Guangxi Province's

LONGSHENG    LONGJI TERRACES

Update March 03 by Wang Xiaocong, China

Global Mark : 14.13

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
5 5 1 1 4 2 5 1

5

12.89

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend Range AVER.
21 100%  (21) 81%  (17) 100%  (21) 11 to 19 15.37


Description :
66 square kilometers of amazing rice terraces' scenery with minority villages scattered among it including the Zhuang villages of Ping An and Longji as well as the Yao villages of Zhonglu, Dazhai and Xiaozhai. Longsheng, however, is a rather ugly & noisy town. 

Comments : Not as breathtaking as Banaue in The Philippines, Longsheng surroundings are nowadays very nice and also mix minorities villages with man-created wonders.

What to do : In the city, go to the hairdresser (one every 5 meters or so, nothing else to do) and store on snacks / Relax and enjoy the bus ride / Trek around / Stay with the local in minorities villages / Make a lot of photos

What you may not like : The town itself / The greediness of the some minority locals "for 10Y I tell you the way.." / The attitude of some local who, after having welcome you with smiles, threaten you when you refuse to pay the crazy price they ask for accommodations and food (like 250Y for 2 days and 2 people) / The difficulty to communicate in Chinese with some local as they only speak a dialect / Carry a too heavy bag

How long ? At least one day to spend around the Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces. Longer recommended. 


Where to stay in Longsheng ?  

With the proliferation of family-run guesthouses in Ping An, there is no more need for most travelers to stay in the town of Longsheng. According to the local tourism bureau's travel brochure, these guesthouses now possess more than 1500 beds altogether. Therefore the place to stay should be either Ping An or Dazhai. Except for a few newly-opened establishments, all the guesthouses are similar ---- traditional-style wooden houses, family-cooked meals, shared bathrooms, hot and cold shower are some of their common features. Prices are 15 to 20 per bed, 6Y up for a meal, 5Y for a bottle of beer or soft drink, 3Y for a bottle of mineral water (exceptions specified where applicable). The list below is only partial.

In Ping An the following guesthouses deserve special attention:

  • Li Qing Guesthouse, the first guesthouse in Ping An as well as the largest one operated by two sisters Liao Yan Li (phone & fax 86-773-7583021) and Liao Yan Qing (86-773-7583048, liqing_gh@hotmail.com) / Two houses, remarkable view at the new house / 70 beds / dorm Y15 per bed, double room with private shower and toilet (available from May 2003) Y60 per room / excellent large porches at both houses / some western food / some English is spoken / Internet Y10 per hour 

  • View Place Inn (Lan Yue Ge, 86-773-7583005, mianbao-cha@163.com), located at the highest point in the village, therefore the view is unbeatable / 48 beds / Y15, 20 or 25 per bed depending on the view from the room / porch with the view / Internet Y10 per hour

  • Longji Hotel (86-773-7583047 in Ping An & 86-773-7511335 in Longsheng), a new establishment (opened Aug 24, 2002) operated by the proprietor of Riverside Hotel (see below), the English teacher, thus good English is spoken there / located on the path to Viewpoint 1 / 46 beds / dorm Y10 or 15 per bed, double room with private shower and toilet and TV Y50 or 60 per room / western food offered, although Chinese food there is more expensive than at other family-run guesthouses 

  • Countryside Cafe & Inn (86-773-7583020), another new establishment (opened Apr 17, 2002) which is the branch of Green Lotus Cafe (86-773-8822829) in Yangshuo / located near Li Qing GH / 14 beds / Y20 per bed / western food offered, although even more expensive than in Yangshuo / good English is spoken

Some other guesthouses in Ping An are: 

Long Ying GH (86-773-7583059)
A-Meng's GH (86-773-7583031,some English is spoken, Internet Y10 per hour)
Yun Long Dwelling (86-773-7583056,double room with balcony Y40/bed)
Mei Lin Hotel and Eatery (86-773-7583032) 
Ying Bin Hotel (86-773-7583023) 
Ping An GH and Restaurant (86-773-7583046) 
Yin Tian GH (Silver Terrace) (86-773-7583027) 
Yin Ti Hotel (Silver Ladder) (86-773-7583069) 
Shan Xing GH (86-773-7583026) 
Long An Hostel (86-773-7583029) 
Long Yun Zhuang GH (86-773-7583019)
Long Xing Lou GH (86-773-7583010)
Cui Ye Lou GH (86-773-7583078)
Veteran Soldier GH (86-773-7583068)
Cai Yun Hotel (86-773-7583022)
Yan Zhi Hotel (86-773-7583007)
Lianxin Hotel (86-773-7583063 or 86-773-7583016)
Longji Golden Terrace Hotel (86-773-7583099)
Ye Guo Hotel (86-773-7583006)
Zhuang Family GH (86-773-7583033)
Zhuang Zhai Hotel (86-773-7583042)
Li Xing GH (86-773-7583251)
Hill Village GH (86-773-7583351)
Wang Xing GH (86-773-7583269)
Xin Xin Yuan GH (86-773-7583169)
Guan Jing Lou GH (Longji Bar, 86-773-7583038)

The following is a list of some guesthouses in Dazhai (notice that the portion of Dazhai where the guesthouses are located is called Tian Tou Zhai):

Tian Ti GH (86-773-7584203) 
Jin Keng GH (86-773-7584196) 
Jin Tian GH (86-773-7584169)
Dazhai GH (86-773-7584175)

At the top of Viewpoint 1 near Dazhai a house is in construction, which may offer accommodation as well.

A few travelers choose to stay at the home of minority people, which can be arranged in all the minority villages among the rice terraces. This is fine and offers a much more relaxing environment but try to agree on a price beforehand to avoid bad surprises. An acceptable price for both parties should be 10Y for the basic room plus 5Y for each meal prepared with love... 

If for any reason you think that you should stay in the town of Longsheng, the following are some of the options:

  • Riverside Hotel, near the bus station / Bed in rooms without bath 15 to 20 / Go there for the cheapest price, the relative quietness (there is a Karaoke opposite the river), the relative good view (they claim that you can watch cormorant fishing...) but above all to get information on the trek from the owner, a friendly English teacher / What you may not like :  the basic and small rooms

  • Foreign Trade Hotel, after the bridge on the left / Dble with bath 20 or 25 per bed / Sgl occupancy OK / HW 24 hrs / Go there for the excellent quality/price of the huge & comfortable rooms / What you may not like : the noise from the street and the TV of the other rooms

  • Longsheng All-Autonomous Gvt Hotel (751 2503), up Shengyuan Lu / Sgl with bath 40 / Bed in Dbl with bath 25 / HW evening / Go there for another good ratio comfort / prices, the nice bathrooms, the relative isolation from the noisy streets / What you may not like : the not so fresh rooms

 
Riverside Hotel kaikai lushe

Foreign Trade Hotel

waimao binguan

Longsheng All-Autonomous Government Hotel

longsheng gezu zizhixian zhengfu zhaodaisuo

Gongxiao Hotel (in Heping) gongxiao lushe


Backpacker's Tips : Samson Wong, Canada (Sept 06)
Dazhai Descriptions - After comparison and local people comments, it seems that Dazhai is definitely more grand than Longji. Also, one local told me that since Longji was developed earlier, more of their locals has switched to tourism from farming, so more of the farms have been esserted; whereas Dazhai is still more backwards.

Living - If you like to support the local people, stay in any one of the hostel whose owner's last name is Poon, that is the local surname. The view from higher spots are really worth the walk. Word of advice, the views are much better at the top. There are 2 hostel I recommend with views that match what you see in National Geographics:

1) Complete View Hotel - 20 to 40 per night, shared bathroom, hot water. This is the highest house you see when you enter the area. It seems impossible to make the 1.5 hour walk up, but definitely worth the walk. 90% of the rooms are facing east, looking through Dazhai, open your window in the morning for sunrise, ask the owner to set a table to dine in the hotel patio under the sunset. The 180 degree view is mesmerizing and I spent 2 nights there.

2) Chang Bei - this is a small stop located at view point No. 3. The station is not quite ready for tourists, but it does offer a bed and a meal. Uncertain whether or not they have hot water. View point No. 3 gives you a panorama view of around 270 degree.
 


Where to eat ?  

If you do not stay at Riverside Hotel, you can still get some tips by going there for breakfast (pancake, 5Y), lunch or dinner (10 to 15Y). Otherwise, plenty of small restaurants around... In the villages, you normally eat at the guesthouse you stay in, although you may choose to eat at other guesthouses.

In Ping An both Longji Hotel and Countryside Cafe & Inn (see where to stay section above) have extensive selections of western food, but eating at these establishments costs much more than eating local food at family-run guesthouses.


How to visit
the Dragon's Backbone Rice Terrace (longji titian) ?

Y30 entrance fee, at least 4hrs to visit the area around Ping An but more is recommended...

It takes a bit more than one hour (and 6.5Y) from Longsheng to reach Ping An via the small village of Heping where the bus will probably wait a bit for more passengers. Buses to/from Guilin also go this way : this means that you do not actually need to go up to Longsheng coming from Guilin. 

An alternative is to take the bus to Da Hu Shan and get off at Huang Luo, a Yao village where the trek to Ping An starts (this was the obligatory way before the construction of the road to Ping An). In this case you may have to fight your way with Yao women who will insist that you need a guide as you obviously do not know the way (they might go as far as telling you wrong information). Avoid them : once you have found the rock steps, you can not get lost and once in Ping An, local do give directions without any fee ! The way is now easy to find as the old suspended bridge has been repaired and the bus should stop there : steps are just opposite. If you get off at the second bridge : cross it, turn left along the river, traverse the village until you see an open area with the other bridge on your left and a basketball field in the front. Take the steps on your right, before the house and walk up 30-40mn up to the ticket office. (Due to the operation of buses to Ping An and more clear road signs, the Yao women offering guide service have all but disappeared).

Once inside Ping An (a Zhuang Village), go up to find a relatively flat rock path. Follow it to the right (east) up to a lake (at least 30mn walk with panoramic view of the village). Further on from the lake it is a bit more than an hour's walk to the Yao village of Zhonglu, and an additional hour's walk will bring you to another Yao village Dazhai, which can serve as an alternative base for your exploration. 

Follow it to the left (maybe by crossing gates) to go down to the main road by another beautiful way (at least 2 hours but allow more in case you unlikely lose your way). You basically have to follow the rock steps, going down. After around 1hr, you'll reach the Zhuang village of Longji: pass the school and, at an intersection with a Chinese sign, go down on your left. Continue down to the village of Jinjiang. Try to be on the main road at around 5pm. [ Note : You should be able to avoid the 30Y entrance fee by starting from Jinjiang (cross the stone bridge and turn left) but that would mean a long and exhausting walk up as well as possible confusions so it is not recommended.]

To reach Dazhai from Longsheng: Take the bus to Da Hu Shan, and from there trek uphill along the half-completed road for about two hours to Dazhai (the bus should reach Dazhai once the road is complete). From central Dazhai to Tian Tou Zhai (that is where guesthouses are located) it is a 30mn walk. Once again, better not to carry too much !

Once at Tian Tou Zhai you can go to three different viewpoints for the scenery: it is 20-30mn to Viewpoint 1, 10-15mn to Viewpoint 2, more than an hour to Viewpoint 3. No roads connect different viewpoints, so you have to get back to Tian Tou Zhai after visiting one viewpoint to go to another.

Hiking Tips (Source: Li Qing Guesthouse, Ping An) :

  • To Viewpoint 2 and Viewpoint 1 (around Ping An): 1h30min loop. Between viewpoints not too much climbing. 

  • To Longji: 1h one way. Take the bottom road (passing Mei Lin Hotel) to go and top road come back. 

  • To Lake and Zhonglu: 1h30min to 2h one way. 

  • To Heping: 3h to 4h. Not much climbing. Come back by bus. 

  • Guided tour to mountain top: 4h to 6h. Very steep, goes to 2000m. 

  • To Dazhai: 3h to 4h one way. 

 

Backpacker's Tips : Blaise Fiedler, France (July 05)
Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces. Very nice site. The best way to get there is to book a tourist minibus in any travel agency in Yangshuo - it will cost you Y90 one-way or Y100 return, including the entry fee / Cheaper and more convenient than trying to organise it yourself! The entry fee to the Dragon backbone rice terraces is now Y50. 

Backpacker's Tips : Stefan Westerheide, Germany (Jan 05)
Da Zhai: Countryside Inn dbl (sh br, hw, clean, very friendly ) 40 Y very good value Da Zhai is said to be even nicer than Ping An, some construction is going on, but we saw only one or two tour groups when we were there. Recommend staying at countryside inn at the top of the first village, english spoken,good food, information about walk to top of the hill through small mountain villages, best time to visit spring or summer, we came after the harvest, still nice.
Bus to longsheng (1.5 h, 7 Y) / Bus to sangjiang (2.5 h, 10 Y, bad road, lots of construction going on) Minivan to chenyang (0.5 h, 4 Y)
 

Backpacker's Tips :  Tania Wang, Australia (May 04)
All of the information about PingAn and Dazhai is vastly out of date. The bus service goes directly to Dazhai, which is quickly developing into quite a touristy place. There were around 20-30 new hostels erected there in the past year. All of these hostels are charging 20 yuan/bed. There are Yao women sitting out by the bus-stop pestering you to buy their handicrafts the moment you get off the bus. However, compared to Ping'an, it is still a more peaceful part of the rice terraces.
I would definitely recommend the walk from Pingan to Jinjiang village, via the Zhuang village of Longji. This path is rarely trodden by the tour groups, and offers you a chance to soak in the scenery without being blinded by camera flashes. This walk took us around 2 hours, although we did lose our way more than once.
There's good news now for travellers who are going directly from the Rice terraces to Guilin. You no longer need to return to the bus station at Longsheng to take a bus to Guilin. There are now direct buses going from Heping (just outside the Rice Terraces area) quite regularly. This saves you doubling back along the same road.

Backpacker's Tips : Frank Seewald, Germany (Nov 01)
You can find English / Chinese maps of the area called view of no 1. There you find a road from PingAn (No1 Viewing spot) via Yulan Reservoir, Zhonglu village, DaZai village, XiaoZai village, back via an unbuild road beginning two kilometers after XiaoZai to the tiger mountain and the village of Huang Lo. The walk is really scenic and the views much nicer than in PingAn itself. In each village people will offer overnight stay and food but water is not provided. I took one liter and it was not enough. At the beginning of the unbuilt road, I took a motorcycle-taxi and went to HuangLo for RMB 10. The trip took the whole day with a backpack. If you make the trip in the other direction, you can avoid the entrance fee of 30RMB for PingAn.

Backpacker's Tips : Brian Van Tassel, USA/Canada (Aug 01)
The road up to the top is completed now. There are only four buses each day from Longsheng up to the terraces, and four buses the other direction. The last bus from Longsheng to the terraces is around 4:30 or 5:30 - I can't remember, but the point is the buses don't run late. There are now many hostels up in the terraces which will compete for your business.

 
 << Discover a man-made wonder...


Bus Schedules :

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Guilin 13/15 ordi/fast 2 6:00-17:30 ++ 10mn
Sanjiang 8 ordi 2 6:00-17:00 19 30mn
Huang Luo 5 ordi 50mn 7:00-16:00 ++ 30mn
Ping An 6.5 ordi 1h10 7:30, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17 6 na
Nanning 90 ? ? ? 1 na

Note : The return bus schedule from Ping An : 7:20,8:50,11:00,13:00,15:00&16:30 / To Huang Luo, take bus direction Da Hu Shan

Backpacker's Tips : Blaise Fiedler, France (July 05)
The backdoor into Guizhou: To leave the rice terraces / Ping'an there are regular buses: AM: 7:20, 8:50, 11, PM:1:00, 15:00, 16:50. From Longshen it will take you another 3.5 hours to Sanjiang on a terrible road - but that will only cost Y10. The road is an uninterrupted strech of mud and bumps! Finally from Sanjian to get to Chengyan you will need to change bus stations: exit the bus station, turn right and at the crossing turn right again. You will cross a big bridge. After the bridge just head straight ahead on a small up slope; the bus station will be on your right. If there are not buses anymore to Chengyan as you arrive there are minibuses waiting around there which will whiz you to Chengyan for Y4 in 40 minutes. 

Backpacker's Tips : Wang Xiaocong, China (September 03)
  The former Shuang He Kou bus, which was extended to Da Hu Shan last winter, is now extended further to Dazhai where more beautiful rice terraces than the ones near Ping An are found.And the same Y30 entrance fee is charged (starting from Sept.20,2003) if you enter the rice terraces area through the Dazhai point of entry.

The trip to Sanjiang (Chengyang) :  Minibus / SSSS / L&R / Y8 + Y3 / 3 hrs + 45mn

This experience will let you enjoy beautiful scenery of rice-terraces, on the left, then on the right. Once in Sanjiang bus station, jump directly for a bus to Chengyang (bus direction Linxi, from 7:10 to 17,every 40mn), the place to be ! 45 minutes later, you should realize how right you were to come here...

See also the trip from Guilin to Longsheng...