The Longsheng Rice Terraces are located in Longsheng County, about 100 km (2 hours drive) from Guilin, Guangxi, China. The most popular are Ping An Rice Terrace and Jinkeng Rice Terrace.
The terraced fields are built along the slope winding from the riverside up to the mountain top, the highest part being 880 m in elevation while the lowest part is 380 m. The coiling line that starts from the mountain foot up to the mountain top divides the mountain into layers of water glittering in the sun in spring, layers of green rice shoots in summer, layers of golden rice in fall, and layers of silvery frost in winter. The terraced fields were mostly built during the Ming Dynasty, about 500 years ago.
Longji (Dragon's Backbone) Terraced Rice Fields received their name because the rice terraces resemble a dragon's scales, while the summit of the mountain range looks like the backbone of the dragon. Visitors standing on the top of the mountain can see the dragon's backbone twisting off into the distance. In an early morning, when the weather is fine, the sunrise on the summit of Longji Rice Terraces is magnificent.
They are often considered most beautiful in early June. At this time, water is pumped over the rice paddies and young plants are transferred to the main terraces.
Features of Longji Terraced Rice Fields
Longji's terraced fields offer some of the most fantastic scenery in Guilin or indeed China. 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.
The Longji Terraced Fields are located in Longsheng County about two hours from Guilin. The rice terraces are built into the hillsides, and look like great chains or ribbons as they wind round the contours in tiered bands. In some places there are terraces from the bottom to the top of the hillside.
This ingenious irrigation method makes the best use of the scarce arable land and water resources in this mountainous area. There are about 66 square kilometers of terraced fields in southeast Longsheng.
The Terraces were first built in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and were completed in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) by the Zhuang people and Yao people.
As these fileds are built into the hillsides, the best and also the only way to view these fields is by walking to the mountain top. A scenery-view platform is often built at the mountain top to take in the great view. See Longji Terraced Fields hiking guide.
Review of Longji Terraced Rice Fields
From Guilin, it takes over 2 hours drive to get to Longsheng Terrace Fields. When we arrived at the entrance to this area, we found out that if you had traveled by one of the big tour buses you must transfer to a smaller shuttle bus to get you closer to the actual start of the trail-head to the terraced fields. The road leading up the mountain to the trail-head are too narrow and with sharp curves that are too small for the big buses. Fortunately, we had a private driver/guide in a mini-van who took us all the way to the trail-head entrance without the need for the shuttle buses.
When you start up the trail, you get a few glimpse of the terraced rice fields for which this area is famous for. The further along you go up the mountain, the scenery gets even more fantastic on some of the hill-tops. There are some absolutely stunning views from the upper regions of the trail that cannot be described in words. Yes, I was impressed by this area because it is like nothing else that I have visited before in my travels. Also, the minority villages that are along the trail are very interesting because these people (minority) are very different than any others in China - minority people have many traditions and customs that are quite unique.
After conquering the trail to the top, we decided to have lunch at one of the many restaurants in this area - our guide fortunately knows the better ones. The food we had were all grown fresh on the mountain and was simply delicious and looks great to eat (see photo). The specialty of area - bamboo steamed rice (seen in photo) was excellent.
For first time visitors to Guilin like myself, the long drive to the Longsheng Terraced Rice Fields is absolutely worth the trip.