Tips on Traveling in Yuanyang
1. You must understand that Yuangyang refers to three things before going to Yuanyang. There is Yuanyang County, Yuanyang New City (Nansha), and Yuanyang Old Town (Xinjiezhen). Yuanyang New City is the Yuanyang you will see on most maps and the capital of Yuanyang County, while Yuanyang Old Town is the traditional heart of the county and definitely the location you will be heading if you are a tourist. To make things complicated, if you are in Nansha, then you are in Yuanyang, and Yuangyang Old Town is Xinjiezhen (or simply Xinjie), and if you are in Xinjiezhen, then you are in Yuanyang, and Yuangyang New City is Nansha. Make sure you clarify which Yuanyang you are going to when you hop on a bus.
2. To watch either the sunrise or sunset views over the Yuanyang rice terraces, you need to charter a vehicle, as the public transport which consists of either motorized tricycles, mini buses or vans do not run so early or till so late. The rental of a 6-seat van is Y200/day, 5:30am to 8:30pm, no matter whether you return to hotel for a rest during 12:00 noon to 4pm when there is not so much to shoot due to the intensive sunlight.
3. During the Chinese Spring Festival holidays, the rice terraces scenic areas are too crowded. You will be surprised to find out that there are so many photographers there. Try to avoid this time if you don’t want to see the tourists in crows.
4. Most hotels in Yuanyang have rough maps of the area to give out for free. Knowing the locations of the villages and the rice terraces areas makes it easier to catch passing through transport.
5. Watch a sunrise or sunset over the flooded rice terraces are one of the greatest highlights to to Yuanyang. The ideal places to view the terraces at different time are:
Sunrise: Duoyishu, 1hour ride from Xinjiezhen; Qingkou, 15minutes from Xinjiezhen
Sunset: Laohuzui (1 hour) / Bada (1 hour), Longshuba (only accessible by foot in around 40 minutes from Xinjiezhen)
6. Wear appropriate shoes or boots and hike carefully, the steep rice terrace paths sometimes may be quite slippery.