Yuanyang County is about 350kms south of the city Kunming in Yunnan province in south-west China, famous for its rice terraces, which was once crowned as one of China’s 17 most attractive scenic places.
Yuanyang is often regarded as the largest and most spectacular Rice Terraces in the world.
The Hani people’s ancestors came to this area around 2,500 years ago. In their struggle against the hilly terrain, they successfully build the terraces, where they grew rice to make a living.
The technology of developing fertile land on rugged mountain slopes didn’t spread all over China and Southeast Asia until the 14th century.
If you are heading to Guilin and Yangshuo next check out this post about Li river cruise.
Are you looking for ideas for other sites and places to visit around China, be sure to check out this post a 24+ Best places to visit in China
Yuanyang Rice Terraces did officially get acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site in 2013.
Unfortunately so are things changing fast in the area, there´s a lot of development going on with big housing units getting built, a bigger and better road so I’m sure it wouldn’t take long before the place has lost a lot of it’s the charm. It’s just not gone be the same when walking around, you will get the natural wonder from the Yuanyang Rice Terraces on one side, and huge buildings on the other hand, and just think of all the garbage that people will leave behind in the area.
*Qingkou terraced fields scenic area – 6-8km from Xinjie town.
*Bada terraced fields scenic area – 16km from Xinjie town.
*Duoyishu terraced fields scenic area – 24km from Xinjie town.
*Laohuzui terraced fields scenic area – 23km from Xinjie town.
100RMB (including Duoyishu, Bada, Laohuzui Scenic Areas and Jingkou Folk Village)
Best time to visit:
After the harvest, when the terraces have been irrigated from late November to early March.
How to get there:
NB!! There’s passport control on the way since you are getting close to the Vietnam border, REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR PASSPORT, two foreign tourists on the bus I took, got detained by the police and was NOT allowed to continue the journey because they didn’t bring their passport.
From Kunming South Bus station- There are at least three buses a day. The first is at 10:20, followed by one at 12:30 and 19:30 (sleeping bus), ticket ¥139, the journey takes about 8 to 10 hours.
The road gets a bit windy so it’s a chance that you will get car sickness.
There are a few options, either you can go to Xinjie town where the bus station is, or you can stay in some of the smaller villages around Yuanyang Rice Terraces.
In Xinjie Town
Yinguoulian Guest House, Dorms from 30RMB, Double rooms from 60RMB, Free WIFI.
Run by the super friendly owner Belinda, she normally meets every bus at the bus station and asks if anyone needs a guest house, she speaks very good English and is extremely helpful. She will arrange a driver to drive you around the area. She will also show you a way to get into the scenic spots without having to buy the ticket!
Around Yuanyang Rice Terraces.
Timeless youth Hostel, located 28km (50min) from Xinjie town. Dorms from 40RMB. Free WIFI.
Located only about 30METERS from the rice terraces, very relaxing and laid back, an ideal place to relax for a few days.
I have also visited, the famous Dragon’s backbone rice terraces outside Guilin, the UNESCO world heritage site of Banaue rice terraces in the Philippines and Sapa rice terraces in Vietnam, and from my experience is Yuanyang Rice Terraces by far the most impressive one, but unfortunately like I said earlier is there a lot of development going on in the area, so the charm of Yuanyang Rice Terraces can now disappear fast. Visit now, before it’s too late!!