Remote Lands ... offered us a unique perspective and uncovered some hidden gems that we would have otherwise overlooked.
A quaint, traditional village set on the step-like rice fields of the Dragon's Back Rice Terraces, Ping An is one of the hidden gems of China. The rice terraces are a series of gracefully tiered platforms, which become progressively narrower the higher they are, giving them the appearance of a huge snail when seen from afar. This area is home to a number of ethnic minorities, predominantly the Zhuang, heirs to a distinct culture and long history, and who number approximately 16 million across China.
The best time to visit is between March and October, when the fields are at their most verdant.
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Our co-founder & CEO Catherine Heald lived in China for 7 years and returns often. She loves trekking in the rice terraces of Ping An, and hugging baby pandas in Chengdu!
Hike your way through winding paths that snake up along the rice terraces. Take in the wide, lovely views, breathe in the fresh air, and savor your time in this comfortable, idyllic village, whose pace of life is much slower and peaceful.
Ping An is home to a small population of Yao, an ethnicity who are renowned for their elaborate dress and fascinating rituals; one such practice is that of their hair, which Yao women cut only twice in their lives: once as teenagers, and once after they marry. Spend some time at Xiaozhai, where the villagers will greet you with a traditional singing ceremony, and, if you wish, have tea with the villagers and learn more about their lives.
Sample the local cuisine, including rice dishes, as well as a local blueberry tea. Shallots, mushrooms, spinach, corn, chillies and tofu are grown in this area. Besides using its shoots for food, bamboo is used as a building material, as well as to weave together baskets for ferrying around goods and tools.
Take a leisurely tour of the terraces on horseback. Pass through Yao and Zhuang villages, where you can stop to talk with the locals and watch them prepare their agricultural products. Visit a local market and shop for simple souvenirs like chopsticks, textiles and pottery.
Gain some incredible insight into China’s ethnic and cultural diversity on this fascinating 13-day luxury journey. You’ll capture stunning panoramic scenes of the Li River, explore mystical caves, visit the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, interact with local minorities, and stay in luxury hotels like the Li-An Lodge.
Spend 5 days touring the stunning, vibrant landscapes of Southern China on this luxury journey through Yangshuo, Ping An, Xiaozhai, and Guilin. You’ll explore Guilin City, capture the limestone karsts of the Li River, visit picturesque rice terraces, and spend a night at the remarkable Li-An Lodge.
Li-An Lodge is the culmination of artist and traveler Keren Su’s decade-long quest to build a unique, luxurious lodge amidst the gorgeous Longsheng rice terraces. Su first discovered this area on a photography trip in 1997 and finally opened Li An eight years later; the entire lodge is built without nails and instead uses a traditional Chinese construction technique of fitting pegs into grooves to secure joints. There are 16 rooms, each with unparalleled views of the terraces and their own specific themes and designs. For example, the Harvest room features farming tools used by the local Zhuang minority in addition to other Zhuang-specific pieces, and the Rock room fitted with intricate stone carving and furniture. Although the rooms do not have Internet access, there is a high-speed connection in the business center. Li-An Lodge also has a restaurant that serves Western and Chinese food, as well as a bar and sitting room decorated with Su’s photography and other work.