I marked a few locations on Google Earth to give an impression of the region.
When you zoom in on Google Earth, you can see the intricate pattern of the terraces. This screenshot shows clearly the unique location of the Panaorama Hotel.