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Yuanyang China Travel

Yuanyang Travel Guide

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Yuanyang County, famous for Yuanyang Rice Terrace, which is reputed as the most beautiful rice terrace in China, is located in Honghe Prefecture in southeastern Yunnan Province. Yuanyang Rice Terrace is the core area of the UNESCO World Heritage called the Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, lying an altitude ranging from 140 meters along the Red River up to nearly 3,000 meters above sea level in the Ailao Mountain. Over the past 1300 years, Hani ethnic group living on this incredible remote land, have developed a complex system of channels to bring water from the forested mountaintops to the terraces. They live in 82 villages situated between the mountaintop forests and the terraces. And these villages feature traditional thatched “mushroom” houses. Yuanyang is about 320 kilometers from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province and the most important gateway city to Yuanyang Rice Terrace. With several hours’ driving to Yuanyang, you will not only feast your eyes with unbelievable rice terraces with layers upon layers down to the valley, but you can fully experience the ethnic culture, festival, markets, daily life of Hani group...

Travelers who get to Yuanyang should understand two locations - Yuanyang New Town and Yuanyang Old Town. Yuanyang New Town is called Nansha and Yuanyang Old Town is called Xinjie Town. To visit Yuanyang Rice Terraces, travelers should head to the old Town - Xinjie. From Xinjie Town, you can head to many rice terrace scenic spots to enjoy the stunning scenery. Since Yuanyang Rice Terrace is not easy to reach, why not traveling with China Discovery fort a worry free Yuanyang Rice Terrace trip?

Why Visit Yuanyang, Yunnan?

  • 45th World Heritage Site of China - In 2013, the UNESCO announced the Yuanyang Rice Terraces became the 45th world heritage site of China, given “Cultural Landscape of Honghe Rice Terraces”. It is marked by spectacular terraces that cascade down the slopes of the towering Ailao Mountains to the banks of the Red River. It shows extraordinary harmony between people and nature.
  • Hani Ethnic Festivals and Traditions - The Hani ethnic group has been living in Yuanyang and carved out of dense forest for over 1300 years. They celebrate the traditional festivals in unique way and travelers can enjoy October New Year and attend the Long Table Banquet and visit the local market and observe their primitive life and taste some Hani local food…
  • A Heaven for Photographers - It is remote, but it appeals numerous travelers and photographers come to this heaven-like destination with several hours. The amazing rice terraces like the ladder towards heaven are worth your time waiting and shooting. Everything here is your subjects – sunset, sunrise, sea of clouds, Hani folk houses, rice paddies, cattle, ox…

Latest news: Laohuzui Rice Terraces (老虎嘴梯田) has been reopened to tourists after recovery from earthquake in 2018.

Top Attractions in Yuanyang

Yuanyang Rice Terraces is the masterpiece handmade by Hani people with the most beautiful curved lines in the world. Travelers can appreciate the beautiful rice paddies everywhere once reach in Yuanyang County and the famous scenic areas include Duoyishu Rice Terraces (for sunrise), Bada Rice Terraces (for sea of clouds and sunset), Laohuzui Rice Terraces (for sunset) and Jingkou Folk Village (for mush-room buildings), etc. For more attractions info, please see all Attractions in Yuanyang.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces
Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Yuanyang Rice Terraces is the most beautiful rice terraces in China. It includes many small scenic spots like Duoyishu, Baba, Longshuba with different beautiful views.

Duoyishu Rice Terraces
Duoyishu Rice Terraces

Duoyishu Rice Terraces is the best site to watch SUNRISE shine down over the 400-hectare rice paddies, shoot sea of clouds and enjoy harmonious Hani folk life.

Bada Rice Terraces
Bada Rice Terraces

The 950-hectare rice terraces is like the ladders to the heaven with over 3700 levels, rising up from 800 meters to 2000 meters. It’s the best spot for spectacular sunset.

Laohuzui Rice Terraces
Laohuzui Rice Terraces

Also called Mengpin Rice Terraces. The 460-hectare terraces is the steepest, the grandest and the most magnificent rice terraces for shooting sunset.

Best Things to Do in Yuanyang

Yuanyang Rice Terraces Sunrise


Getting up early to catch the sunrise over the rice terrace in the fairytale village is the must-do thing in Yuanyang. The famous site to view sunrise is at Duoyishu Rice Terrace.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces Sunset


Enjoy the gentle sunlight shining upon the 3500-layer rice terraces changing with different colors and capture the last ray of sunlight on the day at Bada Rice Terraces.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces Hiking


Hiking among the rice paddies is the best way to throw yourselves into the beautiful scenery. We recommend you the classic route between Pugao Laozhai and Azheke.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces Photography


No matter you are professional photographers or just amateurs, you can shoot many splendid pictures about the rice terraces, mushroom houses, Hani people with no regrets.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces Ethnic Market

Ethnic Market

Attend the Hani ethnic market in Shengcun for a look at the vivid daily life of Hani ethnic group. Numerous locals in traditional costumes are here buying and selling goods.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces Ethnic Festival

Hani Festivals

There are many featured festivals holding in Yuanyang. The festivals include October New Year, June Festival. They attend a long-table banquet to celebrate the festivals.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces Mushroom Houses

Mushroom Houses

Mushroom house is the traditional living house for Hani people. You can visit the concentrated mushroom houses in Jingkou and Azheke Village shrouded in mists.

Yuanyang Rice Terrace Weather & When to Go

Yuanyang Weather Yuanyang Rice Terraces

The weather in Yuanyang belongs to subtropical monsoon season with an average annual temperature of 24.4 °C. The whole Yuanyang County is ranging from 144 meters along Red River to 2939.6 meters above sea level in the Ailao Mountain. The weather and temperature may change according to the altitude.

Different season shows different scenery in Yuanyang Rice Terraces. After the autumn harvest, the rice paddies will be filled with water. During this period, the morning glow and sunset glow reflect on the water and the rice terraces turn into golden. In the winter time, the rice paddies sometimes put on colorful dress and sometimes put on white coat. In the spring time, the cattle is working in the rice fields, the local Hani people is transplanting rice seedlings and after several days, the whole rice terraces turn into green which looks so lively together with green mountains. In the summer time, the sea of clouds over the rice paddies change a lot, making it a beautiful Chinese painting.

Travelers can come all the year round and for photographers, the best time is from November to the next March.

See Details about: Yuanyang Climate, Weather & Season to go

How to Get to Yuanyang & Getting Around

Yuanyang Xinjie Town Yuanyang Nansha Town

Yuanyang lies at an altitude ranging from 140 meters along the Red River up to nearly 3000 meters above sea level in the Ailao Mountains. The road to Yuanyang is very steep and winding. At present, the only way to get to Yuanyang is by road (private car or long distance bus).

Private Car

To reach the final destination in Yuanyang – Yuanyang Rice Terraces, China Discovery suggests you use our private car service which can make everything easy for you. No matter you come from Kunming to Yuanyang or have a stop in Jianshui first and then get to Yuanyang, you’ll enjoy worry free transfer service with your own car. If you want to arrange the private service with private car or local travel guide, please feel free to contact our professional travel consultants.

Long Distance Bus

If you are independent travelers, you usually travel from Kunming to Yuanyang directly, or travel from Jianshui to Yuanyang. Both buses arrive at Yuanyang Nansha County and Yuanyang Xinjie County. The distance between Kunming and Yuanyang is about 320 kilometers. Travelers can take long distance buses from Kunming South Bus Station to Xinjie Town at 10:20, 13:30, 19:30 and 20:00. It takes about 7 hours. The distance between Jianshui and Yuanyang is about 141 kilometers. Travelers can take long distance buses from Jianshui Bus Station to Yuanyang Nansha Station during 07:15~18:40. It takes about 3~3.5 hours.

To check more transfer info, please see How to Get to and around Yuanyang | Getting from Kunming to Yuanyang Rice Terrace.

Where to Stay in Yuanyang & Recommended Hotels

Yuanyang Hotels

Since Yuanyang is a remote county located far away from Kunming, the accommodation in Yuanyang in basic. There is only one 3 star hotel called Yuanyang Yunti Hotel in Xinjie Town. The rooms are clean. It is about 20 minutes to Bada Rice Terraces and 30~40 minutes to Duoyishu Rice Terraces.

There are many hostels in Duoyishu Rice Terraces and Shengcun. The hostels are decorated in Hani ethnic style and offer great chance to view the beautiful rice terraces through windows. For travelers who eager to watch sunrise over the rice paddies of Duoyishu, it is recommended to spend one night in Duoyishu Rice Terraces.

Learn more about: Where to Stay in Yuanyang - Best Areas to Stay in Yuanyang | Top Recommended Hotels in Yuanyang

Yuanyang Maps - Latest & Useful Maps for Yuanyang Travel

We have collected some very useful Dali maps including Yuanyang Location Map, Yuanyang County Map and Yuanyang Rice Terraces Map to help you have a better understanding about Yuanyang and its attractions. For more maps, please check Overall and Detailed Yuanyang Maps.

Yuanyang Location Map

Yuanyang China Map

Yuanyang Location Map

Yuanyang Yunnan Map

Yuanyang County Map

Yuanyang County Map

Yuanyang Rice Terraces Map

Yuanyang Rice Terraces Map

Kunming to Yuanyang Transportation Map

Kunming to Yuanyang Transportation Map

Yuanyang Rice Terrace Transportation Map

Yuanyang Rice Terrace Transportation Map

Other Hot Destinations in Yunnan

Besides Lijiang, there are some other hot destinations in Yunnan, like Lijiang, Shangri-la, Kunming and Dali, etc. Check the travel guide of each destination and discover now!

Other Popular Destinations in China

China is vast and diverse. You can choose your favorite destination among more than 70 tourist destination and regions. Following are 4 popular destinations you may get interested in. Check all destinations in China

Chinese Name: 元阳

Chinese Pinyin: yuán yáng

Population: 0.42 million and 0.23 million Hani People

Language: Mandarin & Hani Language

Tel Code: 0873

Zip Code: 662400

Time Zone: (UTC+8)

Plan your Yuanyang Tour

Almost all travelers would come to Kunming first and then make the transfer to Yuanyang Rice Terrace from the provincial capital. The weather in Yuanyang changes a lot even during one day. It is better to spend 3 days taking great pictures of Yuanyang Rice Terraces and Hani ethnic villages and their markets, festivals. In the short stays, you won’t miss Duoyishu Rice Terraces Sunrise, Bada Rice Terraces Sea of Clouds and Sunset, and mushroom-like houses in Jingkou Folk Villages, etc. Attend Hani ethnic market in Shengcun for more understanding about the local Hani people life.

As a connection between Yuanyang and Kunming, Jianshui is a little old town with interesting historical architectures and relics. Travelers can spend 1 to 2 days here exploring Zhu Family’s Garden, Confucius Temple and Tuanshan, etc.

There are many stunning and classic destinations in Yunnan Province, it is a good idea to cover some of them before or after your Yuanyang Rice Terrace tour. You can extend from Kunming to Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La in the northwest line, or make a side trip to Dongchuan Red Land for a great view of God’s Color Palette, and if you like, you can head to Xishuangbanna for a feel of tropical flavor...

Remember, no matter what kinds of tour you want in diverse Yunnan, you’ll be satisfied for our professional travel consultants are here ready to help you built your customizable tours at the best prices. Contact Us now!

Learn more about How to Plan a Yuanyang Tour >>

Travel with China Discovery

We have helped many global travelers enjoy their memorable trips to Yunnan for the past few years. Among them Mr. Elie & his wife from Belgium had 15 great days in Yunnan during their 69 days China trip customized with us and shared us their special travel story. Travel with China Discovery to create your wonderful Yunnan trip memories!

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