The Longji Rice Terraces are Guilin’s very much underappreciated gems. Overshadowed by the famous Li River and surrounding karst scenery, the Longji Rice Terraces (also called the Longsheng Rice Terraces) are often viewed as a bit of an afterthought on the Guilin travel radar. Something to see only if you have the time.
In a way, I appreciate this mindset because it keeps the rice terraces pristine, and a bit undiscovered. But, on the other hand, it also makes me want to shake these people so hard and just scream “What are you doing?! You have to go to the Longji Rice Terraces! They’re incredible!!!” Because, well, they are!
Why Travel To The Longji Rice Terraces?
I can’t say that the Longji Rice Terraces are better than the Li River scenery around Guilin and Yangshuo, but it is for sure on par in epicness. At the Longji Rice Terraces, you can stay in a wooden house built on the side of a mountain with a 180-degree view of nothing but cascading rice terraces and a backdrop of huge mountains. Plus, you have access to a maze of hiking trails through the rice terraces full of incredible overlooks and views with hardly anyone else on them. Does that not sound dreamy?!
And honestly, you don’t even have to be into hiking to enjoy the Longji Rice Terraces. You can take a cable car up to one of the highest viewpoints and bask in amazement at the incredible scenery without setting one foot on a set of stairs. You won’t get to see as much, but, ya know, it’s doable, and would still be totally worth the trip.
Whether you’re an avid hiker or just someone who appreciates beautiful scenery, the Longji Rice Terraces are an absolute must see. Oh, and if you’re into unique culture and history too, forget about it, you’ll be in heaven up here.
The Longji Rice Terraces are home to two different Chinese ethnic minorities, the Zhuang and the Yao people. These people have been cultivating rice in the Longsheng mountains for centuries. They live completely off the land and, fun fact, the women here have some of the longest hair in the world! It’s tradition that girls cut their hair only once in their life when they turn 18. Most of the local women you’ll meet at the rice terraces have hair that’s over 1 meter long!
Longji Rice Terraces
The Longji Rice Terraces, also called the Longsheng Rice Terraces or Dragon’s Back Rice Terraces in English, were created hundreds of years ago. Construction of the rice terraces spaned the Yuan and Qing Dynasties lasting for over 600 years from 1271 – 1911.
Today, the completed fields cover an area of 66 square kilometers (25 square miles) and are split up into two sections, the Ping’an Rice Terraces and the Dazhai Rice Terraces (also called the Jinkeng Rice Terraces).
Where Are The Longji Rice Terraces?
The Longji Rice Terraces are located 95 kilometers north of Guilin City in Longsheng County.
The Best Time To Visit The Longji Rice Terraces
The best time to visit the Longji Rice Terraces is during the months of May and June. This is the time just after the farmers have planted their new crops of rice and the fields are full of water making for beautiful reflections, especially at sunrise and sunset.
The weather is also nice during this time, with some rain, but no thunderstorms, and pleasant temperatures that are not too hot during the day and not too cold at night. By the end of June, the summer monsoon season kicks in and the weather gets rather dicey, with hot temperatures and lots of thunderstorms.
September through mid-October are also good months to visit, but with drastically different scenery. During the early fall months, the rice is ready for harvest and the grains have all turned a golden yellow. The weather during this time is ideal for traveling as it’s dry and sunny with pleasant temperatures that are not too hot during the day and not too cold at night. Don’t come too late in October though or you’ll miss the rice altogether and will be left with nothing but brown dirt terraces after the harvest.
Ping’an vs. Jinkeng (Dazhai) Rice Terraces
Ping’an Rice Terraces
Ping’an or Dazhai, Which Is Better?
How Long Should You Spend At The Longji Rice Terraces?
The ideal amount of time to spend at the rice terraces is 2 days. This is due to both the fact that your entrance ticket is good for 2 days, and also the fact that it takes 2-2.5 hours to get to the rice terraces from Guilin. In addition, the last buses leave the rice terraces to return to the Guilin at 4:00 pm.
You simply won’t have enough time to see much of the rice terraces on a day trip as even if you took the first bus out of Guilin at 8:30 am, it will be 11:00 by the time you get to the rice terraces. Then factor in 30 minutes to 1 hour for hiking up the mountain to Ping’an or Tiantou Village, eating lunch, and you’re left with enough time to see one or two viewpoints before it’s time to hike back down the mountain and catch the bus back to Guilin.
How to Get To The Longji Rice Terraces From Guilin
From Guilin, take the 8:30 am long-distance bus from the Guilin Train Station or the tourist bus which leaves from the neighboring Jinyi Holiday Hotel parking lot. You can book direct bus tickets from Guilin to either Ping’an or Dazhai Village via the receptionist at your hotel. Virtually all hotels and hostels in Guilin offer this service for no extra fee. You simply pay the receptionist and he or she will give you a receipt that acts as your bus ticket.
The bus ride from Guilin to Ping’an Village takes 2 hours, while the ride from Guilin to Dazhai Village takes 2.5 hours.
Guilin to Longji Rice Terraces Bus Ticket Price
50 RMB per person.
Longji Terraced Fields Scenic Area
All the buses that run to the Longji Rice Terraces will stop first at the entrance to the Longji Terraced Fields Scenic Area. In order to get to the rice terraces, you must first pay an entrance fee to get into the scenic area. If you’re taking a direct tourist bus to Ping’an or Dazhai village do not get off the bus when it stops at the scenic area entrance. Someone will come on the bus to sell tickets to all the passengers.
Longji Terraced Fields Scenic Area Entrance Fee
95 RMB per person
Your entrance ticket to the Longji Rice Terraces is good for 2 days.
Hiking The Longji Rice Terraces
The best thing to do at the Longji Rice Terraces is go hiking. The easiest and most well-marked hikes at the Longji Rice Terraces are to all of the viewpoints as well as a long trail that connects the Ping’an and Dazhai Rice Terraces.
Best Hikes At The Ping’an Rice Terraces
1. 7 Stars Around The Moon Viewpoint
2. Nine Dragons and Five Tigers Viewpoint
3. Longji Ancient Zhuang Village Hike (2.5 kilometers)
4. Ping’an to Tiantou Village Hike (9 kilometers)
All of these hikes are pretty well marked. Simply follow the signs from Ping’an Village to each of these places.
Best Hikes At The Dazhai Rice Terraces
1. Golden Buddha Peak
2. West Hill Music Viewpoint
3. Sky Ladder Viewpoint
4. Qiangbei to Tiantou Village Hike (5 kilometers)
5. Tiantou to Ping’an Village Hike (9 kilometers)
The Qiangbei to Tiantou Village hike is the only one that’s not marked by signs. This hike starts just up the hill from the upper cable car station, but it’s a bit tricky to find the entrance.
There is a marked trail from the cable car station to Tiantou Village but it’s much harder and less scenic than the long route. Following the signs for Tiantou Village will take you almost all the way down the mountain and back up again on lots of stone steps.
Tiantou Village is on the other side of the valley from Qiangbei and the cable car station, but there is a dirt trail that runs ridgeline the long way around to Tiantou Village. While this hike is longer, it’s way easier as it is virtually flat, and way more scenic as the trail stays up on top of the mountain.
The easiest way to find the scenic trail from Qiangbei to Tiantou is to use Maps.me. You’ll see a clearly marked trail on the map that is the only trail that runs around the top of the mountain between these two villages. This is the trail you’re looking for. Once you’re on the trail it’s a straight shot between the two villages.
Of course, you can start this hike from Tiantou Village as well. We just ended up staying at a guesthouse near Golden Buddha Peak in Qiangbei Village so we started the hike from there.
If you’re hiking from Tiantou Village, don’t follow the signs for the cable car station or Golden Buddha Peak as they will take you up and down the stone steps. Instead, stay on top of the mountain and walk towards the Longji Panorama House Hotel just up the hill. Once you reach the hotel, continue up the hill to the right along the stone path.
Continue following this path along the side of the ridge to Qiangbei Village. If you’re unsure of where you’re going you can always check Maps.me to make sure you’re on the right path. The trail between the two villages is marked on the map.