How to Travel from Kunming to Dongchuan, Luoping, Jianshui and Yuanyang
Location: Southeast Yunnan
Attraction Type: seasonal rapeseed flowers, waterfalls, ethnic rice terraces
Best Time to go: Feb.~ Apr., when Luoping rapeseeds flowers are in full blossom and the Yuanyang Rice Terraces are irrigated.
Route: Kunming->Luoping-> Jianshui->Yuanyang->Kunming
D1 Kunming to Luoping
The most convenient starting point for travel to Luoping is Kunming, the provincial capital. From there you can reach Luoping in about 5 hours either by train or bus. Trains from Kunming to Guangzhou, Guilin, Guiyang, Zhanjiang, Nanning… pass Luoping. The Kunming-Luoping direct train departs 8:10 and return at 14:00 every day. Buses leave Kunming for Luoping each hour during daytime at both Nanyao and Dongju Bus Stations. Train is more recommended.
After arriving, try to catch the sunset at Jinjifeng in Luoping.
Luoping lies in the relatively underdeveloped eastern part of the province, 228km east of Kunming, dominated by karst features with small basins among mountain ranges. Early spring, the blossoming rapeseed flowers of Luoping draws flocks of tourists and photographers. Sprawling farmland covered in golden rape stretches right up to the horizon, forming a sea of yellow buds and filling the air with the refreshing smell of spring.
Besides the rapeseeds flower view, Luoping has the major sights including the Jiulong waterfall, the Duoyi River and the Lubuge Gorges…Pls refer to Luoping Travel Guide
D4 Luoping to Jianshui(386Km)
No direct transportation between the 2 places. You may need a transit in Kaiyuan. Buses leaving from Luoping to Kaiyuan at 7:50am & 10am everyday(Y63, 5hrs). From Kaiyuan, buses run frequently to Jianshui (86km,1.5 hrs). Or, if you want to skip Jianshui,you can take a Yuanyang-bound minibus in Kaiyuan South Bus Station to arrive Xinjiezhen(Yuanyang Old Town) within 2.5hrs.
The alternative is to charter a car/van from Luoping to Jianshui, which takes around 7 hours at the cost of Y600.
D5-6 Explore Jianshui
With a history dating back to the Hàn dynasty, Jianshui’s extensive architectural legacy bears witness to this former glory. The attractions consist of one gate, one street, 3 memorial gates(“Paifang” in Chinese), the confucian temple and the Zhu Family’s Garden. Besides its traditional mansions, old wells and famous Confucius Temple, Jiànshui is also an optional gateway to Yuányáng, which has arguably the most beautiful terrace fields in the country…more on Jianshui Travel Guide
D6 Jianshui to Yuanyang
Set off from Jianshui to Yuanyang by a Lvchun-bound bus at noon time and arrive before 4pm. Check in a hostel and then charter a van to Bada or Laohuzui for catching up the sunset.
Yuanyang is renowned for its rice terraces, which claim as the world’s largest and most spectacular one, crafted out by bare hands by the Hani people one thousand years ago and is still in use today. The landscape changes vividly through the year. The flooded paddies from Dec. to April creates reflecting pool effect, which is a photographer’s dream.
>> Yuanyang Travel Guide, Yuanyang Rice Terraces Map
D7-8 Yuanyang Photography
Whether you can take great photos in Yuanyang really depends on the weather. A sunny day with fog in the morning and cloud in the dusk is perfect. The ideal spots for sunrise are Duoyishu and Qingkou,at least one morning for each place. Be prepared to get up early at around 5am to head for Duoyishu. It takes around one hour to travel from Xinjie Zhen to Duoyishu. Qingkou is much closer and can be arrived within 15 minutes, more attractive in a foggy morning.
After the sunrise, spend your daytime to explore at least one local village. Qingkou is an enchanting Hani village with mushroom houses and local performance show. Admission fee is Y30.
Bada and Laohuzui(Tiger Mouth) are good for sunset. Longshuba is also, but there is no vehicle to arrive, you will have to walk around 50minutes(5km hill path) from Xinjiezhen to Longshuba.
Some photographers stay in Yuanyang for more days to capture the best moment of the rice terraces.
D9 Yuanyang to Kunming
Take a direct bus from Yuanyang Xinjiezhen back to Kunming.