The tiny mountain-top town of Yuanyang lies just south of the steep Red River Valley in the southern reaches of Yunnan Province, not far from the Vietnamese border. Actually been there 3 times without seeing another foreign tourist, yet it is one of the most spectacular, and certainly photogenic landscapes in that part of the world! The rice terraces have been an ongoing work for some thousand years and are built by the local Hani and Yi people – resident in these mountains. Shame the practice isn’t more widespread further south when you see all the destructive slash and burn practices on say Lao mountainsides. More on the Hani and Yi in a later post and so, without further ado, here’s a selection of photographs of the awe-inspiring, and highly unusual landscapes!
The terracing covers a vast area of mountain slopes and valleys so, although you could get a different vista every day of the year, local authorities have helpfully set up viewing points. Various points then offer the best sunset or sunrise vantage points and come with parking facilities and even occasionally, a coffee shop. Very welcome at 6.00 am on a draughty Yunnanese hill-top! (If you’re worried about getting the same shots as every other visitor then we are, of course, quite happy to stop anywhere on our route.)
A visit to Yuanyang and the spectacular World Heritage Hani Rice Terraces is included in our All Points East, South of the Clouds and Red River Valley tours with a late afternoon, sunset visit, as well as the option of a sunrise, visit the following morning. The small town of Yuanyang – a bustling market centre for all the local hill-tribes, is also a fascinating spot but that’s coming up in the next post.
PS In 2013 the Hani Rice Terraces were added to China’s UNESCO World Heritage Site list.