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Dongchuan Yuanyang Jianshui Photography Tour - 8 Days

Destination: Dongchuan Yuanyang Jianshui
Duration: Eight Day
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Transportation: Vehicle
Best Travel Time:All the year
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In this Yunnan superlative visual feast photography tour, you¡¯ll photograph in three great destinations, including Dongchuan Red Land, Yuanyang Rice Terrace and Jianhsui Old Town. Please take some time and check the photography guide one by one and you are sure on the way to get the most gorgeous pictures in those places.

Dongchuan Red Land Photography Guide:
I should say Dongchuan is not only a tourist site, but also a photographers¡¯ paradise. Reputed as ¡°God¡¯s Magic Platte¡±, Dongchuan Red Land is famous for the incredible bursting colors and someone think it is even more beautiful than that in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For travelers, you¡¯ll capture breathtaking scenery - the reddish earth, the beautiful and contrasting hues, the farmland, the surrounding mountains, the villagers working in the colorful fields...
The splendid Dongchuan will keep you busy with your camera. You should arrange enough time and find best sites to capture sunrise, sunset, thousand-year-old tree, and other village view...
Best Sites for Photography:
Damakan Village: for Sunrise

It is the best site to capture sunrise. The village is located in the middle of the hill and suitable for down shot. In the early morning, smoke curling up from the chimney, the rosy sunglow spreading all over the sky, it takes you into a dreamland. You¡¯d better get up early and reach there before 06:30. The sunrise may stretch out the horizon around 07:00.
Luoxiagou (Sunset Valley): for Sunset
It is the best site to capture sunset. Luoxiagou is a low land encircled by hills with the most subtle shades around here. Stand on a high location and use sidelight to shoot sunset view. It is better to reach there before 15:30. The best time to view sunset at Luoxiagou during 16:30-17:30.
Qicaipo (Seven-Color Slope) & Jinxiu Yuan (Embroidery Garden)
Qicaipo gets its name from seven fields with seven different colors, hence is the a great site to shoot the colorful Dongchuan Red Land. Not far from Qicaipo, Jinxiuyuan has a vast expanse of many rolling hills with red fields. It is another place to shoot the colorful fields.
Yuepuao (Music Hollow)
You won¡¯t miss the breathtaking view of Yuepuao with elegant lines just like musical notation. Several hundred miles near Yuepuao, it is Luoshiwan (River Snail Bay) and Wafangliangzi (Tiled House Bridge) where you could capture the complete view of Yuepuao and folk houses on the land. Photographers also could capture sunset with Dongchuan Red Land in Wafangliangzi or Luoshiwan.
Ancient Tree
This thousand-year-old tree stands in a hill alone and is regarded as the holy tree by local people. It is said that the tree withered up for three years and after that the leaves grow on the tree. Until now, it is the watchman and protect the whole village. It is suitable to shoot the old tree from a distance.
Shuipingzi Terrace
It features endless layers of rice terraces, among which one resembles one Pipa (an ancient music instrument). It is suitable to use back light in the afternoon.

Yuanyang Rice Terrace Photography Guide£º
Yuanyang Rice Terrace is located in Yuanyang County, south of Ailao mountain range at an elevation of around 1570 meters. Yuanyang Rice Terraces is regarded as one of the top 3 rice terraces in China and reputed as the ¡°most beautiful curvy lines of the world¡±. It is a popular destination with photographers due to the vast areas of the terraced rice paddies cultivated by the Hani people. The vast majority of the Hani ethnic minority women in Yuanyang county still wear traditional clothes as their daily attire. Hence, there are two kinds of subjects should shoot for your photography tour in Yuanyang - rice terrace scenery and Hani folk customs.
To photograph the rice terraces, you should not miss the most famous scenic areas like Xinjie Rice Terrace, Duoyishu Rice Terrace, Bada Rice Terrace, Laohuzui Rice Terrace. To shoot the Hani folk customs, you could meet Hani people in Xinjie, ethnic villages, local markets and the rice paddy fields, etc.
Best Sites for Photography
The weather of Yuanyang Rice Terraces changes a lot during a day. It is better for travelers to arrange 2 or 3 days in Yuanyang to capture the spectacular sunrise, sunset and other terrace scenery. The ideal spots to photograph the terraces at different time are scatter as below.
Duoyishu Scenic Area: for Sunrise
It is the best place to capture sunglow and sunrise, usually around 07:00. Duoyishu is about 25 km from Xinjie and 5 km from Shengcun. To catch the sunrise, it is better to stay overnight in Duoyishu. The main attractions in Duoyishu include sunrise at Huangcaoling, Pugaolaozhai Terraced fields and villages, Duoyishu Rice Terrace, etc. There are viewing decks offered and it is better to shoot the sunrise at a high location for the panorama view of Duoyishu. If time permits, you could get down to Pugaolaozhai and shoot the partial terrace at a close-up shot. The weather is changeable in Duoyishu and you¡¯d better ask more advice from your photography guide. And also try to get up early and find a good location to wait for the sunrise.
Bada Scenic Area: for Sunset
It is a good place to shoot the sunset, usually around 18:00. Bada is with 950 hectares and 17 villages, over 3700 level terraces look like the ladder reaching to the sky. The main attraction of Bada include Quanfuzhuang Rice Terrace, Bada Rice Terrace, Malizhai Rice Terrace, Shangmadian Rice Terrace, etc. There are two viewing decks at similar heights but different lateral perspectives. You¡¯d better to arrive 30 minutes earlier before sunset and you could decide which viewing deck you are going to use and how to photograph by using telephoto lens and zoom lens.
Laohuzui Rice Terrace: for Sunset
It is the best place for sunset, usually around 18:00. In Laohuzui, you could shoot the most magnificent and spectacular terraces. Overlooking the rice terrace at the Tiger Month, you¡¯ll capture the rice terrace is like a huge white flowers. When the sun is getting down slowly, the light is getting low, the color temperature is rising, the rice terrace is turning blue, then golden, pink and red. During the short time, you could capture the changeable Laohuzui Rice Terrace. It is located 20km from Xinjie and if you take private car and the weather condition is good, it is suggested to head to Laohuzui Rice Terrace to catch the sunglow and sunset.
Xinjie Scenic Area: for Daytime Photography
Xinjie is the old county of Yuanyang with an elevation of 1500 meters. In Xinjie, photographers could enjoy sea of clouds, sunrise and the ethnic groups. About 8km from Xinjie, it is the Jingkou Hani Folk Village. There are about 160 mushroom houses situated in the middle of the hills. It is good to shoot the Hani Folk Village around 08:00. At this time, the village is standing in the mist, smoke is curling up from the chimney, the sun is gently shining over the house, the kids are playing happily...the joyful moments will be kept in your pictures.


Jianshui Photography Guide£º
Jianshui, with a history over 1200 years, enjoys a reputation as ¡°Museum of Ancient Buildings and Residential Houses¡±. Photographers who head to Yuanyang Rice Terraces choose Jianshui as a stop for 1 or 2 days. They could shoot both in Jianshui Old Town and in the countryside out of town. Jianshui Old Town is full of ancient architecture with over 100 ancient sites. The typical sites like Zhu Family Garden, Chaoyang Tower, Confucius Temple are within walk distance. Out of Jianshui, it is good to catch the best scenery of Twin Dragon Bridge, Tuanshan Zhang Family Garden. The main subject is about Jianshui local cultural customs and ancient architecture in those places.
Best Sites for Photography
Zhu Family Garden

It is good to visit in the morning or at dusk. Built in Qing Dynasty, Zhu Family Garden have a ¡°three vertical and four horizontal¡± layout. Photographers could shoot the ancestral hall, courtyards, ponds, theater pavilion, intricate painted ceiling, antithetical couplet, carved door, etc.
Jianshui Confucius Temple
The second largest Confucius Temple with over 700 years¡¯ history. There are many ancient buildings follow a central-axis structure.

Chaoyang Tower
Called the ¡°Little Tiananmen Square¡±. Climb up Chaoyang Tower in the morning, for an overall view of Jianshui and embrace of gentle sunshine.

Twin Dragon Bridge
It is good to shoot ¡°the Seventeen-Arch Bridge¡± on one side of the river.
Tuanshan Folk Residence
Tuanshan has preserved a great number of ancient and traditional architectures. Among them, the most famous one is Zhang Family Garden.

Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction

Day 1 Kunming Arrival
Welcome to Kunming, the Spring City of China! Upon arrival at the Kunming airport/train station, the local tour guide and driver will meet you in the arrival hall and escort you to your hotel.
After a short rest, stroll in the most picturesque park in Kunming urban area - the Green Lake Park. Here you can share the happiness of local people's doing tai chi, performing local opera, and other vibrant activities. If you visit the park in November or December, you will see the grandeur of huge flocks of red-beaked gulls that migrate there from Siberia.


Day 2 Kunming - Dongchuan Red Land (B)
In the morning, your guide and driver will pick you up at hotel. Then, transfer to Dongchuan with 3 hours' drive. Dongchuan, with gorgeous and colorful hues, is praised as a palette on earth. Among them, the Luoxiagou or Luoxia Valley is considered to be the most magnificent red land in the world. It is the most massive red land with typical features of Yunnan highland plateau.
Go and shoot Luoxiagou Valley (Sunset Valley) in the later afternoon and enjoy the sunglow. If time permits, enjoy sunset view by visiting Yupuao, Luoshiwan and Wafangliangzi. Stay in Dongchuan.


Day 3 Dongchuan Red Land - Kunming (B)
Today, you will get up early in the morning to take pictures of the sunrise at the Damakan. Looking down at the Damakan Village in the morning, you will enjoy the smoke curling up from the kitchen chimneys, morning frogs above the red lands and clouds, rosy sunglow spreading all over the sky.
After that, go on photographing at the scenic spots such as Jinxiu Yuan (Embroidery Garden), Qicaipo (Seven-Color Slope), Ancient Tree and Shuipingzi Terrace and so on.
In the afternoon, drive back to Kunming and transfer to your hotel.


Day 4 Kunming - Stone Forest (B)
Today, drive 90km from Kunming to the renowned Stone Forest, the ¡°First Wonder of the World¡±. You'll marvel at its natural stone masterpieces and be bewitched by the intricate formations. You feel like come into a 'stone world'.
Afterwards, visit a minority village of Sani People, to admire their colorful minority costumes and exotic tradition cultures. You'll have a nice chance to listen to the touching love story of Ashima told by local old people.
Stay overnight in Shilin.


Day 5 Stone Forest - Yuanyang (B)
After breakfast, you'll drive around 6 hours to Yuanyang. On the way, drop to see the Minority Ethnic Villages.
After arriving in Yuanyang, you will catch the perfect time to see sunset at Laohuzui Rice Terrace, also named Tiger Mouth Rice Terrace after its shape.
Stay overnight in Yuanyang.


Day 6 Yuanyang (B)
On this day, you'll get up early and find the best location to shoot the sunrise at Duoyishu Rice Terrace. If the weather permits, you will see the scenery of the terraced fields from the top of the mountains to the bottom. They are all farms under the sunshine and cloud and mist. The landscape is spectacular.
After breakfast, you'll attend the Ethnic Market & Bazzar in Yuanyang, a place for local people trading daily supplies, including fresh vegetable, fruits, meats, and many kinds of food and daily necessities. It is a great opportunity for getting close to local living conditions.
And then, you will visit Qingkou Village and rice terraces where Hani people for generations inhabit with various of Mushroom-shaped Houses. Visit Bada Hani Rice Terrace in the late afternoon to shoot the magnificent sunset view of rice terrace.
Stay overnight in Yuanyang.


Day 7 Yuanyang - Jianshui (B)
In this morning, catch the precious time to enjoy the sunrise and sunglow view of Yuanyang Rice Terrace.
After that, you'll head to head to Jianshui County, about 3.5 hours driving. After arrive in Jianshui, you may tour around Jianshui Ancient Town to see kinds of old wells where the water pays an important role in making the famous Jianshui Stinky tofu. Then you'll visit and shoot in the Confucius Temple, which has a history of 700 years. It is the second largest Confucius Temple in China. Later you'll visit Zhu Family Garden. Zhu Family Garden is a large-scale residential construction of Qing dynasty, once was the import and export trade run by Zhu family. The layout and ornament of the building are the key features to explore, showing a profound historical culture.
Stay overnight in Jianshui.


Day 8 Jianshui - Kunming Departure (B)
In the morning, climb to the Little Tiananmen - Chaoyang Tower to have bird's eye view of Jianshu Old Town and embrace the gentle sunshine.
Later, with fresh air in the morning, go for the Twin Dragon Bridge, which is a 17-hole bridge with 148 meters long, 3-8 meters wide. Drive to Tuanshan Village to shoot the ancient architecture and Zhang Family Garden. Tuanshan is a rare surviving example of an intact-albeit neglected-traditional walled Yunnan village compound in southwestern China, and has been added to the 2005 list of internationally significant sites by the World Memorial Fund for Architecture (WMF), an international fund for the protection of world heritage sites.
After that, you'll be driven back to Kunming. After arriving in Kunming, transfer to airport or train station to catch your flight/train (after 18:00) to next destination or back home.

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