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Rice Terrace in Yuanyang, Yunnan - World Natural and Cultural Heritage

Up from the fantastic Hani Rice Terraces, in the mountains above Yuanyang, the water flowing down to irrigate the fields looks crystal clear, and the air is incredible clean, strolling on the& stairway to heaven, you can drink in to your heart's content the full beauty of this natural scenery!

Yuanyang County was once crowned as one of the China's 17 most attractive scenic places. It's 326 km south of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. Although few general tourists have visited the Yuanyang rice terraces, many photographers have because of the thrilling beauty of the landscape.

Yuanyang rice terrace
Fantastic Hani Rice Terraces
Yuanyang hani minority house

Yuanyang hani minority house

The amazing rice-terraces built on the red-soil mountains. 2500 years ago, the ancestors of Hani people came from Tibetan Plateau to this land and worked out the terraced fields on mountains generations after generations. The rice farmers have had to practice those concepts centuries before they were widely accepted around the world. Without hard work maintaining the terrace walls and irrigation system, the precious top soil would wash down the hillsides into the rivers.

fantastic Hani An old farmer on Rice Terraces

An old peasant at yuanyang rice terrace

fantastic Hani Rice Terraces

Fantastic Hani Rice Terraces

The water from the rain and from mountain springs flow down to the rice terraces and the whole cycle repeats itself perpetually.  During the winter to early spring season, the entire field is irrigated with spring water from the forest above to rejuvenate and prepare for the next growing season. There is only one harvest per year for the Yuanyang Rice Terrace; planting occurs from March to October/November every year.

Yuanyang is also interesting for its intense minorities’ life. You can find a Hani and Yi colorful market each day, based on the Chinese calendar. Hani and Yi minorities aslo still wear their colorful traditional clothes.

Yuanyang is noted for its profound culture and its beautiful natural landscapes, including mountains, forests and misty seas in the Ailao Mountain area. As a result, the Hani Terrace is supposed to be listed as a "World Natural and Cultural Heritage" by UNESCO.

Hani girl in Yuanyang rice terrace

Hani girl in Yuanyang rice terrace

Yuanyang Hani minority girl

Yuanyang Hani minority girl


Best Time to Visit - With a subtropical climate, a visit to Yuanyang Rice Terraces anytime during the year is possible, though November to April will allow you to catch the terrace fields at their prettiest.

The easiest way to get to the Yuanyang Rice Terraces is by flying into Kunming International Airport and taking a bus to the town of Xinjiezhen (7 hours). Buses also arrive in Xinjiezhen from Gejiu (5 hours) and Jianshui (4 hours), a valuable cultural heritage.

Hike carefully, The steep rice terrace paths can be quite slippery. Wear appropriate shoes or boots.

Catch a sunrise or sunset on those terraces full of water are one of the greatest highlights to any trips in China. The ideal spots to view the terraces at different time are scattered as below:
Sunrise: Duoyishu, 1hour ride from Xinjiezhen; Qingkou,15minutes.
Sunset: Laohuzui(Tiger Mouth, 1 hour) / Bada(1 hour), Longshuba(only accessible by foot in around 40 minutes from Xinjiezhen)

Pay a visit to view the fantastic Yuanyang Hani rice terraces:

7-Day Yuanyang Terraced Fields and China's Remote Southwest

You can also contact us for a customized China tour to see the best rice terraces.