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Dong Minority / Dragon's Back trip

by ateach52 Online Now Feb 16, 2013 at 2:25 AM

Hi all, After having read several guidebooks and numerous posts and travel agency itineraries, I am still at a loss as to the best way to organize a trip to the Dong Minority /Dragon's back area. Could I ask anyone who has been in the area to put in their two-bits worth, please?

We will be staying in Yangshuo for a week first (that has already been booked), and want to be picked up there with a car/driver (there are two of us). I'd like to go to Zhaoxing and probably spend a day hiking thrugh the numerous villages there; go to Sanjiang Dong and also to the Longji and Pingan terraces. We'd like to hike about 3-4 hours a day and visit all the other sights (bridges, drum towers etc), and stay in places that have great views. We're certainly not budget travellers but not 5 star either.

Has anyone been in the area and done a similar trip? Could you recommend what sort of itinerary to plan so that I can book something (car / driver etc). Do you have any hotels to recommend? I'd very much appreciate it! Cheers

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  • melosh's Profile Photo

    Re: Dong Minority / Dragon's Back trip

    by melosh Online Now Feb 16, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    I am usually a solo traveler and more familiar with buses and trains than hiring a private car, but would suggest that you may get the most out of your trip if you give yourself some flexibility rather than trying to book everything in advance. There are taxi/car agencies in Yangshuo. If I had 5 days in Yangshou, I would go there and make car arrangements for my further travel there. On the internet I read that the taxi fee for a days sight seeing was 350 RMB. With several days to look for suitable drivers/vehicles and to negotiate the prices with consideration of whether you will require the driver to overnight in certain places, who pays for the gas and tolls, and driver's food you are certain to get better value for your money. You could ask assistance from your hotel, travel agencies or, to avoid middleman fees, just go directly to the taxi drivers themselves. Of course, a driver who speaks English will want to charge more but you will be less likely to have misunderstandings and can negotiate better unless you speak Chinese.

    An important fact of travel in China is that most all prices are negotiable unless you face a sole vendor or agent. Time and persistence will be rewarded as well as a willingness to take your business to competitors. Do not be insulted (although acting insulted might help) if you are asked for 5 or 6 times the going rate, just do not accept it. Even in situations where it looked like I had no alternative, shaking my head, saying no, walking away, sitting around enjoying a cup of tea and acting like I was not going to make the trip or walk it myself was enough to get the asking price decreased by 50%. PS: Planning well your travel to and from Guilin can save money and add to the experience. (A boat trip on the Li River is a popular way to make one leg of the journey.) Good luck

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  • Re: Dong Minority / Dragon's Back trip

    by jamesmenado Online Now Feb 26, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    I have been there, travel by myself,in Longjing area rice terraces (15 Km), and Sanjiang wind&rain bridges, bamboo watermill etc. I very much enjoy the trips. I have had no problem at all, but I speak mandarin. Pickup a map in Yangsho and rent a bysickle and go.

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  • Re: Dong Minority / Dragon's Back trip

    by amelie.g. Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    I went to dragons backbone rice terraces from guilin last november. From Guilin you can catch a bus in the morning and when you arrive, there are a lot of people waiting for beeing your guide.

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