Hike up the Dragon's Backbone Terraced Fields

Just 2 hours by express from Guilin, you'll find one of the most scenic areas in all of China – the Longji Rice Terraces. Around 66-sq-km of terraced fields string around the slopes of 800 meter-high mountains, all constructed by local farmers using basic digging tools over 650 years ago. From the peak, the rice terraces look like the scales on the backbone of a dragon; hence the name. The best and also the only way to get a panoramic view is by hiking.

Hiking up Longji Rice Terraces

There are several villages situated around the Longji rice terraces, which are home to ethnic Zhuang and Yao tribes. The Zhuang village of Ping'an can serve as the centre of operations for any hiking trips. The most frequented trails are from Ping'an to Longji Zhuang Village, and from Ping'an to Dazhai.

Longji Terraced Fields tourist map

To cover the highlights of Longji, you are suggested to have at least 2 days there. From the parking lot, a 40-minute trek up a series of steps will lead you to the actual location of Ping'an Village. Above Ping'an are the two viewpoints, called "Seven Stars with Moon" (No 2 Viewpoint, 七星伴月) and "Nine Dragons and Five Tigers" (No 2 Viewpoint, 九龙五虎). There is a well sign-posted walk with stone-engraved maps to reach both viewpoints; and it takes about 1 - 1.5 hours to complete a full circuit. 

Longji Terraced Fields around Ping'an Village of Zhuang minority

Also, you can get to the nearby Longji Zhuang Village in easy 45-minute walk. It is advisable to trek from Ping'an Village to Dazhai Village the next day, which takes about four hours and passes through the village of Zhungliu at the halfway point. The hike passes through some incredible scenery and once in Dazhai, there are three more viewpoints to see the terraces from a different angle.

Terraced Fields around Dazhai Village

Terraced Fields are not the only thing Longji is famous for; and, the ethnic minority villages are also very worth exploring. Ethnic people have lived in their villages with unique wooden houses for hundreds of years. Visitors here can also observe first-hand the traditions and customs of minority cultures.

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