Longji Rice Terraces with kids
We decided to spend a couple of days exploring the Longji Rice Terraces near Guilin. Keith, who enjoys his photography, wanted to capture the sunrise and sunset pictures in this region. It was depicted as an area of natural beauty with views across the mountains, which sounded lovely. So we shouldn’t need to schedule in more than a day or two… WRONG!
Longji Rice Terraces Area
A suggestion on a whim ‘Shall we visit the Rice Terraces whilst we are in Guilin?’. ‘Yeah o.k.’ Was pretty much the conversation Keith and I had beforehand. But where is there to go?
The Longji Rice Terraces are separated into 2 ‘regions’.
Ping’an Terraced fields, based around Ping’an Village, and tends to be more crowded and is home to the famous terraces namely, Nine Dragon Terraces and Five Tigers. This area has been established for much longer and has a shorter transfer time. The estimated time to explore this area is only 2-3 hours.
Jinkeng Terraced fields, based around Dazhai & Tiantou Villages. This is less crowded and less established, making it a much more rural feel. However, there is a cable car option here, up to the Golden Buddha Peak. The journey time is further away and take around The estimated time to explore this area is 4-5 hours.
Clearly we were going to opt for the less crowded option! The hustle and bustle of China can get a bit much sometimes, so a slower pace would be fabulous.
Where to stay in Longji Rice Terraces
There are lots of options for accommodation but most are quite basic and the houses are wooden so don’t have all the mod cons. However, they are very authentic.
We opted to stay in Tiantou Village, situated above Dazhai and amongst the Rice Terraces. Seen here in the photo.
We booked a hostel through hostelworld called Dragons Den which mentioned fabulous views.
Getting to the hostel
A few days before we were due to arrive we were sent an email with instructions on how to get to the hostel. They suggested we could use one of the local ladies to help carry our bags as it’s a 40 minute walk and quite tricky to find, if you don’t know where you are going. At the same time they sent us directions which consisted of 18 pictures navigating the route! This was going to be interesting.
We opted to go it alone and started out on our treasure hunt! Before long we were twisting and turning the pictures to try and locate the turning points – it was quite challenging.
Soon we came across a group of 4 travellers who were doing the same. They were lost.
But it’s o.k. because they were just missing an Ethan. Mr Bossy boots proclaimed he knew the way and started to shout instructions from the front. Mummy and Daddy were giving him a few careful nudges along the way!
Soon enough we were back on track. The problem was that the area is in constant development and the pathway was sometimes not quite accurate. With a little help, we all managed to find the route and the village.
However, it was a difficult walk in the heat, especially for the kids, so I’m glad we packed plenty of water!
Arriving in Tiantou village
Finally, after a lot of uphill walking we reached our destination. The views were just AMAZING!! I was so busy trudging along that I barely looked up on the route up here.
The hostel had a lovely restaurant area on the ground floor with a football table (Which the boys were made up with) and good WiFi. The staff were just lovely, so helpful and friendly.
We also chatted to a number of travellers, including Holly and Charlie who gave the boys a game of table football!
There were signs up all over the hostel asking to walk with gentle feet and slowly as the creaky floorboards were very noisy! And the rooms were basic, with slightly hard beds, but this is village life – I loved it.
If you are expecting the Ritz, don’t come here!
Things to do
Walking, walking and more walking. To be honest after the uphill climb here I was happy to just sit with a cold drink and take in the view. I really couldn’t get over what we were seeing. However, the evening was soon upon us and we were only here for 1 night so needed to get out for sunset pictures.
We started heading towards the Golden Buddha, but this again was an up and down walk from our village and Jasper wasn’t in the mood for more walking (neither was I, but I used him as a good excuse). Ethan was on a mission to get to the top though.
We decided that Keith and Ethan would continue to the top and Jasper and I would just rest before returning to the hostel. It was a leisurely walk back and so peaceful. We took our time and then played by the stream nearby.
The second morning Keith decided to head to the West HIll Music for early sunrise photos. This wasn’t something the kids would really enjoy doing so we let them sleep. Keith came back at around 8am having enjoyed a morning stroll. He was pleased with his photos 👏
After some breakfast we packed up a back for more exploring.
Where to eat?
Our hostel had a fabulous restaurant offering both chinese food and western options. The price was not extortionate either! So as we were only staying for 1 night we only ate in the hotel.
However, there are other hostels in the area, all with restaurants and open to tourists.
The food of choice in the area is bamboo chicken or bamboo rice. The food is placed inside a piece of bamboo and baked in hot coals. We saw them cooking it on our bus journey up.
In addition there were so many fresh fruits for sale at the side of the road. There were only a handful of shops in the village, so if you were after a specific snack then stock up in Guilin.
How long to spend at the Rice Terraces?
We read the reviews and most suggested that the Rice Terraces could be done within a day trip and others which said 1 day would be enough!!
Who are these people?!?!? Why would you not want to stay and look at this…
I was gutted we only had 1 night. The place was just so rustic, serene, peaceful and the complete opposite of what we have come to expect from China. After so many cities and jostling and busy crowds the serenity was a breath of fresh air. It was just so stunning.
Therefore, I would suggest 2 nights to enjoy the Terraces, but also we found that there is a route from Tiantou village across to Ping’tan village which takes around 4 hours. This would have been a great add on with another nights stopover!
The information just wasn’t made available to us and I’m kicking myself a little now for not investigating further!
How much does it cost?
RMB 90 per person (free for children under 1.4m) and tickets are valid for two days.
We opted to book back into our hostel for our return so were able to leave our luggage with them. However, if you don’t have this option then there is a Luggage service at the entrance to the scenic area. The price is RMB 30 per piece. The bus stops here en-route and again on the return.
What an amazing place! This area is just so natural and it’s beauty is just astonishing. Most importantly the area surrounding Dazhai was just much quieter which made the experience so much nicer!
I loved the rustic feel and the paths zig zagging through the rice fields and villages. The day to day life goes on all around you and it’s not a display or a show, it’s just real people going about their day.
If you get the chance, and have the time, then stay for longer than 2 days. Also, look into the option of walking between Tiantou village and PIng’an terraces. I so wished we’d done this!