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The Longji Terraced Fields — World's Most Incredible Rice Terraces

The Longji Rice Terraces offer some of the most fantastic scenery in China or indeed the world. Beautiful when the sun reflects in the water of the paddy fields and glowing with yellow ears when the harvest is ripe, Longji (Dragon's Back) is a feast for the eyes.

There are about 66 square kilometers (25 sq mi) of terraced fields. The rice terraces are built into the hillsides, and look like great amphitheatres or ribbons as they wind round the contours in tiered bands.

This ingenious irrigation method makes the best use of the scarce arable land and water resources in this mountainous area.

The Longji Terraced FieldsThe Longji Terraced Fields
  • Location: Longsheng County, Guilin Prefecture, Guangxi Province
  • Distance: about 95 km north of Guilin City, 2½ hour’s drive
  • History: Started in the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368), they were completed in the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911).
  • Highlights: terraced field scenery, ancient villages, minority culture
  • Best time: spring and autumn, especially May and October for watery or rice-filled terraces.
  • Activities: photography, hiking  
  • Time suggested: 1½ days

The Two Popular Rice Terrace Areas — How to Choose Between Them

The Longji Rice Terraces refers to several village areas in Longsheng County.

The most popular terraced field areas are around Ping'an Village, where Zhuang minority people live, and in the Jinkeng area, home to the Red Yao.

Major Villages Ethnic Minority Crowds Status Cable Car Time Needed to Visit
The Ping'an Terraced Fields Ping'an Zhuang Crowded Commercial No 2 hours
The Jinkeng Terraced Fields Dazhai, Tiantou Red Yao Less-crowded More rustic Yes 4–5 hours

Longji Terraced Fields

The Ping'an Terraced Fields — Famous and Well-developed

longji Longji Rice Terraces in autumn

Ping'an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields (平安壮寨梯田) are the earliest and most developed terraced fields in Longsheng, and the most touristy area.

These 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.

Ping'an Highlights You Shouldn't Miss

  • Seven Stars Accompany the Moon (七星伴月) is comprised of seven small piles of rocks, left 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 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 — Less Touristy and More Spectacular

The Jinkeng
Terraced FieldsThe Jinkeng Terraced Fields

Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields (金坑红瑶梯田) are farther than the Ping’an Terraced Fields from the tourist entrance.

The Jinkeng Terraces hold several Yao villages: Dazhai, Tiantouzhai, Xinzhai, and Xiaozhai. The main attractions and accommodation are located in and around Dazhai ('Big Village') and Tiantouzhai ('Field Head Village').

Jinkeng Highlights You Shouldn't Miss

  • 'West Hill Music' (Xishan Shaoyue 西山韶乐) 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. More than 90% of published Longsheng Terrace photos are taken there.
  • The 'Large-Scale Thousand-Layer Terraces’ (Dajie Qianceng Titian 大界天层天梯) is 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): This is the best place to take sunset photos. The cable way from the bottom of the rice terraces to the peak is very convenient for those who are not good at walking (20 minutes instead of 3 hours of walking).

Longji Terrace Hiking

For those who like outdoor exercise, there couldn't be a better choice than to hike at the Longji Terraced Fields. There are many good hiking trails between the villages. The most popular two options are:

There are a considerable number of small paths, which may easily lead to getting lost, so a tour guide may be necessary to help you find the right way.

The uncut stone paths have many twists and turns, and some sections are steep, so please mind your step.

Famous Ethnic Villages in Longji

The major villages in Longji Rice Terraces Scenic area include Ping'an and Dazhai (covered above), and Longji Ancient Zhuang Village and Huangluo Yao Village, with particular ethnic attractions.

Longji Ancient Zhuang Village — Famous for Zhuang History and Culture

ancient zhuang village Longji Ancient Zhuang Village

Longji Ancient Zhuang Village (龙脊古壮寨), 3 km 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, most of which are more than 100 years old. It features well-preserved architecture of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. With a history of over 400 years, the village is home to 200 households of over 1,000 Zhuang people. Their costumes are vigorous and brilliant.

The stone bridges are the most special feature. Among the 20 kilometers (13 mi) of terraces, there are around 300 stone bridges, of which 57 are in Longji Ancient Zhuang Village. On the bridges, lotuses, swords, and eight trigrams were carved. The most typical one is the "Three Fish Share One Head" which was carved on the Wind and Rain Bridge in front of the village administrative office.

The village is very big and may take half a day to explore.

Huangluo Red Yao Village — 'the World's Top Long Hair Village'

Red Yao womenA Red Yao woman and children

Huangluo Red Yao Village (黄洛红瑶寨), 1 km south of Ping'an, is where over 60 Yao households of over 400 people live harmoniously. It 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 girls have over one-meter long black hair. The longest is 2.1 meters. It is said that this village holds the Guinness World Record for the group of people with the longest hair.

You can tell a woman's marriage status from her hair. An unmarried woman should pack all of her hair in a cloth. You are not able to see her hair. A married woman will also pack her hair, but will leave a bun outside.

The 'long-hair show', 'red-stick dancing', and 'umbrella dancing' are performed in the village. It is very touristy. If you are looking for something less staged, skip it.

The Best Times for a Visit

Golden Buddha Peak The Longji Terraces in spring

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 July to mid-September it is the growing period for the grain seedlings. You will see green and vigor everywhere.
  • From September to early October, the rice on the fields is ripe. You will see layers of golden yellow. Farmers can be seen harvesting in the fields from around October 1st to 15th.
  • From October 15th to April you will see nothing more than the plain scenery of brown empty fields (and maybe snow).

Travel Essentials for Planning a Trip

Location

Longji Terraced Fields Scenic Area is 95 kilometers (59 miles) from Guilin, about two and a half hours by bus.

Transport Information

We can arrange a private van and driver for you, with a private English speaking tour guide. Taking private transport directly there takes less than 2 hours.

Direct tourist buses depart from Guilin Train Station, but beware being roped into an inflexible and commission-focused group tour.

If you wish to go alone, you can take the express bus from Guilin to Longsheng County Town first. It takes about two hours. Then take another bus from Longsheng to the Longji terraces area, which takes about one hour.

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.

Three Entrances

pinganBeautiful scenery of Ping'an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields

The terraced fields have three entrances: Ping'an Village, Longji Ancient Zhuang Village, and Dazhai Village.

Visitors must park/alight at the bottom of the valley, and take a minibus to one of the upper car parks and entrances. From there visitors must ascend on foot.

Entry Cost

The 90-yuan-per-person ticket includes entrance fees to Ping'an and Dazhai/Jinkeng scenic areas. The ticket is valid for two days.

Children over 1.4 meters (4’7”) tall must pay the full price, but entry is free for those under 1.4 meters.

Going to Huangluo Yao Village (Hongyao Long Hair Village) requires an extra 60 yuan per person.

Luggage Carrying Service

If you have heavy luggage, you can have it stored at the entrance of the scenic area. The price is 30 yuan per piece.

The local people will enthusiastically offer to help you with your luggage and to guide you to your hotel. If you have one, your tour guide will help you negotiate the price with them first.

From Dazhai Village to Tiantou Village is about 30 yuan per basket; to the highest view point (Xishan Shaoyue) is 40 yuan per basket. (A basket can hold a medium suitcase or a large backpack.)

Accommodation

a hotel in Longji

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.

Photography at the Longji Rice Terraces

The Longji Rice Terraces offer outstanding scenery for photography. Check out our photography tips for the Longsheng Rice Terraces.

Ask for permission first before taking photos of the locals, as they like to charge you for the privilege.

One Day Longji Rice Terraces Small Group Tour

  • Duration: 10 hours approx.
  • Departure: daily
  • Price: 99 USD p/p

Itinerary

8:00–8:45am: Our English speaking driver picks you up from your hotel.

8:45–11:00am: The journey to Longsheng is about 2 hours. You can see fruit plantations and rice paddies on the way. Note that it might get a little bumpy on the winding mountain roads. 

11:00am–12:00pm: At Huangluo Yao Village you can see women in rose-red dresses. Watch how they wash, brush, braid, and coil their hair up in a uniquely beautiful style.

12:00–1:30pm: Dine with the locals at a minority village; try the local bamboo-tube rice.

1:30–3:30pm: Your driver will transfer you to the top of Ping’an village to take a fantastic panoramic view of the terraces and the village. If you would like to walk through the rice terraces, your driver will give you directions so that you can discover the village on your own. The driver will drive down the village and wait for you in the parking lot..

4:00pm: Return to your hotel in Guilin. Descend from Ping'an, and you will be transferred back to your hotel in Guilin.

5:45PM-06:30PM: Drop off at your hotel

You can extend your tour with a night cruise on the Two Rivers and Four Lakes (book with your driver). He will make sure you arrive at the pier on time (starts: 7:30, 8:40, 9:50).

Note: Chinese New Year (Feb 15 to Feb 22) have already been fully booked. 

QUICK INQUIRY Each tour can be tailored.

Top Quality Longji Rice Terrace Tours

Tour the Longji Terraced Fields with China HighlightsTour the Longji Terraced Fields with China Highlights

Longji is a place full of beautiful scenery and ethnic customs. Our professional guide will help you to take amazing photos and really experience minority culture. Here are some customizable itineraries for your inspiration:

Not interested in the above? You can tailor-make your own unique tour by telling us your interests and requirements. We will help you design your perfect trip.

Further Reading