Dongchuan Red Land is a new rising tourist destination near Kunming, loved by photographers and backpackers, and praised as "God's palette". These red lands, extending for nearly 50 kilometers (30 miles), are the most striking and distinctive in the world.
Dongchuan Red Land is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of Kunming, with an altitude of 1,800–2,600 meters (5,900–8,500 feet). It is located in Huashitou Country, Xinxiang Town, Dongchuan District, Kunming, Yunnan Province. Full Chinese address: 云南省昆明市东川区新乡镇花石头村
The Best Times to Visit
May to June
Photographers can capture strongly red fields just after ploughing and before the crops grow, and farming photos. Potato flowers opens in the summer and golden wheat decorates the red fields. With various crop colors, red earth, and blue sky, it's one of the best times to get blood red field photos.
September to November
Autumn is another wonderful season to photo the red fields. Some fields will be turned over for new crops, and there are large expanses of highland barley and wheat. Yunnan's unique white cole flowers make the fields more colorful. This is another good time you should not miss.
Route 1: Direct Bus from Kunming-Huagou
Kunming North Bus Station: The are only 2 daily buses to Fazhe passing by Huashitou Village(departure at 08：00 and 14:00). Travelers need to let the driver know that you need to get off at Huagou (huā gōu 花沟). In order to make passengers' safety, the buses are driven slowly so that it takes 5~6 hours to reach the red fields. You can bring some snacks with you or buy some fruit in simple local market on the road. We suggest you take the bus departing at 08:00, so you can take some photos of sunset glow and sunset when you arrive.
Route 2: Kunming-Dongchuan-Huagou
Kunming Eastern Bus Station: Regular buses to Dongchuan County depart from 06:30 to 22:00 with a 3.5h journey. You need to transfer a bus to Dongchuan Red Fields, and the buses only depart at 8:30 and 12:50 every day with a 1.5h trip. If you miss the bus, you can charter a van to the red fields.
Route 3: Car Renting to Huagou
Renting a vehicle from Kunming to Huagou costs around 100~150RMB per car (2 persons). The price goes up when it's over 2 persons. It's wise a rent a minibus with a cost of 200~250RMB when you have 4~6 persons. Try your best to bargain as quotations are really high. English-speaking driver is not easy to find, so you may have to rend a Chinese-speaking driver.
Come back to Kunming
There are 2 daily coaches back to Dongchuan Passenger Station in the red fields. Then you can take a regular bus to Kunming with a ticket of 34 RMB per person. Of course, you can rent a car back to Kunming.
Dongchuan Red Fields is free to the public.
Scenery on the Way
On the way to Dongchuan Red Land from Kunming, you can come across flocks of goats, oxen, and original horse-drawn carts. Local minorities are friendly and pleased to take photos with you. Let your driver know any time you want to stop if you travel with us.
'Sunset Valley'(Luoxiagou 落霞沟 /lwor-sshya-go/)
Surrounded by mountains, Luoxiagou looks like a sunken depression from a distance. Traditional local villages adorn the colorful fields. A great place for photography blockbusters that you should not miss, a telephoto lens is recommended to shoot villages in the distance. Photographers should arrive at Luoxiagou around 4:30pm. Late afternoon is the best time.
The 'Hit Horse Hole' Sunrise (Damakan 打马坎 /daa-maa-can/)
A large spread of red fields are in the arms of continuous mountains at the skyline. Due to its local topographical advantage, Damakan is the best site to see a sunrise. In order to get a favorable position for perfect pictures, travelers should get up at 5:00. Leave the hotel at 5:30 and arrive at Damakan within 30 minutes.
The 'Tiled House Bridge' Sunset (Wafang Liangzi 瓦房梁子 /waa-fung lyang-dzuh/)
A higher location to see 'Music Hollow' and 'River Snail Bay', Wafang Liangzi is the best place to see a sunset with Dongchuan's red fields.
'River Snail Bay' (Luosiwan 螺蛳湾 /lwor-srr-wan/)
Photograph 'River Snail Bay' first before the sunset if you have time. Usually, is the first beautiful red field stop on the way to Dongchuan.
River Snail Bay
'Music Hollow'(Yuepuao 乐谱凹 /ywair-poo-aoww/)
'Music Hollow' is near 'Flower Stone' (Huashitou 花石头 /hwaa-shrr-toe/) village, known as "the best place for photography". Get some sunset and sunset glow photos in Wafang Liangzi, or catch the sunset glow in 'Music Hollow' after the sunset.
'Embroidery Garden' (Jinxiuyuan 锦绣园 /jin-sshyoh-ywen/)
Jinxiuyuan has a vast expanse of many rolling hills with red fields. A great location for shots of the colorful fields, a traditional village and some trees also offer a vivid countryside picture.
'Seven-Color Slope' (Qicaipo 七彩坡 /chee-tseye-por/)
Near 'Embroidery Garden', 'Seven-Color Slope' gets its name from seven fields with seven different colors (when the right crops are planted and growing). However, usually travelers are not lucky enough to see the seven colors, so we don't suggest visiting it.
'North River Village' (Beihecun 北河村 /bay-her-tswnn/)
Have a chance to photograph a quiet and peaceful traditional village — Beihecun, a place generally not visited by travelers. Not listed as a Dongchuan destination, it is an untouched village set with a background of a red field hill. There are well-preserved ancient houses at the foot of the hill. Ancient buildings, local original life, and the red field hill are a beautiful picture.
You can reshoot the classic attractions above or ask your guide to take you to Beihecun for something original.
North River Village
Suggested Photography Tours
- Afternoon 'Sunset Valley' shoot
- Sunrise in 'Hit Horse Hole'
- Sunset/sunset glow in 'Tiled House Bridge'
- The vast red fields of 'Embroidery Garden'
- Seize the moment — optional photo stops on the way
- Flexibility — you're the boss — reshoot any locations you want
Classic Dongchuan Red Fields Photography Tour (3–4 days)
Price from $526 (2 Persons)
Day 1: Private airport transfer, visit Dragon Gate on West Hill, and stay in Kunming.
Day 2: Car to Dongchuan; afternoon shoot in 'Sunset Valley', 'Music Hollow', and 'River Snail Bay'; sunset shoot in 'Tiled House Bridge'.
Day 3: Sunrise in 'Hit Horse Hole', visit 'Embroidery Garden' in the morning, then back to Kunming; or take the optional extension to reshoot attractions for better photos, and return to Kunming on day 4.
Good to Know:
- Jiaozi Snow Mountain only takes about 2 hours from the red fields. It is covered with snow from October to mid-April.
- If you want to extend your tour to other parts of Yunnan Province, such as Dali and Lijiang, please feel free to ask your trip advisor to arrange it for you.
Dongchuan Red Fields & Yuanyang Terraced Fields Photography Tour (8–10 days)
Price from $1865 (2 Persons)
Days 1–4: Private airport transfer, visit Dragon Gate on West Hill in Kunming, 2–3-day Classic Dongchuan Red Fields Photography Tour (see above)
Days 4–6: Stone Forest shoot; Jianshui ancient buildings, including Confucian Temple and Zhu Family Garden
Days 7–10: Sunset and sunrise at the Yuanyang Terrace Fields, daytime discovery of local Hani ethnic culture, return to Kunming and airport transfer
You can ask your driver to stop anywhere you want during your trip for photos. Your private driver and guide will deal with any hassles during the journey, so you can feel free to focus on your photography.
There are about 30 hotels in the area, but hotel facilities are limited. If you book a tour with us, you will stay in Hongtudi Impression Hotel — the best hotel in the area. However, Wi-Fi is only available in the hotel lobby, and breakfast is a traditional Chinese breakfast of rice porridge or noodles, eggs, and pickles.
Only Chinese meals are available in the Red Land. Our guide will prepare some instant coffee for you. Even shops selling bottled water are limited.
Transport inside Dongchuan Red Fields
There are no shuttle buses in the Dongchuan Red Fields. Private transport needs to be used in the Red Land because it's big. Luoxiagou and Damakan are around 40 minutes from the hotel. Other attractions are around 10 minutes' drive away.
Dongchuan Red Land is still undeveloped for foreign travelers. Local people can't speak English at all. It's a minority area, where their Mandarin is not so good either. To hire an English-speaking driver is extremely difficult. We arrange an experienced local driver and an English-speaking guide for your tour.
Dongchuan has a big difference in temperature (around 10°C/18°F) at night. Strong winds make it worse. Travelers need to prepare warm clothes for sunrise trips.
- Changeable weather plays an important role in the appearance of the colorful fields in Dongchuan. If you are a professional photographer, we suggest you stay three days in Dongchuan for better photo opportunities.
- You shouldn't step into the fields, as you might be asked for money by the locals. If you want to take some photos in the fields, ask your guide to discuss permission and a price with the locals first.
Our Most Popular Photography Tours
You are more likely to get beautiful photos if you visit at the right time and find the right positions. It is important to have a professional guide who can lead you to the best places to take photos. Please contact us if you need any recommendations about photography tours or want to tailor-make a tour.
- 6-Day Guilin Li River and Terraced Fields Photography Tour takes you to visit Guilin's attractions that only senior travelers and shutterbugs can find.
- 14-Day Classic China Photo Tour includes historical sites, natural landscapes, idyllic scenes, and modern life.