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Tour code: RET-YN02

4-Day Rice Terraces Photography Tour


All Year Round







  • ● Explore unique Stone Forest
  • Enjoy the sunrise and sunset at amazing Yuanyang Rice Terraces.
  •  Discover the old town of fabulous Jianshui 
  • Visit secluded villages as Qingkou, Tuanshan and Xingmeng
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Important Info

Yuanyang’s Rice Terraces of the Hani ethnic minority are a World Heritage site since 22nd June, 2013. More and more photography-lovers have gravitated to the terraces for the wonderful scenery. The landscape changes vividly through the year. In April, the terraces are all green as rice started to grow, in later parts of the year it is yellowish brown as the rice ripens. During the winter months, the terraces are filled with water, every single one of them reflecting the sky.

The Honghe Hani Rice Terraces marks China's 45th World Heritage and 31st World Cultural Heritage, making China the second country with the most nominations, after Italy.

Jianshui, an ancient town in Honghe Prefecture of Yunnan Province, is one of the national famous historic and cultural towns of China. With a history of about 1200 years and an abundant distinctive cultural heritage, the Ancient Town enjoys a great reputation as a 'Museum of Ancient Buildings and Residential Houses'.

This four days’ tour to Yuanyang and Jianshui combines nature, ethnic groups, adventure, culture and much more! You will experience the amazing beauty of the Yuanyang Rice Terraces. With its highly rated and protected landscape, unique terrace shaped mountains, ethnic customs and cultural heritage, the scenic area of Yuanyang is an excellent travel destination!

Best time to visit

Generally speaking, there are two best seasons in a year.

The first one is from November to March. Before planting, the water-filled rice terraces are like thousands of mirrors reflecting the blue sky, clouds, green hills and mountains. Also, of course sunrise and sunset are reflected beautifully, presenting a marvelous view.

The second one is the autumn harvest season from July to September. At this time, the bottom of the Ailao Mountains is golden yellow with rice. Rice terraces with different harvest times show different colors, either deep or light.

Compared with the autumn harvest season, pictures taken in the spring sowing season may be better because the lines between the water in the terraces and the ridges of the fields are clear and beautiful.

Besides the seasons, weather is also a crucial factor for taking pictures. The Yuanyang Terraces are located at the southern part of the Ailao Mountains, the valley of Red River and Tengtiao River. It is said that there are about 180 days with foggy conditions each year because of its wet climate. Anyway, with a subtropical climate, a visit to Yuanyang Rice Terraces anytime during the year is possible.

jianshuistone forest

Day 01  Kunming – Stone Forest Danuohei Village (L)

Your tour guide and driver pick you up from your Kunming hotel in the morning at 9am. First you'll be invited to Yunnan Pu’er Tea Ceremony, which is one of the most famous teas in China. Additionally, learn about the interesting tea culture of China and the history of the "Tea Horse Road". You can also take some Pu’er tea with you as gifts for your family or friends as it’s the symbol of Yunnan culture and therefore a nice souvenir.

Later on we drive to Stone Forest (about 90 km, 1.5 hours, mostly highway), and enjoy a local Yunnan lunch before we enter the highly rated attraction. According to an old saying it is a pity not visiting the Stone Forest while you are in Kunming. Enjoy the beautiful views at the lookouts and spend about 2 hours in the park.

After that, we'll take the car to Danuohei Sani Village (25 km, about 30 minutes) and get in touch with the local Sani ethnic people. The locals have kept a tradition to make use of what is available near where they live. Danuohei Village is famous for its tradition of building houses with stones, preserving long-lasting costumes, traditional belief and religion.

Overnight in Shilin

Day 02  Shilin – Yuanyang (B, L)

After breakfast, we drive to Yuanyang Scenic Area (about 300 km, 4.5 hours), one of Yunnan’s famous UNESCO World Heritage sites. Upon arrival, we first visit the Bada rice terraces which offer a great view over the gigantic terraced valley. Then visit the Qingkou Village. Later in the evening, we head to the rice terraces at Laohuzui where the colorful sunset can be enjoyed if the weather permits. A very recommended stop for photographers. Get dropped off at your hotel afterwards.

Overnight in Yuanyang

Day 03  Yuanyang - Jianshui (B, L)

The Yuanyang Rice Terraces belong to the Hani and Yi people and were listed as world heritage in 2013. Get up very early today to witness the sunrise over the terraces at Duoyishu Village and visit a local street market in close Shengcun afterwards. The people of surrounding villages – often ethnic minorities – gather here to buy and sell all sorts of food and necessities during the day.

Get driven to Jianshui afterwards (about 130 km, 3.5 hours). Visit Tuanshan Village on the way. Tuanshan Village was listed as world monument of architectural heritage in 2006. Both, Jianshui and Tuanshan attract a lot of visitors from China and abroad.

Afterwards, we have a look at Zhu’s Family Garden and the Confucius Temple, which is the second largest of its kind in China! These are the two very famous sights of the city. Recommended is about half an hour visiting time each.

Overnight in Jianshui

Day 04  Jianshui - Kunming (B, L)

After breakfast, we attend a local tofu workshop (about 30 minutes) as tofu is one of the most important food of the area.

Drive back to Kunming (about 210 km, 3.5 hours, mostly highway), visit Xingmeng to get an insight about Mongolian culture in Yunnan.

Visit Yunnan Provincial Museum and Guandu Ancient Town when in Kunming. Drop off at Kunming city center or airport according to your schedule. This tour comes to an end and we’d be happy welcoming you in Yunnan again!

Optional evening activity in Kunming: Visit the highly rated Dynamic Yunnan Show


  •  24/7 English-speaking customer services
  •  2 bottles of local drinking water per person per day

  •  Government taxes


  •   15 days prior to departure date, we will fully refund your purchase without any additional charges
  •   7 days prior to departure date, 50% of reservation cost will be charged
  •   24 hrs prior to dearture date, 100% of reservation cost will be charged
  •   Certain refund policy should be subject to current circumstance


  •   Confirmation will be received within 24 hours, subject to availability