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The Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Yuanyang Rice Terrace

If you are a photographer, you should not miss the Yuanyang Rice Terraces. If you want to see views of terraced rice fields, Yuanyang will go beyond your expectations. The stunning scenery and unique culture of the Hani people is worth discovering.

  • Chinese: 元阳梯田 Yuányáng Tītián 'Yuanyang Terraced Fields'
  • Area: 11,300 hectares (28,000 acres)
  • Popular activities: photograph terraced rice fields, explore ethnic Hani villages
  • Suited to: nature lovers, photographers
  • Time needed: 1–3 days depending on the weather when you are there and how many beautiful pictures you want to take

Highlights

The magnificent view of sunrise at Duoyishu Rice TerracesThe magnificent view of sunrise at Duoyishu Rice Terraces

Yuanyang Rice Terraces are the Hani ethnic minority's masterpiece of ingenuity. In unique shapes and sizes with thousands of years of history, they form a mosaic of colorful and breathtaking landscapes of natural beauty.

Known as a "land sculpture", the terraced fields have been officially acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site. There are three popular scenic areas: Duoyishu, Bada, and Laohuzui.

Duoyishu Scenic Area — the Best Place to Take Pictures of the Sunrise

Duoyishu Scenic Area is a 50-minute drive from Yuanyang. It is considered to be the best place to take pictures of the sunrise from the terraces.

You are recommended to reach Duoyishu at dawn. As the sunlight appears on the horizon, it silhouettes the terraces and makes for an unforgettable moment. As the sun rises, the nearby village wakes up and people start walking on the ridge, presenting even more photo opportunities. When the sun rises over the mountain, everything is visible and clear, and the terraces glisten in the sunshine.

Bada Scenic Area — the Best Place to Take Pictures of the Sunset

Bada is the best place to get the sunset scenery of Yuanyang Rice Terraces. The terraces extend from the base to the top of the mountain, like ladders to heaven. As the sun sets, the terraces change colors incessantly; first they are pink, then turn to a rosy hue, and later to dark red. 

The spectacular sunset over Yuangyang Rice Terraces The spectacular sunset over the rice terraces

There are 17 Hani minority villages in this area. It is enjoyable to explore the villages and to see the traditional mushroom-shaped architectures of the Hani people.

Laohuzui Scenic Area — Rice Terraces Are More Rugged and Marvelous

It is a 40-minute drive from Bada to Laohuzui. Laohuzui Scenic Area is situated in the core area of Yuangyang Rice Terraces. The 8.5 km2 (3.3 mi2) of rice terraces are more rugged and marvelous, looking like a natural picture painted by an artist.

Thousands of colorful layers extend for several kilometers and are dotted with trees. The best moment to enjoy the view of the marvelous rice terraces is during the sunset period.

The Best Times to Visit

The best time for appreciating Yuanyang Rice Terraces is from January to March, when the terraces have been irrigated and the water in the fields reflects the sunshine, creating many colors.

In early spring (from late February to March), the terraces are decorated with lots of flowers, including pink peach blossom and white pear blossom.

HaniThe lovely children in the ethnic Hani village

Travel Essentials

  • Location: in Yuanyang County, about 300 kilometers south of Kunming
  • Entrance fee: 100 yuan (including Duoyishu, Bada, Laohuzui Scenic Area, and Jingkou Folk Village)
  • Transport information: There are buses from Kunming to Yuanyang's old town, Xinjie Town, close to the terraces, and the journey takes about 8 hours.

Nearby Attractions

  • Jianshui Ancient Town: It has unique folk houses and ethnic Hani customs.
  • Mengzi Ancient County: It is famous for a 100-year-old rail track and station, French-style houses, and Yunnan Rice Noodles.
  • The Stone Forest: Reputed as the "Stone Forest Museum", it is the only karst stone forest in a subtropical plateau region in the world.

Tour Yuanyang Rice Terraces with China Highlights

Take a photography tour at YuanyangTake a photography tour at Yuanyang.

Yuanyang has large-scale rice terraces. It is much more convenient to have a local guide with you, who will tell you where the best positions are for taking photos. If you need any assistance, please contact our travel advisors who will help you to tailor-make a unique tour.

Our tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, and extend or shorten it to suit your price, interests, and schedule. Feel free to tell us your requirements.