Yuanyang Rice Terraces Travel Guide in January, February & March

18/12/2014
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At present, known as “land sculpture” in the world, Yuanyang Rice Terraces, also named Terraced Fields, have been being officially acknowledged as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO. With the typical tiered landscape, Yuanyang Rice Terraces are famed for unique frontier scenery, attracting thousands of Chinese and western tourists who visit there in winter or early spring when the fields are flooded. It is also seen as one of the best photography places in China.

Yuanyang Rice Terrices

Yuanyang Rice Terrices

Where is Yuanyang Rice Terraces?

Yuanyan Rice Terraces are located in the southern slopes of Ailao Mountain in Yuanyang County, Yunnan Province. Different from the Guangxi Longji Rice Terraces, the Yuanyang Rice Terraces do not have so many layers, but they are outstanding for their unique and grand areas, and slighter slopes. There are some ethnic groups living around the terraces, including Hani, Yi, Dai, Yao, Zhuang, and Miao.

Among them, Hani people have a big population. Their houses is quite distinctive, with three-storey house: the bottom one is used for keeping cattle; the middle one for people living and the top one is warehouse. Standing away from the house, you can see them like many small and large mushroom on the land, so this kind of house is also called “mushroom house“. Walking among the Rice Terraces dotted with these “mushroom house”, it seems that you are in a childhood fairyland.

Sea of Cloud on Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Sea of Cloud on Yuanyang Rice Terraces

What time is best time to see Rice Terraces?

At all seasons, Yuanyang Rice Terraces are very charming with distinct beauties. In June, Hani people start to transplant rice seedlings, and then Yuanyang become full of green in summer. In October, the mountain and plains turn golden and then people start to reap, which is a busy scene.

After the harvest, from December to March, when slivery white light will flash now and then Rice Terraces are irrigated, without any plants inside, it is good time to appreciate Yuanyang Rice Terraces. It is warm than other cities in China. According to our clients, the best time is from January to March when seas of clouds on the terraces often appear. In addition, at early spring ( late February to early March), the terraces are decorated with many kinds of flowers, incl. pink peach blossom and white pear blossom, etc.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Where is the most Popular Rice Terraces?

The rice terraces there are magnificent and on a large-scale, covering many towns along the south bank of the Red River. With an area of more than 28,005 acres, the rice terraces in Yuanyang County is regarded as the core area of Hani terraces. There are three major scenic area in Yuanyang Rice Terrices: Duoyishu scenic area, Bada scenic area and Laohuzui scenic area.

Bada scenic area
Bada scenic area is 14km away from Xinjie Town ( Yuanyang Old County ). It is the biggest area in Yuanyang Rice Terraces with 2306.3 acres terrace extending among Qingkou, Quanfuzhuang, Malizhai, Zhulu, etc. Standing on the top of the mountain with the elevation of over 2000m, you can see more than 3700 steps of terraces across the Sea of Clouds under the shimmering light of waves at sunset, and be amazed by the incessantly changing colors.

Duoyishu scenic area
Duoyishu scenic area is locate in the core of Yuanyang Rice Terraces National Wetland Park, 22km away from Xinjie Town, with the elevation of 1900m. More than 1647 acres of the terraces in Duoyishu, Aichun and Dawazhe, provide the most beautiful sights of Rice Terraces under the Sea of Clouds, Sunrise and Mountain Village. We kindly recommend that you can pay more attention to the changing color of the water during the early morning sunrise when taking photos.

Laohuzui scenic area
Laohuzui scenic area is 20km away from Xinjie Town, with 2100 acres of the terraces. Standing in a distance and seeing, the colorific hierarchy and the three-dimensional view of the Rice Terraces in Laohuzui is the most intense. The colors looks like a natural picture painted by an artist. From different angles of view, you can see two galloping horses, hidden dragons and crouching tigers, or a tortoise with thousands of years old sitting at the bottom of valley, telling the history of how Hani ancestors reclaimed the terraces.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Yuanyang Rice Terraces

How was the Rice Terraces Formed?

The Rice Terraces was established by industrious Hani People 2,500 years ago. Due to the location at the deep Mount Ailao, the local people had to bring more land under cultivation constantly for making a living. Gradually, today’s beautiful scenery of Rice Terraces was formed. Although the technology of developing fertile land had been spread all over China and South-East Asia since the 14th century, you can hardly find another rice terraces in other places could be compared with these in Yuanyang, no matter from the the point of the scale or aesthetic perception. So to speak, the creativity of Hani People turned this mountain area into one of artistic beauty.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Yuanyang Rice Terraces

How to go there from Kunming?

1. Travelling with a travel agency, like Beijing Holiday, which can bring a lot of convenience and you need not worry about the transportation. If you need our help, please contact us, and we can offer the tour or car rental from Kunming to Jianshui, and Kunming to Yuanyang.

2. By bus: there are three direct buses each day from Kunming Nanbu Bus Station to Yuanyang Xinjie Town / ( Old County, close to the terraces ). It takes about 5 hours. Official ticket booking website: http://www.4006510871.cn.