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May 01, 2005

Dazhai - Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, China

  Initial Walk Into Village 
  Originally uploaded by natekoechley.
Rice Terrace Closeups
  Rice Terrace Closeups 
  Originally uploaded by natekoechley.
New Friends
  New Friends 
  Originally uploaded by natekoechley.

Here are 33 photos from Dazhai that show the terraces, people and buildings.

About 80 km north of Guilin China is a vast region of terraced rice fields--Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces--the most amazing in the world. They were built over 300 years from the late 1200s to the early 1600s, during the Yuan and Qing Dynasty's, and are still actively maintained and farmed today.

Aimee and I stayed for two days in the small village of Dazhai in this region, a town that has only very recently opened to tourists.

We hiked up and down amongst the terraces +/- about 1000 feet, of 2500ish, and between several of the villages. We stayed with a beautiful and sweet local family who operates a small guest house. (Aimee and I earned a pretty scary spider story at their place!)

The locals in the region are Zhuang people, one of 55 distinct Chinese minority groups.

My time in this town was my (nate) first experiences surviving completely without language. We played with some of the little kids, and tried to teach each other words, using just pictures, smiles, guestures and body language. We had a small phrase book with they loved, and after some struggle we got their address and agreed to send them one when we get home.

It's hard to describe the true awesomness of this region, on many levels. These photos are good, but it really needs to be seen to be even partially comprehended.


Once you've looked at these photos as a set, check them out individually (start here  then click "next") because Aimee and I each added descriptions to many of them with more details.

May 1, 2005 at 08:13 PM | Permalink


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Fantastic! Thank you for not sharing the spider story! We are cheering for you in Milwaukee!

Posted by: Nick Petty | May 3, 2005 7:38:05 AM

oh, the story's coming swayze, don't worry... we just needed to calm our nerves first... think grapefruit in bedroom.

Posted by: nate koechley | May 3, 2005 7:42:09 AM

How cool! This journal is fantastic. I had a great visit with your brother last month, and then a great visit with MY brother last week -- Matt asked me if I was following your updates (I knew about your trip, but not the blog). Can't wait to read back over your adventures! I can see already that your photos are amazing. Say hey to Aimee, and both of you take care... Sarah McC

Posted by: Sarah McCarty | May 3, 2005 9:00:42 AM

Your trip is so inspiring! I can't wait to hear about the spider story.

Posted by: Gina | May 3, 2005 9:26:05 AM

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