We only spent three nights in the small corner of China that is Dazhai and I’ve already done more than that number of posts on the place. Clearly it’s got a special place in my heart – but it’s definitely time to move on!
Before we arrive at our next stop (a new province, no less!) here are just a couple of notes for anyone who might want to visit the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces.
Staying at the lovely Wisdom Inn was one of the factors that made Dazhai so magical for me and this hotel has joined the ranks of my short list of most-favorite-places we stayed during our entire trip so far.
The place is run by Sandy and her mother, both of whom are soft-spoken, gracious and welcoming. The inn is simple, with a big open room downstairs where you can eat a meal or have a cup of coffee or join Sandy’s mom playing video games. 🙂
Upstairs are the bedrooms – simple and rustic but pristine and covering all the basics you could need. The beds with their fluffy duvets were the most comfortable I experienced in China (which is known for its rock-hard mattresses). The water in the newly-furnished bathroom was wonderfully piping hot – a very nice thing during those crisp autumn mornings and nights.
I’ve shared a few more details about the place in an earlier post. Suffice to say, while it’s not the fanciest place we’ve stayed, there is something about it – some magic combination of the setting, the peace, the simplicity and the thoughtfulness of Sandy – that made me feel instantly and completely at home there.
One other plus – the Inn is just a short walk from the village gate, which is where all cars have to stop. So if you’re arriving with heavy bags, you won’t have to lug them all that far. 😉
Hiking in and around Dazhai
The hiking in this area is very accessible. For sure you need to have a bit of a sense of direction and at least a mild degree of fitness, but there are plenty of shorter trails that you can enjoy at a leisurely pace. An hour’s hike or a day’s are equally possible and enjoyable here.
The trails are quite well signposted, and some stops along the way even have handy maps and placards explaining local myths. I couldn’t find print versions of maps anywhere, but this photo is high resolution so you can click if you want to study the paths a bit more close-up. Don’t ask me what’s at the Mercedes symbol; we didn’t make it that far. 😉
We loved seeing the rice paddies in the fall, but there should be interesting and beautiful things to see no matter what time of the year it is. Although if you are planning to visit in the winter, do plan ahead a bit as that’s the low season and not all hotels will be open, etc.