CHINA | Longji rice terraces

CHINA | Longji rice terraces

The Dragon’s back aka Longji (or Longsheng) rice terraces area is absolutely stunning and a must visit on a trip to the Guangxi province in China. Not only does this area provide you with amazing nature and beautiful views, it is also a great place to experience Chinese live outside of the cities. It might seem overwhelming to plan an independent trip to this area, but I assure you that it is totally worth it and so much better than going there with an organised group tour. I hope the information below will make everything a little less confusing and will help you to plan your perfect trip. Curious about how you could fit a visit to the Longji rice terraces in your trip to China, check out my post about a 3-week China travel route.


Where to stay?

There are multiple options of places to stay. If you want to stay in a bigger city with more facilities and some well known hotel chains, your best option is to stay in Guilin and visit the Longji rice fields on a day trip. However, I 100% recommend staying in Ping An or Dazhai, these villages are located right in between the Longji rice fields and are super charming and authentic, while still offering enough accommodation options and facilities, such as restaurants and shops. I stayed in Ping An which is the bigger one of the two, but I believe they are very similar.

Ping An village
Ping An is a super charming village right in between the Longji rice terraces. It has remained somewhat authentic even though a significant rise in tourism. The lower part (where you enter from the main parking lot) has really been taken over by tourism, with souvenir shops and restaurants, but in the part that’s more uphill (the main village area) you can still get a good view at how the locals live and spend their days. Below I’ve included a map of the area to make everything a little more clear.

Accomodation
There are a lot of guesthouses in Ping An and also plenty in Dazhai. Most guesthouses look quite modern and offer everything you need, at a lot of them there is even someone who speaks English, which is super helpful. Also many offer amazing views over the rice fields, so definitely look for that when booking. While looking for accommodation I had a really hard time trying to locate the different guesthouses on the map and choosing the one with the best location. A lot of the guesthouses don’t show up in their actual location on google and/or booking.com. However, it doesn’t really matter where in the village you stay, so if it states they are located in Ping An village it will be fine. Just make sure to ask them before you arrive how to reach the property from the parking lot. Also, there are some guesthouses located in the Longji rice fields area, but outside of the villages. I don’t recommend staying there as you won’t be able to go anywhere after dark. We stayed at the ‘Traveling With Hotel Long Ji Ping An’, which was one of my favourite accommodations during our trip to China. It was super clean and spacious and the view from our room was incredible.


How to get there?

There are basically two different options to get to Ping An or Dazhai. The first one is with private transport, this is the fasted and most comfortable way and probably your best option if you’re traveling with a group. The other option is by mini bus. There are multiple busses going from Guilin to Ping An and Dazhai every day (in the morning and early afternoon). You can either ask the hotel/guesthouse you’ve booked in Ping An or Dazhai to book the transit for you or book it at your accommodation in Guilin. No need to book it way in advance, the day should be fine. In our case there were no direct buses from Guilin to Ping An, so we took the bus in the direction of Dazhai village and then the driver dropped us of at a crossroad, where we had to wait for a bus going to Ping An. The mini busses will drop you off at the parking lot at the entrance of the villages. Traveling by bus is pretty cheap, I believe we paid 50 Yuan (6,50 euro) from Guilin to the crossroad and then 10 Yuan (1,30 euro) for the shuttle up the hill to Ping An.

The map below shows where the two villages are located in the Longji rice terraces area. It schematically shows the route from Guilin to Ping An and the crossroad where you might need to transfer, it takes about 3 hours by mini bus.

I don’t recommend trying to get there from anywhere else than Guilin, unless you’ve booked private transport. We wanted to go to Ping An straight from Fenghuang ancient town, but everybody told us we had to go to Guilin first. We actually ended up staying the night in Guilin, after arriving from Fenghuang, because the mini busses only depart in the morning and early afternoon.


How to get around?

Once you’ve arrived in Ping An or Dazhai you can get around on foot. Keep in mind that the parking lot where the mini busses will drop you off is quite a bit down the hill from the main part of the village. This means it’s likely you’ll have to walk for about 20 min uphill with your luggage to reach your hotel/guesthouse. At the entrance there are also people who’ll carry your luggage for a small fee. Also, something that might be good to know is that there are quite a lot of stairs within the village and on the way to the viewpoints.


What to do?

Nine Dragons and Five Tigers viewpoint
The main reason to visit the Longji rice terraces is to enjoy the amazing views. We hiked up from Ping An to the ‘Nine Dragons and Five Tigers’ viewpoint, this is about a 30 minute hike that is signposted very well along the way. The view from the viewpoint and on the way up and down is absolutely stunning. We actually ended up just sitting somewhere on the hill for three hours enjoying the view and sunshine.

Hiking from Ping an to Dazhai
Another hike that seems quite popular is to hike from Ping An to Dazhai or the other way around. I believe it takes about 4 hours to walk from one village to the other, but I haven’t tried this myself. Also there is supposed to be a bus going between the two villages to get you back to your starting point at the end of the day, but I would definitely check this with the people at your hotel/guesthouse before embarking on your journey. Keep in mind that there aren’t any signs to show you the right way and you won’t find this hike on a map. So, either go with a guide or be prepared to ask locals for directions in Chinese.

Wandering through the village
Something other than hiking that I think is a must do when staying in Ping An, is to experience the local life in the village. Wander around the narrow streets in the late afternoon/early evening and you’ll be amazing by all that’s going on. At this time of the day the locals are commuting home with their donkeys after working on the fields all day. Also we found a really cute group of older women selling their fresh crops on the street. So, just wander around and take it in. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to navigate back to your hotel/guesthouse later, so don’t get too lost.


Where to eat?

Basically all the guesthouses in the area also operate a restaurant, so there are plenty of places to grab breakfast, lunch and dinner in the village. Most places will have either an English menu or picture menu, which is really handy. Additionally, in Ping An there were several little supermarkets to grab some snacks and drinks from. If you go an hike definitely make sure to take enough food and water with you. There are some shops at the Nine Dragons and Five Tigers viewpoint, but especially water was way overpriced there.

We had quite an interesting dinner experience at one of the restaurants. When we walked in the place was packed with a Chinese tour groups and they were all very fascinated by us. They all wanted to take pictures and talk to us and at some point they even started offering us drinks. It was all really hilarious and something I’ll never forget! If you’re interested you can see a little clip of it in my vlog, of which you can find the link at the bottom of this post.


How long to stay?

We only spend one day and one night at the Longji rice terraces. This was honestly enough to enjoy both the views and the lifestyle. If you want to do the hike from Ping An to Dazhai I do recommend taking a full day and maybe staying two nights, so you can leave for the hike early in the morning.


What to keep in mind?

Entrance fee
Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay an entrance fee to enter the Longji rice terraces area. I believe it was around 100 Yuan (13 euros) per person. If you go by mini bus the driver will stop at some point and someone will come into the bus to sell you your tickets. Once you arrive at one of the villages there will be an entrance gate where they will check your ticket.

No ATMs
Another thing to note is that there are no ATMs in the villages. Therefore, carry at least enough cash with you from Guilin to pay for the entrance, accommodation, food and transport back to Guilin.

I hope all this information will help you in planning your trip to the Longji rice terraces. I also vlogged my time in Ping An, so click here to check out the video and get a good view of what it’s like there. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send me a message on Facebook or Instagram. Also, I would love to hear about your experiences, so don’t hesitate to share!

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