(Last updated on: 02/04/2020)
The Longjing Tea Plantation has to be one of my favourite places that we have visited in Hangzhou. Whilst I like the city life, I also love the feel of the countryside! The Longjing Tea Plantation offers a cultural insight into village life in the West Lake scenic area of Hangzhou and no trip to Hangzhou is complete without a visit here!
Here is my guide to visiting the Longjing Tea Plantation.
What is the the Longjing Tea Plantation?
The Longjing Tea Plantation is a famous Dragon Well tea plantation found in the leafy hills in the West Lake scenic area of Hangzhou, China. The area is renowned as being one of the most important production bases of West Lake Dragon Well tea in China.
Longjing Tea, also known as dragon well tea, is a type of green tea that has been in production for over 1200 years! It is a very famous tea throughout China and is well regarded for the bright coloured leaves, strong smell, sweet flavour and attractive appearance.
Longjing Village is found to the west side of the famous West Lake and it is the origin of Longjing Tea. The village is nestled into the hillside and is surrounded by picturesque mountains. The plantation itself stretches to over 800 acres.
Visiting the Longjing Tea Plantation allows you not only to learn about the interesting processes of tea production, but also to admire the stunning scenery- don’t forget to pack your camera!
If you want to learn more about the way that Longjing Tea is made I recommend heading over to this Lonely Planet article.
Things to do at the Longjing Tea Plantation
I recommend that you spend half a day at the Longjing Tea Plantation. Here are some of the things that you can do whilst there:
Hiking through the tea fields
We enjoyed hiking through the tea fields with the girls, whilst there are a lot of stairs, people of all ages can enjoy walking through the Longjing Tea Plantation. I was actually really impressed with how many steps my two year old climbed… and she didn’t complain once!
There are various hiking trails that lead from both Wengjiashan Village and Dragon Well Tea Village. The trails take you up close and personal with the tea bushes- this means that you can have a good look, but also that you are at arms’ length of the swarms of mosquitos! Don’t make the mistake I made and pack the mosquito repellent (I recommend one with DEET)!
The hiking trails are really quiet and are often completely deserted, the only people that you will likely see are the tea pickers during harvesting. I visited on a weekend and only saw a handful of tourists all afternoon.
We didn’t do the entire hike with the kids and turned back after around 30 minutes walk. I’ve read that the hikes generally take 1-2 hours to complete.
Have a go at tea picking yourself
If you feel so inclined you can do some tea picking yourself during your visit to Longjing. You can experience what it is like to work in the tea fields and get a taste of local life.
Be sure to book on to a tour that allows you to pick the tea though, you can’t just start picking the leaves anywhere and anytime you choose!
Learn about Chinese Tea
There are more than 160 tea houses in the area where tourists can learn about the history and culture of Chinese tea.
You can also learn all about the Chinese Tea Ceremony and why this ceremony is so important to the Chinese community.
Most tea houses will have staff who will show you how to prepare the tea and how to pour, smell and sip it, just as the locals do.
Sample the local tea delights
Did you know that you can do far more with tea than simply drink it? In Longjing you can sample some of the green tea flavoured delicacies, which includes shrimp in longjing tea, shrimp in biluochun tea, longjing fish, carp with Qingshui tea, and crispy skin chicken with tea.
Fun fact: I’ve also found that many random things are green tea flavoured in China including toothpaste and mints! Who knew?
Visit the temple
When visiting the Longjing Tea Plantation you can walk to the Hugongmiao Temple at Shifeng in Longjing Village to see the ‘eighteen Emperor Tea Trees’ that the Emperor Qianlong had picked tea leaves from. Here there are precious trees that are more than 250 years!
When to visit the Longjing Tea Plantation
You can visit the Longjing Tea Plantation at any time of year (I went in September), but if you want to see the tea picking in action you will need to visit at the right time.
There are four harvesting seasons each year for tea picking. Mingqian tea is picked before the Qingming festival (Chinese Tomb-Sweeping Day, Apr. 4/5), Yuqian tea is picked before the ‘grain rain’ period (6th solar term, Apr. 20), Sanchun tea before the beginning of summer (7th solar term, May 6) and Sichun tea just one month later (Jun. 6).
These dates change slightly from year to year so be sure to check before you book.
How to get to the Longjing Tea Plantation
To get to Longjing Village, you can take a bus from the city centre. There are two buses that go to the longing Tea Plantation- the number 27 and 87. It takes around an hour.
Many people will be coming from the West Lake area, which is just 18 minutes drive in a DiDi.
We combined our trip with a visit to the Lingyin Temple, which is just 5km down the road, or 13 minutes drive in a Didi. It cost us around 25rmb in a Premium Didi.
Many people who visit choose to do so as part of an organised tour. These tours often combine several attractions around the city and take the stress out of organising travel arrangements etc, which, lets face it- are not always easy if you don’t speak Chinese!
Viator has a great range of tours, so I recommend looking there first.
How much does it cost to visit the Longjing Tea Plantation?
Nothing! Visiting the Longjing Tea Plantation is FREE! Whoop whoop! Of course, you will pay for your transport and any pre-organised tours, but there is no entrance fee to visit the Longjing Tea Plantation.
Where to stay when visiting the Longjing Tea Plantation
The Longjing Tea Plantation is in the scenic area of West Lake so I would recommend staying in the West Lake area. This way you are in a good location to see many of the other tourist attractions in Hangzhou too.
The map below shows a range of hotels around the lake area. Longjing Tea Plantation is on the left hand (west) side of the lake so if you want to stay close by then I recommend a hotel in that area. As you can see, the choice is less, because this is not a built up area.
For more choice and to be within close proximity of many other Hangzhou tourist attractions you will want to stay on the east side of West Lake. Whilst I haven’t personally stayed in any hotels in the area (because we live in Hangzhou), there are some really useful reviews on Booking.com to help you choose the best place to stay.