Damoyan Peak of Ailaoshan Mountain Range in Xinping County, Yuxi

About Ailao Mountain Range and Damoyan Peak

Ailao mountain(哀牢山), located in the central part of Yunnan, is the southern extension of Yunling(云岭). It is the dividing line of the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau and the Hengduan mountains(横断山脉), and the watershed of Yuanjiang River(元江) and Amojiang River(阿墨江). Ailao mountain extends from northwest towards southeast with a total length of 500 kilometers. The highest peak of Ailao mountain is the Damoyan peak(大磨岩峰) in Shuitang town, Xinping county(新平县水塘镇), which is 3166 meters above sea level. In Honghe Yuanyang, the south foot of Ailao Mountain, ethnic minorities such as Hani, Yi, Miao, Zhuang and Yao, have been living for generations. With their wisdom and sweat, Hani people created Hani Rice Terrace that shocked the world.

Ailao Mountain Nature Reserve, with an area of 50,660 hectares, is located at the junction of the five counties in Yunnan province, including Xinping County. Established in 1986 with the approval of the people’s government of Yunnan province, and promoted to national nature reserve in 1988, the main protected objects are evergreen broad-leaved forest and wildlife.


Ailao mountain is the most well-preserved area of the same latitude biodiversity and the same type of plant community. Across the tropics and subtropics, Ailao mountain forms a “corridor” for animal migration and a “gene bank” for biological species. Ailao Mountain Nature Reserve is located at the upstream of Red River, complete with water conservation function. Its geographical location, biological species, retained forest area and intact ecosystems play an important role in natural evolution of protecting, exploring, developing and rationally utilizing biotic community, as well as the economic and ecological benefits of forest resources. 

1. Nature Resources

A. Vegetation

Ailao mountain nature reserve is the largest wet evergreen broad-leaved forest area in China, with a forest coverage rate of 85.1%, the highest altitude of 3166 meters and the lowest altitude of 800 meters, which is a treasure house  biological resources. The main protected objects in this area are the subtropical wet evergreen broad-leaved forest ecosystem and precious wild animals such as gibbons and green peacocks. The vegetation types in the protected area are various and the vertical zonation is complete.
B. Animals
There are 460 kinds of wild animals, 46 kinds of amphibian reptiles and 26 kinds of key national protected animals. National first class protected animals include black gibbons, black langurs, gray langurs, slow loris and Bengal tigers. National second class protected animals include pangolin, golden cat, black muntjac, otter, leopard, green peacock, mandarin duck, forest musk deer, tufted deer and so on. The dense virgin forests and humid climate in the reserve are ideal places for habitat, activity and reproduction of wildlife.

2. Tourism Resources

Ailao mountain is rich in tourism resources. In Xinping county(新平县), the hometown of Huayao Dai minority(花腰傣之乡), there is Ailao mountain national nature reserve. In the nature reserve, there are Nanen waterfalls(南恩大瀑布), Shimen gorge(石门峡), tea-horse ancient road, Jinshan mountain virgin forest(金山原始森林), Damoyan peak(大磨岩峰), Tusi Mansion土司府(listed as “national cultural relic protection unit” in 2014) and other attractions. Damoyan peak is the main peak of Ailao mountain range, 3166 meters above the sea level.

A. Main Attractions in Ailao Mountain Range

Tea-horse Ancient Road

Tea-horse Ancient Road Scenic Spot is located at the heart of Ailao mountain, Qianjiazhai Village千家寨. There are historical sites like “Ma Ta Shi Chuan(马踏石穿)”, “Qianjiazhai Village Walls(千家寨寨墙)”, “Iron-fining Furnace” and so on. On this ancient road, there are rough Yi minority, graceful Huayao Dai minority, unrestrained Hani minority and enthusiastic Wa minority.
Shimen Gorge石门峡
The clear stream from the Ailao mountains runs through nearly 1 km of rocky canyons. The rocky canyon is the one-line-sky topography. The water is crystal clear and the surrounding forest is lush with endless green, which make people feel relaxed and happy.
Nanen Waterfalls南恩瀑布
Nanen falls are close to the Enshui highway恩水公路, the whole falls are spread over huge rock slabs at a greatest width of more than 10 meters, with a drop up to 100 meters.
Azalea Lake杜鹃湖
Azalea lake (formerly known as Xujiaba徐家坝) is a rare artificial lake with high elevation. Its total storage capacity is of 6.52 million cubic meters and the lake area is 0.6 square kilometers. Named for the various azalea surrounding it, azalea lake is a green pearl deeply embedded in the Ailao mountain range.

B. Nearby Attractions

Yuanyang Hani Rice Terrace元阳哈尼梯田
Located at the south Ailao Mountain of Yuanyang County in Yunnan province, Yuanyang Rice Terrace is a masterpiece left by Hani people from generation to generation. The terraced fields reclaimed by Hani people changed with the terrain of mountain, and adjust to local conditions. Yuanyang terraces are grand and magnificent, stretching along Honghe county, Yuanyang county, Luchun county and Jinping county in the whole south bank of Red river. There are 170,000 mu rice terraces in Yuanyang county, which is the core area of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces.

How to Get There

There are 6 non-stop buses a day from Kunming to Xinping County. Then another 2 hours and a half drive needs to spend from Xinping county to Ailao Mountain Scenic Spot.

Kunming-Xinping County

Departure Time: 8:30, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 14:10, 16:30

Ticket Price: 73 CNY

Distance: About 180 kilometers

Consume Time: About 2.5 hours

The Best Time to Visit

Tour is suitable all-year-round, but the best time to sightsee is from July to October.

Recommended Hotels around Damoyan Peak of Ailao Mountain

Here are several recommended hotels in Xinping.

1. Shiguang Xiaozhu(Golden Time) Hotel新平时光小筑酒店

Address: Jiaxia Avenue, Jiasa Town, Xinping County, Yuxi玉溪新平县戛洒镇戛洒大道

Tel: 18887730188

Starting Price: 115 CNY

2. Nature Outdoor Villa新平大自然户外农庄

Address: Daha Liangzi, Daha Village, Jiasa Town, Xinping County, Yuxi玉溪新平县戛洒镇达哈村达哈梁子

Tel: 15758024198

Starting Price: 93 CNY

3. Xinping Ailao Mountain Hotel新平哀牢山酒店

Address: The Middle of Jiasa Avenue, Jiasa Town, Xinping County, Yuxi玉溪市新平县戛洒镇戛洒大道中段

Tel: 0877-7393878

Starting Price: 111 CNY

Useful Travel Tips

1. Dressing

Located on Ailao mountain in Xinping County, the temperature difference at Damoyan Peak is large. You are supposed take coats to prevent a cold because of the large temperature difference from daytime to night.

2. Safety

Mountain area is prone to natural disasters, so try not to go out in heavy rain. 

3. Sunscreen

There are strong ultraviolet rays at Damoyan Peak of Ailao Mountain Range during sunny days, so protect yourself from the sun. 

4. Ticket

The price of ticket package is 60 yuan, including Shimen gorge, Tea-horse ancient road and Jinshan virgin forest.