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China > General information > Region and city guide > Travel guide to Ping’an & Longji

          Ping’an & Longji

Yao women, Longi


A couple of hours north of
Guilin, Longshengmarks the start of the hilltribe region that stretches west across Guizhou to Yunnan.

This is an area inhabited by Dong, Yao and Zhuang peoples and their villages are stunningly picturesque, especially when compared with the bland concrete modernism of

China’s cities.

 Yao women on the steep slopes of Longji

While the most accessible villages such as Ping’an, Longji and Dazai bear the signs of tourism, a few hours hiking into the valleys beyond will find you in dwellings unchanged since time immemorial. It can be hard work, but the views are a spellbinding fusion of man and nature, the already stunning hills contoured by slivers of rice terrace with simple wooden villages sitting comfortably here and there. More than anywhere else, these hills bring into focus how every strip of land is used to feed the people of this most populous of nations. 

 

Getting there

Longsheng used to be the a necessary transport hub on the way to the villages, but since the region has developed as a tourist destination there are now direct buses from Guilin and Yangshuo to Ping’an. Tourist buses depart from both towns and cost ¥150 for the roundtrip day-trip from Yangshuo and ¥180 from Guilin. If you want to stay overnight you need to tell the agent when you book.

To cut costs you can take a two-hour bus ride from Guilin to Longsheng (¥17), where you can store any unwanted luggage and then a bus (¥7, every two hours) or minibus for the last half-hour or so (¥40 for the whole minibus).

 
Once the bus has dropped you below Ping’an it’s all on foot, although you can rent a sedan chair (¥50), or someone to carry your bags (¥10) for the short walk over the Wind and
Rain Bridge and uphill to the village. Wind and Rain bridges are traditional Dong and Zhuang structures, named for the respite their roofs provide from the elements; they also serve as a meeting place for villagers.

 
Once over the bridge, continue up and to the right and soon you’ll arrive in the charming Zhuang settlement of Ping’an, set high on the valleyside. Though comparatively new to tourism, almost every one of its attractive wooden dwellings seems to be a café or guesthouse, but there are still chilies and corn drying on their rooftops, with pigs and chickens running along the steep, narrow alleys below. 

Although there are countless small alleys, Ping’an only has one main thoroughfare and you’ll find the bulk of places to eat, stay and shop here.


 

Adventures on Foot 

These hills offer steep but very rewarding hikes between the villages, which are connected by surprisingly good footpaths up to the tops of ridges and down to the bottoms of valleys, up to the tops of ridges, and down to the bottoms of valleys... and so on. It makes for strenuous hiking, but the views and villages more than compensate. However, if you’ve got limited time or energy, there are a few short walks in the terraces above Ping’an. 

 

Local Walks 

The one- to two-hour circuit up to ♥♥♥ Dragon’s Backbone provides spectacular scenery, cultural interest and in itself justifies the journey from Guilin. You may well end up being guided by Yao women, keen to sell you silver and show you their incredibly long hair, of course, at a price – ¥5 to be precise! Dragon’s Backbone (which is the Chinese name for the area around Ping’an, longji) and the Moon and Seven Stars are names derived from the way the terraces look from above and, for once, you don’t have to use your imagination too much.

They’re incredible in any season, but spring sees the waterlogged terraces sparkle silver, highlighting the result of hundreds of years of human toil. For a less strenuous, equally short hike, walk along the valleyside to the pretty
village of Longji, where you can enjoy a meal at a local farmer’s house. 


Hikes 

Rice terraces in Longj

If you want to get farther into the area, it’s probably better to go on a tour or hire a guide in Ping’an.

Although the paths are easy under foot, there are a bewildering array of them. A guide can arrange somewhere to stay in more remote villages and help bring you closer to the environment you’re passing through.

There are endless possibilities in the hills around here, but some good options include the hike up to the
Yao village of Zhongliu and then down to Dazai (which is linked by a rough road) – this takes around four hours.

Rice terraces in Longji

There are a few places to stay in Dazai or you could continue down to Ban Nui and on to Si Shui, from where there are buses to Longsheng. You can buy water and supplies in Zhongliu and Dazhai, but you should make sure to carry enough water as it can get very hot in summer.

 

 See also: 

Guilin travel guide 

Guilin attractions 

Guilin restaurants 

Camel Hill picture 

Elephant Trunk Hill picture  

Ping’an & Longji 

Longji pictures  

  

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Travel guide to China : Ping’an & Longji Tourism,Travel guide to Ping’an & Longji