China's Most Beautiful Rice Terraces
Rice terraces are hilly or mountainous slopes claimed from nature for cultivation, usually by minority peoples. Some are hundreds (or even thousands) of years old. They make spectacular places for hiking and photography. We have listed, according to popularity, China’s best five rice terraces, so you can choose the most suitable area based on your itinerary.
The Longji Rice Terraces — Best in All Four Seasons
The Longji Rice Terraces (a.k.a. the Longsheng Rice Terraces) have become one of the most important tourist destinations in Guilin. They are located in Heping District, Longsheng County, Guilin Prefecture, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Guilin. The Longji Rice Terraces are at an altitude of 300–1,110 meters (1,000–3,700 feet), and the gradients of some rice terraces reach 50°.
Top activities: There are numerous Zhuang and Yao villages among the terraces. The wooden houses there are all built in unique Zhuang or Yao style, and the women there all wear typical ethnic clothing. Experience their ethnic cultures and customs. Hiking around the rice terraces is really popular. The massive tiers upon tiers of rice terraces attract numerous photographers every year.
Sunrise over the Longji Rice Terraces should not be missed. Hotels are available among the terraces. Stay at least one night there, get up early in the morning (as early as 4 o’clock in the morning), hike to a high place, and wait for the moment when the sunshine pierces the horizon.
Best times to visit: The Longji Terraces are worthy of visiting four times in different seasons. For mirror-like irrigated terraces, go mid-April to late June; for green terraces, go July to mid-September; for golden terraces, go late September to mid-November; and for silvery-white terraces go late December to early February after snow fall.
How to get there: There is no direct public bus from Guilin to the Longji Rice Terraces. Take a bus from Guilin Bus Station to Longsheng, and then another to Ping'an or Dazhai in the scenic area. Your entry ticket covers transport within the scenic area. Traveling with a tour group is much more convenient, because the transportation is so complicated.
Yuanyang Rice Terraces — Amazing in January and February
The terraced rice fields of China are famous, but one place that you cannot miss is Yuanyang, as the terraced fields in Yuanyang are the home of the Hani nationality. They have played a vital role in the life of the Hani since ancient times and remain the fabric of the Hani people’s existence.
The best time to see the magnificent terraced rice fields is during February and March. This is when villagers water the terraces in preparation for ploughing. The water in the fields reflects the sunshine and creates many colors. Yet, the terraced fields also have seasonal beauty. In September, when the rice is ripe, the mountains turn a golden yellow color.
The China Highlights team visited Yuanyang in February 2010 to view the flooding of the rice terraces. We rose early to go to Duoyishu to view the sunrise, and then headed to Daba and Qingkou. After lunch, we went to Laohuzui for the sunset.
From December to January of the next year, the red duckweed and other plants in the water make Yuanyang Terrace Fields colorful.