Why you'll love hiking in Longji
- "Some beauty has be seen to believe, and that's true here!", some of our guests have said.
- One of the handful traditional agricultural systems that still continue to yield harvests, instead of being just an touristic attraction.
- One of the '7 Must-See Rice Terraces in Asia' and a top recommendation for a place to enjoy hiking, nature and culture.
Summary: Hike up!
A hiking trip can start and end at literally any point. Staircases are good and there are many tribal ladies offering refreshments and snacks are various villages throught the terraces.
For photographers, hikers, and culture fans, we cannot think of a better way to explore the region than a good hike.
by cable car
25 mins one-way, only in Dazhai Village
- limited scenery
- waiting line
- tourists at top
+ save uphill climb
+ time smart
2 hrs to 5 hrs dep. on routes of great flexibility
+ changing sceneries
+ no waiting in line
+ flexible routes
- physically demanding
The Essentials for Hiking at Longji Rice Terraces
Here's some general information for planning a hike at Longji Rice Terraces.
- Choice: replace Guilin city with Longji, is it worth it?
From guidebooks, travel websites and big tour companies, you will learn there is a great heap of “things you shouldn’t miss” in Guilin. This puts you into a dilemma. Keep in mind that your time in Guilin is precious. Instead a “Nah” at those so-called must-do sites of downtown Guilin, such as '7 Star Park', we believe a “WOW” at the top of the mountain rice terraces is why you probably endured a 14-hour+ flight, right?
- Weather: When is the best time for hiking?
The best time for a good hike are the periods through late April to May when fields are beginning to be filled by water and the fields reflect the sun. Also before the end of the second week after the National Holiday ( October 1st) when all fields turn into a golden spectacle.
Try to avoid the strong downpours during late June to early August when roads will be too slippery or muddy to move your feet at times.
- Transportation: How to get there?
3 hours by car from downtown Guilin, 5 hours from Yangshuo. No high-speed train yet (September 2018) and driving is the only way. One main entrance (also the ticket office) to all the villages, before the roads wind up and split.
- Accommodations: Should I stay overnight in Longji?
One day is just good enough for a short hike and getting back to Guilin after evening. However, if you wish to see the villages waking up in the morning mist or don't want to rush for the last bus back to Guilin, a night is neccessary, especially for photographers! On our group photo tours we always stay at least 1 night, sometimes 1 night at each village.
The majority of accommodations is local-run guesthouses, 3 star simple hostels, most can be found in Pingan but some can be found near Dazhai Village, Zhuang and Huangluo Village. A handful of upscale boutique hotels can be found in Pingan near the view points or towards the top at Dazhai village.
3 Great Hiking Trails
Your physical fitness and the humidity and tempearture on the day, and direction you walk the trail will decide which trail to pick and the time it will take. These 3 trails are our favorate hiking trails in Longji, 1 being our most recommend 3 the least.
Gatsby Insider Tips
With a high percentage of our guests hiking for at least one day with different interests, we believe these insider tips below might explain how you can savor the amazing rice terraces:
- Routes Advice:
We don’t recommend the route between Pingan and Dazhai villages as the views of the rice terrace fields are not so easy to see and you vanish into the forest and small fields in the bamboo. It is also uphill. For a better choice, do the Pingan to Zhuang Ancient Village (Guzhuang zhai) villages, which is only 2.5 miles of downhill walk that can be done in 1.5 hours
- The trail from the top of the cable car station at Dazhai Village to the View Point No.1 nearby the Panorama House Hotel hardly offers you any views and very hard to hike even for regular hikers. We would recommend to avoid that part. It is very overgrown and has been for years. This was last updated 2018 Oct.
- Taking cable car up and hiking down is always a good way to save your legs. After a short ride up the mountain, you can hike down into Dazhai village.
- Villager guiding:
Along your hike, you will encounter a lot of old tribal ladies selling snacks, offering help to carry your bags, a place to stay, or offering to be your guide for the hike. However, think twice before you take on their offers: they don’t speak English and will not be able to read your map or understand your English gps or guiding apps. In our experience about 95% don't read Chinese (if you plan to use Google translate) and have limited mandarin, as they speak their own Yao language.
- Take it easy:
When we say hiking, in the rice terraces we actually mean 80% steps. All the paths and routes are staircases and steps, not miles of straight flatland trails that wind up the mountains. Most staircases are not that slippy but the stone slabes from Dazhai Village to Pingan have been polished so smooth over hundred of years that they can be dangerous in a rainy day.
- There is a great local-run coffee shop by the gate of the Dazhai Village. The owner has an 8000-dollar-worth coffee machine that allows a nice cup of Expresso and they also have some home-baked chocolate chip cookies. This popped up in 2018 and is about the only western thing in the Dazhai rice terraces.
- The best views are assending from the Meijinglou Hotel, as well as the cable car side. We have (4x4) available for transferring you there up to the new viewing platform near the hotel. The road is not completed yet so it might be a bit scary. If your time is short and have a lot of camera gear, this could be a good way to arrive.
- Refueling tips:
Dining at the mountaintop costs a little more than other places. This is understandable as all foods and drinks are carried up by human power or donkeys to most hotels. But don't worry, this is not swiss mountain top hotel prices, a dish in the hotel might cost you 5-8 dollars instead of 3-5 dollars.
- As the locals are mainly rearing chicken, fish and pork, we wouldn’t recommend beef for your lunch as it tends to be too tough to chew. Stick to the local products such as local tofu, fresh vegetables from the rice terrace. It’s not just rice they grow in the terraces!
Hiking at the amazing rice terraces in Longji might not be an easy trip to plan. To save yourself some time and trouble, talk to us to customise your own unique trip to this amazing part of China.