The Longsheng Rice Terraces, constructed around 650 years ago, are located just two hours from Guilin. They are also known by the alternative, and perhaps more appropriate, moniker 'Longji', meaning 'dragon's spine' due to the way they curve and shimmer, said to resemble dragon's scales. The impressive result of old farm engineering from the times of the Yuan Dynasty (13th century), the layout and definition of each terrace creates intricate patterns as they tumble down the hillside to the river below.
The area around the terraces is home to a number of ethnic minority groups. The Zhuang and Yao minorities are the main residential groups ; look out for the Yao women who are famous for growing their hair to extreme lengths and dressing in bright pink costumes.
A walk through the Zhuang village of Ping An is a great route to trek for those looking to really soak up the atmosphere and scenery of the area. Climbing the steps through the terraces allows the panorama to unfold gradually until you arrive at the ridge and gain 360 degree views of the whole valley.
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