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Home > Destinations > Yunnan > Yuanyang


Yuanyang is administered by Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan. Located 326 km south of Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan Province, the county is 2,190 square kilometers in size and has a population of around 370,000 people, of which 88% belong to ethnic minorities and 95% is associated with agriculture.  Yuanyang County was once crowned as one of the China's 17 most attractive scenic places for its spectacular rice terraces, sea of clouds and the concentration of different ethnic minority people wearing colorful costumes.

If you visit Yuanyang, it is important to understand that place, in fact, it refers to three things. There is Yuanyang County, Yuanyang New City (aka Nansha, the administrative seat of the county), and Yuanyang Old Town (Xinjiezhen, 12 km from the county seat). Yuanyang New City is the Yuanyang you will see on most maps and the capital of Yuanyang County, while Yuanyang Old Town is the traditional heart of the county and definitely the location you will be heading if you are a tourist. To make things complicated, if you are in Nansha, then you are in Yuanyang, and Yuangyang Old Town is Xinjiezhen (simply Xinjie, or just Yuanyang, 27 km from the county seat), and if you are in Xinjiezhen, then you are in Yuanyang, and Yuangyang New City is Nansha. Make sure you clarify which Yuanyang you are going to when you hop on a bus.

Tourist Areas
Yunyang offers many eco tourist attractions, which are not so far away from Nansha. Among them, the most famous are DuoYishu Village (yishucun, for sunrise, sea of clouds and terraced fields, 24km), Bada Village (badacun, 16km), Shengcun Village (Shengcun), Tiger Mouth (for sunrise, sea of clouds and terraced fields), Habo Village (habocun, 80km), Longshu Dam Village (longshubacun, 5km), Xinjie Town (xinjiezhen), and Qingkou Hani Ethnic Village. In addition to Xinjie Town, all the ethnic villages have viewpoints for enjoying beautiful rice terraces.

Yuanyang county lies at an altitude ranging from 140 along the Red River up to nearly 3000 metres above sea level in the Ailao mountains. It is mainly central sub-tropical monsoon with wet summers and dry winters. Average temperatures range from 26 Celsius down in the Red river valley to 4 Celsius in the upper reaches of the mountains.

Best Travel Time
Jan. - Apr. and Nov. - Dec. are the best travel time to Yuanyang. During the time, you can catch the thrilling beauty of the rice terraces and the sea of clouds.

How To Get
The closest large towns to the west of Yuanyang county are Shiping and Yuanjiang. Gejiu is the major town to the north-east and also the capital city of Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture. 70 Km directly to the north of Yuanyang lies Jianshui, a small city with interesting monuments. A few hours to the south-east of Yuanyang is Luchun, another major Hani minority settlement turned modern city.

Due to the recent highway construction, Yuanyang Old Town (Xinjiezhen) can now be reached in about 7 hours by direct bus from Kunming, situated 300 km to the north of the county, a trip which only a few years ago, would take 10 hours or more. Buses also connect Yuanyang with the town of Hekou and the border crossing with Vietnam (6 hours).

Tourist can take a bus from Kunming (昆明) to Yuanyang (元阳) either via Gejiu (个旧) or Jianshui (建水) at Kunming East Bus Station (昆明汽车东站)or Kunming Nanyao Bus Station (南窑汽车站) near the railway station. There is a sleeper bus leaving at 8pm from Kunming and arriving at Yuanyang the next morning around 5am.

From Kunming to Jianshui, 200km. One bus leaves every half hour between 7:30 to 16:30, and then 17:10, 19.10. The journey takes four hours. Then it takes another 3 hours from Jianshui to Yuanyang Nansha by bus. In Nansha one can easily find collective minibus for Yuanyang Xinjie (25km, one hour).

From Kunming to Gejiu (4-5hours): 275 km. Normal bus: 15 departures between 7:25 and 19:00. Express bus: 8:40, 14:20, 15:40. Now it takes one hour from Gejiu to Nansha. Gejie has directly bus to Xiejie.

Most of tourists who visit Yuanyang like to stay in Xinjie Old Town (Xinjiezhen). This is the centre of the Yuanyang area where one can get transport to the various villages easily. There are a couple of accommodation options here; the cheapest, value-for-money and most popular is the Provincial Government Guesthouse. Chenjia Luguan (Cheng Family's Hotel), near the bus station, offers a nice view of terraced fields.

For those who seek coziness, they can choose Yunti Hotel and Yunti Shunjie Hotel. Currently, the former is the best (3-star) hotel with complete set of profection and high standard service in Xinjiezhen. Lying on the beds of the hotel, you can enjoy four breathtaking views: "terraced fields, sea of clouds, sunrise and ethnic villages. " The Hotel occupies 15,222 square meters. It has 2 main buildings featuring the flavor of Hani ethinc group; the later, Yunti Shunjie Hotel is the branch of YunTi Hotel. It is the only one economic style hotel in Xinjiezhen.

Tourists can also find simple accommodations run by local families in Shengchun Village. Shengcun Kezhan (Shengcun Inn) is one of our recommended inns of its kind in the village.

A better option is Sunlight Guesthouse (Yangguang Kezhan) in Duoyishu Village. It is a small but tidy hotel at the southend of the village, nestled amongst the fabulous rice terraces. This guesthouse sits right next to the terraces, offering great hiking possibilities in the rice terraces to the nearby villages It is only 5 minutes walk up the hill to a fabulous vantage for sunrise viewing, the best in Yuanyang area.

Recommended Tour Pacakges To Yuanyang

>>9-Day Tour Yuanyang Rice Terraces

>>12-Day Fabulous Yunnan Tour

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