Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Overview

Yuanyang Overview is a relatively comprehensive introduction to Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces. It can help you have a more comprehensive understanding of Yuanyang rice terraces from the basic information, geographical location, climate and so on.

Basic Information

Geographical Location

Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces is located in the south of Yunnan province, the south section of Ailao mountain range, south bank of Honghe river. Yuanyang is adjacent to Jinping County in the east, Lvchun County in the south, Honghe County in the west, and faces Jianshui CountyGejiu City and Mengzi City in the north across the Honghe river. It is 284 kilometers from Kunming, 71 Kilometers from Mengzi. 

Yuanyang County is located in the low latitude and high altitude area, The territory in Yuanyang is mostly mountain land, layer upon layer of mountains. With the lowest altitude of 144 meters and the highest altitude of 2939.6 meters, the altitude difference is obvious. The topography of Yuanyang is tilted from northwest to southeast, the trunk streams of Honghe River and Tengtiaojiang River flow from west to east. The geomorphology is protruding in the middle, and low on both sides, and the terrain is in "V" shape.


Yuanyang enjoys a subtropical mountain monsoon climate, with the three-dimensional climatic feature of "one mountain has four seasons, every mile has different weather". Annual average temperature in Yuanyang County is about 16℃. The whole Yuanyang county ranges from 144 meters along the red river to 2939.6 meters above the sea level in the Ailao mountain. Weather and temperature may vary with altitude. Therefore, the temperature of Hani rice terraces will be lower, and the temperature difference between day and night is relatively large.

Best Time to Visit Yuanyang Rice Terraces

It’s available to travel in Yuanyang all the year round. If you want to seize the most beautiful terraces scenery, the best time to visit Yuanyang Hani rice terraces is November to next April. In winter, there is only water in paddy field. With the change of sunray, terrace presents different beautiful scenery, and sea of cloud often appears at these months. If you want to experience rice transplanting, come and visit Yuanyang Rice Terrace in late April. 

Administrative Divisions

Yuanyang County has jurisdiction over 2 towns and 12 townships, namely, Nansha Town(南沙镇), Xinjie Town(新街镇), Niujiaozhai Township(牛角寨乡), Shalatuo Township(沙拉托乡), Ganiang Township(嘎娘乡), Shangxincheng Township(上新城乡), Xiaoxinjie Township(小新街乡), Fengchunling Township(逢春岭乡), Daping Township(大坪乡), Panzhihua Township(攀枝花乡), Huangcaoling Township(黄草岭乡), Huangmaoling Township(黄茅岭乡), Ezha Township(俄扎乡) and Majie Township(马街乡).

Why to Visit Yuanyang Rice Terraces

  • The 45th World Heritage Site of China: In 2013, the UNESCO approved that Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces became the 45th world heritage site of China, and giving "Cultural Landscape of Honghe Rice Terraces". Yuanyang Hani rice terraces shows the harmony between human and nature.
  • Ethnic Festivals and Traditions of Hani Minotity: The Hani ethnic group has a history of more than 1300 years in Yuanyang. They celebrate the traditional festivals in a unique way, and visitors can take part in the long street banquet, visit the local markets, observe their original life, and taste some local Hani food.
  • A Paradise for Photographers: Every year, a crowd of photographers are attracted by the spectacular view of Yuanyang terrace like sunrise, sunset, sea of cloud. More and more people admire the charm of Yuanyang rice terrace.

What to Visit in Yuanyang Rice Terraces

  • Sunrise, Sunset and Sea of Cloud: The sunrise of Duoyishu rice terraces is the most beautiful, while Bada rice terraces and Laohuzui rice terraces are the best places to watch the sunset. Bada scenic area is often shrouded in clouds, you can see the wonderful sea of clouds landscape.
  • Ethnic Villages in Yuanyang: Yuanyang owns many ethic villages. The popular villages include Azheke Village, Qingkou VillageMalizhai Village, Habo Village, etc. 
  • Traditional Ethnic Markets: Many villages in Yuanyang have the tradition of going to market and each market has its special day to go. If you want to experience the local ethnic custom, ethnic markets in Yuanyang are your best choice. Famous ethnic markets include Shengcun MarketNiujiaozhai Market DayHuangmaoling Market Day, etc. 
  • Long Street Banquet: Long Street Banquet, also known as Long Table Banquet(长街宴), is a time-honored culinary tradition prevailing among the Hani people. As an epitome of their food culture, etiquette, custom, singing and dancing, Long Street Banquet is usually held during festivals, grand occasions such as wedding ceremonies or newborn babies’ one-year-old birthday parties.

Ethnic Culture

There are seven indigenous peoples in Yuanyang county, including HaniYi, Han, DaiMiaoYao and Zhuang. Among them, Han people account for about 11.38%, minority people take up 88.62% of total population and Hani people are 53.92% of the total population. Hani culture includes ecological culture marked by forest, farming culture marked by rice terrace, catering culture featured by long street banquet, architectural culture marked by mushroom house, dress culture dominated by costume embroidery, festival culture symbolized by "Kuzhazha" festival and so on.

More Yuanyang County Culture


Currently, there is no train or airplane in Yuanyang county. Therefore, long-disrance bus and road trip are main ways to get to Yuanyang Hani rice terraces. If you want to take train, you can get to Jianshui Railway Station/Mengzi Railway Station from Kunming by train first, and then take regular bus to Yuanyang. What's more, Yuanyang Hani rice terraces airport is under plan and construction, in the coming years, taking flight to Yuanyang could be available. As for getting around Yuanyang, the local transportation modes in Yuanyang are mostly bus and chartered vehicle. 


In Duoyishu Rice Terrace and Shengcun Village, there are many hostels decorated in Hani style. These hostels in Duoyishu Rice Terraces are convenient for tourists to watch the sunrise and sunset and offer a excellent angle to view the beautiful scenery of rice terrace through the window.


Yuanyang is located in the south of Yuanjiang river, the upper reaches of the red river, so it got this name. Before 109 BC, today's Yuanyang county was the dependency of Mengdaguang(勐达光)/Ailao Kingdom. After experiencing dynasties, until May 7, 1951, the Yuanyang county was established. Since the 1980s, the popularity of Yuanyang Hani rice terraces has been increasing day by day, from the enclosed Ailao mountain to the whole country and even the world. Experts, scholars and tourists from home and abroad were pouring in. On June 22, 2013, the 37th world heritage conference held in phnom penh, capital of Cambodia, approved the application of Yuanyang Hani rice terraces in Yunnan province to the UNESCO world heritage list. 

More Yuanyang County History

Water Resources

The rivers in Yuanyang county belong to the Honghe river basin and the Tengtiaojiang river basin. There are 29 major rivers within the territory, including the Honghe river, Tengtiaojiang river(藤条江), Wula river(乌拉河) and Jinzi river(金子河), etc., among which 18 are the tributaries of the Honghe river basin and 11 in tengtiao river basin.