Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Yuanyang rice terraces were carved in the Ailao Mountains of Yuanyang County, Honghe Hani and Yi Prefecture of Yunnan Province by the ancestors of the Hani and Yi people. This 1,200 year old Yuanyang rice terraces has also been recognized as the "most beautiful curvy lines of the world". It is the only man made wonder that is sculpted from earth. The Yuanyang Rice Terraces start from the base of the mountain range and reach up to several-thousand-meter high. It is said that their length, put end to end, would encircle half of the globe. Being the core area of the Honghe Hani rice terraces, the Yuanyang rice terraces have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. This spectacular creation has been built mostly by hand and minimal only with the use of equipments which shows the Hani and Yi people‚Äôs great craftsmanship and creativity. It is composed of rice fields to provide themselves a source of livelihood in the highlands. The location of Yuanyang rice terraces is 2, 000 meters above sea level and it covers 113.3 square kilometers about 43.8 square miles of the mountainside. 

Yuanyang rice terraces

Yuanyang Rice Terraces are a self sustaining ecosystem. During winter to early spring, the entire field is irrigated with spring water from the forest above to rejuvenate and getting prepared for the next season. The Hani and Yi people have repeated this for more than one thousand years. There is only one harvest in a year for the Yuanyang Rice Terraces; planting is from March to October or November every year. 

yuanyang rice terraced fields

Although not many general tourists have visited the Yuanyang Rice Terraces, hordes of photographers have visited the Yuanyang Rice Terraces. The landscape changes vividly through the year. The flooded paddies from December to April create reflecting pool effect, which is a photographer's dream. In summer, the paddies are luxuriantly green with growing rice stalks. After the fall harvest, the paddies become naked bare earth.

yuanyang rice terraces yunnan


Yuanyang Hani terraces are mainly distributed in Bada Scenic Area, Laohuizui Scenic Area, and Duoyishu Scenic Area. In addition, Daping Town, Fengchunling Town, Laochao Village, Dayutang Village, Xiaoxinjie Town, Dalaka Village, Ganiang Town, Kuluzhai Village, Shangxincheng Town, Wahuicheng Village, Shalatuo Town and Majie Town are also the distributing area of the Yuangyang rice terraces. 

How to Get There

Yuanyang is some 322 km from Kunming (perhaps 6 to 7 hours with stops and mountainous terrain), and only 3 daily buses (time of departure: 10:20, 12:30, 13:30) make the trip from Kunming Nanbu Bus Passenger Station.When to Visit

The best time to visit Yuanyang rice terraces in a year is from November to the next April. During that period, there is no rice in fields and every layer of level terraces is bright with perfect effect of light and shadow. After February, the sea of clouds can always be enjoyed and all kinds of flowers will be in blossom gradually, which makes a beautiful picture. It is quite important to appreciate the best scenery in a perfect time. Duoyishu Scenic Spot is suitable for visiting in the morning while the Bada and Tiger Mouth in Mengpin are the best places for observing the sunset.

How to Visit

Not surprisingly, walk into the terraces is a popular activity among visitors to the region.

yuanyang honghe hani rice terraces

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