Dongchuan Red Land, Photographers’ Colorful Paradise
Dongchuan Red Land more than 200 km northeast from Kunming city center is reputed as the “God’s Magic Palette”, the “Wonderful Vistas of Color” and the “Color Kingdom” by its fans. Reaching out for a radius of hundreds of miles and being the most typical and featured red soil land in the world, even more magnificent than that in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Dongchuan Red Land is one of the best labels of Yunnan and favored by numerous nature lovers and shutterbugs to have a personal admiration every year!
Dongchuan is featured in high temperature and abundant rainfall, thus the iron in the earth had been oxidized in years. Together with the various crops, azure sky, white cloud and unpredictable light, the entire red terraced field land located between 1800m ~ 2600m above the sea level finally form the dazzling colors and spectacular scenery just like the palette of god. Therefore, it is widely praised as the paradise for photographers and surely not to be missed if you are also a fan of nature!
Most Popular Kunming Tour to Visit Dongchuan Red Land:
Best Sites for Dongchuan Red Land Photography
Dongchuan Red Land shows various photography themes including diverse shapes and types of red terraced fields, countryside view and figures. Within several dozens of miles radius from Huashitou Village, the most beautiful attractions of Dongchuan Red Land are Damakan Village, Qicaigou, Jinxiu Yuan, Luoxiagou Village, Yuepuao, Ancient Tree, Luosiwan, Shuipingzi, etc. Though there are many attractions, fortunately, most of them are comparatively concentrated.
The locations of the attractions form a “Y” shape with Huashitou Village as its junction (most tourists will accommodate at here). For detailed location information, please see the Map of Dongchuan Red Land on the right.
Damakan Village(打马坎): Best Sunrise
Damakan Village is located in the northwest part of the whole scenic area, and it’s the best place to shoot sunrise scene. It’s about 10km from Huashitou Village. Standing on the highway and you can overlook the red land with beautiful sunrise and curing smoke from the villagers’ kitchen. The scenery in Damakan is very magnificent, and with luck, it’s possible to see the cloud sea here.
1. Since this spot is a high land, so the wind is very strong here, especially in the morning, please take some warm clothes with you.
2. The sunrise time will change according to different seasons. Please check the actual sunrise time with the local people.
Qicaipo (七彩坡, Seven-Color Slope)
Qicaipo is close to Damakan and is located in the way from Damakan to Huashitou Village, and it means seven colors slope in Chinese, which perfectly explain the scenery here. The colors here are very beautiful. It’s also located in a high point, and from different angles and in different seasons, the slope will show different patches of colors and bring you different visual impact. The best shooting time is in the afternoon. Purple potato flowers and buckwheat flowers in spring and early summer make this spot a romantic place for your shooting.
Jinxiu Yuan (锦绣园, Embroidery Garden)
Jinxiu Yuan is located on the way from Qicaipo to Huashitou Village and it’s only 1km from Qicaipo. Jinxiu Yuan is actually a large concave ground and there is a sightseeing road built along its mountainside. Jinxiu Yuan has the greatest concentration of red earth in the whole scenic area, and comparing with the scenery of Damakan, it’s less grandeur, but more delicate. Best time for shooting is in the afternoon.
Red Land Grand View (红土大观)
The Red Land Grand View is one of the best locations to appreciate the red terraces in Dongchuan. The vast pine forest and the majestic red earth intertwine, creating a magnificent spectacle. The red land here is well-maintained terraced fields, arranged in layers like stairs, mostly in regular shapes. Some may not be perfectly flat, but they follow the contour of the mountains with a slight slope, making it relatively easy to cultivate. The red earth exudes a captivating, understated stillness and a tranquil serenity. Its uniqueness is unparalleled, providing photographers with a distinctive and awe-inspiring experience.
Luoxiagou (落霞沟, Sunset Valley): Best Sunset
Luoxiagou, means sunset valley in Chinese, has the most beautiful sunset scenery. Located at the northeast to Huashitou Village, the scenery here is often changed with the wind, cloud, sunshine and the plants in the fields. People say there are no repeated sceneries in Luoxiagou in the 365 days. When you arrive at Luoxiagou and look down from there, wisps of smoke rise continuously from the village chimneys; fields and village have formed a perfect picture. Best time for shooting is from 16:30 to 17:30. During this time, sun will rise from the east mountain of Luoxiagou, and it’s most possible to appear torchlight like sunlight. Besides, after its irrigation in May, the terrace fields are more excellent for take great photos of the more beautiful lines.
Yuepuao (乐谱凹, Music Hollow)
Yuepuao is a village located in the south of Huashitou Village, very close to it. The scenery in Yuepuao is mainly made of colored fields, village and small forests. Villagers working in the lines of the fields look just like the flexible notes on the musical notation. The sunlight is good in before dusk, and with luck, you can shoot the great sunset glow here.
Luosiwan and Wafangliangzi
Luosiwan and Wafangliangzi are in the south of Yuepuao, and Wangfangliangzi is 2km south of Luosiwan. If you go to Dongchuan from Kunming, then you will see these two attractions first. Luosiwan is suitable to shoot along with the sunlight, and sunrise and sunset here are also quite good. Wafangliangzi is in a highpoint and from here, you can overlook the view of Yuepuao. A funny thing in Wafangliangzi is tourists can find wonderful model in here: an old man wears his sheep fur coat and smokes with his pipe with his dog sitting beside him. He postures for tourists as model, though no mandatory fees are charged, it’s a usual practice to give some money to him for his to show a respect for his modeling work (you can give as much as you want, and it doesn’t have to be much).
The Ancient Tree is actually a thousand-year-old fir which is rooted in hill alone in the east of Huashitou Village. The hill is covered with cobblestones and it’s actually not a “tree-friendly” place. However, the Ancient Tree has lived several thousands of years, and it’s kind of a magic. The local people think the tree is a sacred tree and they will worship the tree every year.
Shuipingzi is also called Moon Field, and it’s located in the northeast of Huashitou Village. If you drive from the Dongchuan township, then Shuipingzi is the first attraction you will encounter. The red earth here stretches itself to the horizon. In spring, you can shoot the irrigation scenery of the paddy fields, while autumn is great time to shoot the golden paddy fields.
Recommended Dongchuan Red Land Tour Packages:
Dongchuan Red Land Best Time to Visit
The most beautiful time to visit and shoot Dongchuan Red Land is from May to June and September to December, and the snow scene in March is also stunning. This land will show different beauties to tourists in different seasons. Colors of the red land are most bright and beautiful 1-2 days after raining.
In spring, white buckwheat flowers and potato flowers will spread all over the land, and the land will be covered with patches of red, white and green. Summer is more featured with the clearer lines and pieces of mirroring terraces. And the whole autumn is better for sunset shooting and golden rapeseed flowers ocean. While winter is more romantic and surprising with white snow cover.
May to June is the most colorful time. During this time, red earth, golden wheat and highland barley, and green potato seeding constitute the so called god’s palette.
In September, the red land is cut into colorful patches with golden buckwheat, white winter rape flower and green potato seeding.
November is beautiful for the golden rapeseed and other green seedings.
In March: In most cases, Dongchuan will snow in this month, and the red land will be stunning after the snow in a sunny day. Generally, after raining, the red land is more beautiful than usual time.
Recommended Visiting Routes to Traveling Dongchuan Red Land
2 days will be enough to visit Dongchuan Red Land, if you want to experience more village life of Dongchuan or want to wait the best shooting weather, then you can stay longer. The travel route can be very flexible as long as you put Damakan visit in the morning and Luoxiagou in the afternoon. These two places are the best place for sunrise and sunset.
Here is one popular route:
Day 1: Arrival and Photography
Depart from Kunming in the early morning, then drive about 3 hours/160 kilometer to Dongchuan Red Land Scenic Area. Check into the pre-booked hotel in Hua Shi Tou Village (花石头村). In the afternoon, go to capture the landscape of Red Land Grand View (红土大观), Thousand-Year Ancient Dragon Tree (千年老龙树), and enjoy sunset at Luo Xia Gou (落霞沟), Le Pu Ao (乐普奥), Luo Si Wan (螺蛳湾) and Wa Fang Liang Zi (瓦房梁子).
Day 2: Photography and Departure
Around 6:00 in the morning, go to Da Ma Kan (打马坎) of the northernmost part of the northwest route which is ideal for sunrise photography. Continue down the road to capture Qi Cai Po (七彩坡) and Jin Xiu Yuan(锦绣园). Spend some time exploring Hua Shi Tour Village (花石头), then transfer back to Kunming or go to other destinations.
Recommended Dongchuan Red Land Tour Packages:
Dongchuan Red Land Location & How to Get there
Dongchuan Red Land refers to the more than 20 square kilometers of red terraced fields around Huagou Village (花沟村) and Huashitou Village (花石头村), which is located at Hongtudi Town in Dongchuan District in the northeast of Kunming, which is about 3 hours’ driving distance (150km) from Kunming city center. At present, travelers can take private car, public coach and bus there.
Travel with China Discovery (Most Recommended)
If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can travel with us China Discovery. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Stone Forest from your hotel or any other places in Kunming with speed, convenience and safety by the comfortable licensed private vehicle, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing. Please tell us. directly if you need any help!
Kunming South Bus Terminal has some distance coaches to Dongchuan County, which needs about 3 hours. And after getting there, you can take a local coach from Dongchuan to Fazhe and get off in the middle way, which takes about 1.5-2 hours to the Dongchuan Red Land scenic area. Besides, there are some distance coaches from Kunming North Bus Terminal directly to Dongchuan Red Land, which usually needs about 5-6 hours. However, the road condition is not good.
Transportation in the scenic spot
The scenic spot of Dongchuan Red Land is rather large, but there is no public scenic vehicle for your choose. So even you get there, it’s suggested to charter a private car to transfer among attractions.
Useful Tips for Visiting Dongchuan Red Land
1. Photography Tips
If possible, bring wide angle lens, ultra wide angle lens, polarizer and tripod to help to shoot better photos.
In Dongchuan district, there are many hotels and hostels, and most of them are located in the bus station. Accommodation is tight in the golden weeks (May 1st ~ 7th and October 1st ~ 7th). In Dongchuan Red Land scenic area, the accommodations are all private hostels. It’s suggested to stay overnight at Huashitou Village, since it’s in the junction position of the whole scenic spot. The hostels here are normally family-owned, usually at basic 2-star level and tourists can also eat there.
3. Dongchuan Red Land Weather
Kunming’s weather is moderate all year around, however, Dongchuan Red Land is an mountainous area, so the temperature here is normally lower 4℃ to 8℃ than that in Dongchuan Town and Kunming downtown. Besides, it’s windy in the scenic spot, and there is a large temperature different between day and night, so travelers need to prepare some warm clothes. Even in summer, it’s suggested to bring long sleeves with you. Another thing need to be noticed is that the UV is strong here, so remember to bring sunglasses, hat and sunblock with you to protect from sunburns. ▶ Kunming Weather & Best Time to Visit
How to Plan a Dongchuan Red Land Tour
Dongchuan Red Land usually needs 2 days to catch all the photography highlights. However, you can plan 4-5 days in total like most visitors to discover the top must-sees in Kunming. You can spare the first day arrival there in no hurry. And spend the rest days exploring Stone Forest, Western Hills, Kunming Green Lake, Yuantong Temple, birds and flower markets, and Yunnan Nationalities Museum, etc. in the downtown. Besides, most travelers prefer to arrange Kunming as the first part of their Yunnan travel, so you can also extend to more beautiful destinations in the province to shoot more natural sceneries, such as Yuanyang, Luoping,Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La, Jiangshui, etc. in 6-13 days based on your exploration depth! Moreover, if you have any idea of more interested destinations in China to travel with Kunming together, please feel free to contact us and our experienced travel expert will help you to plan you coming tour with sincerity!
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Recommended Kunming Yunnan Tour Packages:
8 Days Dongchuan, Yuanyang & Jianshui Photography Tour (Kunming / Dongchuan / Shilin / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming)
8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)
11 Days Amazing Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)
Travel Dongchuan Red Land with China Discovery
To help you enjoy a worry-free trip in Kunming, we highly recommend you travel with us China Discovery. Our local experienced drivers will escort you to the attractions with comfortable car directly with speed and safety. And our English-speaking tour guide will accompany you all the way, showing you the best travelling route, share interesting stories and introduce all highlights, so you can focus all your attention on the highlights. The tour can be tailor-made according to your group size, time, physical condition, plan, interest, budget and every special need. Please feel free to contact us if you need any help!
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