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4 Days Yuanyang Rice Terrace Awesome Photography Tour

Shoot the Most Beautiful Rice Terrace in China


“For a traveler, if you don’t go to Yuanyang and Yuanyang will be sad for you; for a photographer, if you don’t go to Yuanyang and God will be sad for you.” Every traveler come to Yuanyang for the amazing Hani Rice Terraces and come to Bada Rice Terrace for magnificent SUNSET, Duoyishu Rice Terrace for the beautiful SUNRISE. In this 4-day photo tour, you’ll have enough time to shoot peculiar Stone Forest and spectacular rice-paddy terracing in different but featured scenic spots.

Best Time & Weather Condition: Travelers can come all the year round and for professional photographers, the best time is from November to the next March. The weather changes a lot in Yuanyang Rice Terrace even in one day. Please be patient to wait for the best landscape appearing.

Please note: the photography sites will do some adjustments according to the season, weather condition, sunrise and sunset time, etc. We are here providing you the professional photography itinerary and tips.

Basic Trip Information

from $735
  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in a 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according to your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Kunming / Stone Forest / Yuanyang / Kunming
Travel Length:
4 Days & 3 Nights
Tour Code:
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Any day you want
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Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Kunming - Stone Forest - Shilin

Welcome to Kunming, the Spring City of China! Upon arrival in Kunming, your tour guide and driver will meet you and escort you to Stone Forest. Or, if you arrive in advance, you’ll be picked up at your hotel in Kunming downtown area.

Later, drive 85 km to the typical Karst landform - Stone Forest. As the “Essence of World Karst Landform”, Kunming Stone Forest has been listed as the UNESCO World Natural Heritage with the incomparable coverage of 12 square kilometers’ stone pinnacle groups. Take the sightseeing bus to visit the Greater Stone Forest Scenic Area to admire the typical concentrating cinerous stone pinnacles by walking through the maze of stone peaks and jumping high for the panorama of the forest of protruding stone peaks. Also, you will see the famous peak on many photos and even stones towering over 40 meters. Then, continue to ride the bus to explore the Lesser Stone Forest to closely look at the iconic stone “Ashima” like a young lady, listen to the touching love story of Ashima, and fill your eyes with the emerald garden-like park of wilder stone peaks surrounded by lush green plants and blossoms. Take the sightseeing bus to exit the scenic park.

If time permits, drive about 40 minutes to visit Nuohei Village which is a typical Yi minority village with more than 600 years history in Shilin County and reputed as “the most famous stony village with Karst landscape”. You’ll totally indulge in this featured village of stone - stone houses, stone walls, stone paved roads, stone squares and stone mills…and have a wonderful time to explore local customs.

Stay overnight in Shilin County.

Photography Tips: 1. Travelers should wear comfortable shoes for you need to walk a lot in Stone Forest which is a very large scenic spot. 2. When shooting in Nuohei Yi Village, you’d better ask for permission when taking photographs about the Yi ethnic minority.

Kunming Stone Forest Lesser Stone Forest Kunming Nuohei Village
Day 2 Shilin - Yuanyang - Bada Rice Terrace Sunset (B, L)

After breakfast, your guide and driver will meet your at your hotel. The following journey is about 293 kilometers’ driving from Shilin County to Yuanyang which takes about 4 hours. On the way, you’ll have the chance to stop for relaxing exploration about some primitive ethnic villages near Yuanyang County.

Yuanyang Rice Terrace, regarded as the most beautiful rice terrace in China, is the core area of the UNESCO World Heritage called the Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces. Upon arriving in Yuanyang, you’ll be transferred to your hotel first and in this afternoon, have a nice shoot in the spectacular Bada Rice Terrace - the best place to shoot sunset and catch the terrace panorama. At dusk, when the sun shines on the 950-hectare rice paddies rising from 800 meters to 2000 meters, then the magnificent scene forms - like the ladders toward heaven led by bright light. Hold your breath when sunset glow shining upon the paddies and you'll see the 3700-level terraces first turns pink, then rosy and later dark red, pink, golden and white…

After the tour, you’ll be escorted to your hotel in Yuanyang. Have a good rest tonight.

Photography Tips: The sun goes down during 18:00~20:00. In the spring time (March to May), it is usually during 19:10~19:50, in summer (June to August) at 19:25~19:57, in autumn (September to November) at 18:20~19:26 and in winter (December to February) at 18:20~19:11. If you are professional photographers, you’d better get to Bada Rice Terraces at 16:00 and find a good location for some great pictures with rice terraces, sea of clouds, Hani villages and sunset.

Bada Rice Terrace Colorful Yuanyang Rice Terraces
Day 3 Duoyishu Rice Terrace - Aichun - Azheke - Laoyingzui Rice Terrace (B, L)

On this day, try to get up early and head to Duoyishu Rice Terrace to watch sunrise. Duoyishu is the best place to shoot sunrise and misty Hani village, surrounded by high mountains in three sides and stretching to the valley in one side. There are many mushroom-like houses dotted aside the rice paddies, just like the sailboat moving into the sea. The ray appears splendidly over the high mountains at first light and when the sun rises up, the whole rice terraces change its colors from quiet blue into golden, shining brilliantly.

Later, move from Duoyishu Rice Terrace to Aichun Village which is about 5km away to see the blue rice terrace. It is in blue not because the water here is blue but for the terrace is the huge mirrors of the blue sky. Standing at a high observation deck, you can feast your eyes with a beautiful painting scrolls with azure sky and white clouds above, blue rice terraces layer by layer on the ground, traditional Hani houses hidden among the trees at a short distance... (Travel tip: come to visit Aichun Village during 09:00-10:00 which is the best time to appreciate blue rice terrace.)

The following time is a leisure cultural trip to Azheke Village, the most primitive Hani Village and its 51 mushroom houses are listed into the protective mushroom houses in Yuanyang. Azheke Village is the best example of harmony living between humankind and nature, fully presenting Forest - Village - River - Clouds fused together. Walking into the village, you’ll numerous old mushroom houses, stone mills, sheep, buffaloes, back pigs, smoke rising continuously from the chimneys…Pay a visit to one of the local Hani families and have a good talk with them to know their daily life and ethnic customs.

Lastly, be transferred to Laoyingzui Rice Terrace for the beautiful sunset. This terrace is the steepest one and another good spot for shooting sunset. It is at the top of a cliff with an inclination of 90° that you’ll see the rice terraces from above just like an eagle does. What attracts travelers most is the gorgeous multiple colors of the rice terraces, just like the colorful palette being scattered on the land with magic. Catch the best time to shoot many pictures as you like.

Photography Tips:

1. Sun rises up during 06:00~07:30 and usually around 07:00 in the spring time. If you are professional photographers, you’d better get up at 05:00 and arrive at the viewing decks around 05:30 to find a good location. Otherwise, travelers can come around 06:30.

2. To capture the magnificent Duoyishu Rice Terrace, it is good to use wide angle (14mm~24mm, 17mm~35mm) and telephoto lenses (70mm~200mm or above). A tripod and lens hood will make your pictures perfect when shooting sunrise over the rice paddies. Also, polarizer and gradual change grey color lenses will help you get better terrace pictures. The weather of Duoyishu changes a lot and it is good to take waterproofing and damp proofing measure.

Duoyishu Rice Terrace Blue Rice Terrace in Aichun Village Azheke Village, the most primitive Hani Village Laoyingzui Rice Terrace
Day 4 Yuanyang - Kunming Departure (B)

After breakfast, catch the last moment to enjoy the beautiful morning in Yuanyang. Your guide and driver will escort you to attend the Ethnic Market & Bazaar in Yuanyang, a bustling place for local people who dressed in traditional ethnic costumes trading daily supplies, including fresh vegetable, fruits, meats, and many other kinds of food and daily necessities. It is a great opportunity to get close to Hani people’s living conditions.

Say goodbye to this magic and mysterious land, and you’ll be escorted back to Kunming City. After arriving in Kunming, transfer to the airport or train station to catch your flight/train (after 18:00) to next destination or back home.

Note: If your time is flexible, you can add one more day to pay a visit to Jianshui Ancient Town which is on the way between Yuanyang and Kunming. All the attractions and itinerary can be customized based on your like and time. Please feel free to contact us.

Ethnic Market & Bazaar in Yuanyang

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