Rice Terraces and Karst Mountains in Guanxi

Written by M.S.Photographics

11. February 2023


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Rice Terraces and Karst Mountains in Guanxi – Travel Planning:

Five days were planned for the trip to the rice terraces and karst mountains in Guangxi. The journey to Guilin, our starting point, was by plane from Shanghai.

We organized trips to Longji Rice Terraces and Yangshuo from our accommodation in Guilin.

The trip is basically possible all year round. However, the summer and autumn months are best for visiting the rice fields.

Guilin City:

Upon arrival in Guilin, it was already late and dark, so the only thing left on the agenda for the evening was check-in at the hotel, dinner and planning for the coming days.

The next morning started out rainy and overcast. In order to use the morning sensibly, we decided to visit the “Reed Flute Cave”. The name of the cave comes from a reed, which was used to build flutes.

In the cave there are stalactites, stalagmites and a lake. The cave is artistically illuminated on every guided tour. After the tour, the rain stopped and the clouds cleared up a bit.

Our next destination was the Elephant Trunk Hill. It bears its name because of its striking shape, which is strongly reminiscent of an elephant. The hole between the trunk and the body can only be reached by boat at high tide and is called the "water-moon hole".

The Elephant Trunk Hill is also accessible. From the top you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city and the surrounding karst mountains.

Day Trip to the Longji Rice Terraces:

For the next day, we asked the hotel stuff to organize a day trip to the Longji rice terraces.

They are located about 100 kilometers north of Guilin and are ideal for a day trip.

On the way to the rice terraces, we stopped at a village of the Yao Minority. This minority is mainly located in southern and southwestern China.

The women show demonstrations of their culture in traditional robes. They are characterized by turban-like hairstyles with extremely long hair.

Around noon we reached the Longji Rice Terraces via the village of Pingan. Here you can stock up on snacks, drinks or souvenirs. A certainly not every day souvenir is the smoked bacon made of jade. Then we started the ascent, to the terraces. The hike takes about two hours.

For the effort of the ascent you get a fantastic view. On a clear day you can see the entire valley and the varied landscape.

At the top of the mountain there are several view points and opportunities to continue the hike. Multi-day hikes are also possible. Overnight accommodation is available in Pingan village.

After a short break with a small snack at the summit, we headed back through the village of Pingan and on to the car park.

The animal and plant world also feels at home around the rice terraces. In addition to chickens and cats, you can also find tropical butterflies and plants with magnificent flowers.

Boat Ride on the Li River through the Karst Mountains of Guangxi:

A must-do when touring Guangxi is a boat ride on the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo. In this section, the river runs through the most picturesque part of the karst landscape.

Rides can be booked at most hotels. The ship departs directly from a small jetty on the river in Guilin.

Especially in the summer months and on national holidays, the excursion boats usually line up along the course of the river like a string of pearls.

The journey there is quiet. From Guilin to Yangshuo, the excursion boats take between three and a half and four hours.

If you have more time, you can take a break along the way or cover a section by bike or on foot.

Information on the different options can be found on the “Li River Cruise” page.

This section of the Li River also passes the famous mountain formation featured on the 20 Yuan note.

If you compare the drawing and the original, you can clearly see the similarities.

Yangshuo Bamboo Raft Ride:

Arriving in Yangshuo, we changed from the excursion boat to a bamboo raft and paid a visit to the cormorant fishermen.

Cormorant fishing has a long tradition in Guangxi Province. Trained cormorants are still used for fishing on the Li River today.

From the water, especially from the bamboo rafts, you can take in the breathtaking and fascinating landscape.

It gets lively and extremely shaky when the rafts slide down the rapids. Here it can happen that a passenger falls overboard and gets wet.

After the excursion, we were brought back to Guilin by bus. The journey takes a good hour and we reached the city at sunset.

We ended the evening comfortably with a walk at the Shan Lake.

On the way around the lake, at the end of our journey, we looked at the two pagodas, the smaller moon pagoda and the larger sun pagoda.

Especially at night, when the two pagodas are illuminated and the city's modern buildings disappear into darkness, one feels transported back in time.


A trip to the rice terraces and karst mountains in Guanxi is one of the most recommended tours in China.

In addition to culture and tradition, you can also immerse yourself in breathtaking landscapes and discover a lot of new things.

Depending on the season, the appearance, especially of the rice terraces, is completely different. They are most beautiful in late summer and autumn.

The cities of Guilin and Yangshuo are also worth seeing, but they are also very much geared towards tourism and are therefore very crowded, especially in summer.

Nevertheless, they offer an excellent starting point to discover the fascinating landscape.

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