Everything you need to know about hiking and visiting Longji Rice Terraces.
Carved into the side of mountains like the stairs of mythical giants, the Lonji Rice Terraces in the Guangxi province of China is a scene of such splendid and breathtaking beauty it has to be seen to be believed. After witnessing the striking imagery of the rice terraces in Northern Vietnam, we were giddy with excitement to make our way to one of the most famous rice paddies on the face of the planet.
Shrouded in legend, the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces are etched into over 66 square kilometres of steep, mountainous landscapes. Construction of the terraces began during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1358) and were not completed until the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
While the best time to visit the Longji Rice Terraces is at the end of Spring (late May) when the fields are filled with water, this wonder of ancient agricultural engineering is truly spectacular at any time of year. We explored and hiked the terraces for two days at the beginning of May and were captivated by the gorgeous vistas to be had from every viewing point.
No trip to Southern China would be complete without a journey through the karst landscapes at Yangshuo and the Longji Rice Terraces. Two days was not enough time for us to truly appreciate the divine beauty, meaning we will have to add the destination onto our list of places to return to.
How To Get To Longji Rice Terraces From Guilin
The Longji Rice Terraces are about 100km North of Guilin City, and it takes about 2.5 hours to drive there. You have a couple of options to get out to the rice terraces, such as taking part in a day tour from Guilin, organising a private car or taxi (which we did), or taking a couple of public buses.
The Bus To Longji
Head to the Qin Lan Bus Station (琴潭 – not the one in the centre of town near the train station) and board a bus headed to Longsheng Town (龙胜). Buses leave every 15 minutes, the journey will take two hours, and cost 22-28 RMB. There will be plenty of minivan drivers offering to take you there to. Depending on your negotiating skills, you may be able to go with one of them.
Once you get to Longsheng Town you need to swap to another local bus to the Longji Rice Terraces, which will take another hour and cost 9RMB. The buses will take you to different villages, so know which one you want to go to before jumping on a bus.
- Longji Ancient Zhuang Village (龙脊古壮寨)
- Huangluo Red Yao Village (黄洛红瑶寨)
Note – It is actually better to get off one stop before Longsheng at the town of Heping (和平) as there is an actual bus station there with better connections to the rice terraces.
Private Shuttle Bus
It is easy to organise a private shuttle bus from Guilin City to Lonji Rice Terraces. The cost should be about 350RMB, and your accommodation (either in Guilin or in Longji) can organise this for you.
We organised our bus through Jimmy, the owner of the Tian Ranju Inn. He was extremely helpful and even sent us photos of the driver and minivan so we knew we were definitely getting the right one from the Guilin train station (桂林火车站). The cost was 50RMB a person and it dropped us off in Dazhai Village, which was a 30 minute walk from the heart of the Longji Rice Terraces.
Cost Of Entrance To Longji Rice Terraces
- Standard Adult – 100RMB
- Student or Over 60 – 50RMB
Where We Stayed At Longji Rice Terraces
We stayed at the Tian Ranju Inn in the Tiantou Village, located right in the centre of the Longji Rice Terraces. We called the owner Jimmy to enquire first (he speaks excellent English), and then emailed him. He sent through a very detailed email, including perfect directions on how to find his guest house when you arrive at Dazhai Village (it is about a 30 minute walk). If you have heavy luggage, sweet minority ladies will carry it for you for 50RMB (sometimes more).
Even easier now you can book your stay at Longsheng Dazhai Tian Ranju Inn through Booking.com, saving the worry about missing out on a spot there.
The Tian Ranju Inn was absolutely beautiful, and we really loved it there. The staff were friendly and the views were superb. The food admittedly was a bit expensive, but you cannot expect it to be cheap when you are this high up. We went for the basic room and this was more than fine for us. Due to the wooden floors and walls, it is quite loud when people walk around, so just keep this in mind. Overall we had a great time there and would stay again.
Tian Ranju Inn
- Website: http://www.tianranju.info/index.html
- Phone: +86 1366 783 0482 (Jimmy) or +86 1587 700 1801 (Hannah)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Basic Room – 90RMB
- Double Room – 150RMB
- Twin Room – 150RMB
- Triple Room – 180RMB
Prices do become more expensive during Chinese holidays.