Located in China’s Guangxi province, the Longji (Dragon’s Backbone) Rice Terraces are one of the countries most beautiful terraces. Resembling large amphitheaters, the 66 square kilometers of terraces are carved into the hillside to maximize arable land.
When I visited the terraces in late June, I did a one day hike from Dazhai to Ping’an. I’d highly recommend doing this hike if you have the time, but the terraces can also be visited as just a day trip.
The Longji Terraces are located in Longshen County, which is about 100 kilometers north of Guilin. It takes about 3 hours to get there by bus. First, you’ll need to take a bus from the Qintan Bus Station to Longshen Town, and then take another from Longsheng Town to the Longji Terraces area.
I didn’t arrive in Guilin until 2 pm, so rather than make my way to the bus station and then take another two busses, I took up an offer from a minivan driver outside of the train station. It cost me 50 RMB, which isn’t that much more than the bus, and it took me directly to Dazhai village. Don’t worry about finding a minivan driver – they’ll find you.
At the entrance of the scenic area, you’ll have to pay the entry cost. It’ll cost you 100 RMB, or 50 RMB if you are a student (they accepted my student ID).
Where To Stay
I’d recommend checking out the Dazhai Dragon’s Den Hostel.
I planned on staying at that hostel, but it’s a 40-minute uphill walk from Dazhai village. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to Dazhai until around 5:30 pm, so decided to just find a place in town. I ended up paying around 100 RMB for a private room in a guesthouse (which was actually quite nice).
Hiking from Dazhai To Ping’an
The hike from Dazhai to Ping’an takes 4-5 hours (depending on conditions…) and gives you a glimpse into the lives of the local Yao minorities. To get on the trail, follow the main road going through Dazhai and it will turn into an uphill pathway. You should cross a small wooden bridge after 10-15 minutes. If you’re unsure if you are going the right way, ask a local for directions to Ping’an.
About halfway through the hike, you’ll come across Zhongliu Village. When I arrived here, it was pouring rain so I took shelter in a small shop and bought some oreos to snack on.
If you have a choice, try not to do this hike on a rainy day. The pathway becomes a river, you’re guaranteed to get wet.
After Zhongliu, it’s just a few more kilometers until you arrive in Ping’an. Ping’an is the largest village in the area, so you can get food or find accommodation here easily. By the time I got to Ping’an, it was around 3:30 pm (I started the hike pretty late). I had trouble finding transportation back to Guilin (every bus I could find was waiting for a group) but lucked out when I found a group of foreigners with an extra space in their vehicle. Probably best to start the hike early, so you have some extra time in Ping’an to find a ride back.