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Longsheng Rice Terraces, also called the Longji Rice Terraces (Longji, 龙脊, means dragon backbone in Chinese, so it’s also known as Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces by foreign tourists), located at Longsheng County, Guilin, and 77 km from the Guilin City. Built from Ming Dynasty and completed at early Qing Dynasty, Longsheng Rice Terraces has a history over 650 years. Covered all terrace fields are distributed between 300 m to 1100 m above sea level, and the largest gradient of the terrace fields can reach to 50°.
Longsheng Rice Terraces is actually a group of rice terraces. From east to west, it can be divided into three parts: Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields Spot, Ping’an Zhuang Terraced Fields Spot and Longji Old Village Cultural Terraced Fields Spot. Among the three spots, the first two spots are the core and the most beautiful part of Longsheng Rice Terraces. The terrace fields are cultivated by two indigenous ethnic people – Zhuang people and Yao people. In recent years, the ethnic villages in the spots have attracted more and more tourists for its unique ethnic customs and traditional dwellings.
Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields Spot, or simply Jinkeng Terraces, is composed of five small villages, lived mainly by Red Yao People, with Dazhai Village on the mountain foot, Zhuangjie Village on the mountain side and Tiantou Village on the mountain top. The shape of Jinkeng Terraces is like a natural formed pit. Less commercial breath compared with other spots and majestic scenery are the reasons why Jinkeng Terraces is the most popular sites for shutterbugs and independent traveller. Most of the gorgeous photos of Longsheng Rice Terraces published are shot from here. The spot has three viewpoints which form a triangle. The apex of the triangle is the No.1 Viewpoint, while the left bottom is No.2 Viewpoint and right bottom is No.3 Viewpoint.
No.1 Viewpoint – West Hill Music (西山韶乐) closest to Tiantou Village, as the landmark of Jinkeng Terraces, West Hill Music is the highest view point, with an altitude of 1180 m, it has the widest view vision and thus it’s the best place for sunrise and sunset photography.
No.2 Viewpoint – Large-scale Thousand-layers Terraces (千层天梯): located in the west side and closest to Dazhai Village, the Large-scale Thousand-layers Terraces is suitable for sunrise and sunset watching. In here, you can watch layers of layers terraces piled up like a stairway reaching to the sky and the villages of Yao people.
No.3 Viewpoint – Golden Buddha Peak (金佛顶): though the view here is not good as No.1 and No.2 Viewpoints, Golden Buddha Peak has the most convenient transportation, and you can take a cable car to here. No.3 Viewpoint is facing to the west, so it’s suitable for sunset watching and photography.
Recommended Hiking and Photography Route for Jinkeng Terraces: ascend the mountain from the direction to No.2 Viewpoint →(40 mins) No.2 Viewpoint →(1hr) No.1 Viewpoint →(1.5hrs) No.3 Viewpoint (sunset watching) →(1hr) come down the mountain.
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Located at Ping’an Village, Ping’an Zhuang Terraced Fields Spot, commonly referred to as Ping’an Terraces, is the most mature travel spot of the three. The scenic spot of Ping’an Terraces is equipped with restaurants, hotels, bars, and even cafes, thus, you can enjoy the modern facility in the mountains. The habitants in here are mainly Zhuang people. Compared with the grandeur of Jinkeng Terraces, Ping’an Terraces is featured in its delicacy and elegant. The two famous viewpoints in here are Seven Stars around the Moon and Nine Dragons and Five Tigers. They are close to each other and tourists can choose the suitable places to observe the terrace fields between the two viewpoints.
Seven Stars around the Moon (七星伴月): Seven Stars refer to the seven mounds left by the villagers when they cultivated the mountain. Great place for photography and the sunrise scene here is especially beautiful.
Nine Dragons and Five Tigers (九龙五虎): Nine Dragons refer to nine ridges divided from the Dragon Backbone, and Five Tigers refer to five little mounds surrounded by the terrace fields. For photography, here is more suitable to shoot sunset scene. However, it’s flexible when you travel. The two viewpoints are only half hour walk from each other.
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This spot can be called as Longji Village for short, half hour walk to Ping’an Village. The whole village is surrounded by layers of layers terrace fields. Compared with other spots, Longji Village has the most historical scenes. The aged old Zhuang village has the best-preserved stilt-style architecture of Zhuang people in China. There are only five old houses in the village and the oldest one was built in Qing Dynasty and has a history of 150 years. Following the bluestone pavement and walk around the village, appreciate the primitive simplicity of the old village. Recommended Route: ticket checking office – Longji Zhuang Ecological Museum – Slender Ditch Viewpoint (长沟) – Floating Dragons to the River Viewpoint (游龙下江). Check more about Longji Ancient Zhuang Village >
Huangluo Yao Village is the only Red Yao Village in the scenic spot. Tourists can reach there by driving along the travel road of the scenic spot. The whole village is famous for Red Yao people’s costumes, long hair and song and dance performance. The village has about 60 families and every woman in the village has long hair over 1 m, and the longest hair can reach to 2.1 m. This phenomenon earned recognition from Guinness World Records in 2002. There is hair-combing performance every day. You can hire some women as your photography models.
Interesting Facts: (1) Unmarried Red Yao girls will wrap their hair with a cloth until they get married. (2)If the Red Yao people have good feeling for someone, they will step on the tiptoe of that person, and if they have a great affection on that person, they will step on his heel. (3) To show friendship, they will pinch other’s hip, so don’t be panic when you’re pinched by some middle-aged women.
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Jinzhu Zhuang Village is famous for its golden bamboo (Jinzhu means golden bamboo in Chinese). As the first village you will encounter when you come to Longji Terraces, it’s lived with ethnic Zhuang people. The stilted houses in the village are preserved well. If you dine at the local restaurant, the highlight of the meal is the toast song – the Zhuang girls in traditional costumes will toast to you with the local wine and sing to you the toast song of Zhuang ethnic.
Every year, the ethnic festivals & activities in the Longsheng are not only the grand gathering for the local people, but also attract many tourists.
Spring is a charming season. With the blossom of the rapeseed flower in Longsheng Rice Terraces, tourists start to stream into here. Layers of layers rapeseed flowers turn the terraced fields into a golden ocean, just like another Shangri-la.
During the ceremony, the organizer will hold a photography contest and invite many photographers associations, news media and shutterbugs to Longsheng to shoot natural scenery and ploughing scene of the local people.
Red Clothes Festival is also called Clothes Show Festival (晒衣节). It’s a traditional festival of Red Yao people. In memory of the ancestors, the Red Yao women will hang all their beautiful clothes under the eaves, and there will be traditional song and dance performances in the village. At night, thousands of torches will be ignited in the terraced fields and beautiful fireworks will shine the sky over the terraced fields.
There are many other festivals and activities in Longsheng all year around, and they are great chances to experience the ethnic culture and customs.
The roads in the scenic spot are all paved stone paths, so the only way to travel is to hike. For shutterbugs, the most viewpoints in the Longsheng Rice Terraces are suitable for sunrise or sunset photography, so photography route is very flexible. Normally, you will need two days (if you want to stay longer, that’s totally ok) to travel and there are two kinds of route for travelers.
This is a classic route suitable for those who require higher accommodation facilities and easier hike.
Day 1: you will first arrive in Ping’an Village, check in the hotel first, then visit the Seven Stars around the Moon and Nine Dragons and Five Tigers in the afternoon. If you have more strength, you can walk through Seven Stars to get to Longji Old Village Cutural Terraced Fields Spot (about half hour’s walk from Ping’an Terraces to Longji Old Village). Then back to Ping’an Village for dinner and accommodation.
Day 2: get up early and enjoy the beautiful sunrise on the terraced fields, then walk to Jinkeng Terraces Spot. Visiting order in Jinkeng Terraces can be No.2 Viewpoint → No.1 Viewpoint → No.3 Viewpoint (you can choose according to your physical strength). No.1 Viewpoint is the most beautiful one of the three viewpoints. The hike of today will take about 5 hours. There is a cable car commuting between No.3 Viewpoint and the ticket checking office of Jinkeng Terraces Spot. So if you are tired after the hike, you can take the cable car to get back to the check-out gate.
Reversed with the first route, this route will need more strength. However, there is no repeated section in this route and you can see every spots if you have enough strength.
Day 1: drive to Jinkeng Terraces Spot and climb up to the mountain along the cable car route to get No.3 Viewpoint (about 1~1.5hours walk). Then walk to No.1 Viewpoint (about 1 hour) and stay overnight at here.
Day 2: watch sunrise at No.2 Viewpoint, then hike to No.2 Viewpoint. After that, hike to Zhongliu Village and have a lunch in here. After lunch, keep hiking to Ping’an Village to get to Nine Dragons and Five Tigers to enjoy the panoramic view of the terrace field. Then, if you have more strength, go to Seven Stars around the Moon, and you can go to Longji Old Village Cutural Terraced Fields Spot from here. Finally, get to Jinzhu Zhuang Village and get out of the scenic spot.
Notice: (1) Ping’an Village serves more comfortable accommodations than other places.
(2) in the first day, after you get off at the parking lot, you will carry your luggage and walk about 30 minutes to get to the hotel in Ping’an Village. First, you will walk about 10 minutes from the parking lot to the mountain foot (this section is easy to walk), then you will climb stone steps for about 20 minutes to the hotel (luggage carrying service is supplied here).
(3)If you have many luggages, you can store them at the front gate of the spot, ¥30 for each luggage. You can also hire some locals to carry your luggage for you.
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Longsheng has no airport or railway station, so the only way is taking bus or private car from Guilin City. Independent travelers can take coach from Guilin Qintan Bus Station to Longsheng County and get off at Heping County of Longsheng (about 1.5 ~ 2 hours, dispatch every 15 minutes, ¥25/person). Purchase the terrace ticket at here and transfer to the bus to get Ping’an Village (18 km) or Dazhai Village (24 km). This will spend about 40 ~ 60 minutes.
For our customers, the local guide will escort you to the Ping’an Village or Dazhai Village (according to your itinerary) in the private car, and you don’t need to worry about anything about the transportation problem.
You can take bus or private car to travel among the ticket checking offices of the three spot (not in the scenic spot). However, the only way to transfer in the scenic spots is walk. From Daizhai Village to Ping’an Village, you can walk from the fork road between No.1 Viewpoint and No.2 Viewpoint to get to Ping’an Village. And through Seven Stars around the Moon, you can get to Longji Old Village from Ping’an Village. There are many fork roads on the way, thus, it’s better you hire a guide when you travel.Useful Links:
Different seasons will show you the different views. Generally, there are five good time to visit Longsheng Terraces.
1. From mid-May to Mid-June. During this period, local people will release water into the terraced fields. Patches of patches watery terraced fields will reflect its beautiful in the sun shine.
2. Late September to October. After the mature of the rice, the whole terraced fields will become golden. It’s the best time to see and take photo of golden terraces.
3. Snowy Terraces: in winter, if it snows, the villages and terraced fields will be covered with a layer of white snow, just like an icy fairy tale world.
4. July to August. At this time, the glossy and green rice terraces wave with summer breeze, and you can also see the curves of the terraced fields.
5. Festivals and activities time. Great chance to get to know the unique minority people’s folk custom and see song and dance performances.
Ticket for the whole Longsheng Rice Terraces is ¥100/person. You will buy the ticket at the Gate of Longji Terraced Fields Scenic Area. After you enter into the scenic area, there are three ticket checking offices for the three terraced fields spots. Don’t lose or throw away your ticket unless you finish your tour.
The three spots have their own entrances; however, travelers normally enter into the terraced spots from the ticket checking offices of Ping’an Terraces and Jinkeng Terraces. While the ticket for cable car is ¥70/person and ¥120/person for round trip.
The hotels and hostels are almost concentrated in Ping’an Terraces Spot and Jinkeng Terraces Spot. Most of Ping’an Village’s hotels and hostels are tilted wooden houses built by the local people. Rooms are divided into double room with private bathroom and multiple-bedded room. For Jinkeng Terraces, travelers can stay overnight in Dazhai Village and Tiantou Village. Tiantou Village is more popular for a closer distance to the viewpoints. Accommodation in Longji Old Village is poor-equipped, so we don’t recommend you to stay there.
Since the houses in the scenic spot are mainly made with wood, so please be careful with the use of fire.
For those who carry much luggage or who can’t carry the luggage to hike, the local people supply luggage carrying service when you enter into the scenic spots. The price is from ¥30 to ¥50.
If you want to take specific photo, like Yao women combing their hair or walking along the trails among terraced fields, it’s only cost you about ¥10 to have them as your model.
Most of the roads in the scenic spot are stone trails, so high-heeled shoes are not advisable. Following the stone trails when you hike to prevent getting lost.
The weather of Longsheng is normally lower 2℃ to 3℃ than Guilin City, while the mountain tops temperature is lower than the mountain foot, so please take some warm clothes with you.
In winter time, if there is a heavy snow or icy pavements, use antiskid chains to your car. Please wear antiskid shoes or soft-soled trail shoes.
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >