The Ping'an Terraced Fields are located in the Longji Terraced Fields Scenic Area in Longsheng County, which is 100 kilometers north-west of Guilin City. Longji Terraced Fields consist of three main villages – Jinkeng Red Yao Village, Ping'an Zhuang Village and Longji Ancient Zhuang Village. When talking about Longji Terraced Fields, it is generally considered to be Ping'an Terraced Fields, the core tourist area of Longji Terraced Fields.
The altitude of the Ping'an Terraced Fields is from 300 meters up to 1,100 meters above the sea level. This area was first cultivated in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and finished in the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) with a history of more than 650 years. Every tourist to the Ping'an Terraced Fields will marvel at how spectacular the scenery is and what hard work the local people have been doing down in the fields.
Ping'an Zhuang Village accommodates more than 50 families with over 200 people. Most of them are Zhuang people and some are Yao people. The Zhuang minority nationality is the main nationality in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. One third of the population in Guangxi is comprised of the Zhuang people. The Yao people in the village are distinctive from the other residents because of their hair. All of the Yao women in the village have long hair; with the longest being over two meters. Huangluo Yao Village, which is on the way to the Ping'an parking lot, was listed in the Guinness World Records as the "World's First Long Hair Village". It is said that all of the Yao women in the village only cut their hair once during their lifetime and that's when they become adults (18 years old). If you have a chance to see the long hair show performed by the Yao women, you will see that there are three bunches of hair on their head. The first bunch is the natural hair growing on their head. The second bunch is the hair which was cut off when they were 18 years old. The third bunch of hair comes from the hair which falls out when they comb their hair daily.
The main scenic spots in the Ping'an Terraced Fields are "Seven Stars around the Moon" and "Nine Dragons and Five Tigers". "Seven Stars around the Moon" is located at the second viewing point of Ping'an Village. It is formed from eight small piles standing separately in the middle of eight rice paddies. The middle pile, filled with water, looks like a bright moon while the others are compared to seven stars. Located at the first viewing point, the "Nine Dragons and Five Tigers" means the nine ridges look like nine dragons branching off from the main vein. Alongside, there are five tiger-like piles, guarding the peaceful village. Both of the two scenic spots are the best places to get a bird's-eye of the Ping'an Terraced Fields.
Best Times to Visit
Guilin is located in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in the south of China which enjoys a subtropical monsoon climate. The average temperature is approximately 20 degrees all year around. In the terraced areas, the farmers grow rice twice a year. However, due to the high altitude on the Longji Terraced Fields in the deep winter time, the temperature can be below zero. The local farmers only prepare the cultivation once a year. In late April, it is time to fill the rice paddies with water. The terraced fields, filled with crystal clear water, look like thousands of silver ribbons glittering in the sun. In summer time, the grain seedlings have green leaves which make the entire terraced area look like a green ocean. In late September and early October, the rice in the paddies is ripe. Each layer of the terraces looks like a piece of precious golden carpet. During National Day, you are able to see the farmers harvesting rice in the fields. From November onwards, it's winter. Normally, the farmers don't grow anything and just let the fields have a good rest. So the best time to visit the Longji Terraces is from April to October.
Things to Do on the Terraces
There are some recommendable things to do on the Ping'an Terraced Fields.
Take Photos of Long Hair
In Ping'an Zhuang Village, the Zhuang people are not the only minority nationality living there. You will also find groups of Yao women selling souvenirs along the lane. If you are interested in their long hair, ask a Yao lady for a simple long hair display (20 yuan for a tip is necessary) and you'll get some awesome photos.
Stay Overnight to Enjoy the Sunrise and Sunset
The top of the Ping'an Terraced Fields is the right place to enjoy a sunrise and sunset. Why not stay overnight in the peaceful village to try a different experience?
Hike to Dazhai Village or Longji Ancient Zhuang Village
For tourists who like outdoor exercises, there couldn't be a better choice than to hike on the Longji Terraced Fields. The spectacular scenery, crystal clear streams, lovely domestic animals and the local wooden architectures are waiting for your exploration. Hiking from Ping'an Zhuang Village to Longji Ancient Zhuang Village will take approximately two hours. It's possible to visit these two villages in the same day. However, hiking from Ping'an Zhuang Village to Dazhai Village takes 5 to 6 hours. It's better to stay overnight in Ping'an Zhuang Village and get an early start the next day for hiking.
Bamboo Rice is the most popular food in Ping'an Village. It is a type of roasted food consisting of rice and some spices, contained in a bamboo tube. The main ingredients are rice, meat and some tiny pieces of taro or pumpkin, which are put into a fresh bamboo joint with enough water, sealed with a corn cob and baked on a fire until the bamboo turns black. Well-cooked Bamboo Rice has a distinctive flavor of soft roasted rice and bamboo. Chinese Bacon (preserved pork) and Longji Spicy Chili Sauce also enjoy a high reputation from tourists.
Here we have listed two restaurants which are highly recommended by our clients.
Ping'an Restaurant is half way to the top viewing point. The chef there is good at cooking local food with less oil and spices, catering to Westerners' tastes. The specialties in Ping'an Restaurant are: Kung Pao Chicken, Eggplant with Meat in a Hot Pot, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Stir Fried String Beans and Bamboo Rice.
Longji Meiyou Restaurant
Meiyou Restaurant in Ping'an Village is a chain restaurant in the Guilin area. The food quality is guaranteed. Most people who go to the restaurant enjoy the Sizzling Beef Steak, Fried Egg Yolk Pumpkin and Mapo Tofu. After lunch, it's a good idea to order a cup of ginger tea and enjoy the great scenery from the balcony.
The hotels in the mountainous area are not as good as in the downtown area, but the accommodation in Ping'an Zhuang Village is much better than the other two villages. Located on the top of the Ping'an Terraced Fields (near the second viewing point), Li An Lodge is considered to be the best hotel in the Longji Terraced Fields Scenic Area. It is a four-storied wooden structure with distinct and exquisite decorations in each room. Because of the fabulous location, most rooms have unique and splendid scenery. It's very enjoyable to stay at such a wonderful hotel. One thing to note is that Li An Lodge only has a limited number of 20 rooms and the price is quite expensive. If you are looking for some budget hotels, the Ping'an Hotel or Star Wish Resort can be a better choice. Both hotels have good locations and rooms with terraces are available.
There are buses going to Longsheng County from Guilin Bus Station and Train Station every day. The ticket price is 40 yuan per person and it takes two hours. Tell the driver that you're going to visit the Longji Terraces, and then the driver will tell you to get off at the Longji Terraced Fields Ticket Counter. Buy the entrance ticket (80 yuan per person) there and change to the shuttle bus heading to the Ping'an Terraced Fields Parking Lot. It takes half an hour to reach the parking lot and the bus ticket price is 15 yuan for a single trip or 30 yuan for a round trip. From there on, you need to walk about 50 minutes to get to the top viewing point. The latest shuttle bus from Ping'an Parking Lot down to the Ticket Counter is at 16:30. Don't miss it.
Traveling with China Highlights, we can arrange a private van and driver for your trip, with a private English speaking tour guide. It saves plenty of time and you'll get a complete explanation from our professional tour guide.
Notice and Tips
When visiting the Longji Terraced Fields, a pair of comfortable shoes is necessary as it's a long walk. Seat-chairs carried by local people at the Ping'an Parking Lot are especially for tourists who are not able to walk for a long period of time.
The temperature on the terraced fields is a little bit cooler than in Guilin City. Remember to take an extra jacket when visiting in spring and autumn. On rainy days, wearing a raincoat is better than taking an umbrella in the mountainous area.
For overnight tourists, please pack your luggage separately into big items and smaller items. Big suitcases can be stored at the Longji Terraced Fields Ticket Counter at the foot of the mountain, for a price of 20 yuan for each item. Take the smaller ones with you to your hotel on the terraced fields. When arriving at the Ping'an Parking Lot, you will find local people with baskets on their backs standing by to help you with your suitcases. Generally, it costs 40 yuan per item to help carry it to your hotel.
There are a considerable number of sideways and narrow lanes through which you can easily get lost, so a guide is helpful to lead the way, especially when you choose to hike for a long distance.
Ask for permission first before taking photos of the locals.
There are no road lamps in Ping'an Zhuang Village; it is recommended that you get to your destination before dark.
I updated this article on February 27, 2014
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