Longji is located in Longsheng County and is about 80 kilometers northeast of downtown Guilin. Longji Terraced Fields are praised as “the marvel of agricultural art” in China. Longji is translated as “dragon’s backbone” in Chinese. The terraced fields look like a dragon’s backbone on top of the mountain, hence the name. There are about a total of 71 kilometers squared of terraced fields in the district.
The Longji Terraced Fields were first built in the Yuan dynasty, while a majority was built in the Ming Dynasty and it was completed in the Qing Dynasty by the Zhuang people. With a history of more than 700 years the fields are built along a slope that intertwines with the riverside up to the top of the mountain. The highest mountain has an elevation of 880 meters and the lowest, 380 meters. The ingenious construction makes use of the scarce arable land and water resources in the mountainous area.
The terraced fields make the mountains appear like coiling lines. The small mountains are like a spiral shell, while the bigger ones are like huge towers. The rolling mountains form a coherent whole, full of power and grandeur visual. The majestic and beautiful mountains with terraced fields have a distinctive look throughout the seasons.
In the spring, layers of water are dazzling in the sun like mirrors. In summer, layers of green rice seedlings are waving gracefully in the wind, like a green ocean. In autumn, it is the season of harvest in the spring. Layers of golden rice ripple in the breeze, like a flowing golden ribbon. In the winter, although there is no rice, there are layers of silvery frost, flying freely across the mountains. If you stand at the top of the terraced fields it will be a once-in-a-life-time experience.
The most popular rice terraces are Pingan and Jinkeng Terraced Fields. The Longji Terraced Fields are now mainly cultivated by the Zhuang ethnic group in Pingan Village and the Red Yao in Jinkeng. People of Zhuang and Yao minorities’ feature houses with traditional unique architectures where nails weren’t used in construction. The different minority customs and dressing styles are particularly interesting to see.
The Zhuang and Yao people live very traditional lives on the mountain side. You can not only explore the fields’ scenery, but also the people’s daily lives, local dance, folk songs, clothes, customs and so on.