The Longsheng Rice Terraces, also called the Longji Rice Terraces, are located in Longsheng County, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) from Guilin, Guangxi, China.
The terraced fields are built along the slope winding from the riverside up to the mountain top, between 600 m to 800 m above sea level. A coiling terrace line that starts from the mountain foot up to the mountain top divides the mountain into layers of water in spring, layers of green rice shoots in summer, layers of rice in fall, and layers of frost in winter. The terraced fields were mostly built about 650 years ago.
Longji (Dragon’s Backbone) Terraced Rice Fields received their name because the rice terraces resemble a dragon’s scales, while the summit of the mountain range looks like the backbone of the dragon. In early June, water is pumped over the rice paddies and young plants are transferred to the main terraces.
The Ping’an Rice Terraces
The Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields (平安壮寨梯田) are the first rice terrace area in Longsheng to be developed for tourism. They have the most roads/paths, hotels, and facilities. It’s the most touristy area.
The terraced fields are around Ping’an Village and two smaller hamlets, inhabited by the Zhuang minority. The villagers live in traditional wooden three-story stilted houses.
The area is well-equipped with modern facilities, where dining, accommodation, and transportation are very convenient with over 80 hostels and hotels available.
It takes about one hour to walk from the car park to the rice terrace view spots above Ping’an. Don’t worry if you are not fond of walking, we can arrange a car to take you up there. But we still recommend walking, as you will have different views of the village and the terraced rice fields at every turn.
The best places to enjoy the scenery of the rice fields in Ping’an are:
- Seven Stars Accompany the Moon (七星伴月), which is comprised of seven small piles of rocks, left there when the area was developed, in the middle of a moon-like field. It is a perfect place for photography.
- Nine Dragons and Five Tigers (九龙五虎) or just Nine Dragons, which refers to nine ridges, branching off from the main ridge, which look like nine dragons bending over to drink from the Jinsha River. Alongside, there are five “tiger-like” rocks.
The Jinkeng Terraced Fields (Dazhai Rice Rerraces)
The Jinkeng Terraced Fields are farther from the tourist entrance than the Ping’an Terraced Fields. The rice terraces are much higher and larger than the Ping’an rice fields.
There are cable cars going from the car park to Golden Buddha Peak (one of the best views spots). It is a good option for travelers who are not good at walking to enjoy the scenery. Golden Buddha Peak is an hour’s walk from the accommodation, so the cableway is not very convenient for getting to hotels.
Hotels: It takes about 10 minutes to walk from the car park to Dazhai village at the foot of the rice terraces. There are hotels at the foot, in the middle, and near the top of the rice terraces. Hotels at the top of the rice terraces require 1½–2 hours’ walking from the car park.
Don’t worry if you wish to stay at hotels at the top of the rice terraces, or if you are not good at walking, we will arrange a car to take you to up to the middle (the roads don’t go any higher). Also don’t worry if you have a lot of luggage: we can arrange the Red Yao women with back baskets to help you.
The best places to enjoy the scenery of the rice fields in Jinkeng are:
- ‘West Hill Music’ (Xishan Shaoyue 西山韶乐), which is the highest point on the terraces (altitude 1,180 m; 3,870 ft) with the broadest panorama. Popular for sunrises and sunsets, it takes two hours to walk there from Dazhai. More than 90% of published Longsheng rice terrace photos are taken there.
- The ‘Large-Scale Thousand-Layer Terraces’ (Dajie Qianceng Titian 大界天层天梯), which are relatively low and easy to climb to, as the paths are good. The terraces are fantastic and you can see the Yao people’s houses. It is an excellent place to see a sunrise.
- ‘Golden Buddha Peak’ (Jinfo Ding 金佛顶), the best place to take sunset photos. The cableway from the car park, an hour’s walk below Dazhai, to the peak is very welcoming for those who are not good at walking, or those who would prefer not to hike up/down(20 minutes instead of 2-3 hours of walking).
Outstanding Zhuang and Red Yao Ethnic Villages in the Longji Area
Longji Old Zhuang Village (龙脊古壮寨), 3 km (2 mi) southwest of Ping’an Village, is the most traditional and least modernized Zhuang minority village in Longsheng. It is the top choice for those interested in history and culture. The village boasts the oldest and the largest stilted building group in Guangxi Province.
Huangluo Red Yao Village (黄洛红瑶寨), 1 km south of Ping’an, is known as the ‘World’s Top Long Hair Village’. It is a tradition for girls to wear long hair in Huangluo, and over 60 women have over-one-meter-long black hair. The longest is 2.1 meters!
There are long hairs shows at this village, but we don’t arrange the shows for our customers as they are not natural, and too commercial. If you are interested in this village, our guides are happy to take you there and facilitate a more rewarding time with the Red Yao and explanation of their culture.
The Best Times for a Visit
You can enjoy different sceneries in different months. Spring and autumn are the most popular times to take photos and go hiking.
- From mid-April to mid-June the fields are well-watered and you can see water glittering in the sun in spring.
- From mid-June to mid-September it is the growing period for the rice. You will green rice plants filling the paddies.
- From late September to early October, the rice is ripe. You will see layers of golden yellow. Farmers can be seen harvesting the fields from around October 1st to 15th.
- From mid October to April you will see nothing more than the plain scenery of brown empty fields (and maybe snow).
How to Get to the Longji Rice Terraces from Guilin
Longji Terraced Fields Scenic Area is 95 kilometers (59 miles) from Guilin. There are no direct buses from Guilin to Longji. The most convenient and time-saving way to get there is to take a private tour with a private car and driver.
Unlike most other travel agencies who use the main road to save the toll, we use the expressway for a smoother, safer, and 30-or-so-minutes shorter journey. We can take you there within 2 hours.
If you wish to go alone, you can take the express bus from Guilin to Longsheng County Town and then another bus from the town to the Longji terraces area. It takes about 3 hours.
Alternatively, you can take regular bus at Guilin Qintan Bus Station and get off at Heping, a village before Longsheng, and then take a tourism bus to Ping’an or Dazhai. This takes even longer.
The accommodation is mainly around Ping’an, Dazhai, and Tiantou. It is quite basic. Most of the hotels are local stilted buildings, with a limited hot water supply. Some of the rooms have washrooms, some don’t. You can really experience local life if you stay in a guesthouse.
Here are some hotels we recommend based on our field inspections and our customers’ feedback: Longsheng Li An Lodge, Pingan Inn, Longji Panorama House Hotel.
If you have heavy luggage, you can have it stored at the entrance of the scenic area. The local people will enthusiastically offer to help you carry your luggage up the terraces in back baskets. It is about 50 yuan per suitcase.
Tips for Planning a Tour to the Longji Rice Terraces
1. Touring the Longji Rice Terraces requires a whole day due to 2-hour’s driving per way and the huge size of the scenic area. So, if you want to cover Yangshuo and Longji as well, you are recommended to have 4 days at least in Guilin.
2. Some travelers consider travelling from Yangshuo to Longji. We don’t recommend as it is a long drive, about 3 hours. It is more advisable to drive from Guilin.
3. It is not recommended to arrange the Longji day tour on your departure day so as to avoid missing your flight.
4. If the limited condition of Longji’s accommodation doesn’t meet your requirement, you can get back to Guilin for overnight stay.
5. Some authentic experiences would enrich your Longji tour. We can help arrange a home-visit to a local’s house and create a chance for you to learn to make oil tea, bamboo-tube rice, or embroidery.