In a mind-blowing feat of human ingenuity combined with some bloody hard work, the hillsides around Longsheng County in Guangxi were carved up into a mile upon mile of terraced steps used for rice cultivation way back in the Ming Dynasty, 500 years ago. Longsheng (Lóngshèng Tītián, 龙胜梯田) translates to "Dragon's Back", a name evoked by the image of the mountain ridge covered in the "scales" of the rice terraces, their water-filled pools gleaming in the sunlight as they twist and turn along the contours of the steep slopes like the back of the mythical beast.... This image of the Longsheng rice terraces was captured in 2004 by Flickr user Guangxi's most celebrated rice terrace scenery is to be found at the Longji terraces around Ping'an, a Yao minority village of wooden homes built out on stilts from mountainside too steep to cultivate. With so much outstanding natural beauty it's no great surprise that tourism here has bloomed and guesthouses and restaurants abound. A great way to experience Longji is to spend the night in Ping'an, enjoying the local hospitality and hearty, country-style food then the following day, hike the path that links Ping'an to another Yao village, Dazhai, 18 kilometers away (3-4 hours). If you're pressed for time however, a Guilin is also a good way to ensure you don't miss out on this truly spectacular part of China.