8-Day Yuanyang and Dongchuan Photography Tour
Have you got the most beautiful color in your mind? If not, the top 3 photography destinations in Yunnan, including Dongchuan Red Land, Yuanyang Rice Terraces and Jianshui Old Town, will present the most colorful land, the most harmonious relationship between human and nature.
The land in Dongchuan and the terraced rice paddies in Yuanyang are the masterpieces cultivated by the industrious ethic groups in the long river of time. The beauties are breathtaking, gorgeous and magnificent! In this superlative visual feast photography tour, you’ll lose yourselves in the peerless scenery and sepcial folk customs.
This Yunnan photography tour can be customized depending on what photos you want to take, and on the weather condition when you go. Feel free to tell your interests and ideas to your personal travel consultants!
Photo Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Kunming Arrival
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.
Take a short break, have dinner together and meet other photographers.
Day 2: Kunming - Dongchuan Red Land
Drive for 3 hours from Kunming to Dongchuan Red Land, a unique and famous red land at an altitude of 1800~2600 meters above sea level.
Visit Shuipingzi to see endless layers of rice terraces and Luoxiagou Valley to enjoy a magnificent view of the villages and farmlands surrounded by red land. Capture amazing sunset views at Luoxiagou Valley.
Day 3: Dongchuan Red Land - Kunming
Get up early to take awesome pictures of the sunrise at Damakan. In the early morning, smoke curling up from the chimney, the rosy sunglow spreading all over the sky, it takes you into a dreamland.
Afterward, photograph the colorful fields in Jinxiu Garden and Qicai Slope.
Later, pay a visit to Yuepuao. You won’t miss the breathtaking view of Yuepuao with elegant lines just like musical notation. Several hundred meters away 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.
After the tour, drive back to Kunming and transfer to your hotel.
Day 4: Kunming - Stone Forest
Later, drive 85 km to the typical Karst landform - Stone Forest. Walk into the Greater Stone Forest, marvel at groups of gray-black stone peaks and climb up a pavilion to have a panoramic view of the intricate stone forest. Visit the Lesser Stone Forest and listen to the legendary story of “Ashima”. It will be a real treat to visit the extraordinary natural stone forest.
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. (Note: You can follow the locals and have in-depth experience to learn how to play Yi musical instrument, make Yi’s local food - Baba, or learn Yi embroidery, you should pay extra expense. Please tell your likes to your travel consultant or tour guide.)
Stay overnight in Shilin County.
Day 5: Stone Forest - Yuanyang
After breakfast, drive about 4.5 hours to Yuanyang. On the way, you have chance to stop to see some ethnic minority villages.
After arriving in Yuanyang, you’ll catch the perfect time to watch sunset at Laohuzui Rice Terrace. Laohuzui, also called Tiger Mouth Rice Terraces after its shape, is the steepest, the grandest, the most magnificent Rice Terrace among all the rice terraces of Yuanyang. You can stand at the higher viewing deck to have a panoramic view of the whole Laohuzui Rice Terrace, also by getting down to the lower viewing deck to shoot many amazing photos - sometimes like two horses galloping quickly, sometimes like millions of snakes wriggling, sometimes like a white flower blooming…
Stay overnight in Yuanyang.
Day 6-7: Yuanyang Rice Terraces
For this trip, the majority of your time will be spent in the Yuanyang Rice Terraces. You will have the opportunity to witness breathtaking sunrises and sunsets from over 10 different locations, including Duoyishu and Tiger Month Rice Terraced Fields.
Additionally, you will have the chance to visit the Hani Ethnic Villages and capture stunning photographs of local minority women walking through the fields.
On day 7, you will head to Jianshui ancient city where you will spend the night.
Day 8: Jianshui - Kunming Departure
Begin your day by heading to the Double Dragon Bridge in the early morning. Here, you can capture stunning reflections and witness a breathtaking sunrise over the bridge.
Next, visit the Zhu Family Garden, a 20,000-square-meter residential complex built during the Qing Dynasty. This complex includes ancestral buildings, family homes, ponds, and beautiful gardens, making it an ideal location for photographing ancient architecture and people.
Finally, you will be driven back to Kunming. Upon arrival, you can transfer to the airport or train station to catch your flight or train to your next destination.
01. The best time for photography
The best time to explore Dongchuan Red Land are from September to December and April to June. To capture the stunning views of Yuanyang Rice Terraces, plan your visit between December and April. During this time, the fields are flooded, creating a beautiful reflection during sunrise and sunset.
02. How to get to Kunming?
Kunming is easily accessible from the majoy cities by both flights and high speed trains. You can choose to fly directly to Kunming Changshui International Airport or take a high speed train from cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
In addition, there are many international flights from Bangkok and other Asian destinations.
03. Camera and lens suggestions
My recommendation to customers is to carry two cameras while photographing, as it saves time in changing lenses, especially during sunrise and sunset when the scenery changes rapidly. This ensures that you don't miss any beautiful moments.
For landscape photography, it's best to bring a wide-angle and zoom lens, such as 24-70mm and 70-200mm.
Additionally, a tripod is essential in low-light conditions, such as at dawn and dusk.