“ We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. ” – once quoted by Jawaharlal Nehru rightly defines the essence and beauty of traveling.

Travel the world: The Longji Rice Terraces - Sheet1
The Longji Rice Terraces _ Radiometro.ru

Travel has evolved beyond mere sightseeing in a world where borders are blurred by technology and communication. Cultural immersion and experiential travel have gained popularity as transformative methods of exploring the world. Every region of the world has its own culture, which is often viewed with a lack of conviction by those who do not follow or understand it. Traveling not only to explore the place but also to explore the people who make the place what it is, can be a way of putting cultural immersion into practice. 

Nature’s beauty is a deeply emotional and sensory experience that cannot be extensively expressed in words. It serves as a reminder of the analogy of all things and our place in the world, and it has the potential to inspire us to care for our planet and seek a deeper connection with nature and its integrands. The Longji Rice Terraces in China are one such location that connects you to the essence of nature.

Although rice terraces can be found all over China, the Longji Rice Terraces are the most beautiful.

Visiting the Longsheng Longji Rice Terraces is similar to the beach, except the ripples are lush green rice fields cascading down the mountain like dragon scales. Hiking these rice terraces is one of those unique Chinese experiences. The paths wind through the terraces built into the hills, with locals tending to their crops and a view that stretches to the horizon.

Travel the world: The Longji Rice Terraces - Sheet2
Hiking the Rice Terraces  _ China Highlights

They are in Longsheng County, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) outside of Guilin and are known as the Longsheng Rice Terraces. Longji means ‘ Dragon’s Backbone ’ and these rice terraces got their unusual name because the terraced fields climbing up the mountain resemble dragon scales, while the mountain range’s summit resembles a dragon’s backbone. This gives you an idea of the enormity of these rice terraces.

The construction of these terraced fields began during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), though many were not completed until the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The majority of them were built by the Zhuang and Yao ethnic minorities over 650 years ago and are still in use today. They stretch from the riverbank to the mountain peaks, with elevations ranging from 300 to 800 meters above sea level. They are 66 square kilometers (25 square miles) in size, which is roughly three times the size of London Heathrow Airport.

The view will be wholly different depending on when you visit and the season. Water floods into the hills in June. By the summer, rice sprouts will have sprouted, and by the fall, the pools will be layered with rice and harvested before the winter frost. It is an incredible landscape that changes dramatically throughout the year.

Furthermore, there are numerous opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture of the tribes who live in the area.

The Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces are home to two tribes, primarily the Zhuang, but also Yao nationalities. Locals have been farming the Longsheng Longji Rice Terraces for over 650 years, which is quite amazing when you think about it. Pumps are used in modern technology to flood the paddy pools; in the past, getting water to the hilltop fields must have been difficult. The Longji Rice Terraces are relatively easy to reach, given that the major city of Guiling is not far away.

The terraces are open all year, but admission is charged. The rice terraces have three main entrances: one in Ping’an village, one in Longji ancient Zhuang village, and one in Dazhai village, which is part of the Jinkeng village cluster. You will then be given a small pamphlet about the rice terraces as well as a rough map of various hikes you can take along them. The majority of the paths are well-marked, so you only need to follow the maps displayed at various intervals if you lose your map. If you are still unsure about the hike, you can hire a private guide or, in some cases, wait at the entrance for some older local women who can speak English well enough to act as your tour guide.

Travel the world: The Longji Rice Terraces - Sheet3
Tourists and Local Guides – Mini Group  _ Viator – a TripAdvisor Company

Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraced Fields

There are 15,862 pieces of rice terraces in Ping’an Zhuang village terraced fields, some small and some large. Views of the rice terraces can be had from two different angles from here. One is called “ Seven Stars Accompany the Moon ” and features a moon-shaped terrace in the center surrounded by seven small rock piles that were purposefully left behind by the people who excavated the terraces. From a distance, the
“ moon ” appears to be surrounded by “ seven shining stars ”. It is the ideal location for photos. “ Nine Dragons and Five Tigers ” is another. The Dragon’s backbone is shaped like nine dragons bending to drink water from the Jinsha River, with nine ridges extending from its central vein. There are five rocks shaped like tigers. It takes about 2 hours to visit this area. This being the first rice terraced area in Longji Rice Terraces to be developed for tourism, is now well equipped with contemporary amenities. Transportation, dining, and lodging are all convenient.

Travel the world: The Longji Rice Terraces - Sheet4
Ping’an Zhuang Village Terraces  _ Wendy Wei Tours

Jinkeng Rice Terrace Fields ( Dazhai Rice Terraces )

Inside Dazhai village, the Jinkeng terraced fields are surrounded by mountains and are well known for their abundant gold mineral resources. Here are three well-known scenic locations that visitors shouldn’t miss : Golden Buddha Summit, Large–Scale Thousand Terraces, and the West Hill Music, situated at an elevation of over 1000 meters (3280 feet), these locations offer unparalleled views of the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces and are ideal for watching the sun rise and set. It takes roughly 4 to 5 hours for a visit. Additionally, Dazhai village has restaurants and lodging available for guests’ convenience. But compared to Ping’an, it is less commercial.

Travel the world: The Longji Rice Terraces - Sheet5
Sunset at the Rice Terraces  _ Viator – a TripAdvisor Company

Colorful Zhuang and Yao Minority Folk Customs 

Longsheng Rice Terraces residents are mostly Zhuang and Yao minority people. They have their own distinct and intriguing customs in terms of dining, clothing, and living styles among other things. For example, their houses are built on stilts to keep moisture out ; the ladies of the Yao minority like to have long hair, some of which is over a meter long, and their clothes are brightly colored with delicate embroidery.

Colorful Zhuang Folk Customs  _ China Highlights

Finally, the Longji Rice Terraces serve as a captivating testament to the world’s sheer beauty and cultural richness. It is a one-of-a-kind combination of history, natural wonders, and vibrant traditions to create an immersive experience that goes beyond the ordinary. Every turn reveals a new aspect of this enchanting location, leaving you with lasting memories and stories to tell. So, pack your bags, embrace your adventurous spirit, and immerse yourself in the wonders that await you at these rice terraces.

Happy Travels! 

References :

  1. China Discovery. The Longji Rice Terraces [ online ]
    Available at: Longsheng Rice Terraces | Longji (Dragon Backbone) Rice Terraces (chinadiscovery.com)
  2. China and Asia Cultural Travel. The Longji Rice Terraces [ online ]
    Available at: Longji Rice Terraces | China & Asia Cultural Travel
  3. Horizon Unknown. December 15, 2019. Longsheng Rice Terraces – China [ online ]
    Available at: Explore Longsheng Longyi Rice Terraces – China – (horizonunknown.com)
  4. Travel Chian Guide. Longji Rice Terraces [ online ]
    Available at:  Longji Rice Terraces, Longsheng Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces (travelchinaguide.com)

Urvi is an architecture student who enjoys delving into ideas and concepts on any subject, particularly during a round of discussion with a variety of individuals. She believes that design is a mode that improves the interrelationships between buildings, nature, and people to improve lives, provide infinite solutions and satisfaction to the world, and make the world a better place to live in through architectural designs that do not harm the environment.