In recent years, more and more photography-lovers have gravitated to the Yuanyang Hani Terraces for the wonderful scenery. They want to get great pictures, but they cannot take pictures all year round. Here are some tips for taking photographs at Yuanyang Terraces.
Generally speaking, there are two best seasons in a year. The first one is the spring sowing season from January to March. Before planting, the water-filled rice terraces are like thousands of mirrors reflecting the blue sky, green hills and mountains, or the sunrise and sunset, presenting a marvelous view.
The second one is the autumn harvest season from July to September. At this time, the bottom of the Ailao Mountains is golden yellow with rice. Rice terraces with different harvest times show different colors, either deep or light.
Compared with the autumn harvest season, pictures taken in the spring sowing season may be better because the lines between the water in the terraces and the ridges of the fields are clear and beautiful.
Besides the seasons, weather is also a crucial factor for taking pictures. The Yuanyang Terraces are located at the southern part of the Ailao Mountains, the valley of Red River and Tengtiao River. It is said that there are about 180 days with foggy conditions each year because of its wet climate. Therefore, it is necessary to know the weather information before departure.
The Hani Terraces are distributed over the Yuanyang, Red River, Lvchun and Jinping counties, mainly grouped around Xinjie Town (New Street Town). The major scenic sites are listed as follows:
Xinjie Town 新街镇: it is 30 kilometers away from Nansha Town which now holds the government seat of Yuanyang County. It is about 1,500 meters above sea level. Standing on some roofs, one can take pictures and have a view of a sea of clouds, sunsets and villages. Most photography-lovers stay there and leave for other scenic sites by renting a vehicle.
Qingkou 箐口: 8 kilometers away from Xinjie Town. Terraced fields can be seen everywhere in this site. Qingkou is a folk village, seated halfway down the hill. There are 150 families with more than 800 villagers. With the dense woods around it and the chorus of various kinds of birds, the original village represents the integrity of the ethnic culture of the Hani Terraces that comprises four elements: the forest, water, the terraces and the village.
Walking along the flagged road, visitors can enjoy the masterpiece of the Hani Terraces culture. Visitors can enjoy the sight of farming and living facilities, such as the mushroom-shaped houses, Zhaishen wood, ditches, wooden cuts, water-powered roller for grinding grain, watermill, the building that houses the water-powered trip-hammer for husking rice, minority costumes, ploughs, harrows, hoes and looms.
In addition, two crystal springs named 'White Dragon' and 'Longevity' can be seen in the exhibition area.
Sheng Village 胜村: about 20 kilometers away from Xinjie Town. About half of the road to Xinjie is unpaved. There are some scenic spots nearby the country road, such as the Blue Dragon Teahouse, hills planted with tea, Beida village and Mali village. Mali village is also a typical Hani-type village with its special mushroom-shaped houses.
Sheng village is a great spot to see the Hani Terraces as well as a sea of clouds, and to enjoy local customs and practices. It is also a must-see place for photography.
Duoyishu 多依树 : 25 kilometers away from Xinjie Town and 1,900 meters above sea level. There are about 200 days a year there with foggy conditions. It is interesting that sometimes the fog wreathes around the terraces, hills or forest, and sometimes it disappears quickly. The terraces nearby cover an area of 400 hectares, running from east to west.
It is a must-see site for photography-lovers. The villages, terraces and trees that are half hidden in the mists, just like a Chinese inn painting, create a wonderful sight for photographing. In addition, it is also a good place for taking pictures of clouds and mist, sunrises and sunsets.
Mengpin (Tiger Mouth) 老虎嘴: 18 kilometers away from Xinjie Town, it is also a must-see place. The thousand-tiered terraces cover an area of 113 hectares and it is the most representative and magnificent place for the Yuanyang Hani Terraces. The best time for photography is during the evening. At twilight, the sky and the water-filled terraces are suffused with color, presenting a beautiful sight.
Longshuba 龙树坝: 3 kilometers away from Xinjie Town. Travelers have to walk there because the road is temporarily closed to traffic. Some terraces there are covered by large amounts of red duckweeds but others are not. The reflection of the sky and red duckweeds add radiance and beauty to each other, creating a unique and charming view.
Habo Village 哈播: 85 kilometers away from Xinjie Town. It is on the southern side of Xinjie Town. It is a good place to take pictures of the rising sun but few photographers go there as it's a long way to go.
Village Fair: Yuanyang is an area mainly inhabited by minority nationality people, such as Hani, Yi, Dai and Miao. Therefore, in addition to the terraces, photography-lovers can take pictures of folk customs of the local people. Village fairs held in the big villages may be good places to go, such as Sheng, Niujiao, Majie and Shatuola Panzhihua villages.