Top Experiences for Yunnan Photography Tour

Yunnan is a perfect place for those that are interested in photography, whether on a professional level or just as an amateur photographer. The high mountains capped with snow and the stunning valleys make for some of the world’s best landscape shots, and the crisp clear air makes the pictures even sharper than at sea level.

There are also hundreds of mountains to shoot and ancient towns and villages that have barely changed over the centuries, with the people living their lives in much the same way as their ancestors. A photography tour of Yunnan can give you all of this and more and will leave you yearning to come back again with more memory cards for more photos. Why not follow our Yunnan photography tips and check how to make the most of your Yunnan Photography tour. Yunnan Travel will make you experience the different photography tour.

Before Your Departure for Yunnan Photography Tour

Bring the Necessary Equipment

Photography at high altitudes can put an undue strain on photographers, in terms of the high altitudes and the weight of their equipment. The best shots are normally reached on foot and carrying lots of heavy camera equipment around with you can be a huge burden. If you want to Meili Snow Mountain or other places at high altitude, it will make it even harder to carry lots of equipment.

The best way around this is to minimize the amount of equipment you are taking with you. Fewer camera bodies and more lenses will give you the best options for almost all kinds of shots, and a smaller selection of filters is needed due to the thinner atmosphere making the air crisper for better photography.

Stick to a folding tripod that weighs less, and can be extended to use when necessary, and ensure your cameras are digital rather than using 35mm film. Film does not work well at the high altitudes and lower temperatures, whereas digital images can be sharper and clearer, and are less affected by the climate. And you should have somewhere to back up your photos once your shooting period is done each day, to preserve their integrity and safeguard them from damage.

Must Dos for Yunnan Photography Tour 

With so many places to take your photos in Yunnan, it is a good idea to know when and where to take the best shots of the places you will visit. Some attractions have better lighting at certain times of the day or evening, while other opportunities only present themselves at certain times and can easily be missed.

1. Dianchi Lake in Kunming

Embraced by several peaks and alluring waters, Dianchi Lake is just like a sparkling jewel embedded in Kunming. The lake is crescent-shaped, stretching 24 miles (39 kilometers) from north to south and more than 8 miles (13.5 kilometers) from west to east. Occupying an area of 116 square miles (300 square kilometers), Dianchi Lake is the largest lake in China. More than 20 rivers converge into it.

Best Time to Photograph Dianchi Lake

For the comfortable weather in Kunming, it is suitable to have a trip here all year round. What special in winter is that seagulls will come to winter here and most of the local people will enjoy their time with seagulls, such as taking photos and feeding seagulls. 

Read more about Kunming Climate

Recommended Dianchi Lake Tours Including

Top 3 Dianchi Lake tours chosen by most customers to explore Dianchi Lake in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us. We provide some tour routes for tourists to choose.

Travel Tips

  • Visitors can firstly go to the West Hill Forest Park for a visit, then take the cable car from Longmen (the gate of the dragon) to Dianchi lake.
  • There is no entrance fee charged at the Dianchi Lake. If guests do not want to take boats during the visit, a half day is enough for a visit to Dianchi Lake. If you want to explore the lake further, you can rent a bicycle and spend two days to cycle around the Dianchi, which is about 200 km.  

2. Stone Forest in Kunming

The most dramatic of these attractions  in Kunming is Stone Forest, known since the Ming Dynasty as the ‘First Wonder of the World’. An old local saying says that ‘If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time.’ Obviously, ranking the first at its age, size and typical formation, the Stone Forest is one of the most important attractions of Yunnan.

Best Time to Photograph Stone Forest in Kunming

Best time to visit Stone Forest is from March to October. Most ethnic festivals are during this time, and travelers can also appreciate various flowers during this time. Stone Forest is located in the subtropical humid monsoon climate zone, and it features in continental monsoon climate. No hot summer nor severe cold winter, the climate here is rather moderate all year round.

Read more about Kunming Climate

Recommended Stone Forest Tours Including

Top 3 Stone Forest tours chosen by most customers to explore Stone Forest in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us. We provide some tour routes for tourists to choose.

Travel Tips

  • Travelers can stay overnight in Shilin County after visiting, and there are also some 3-star hotels in the county. However, most travelers will choose to go back to Kunming for accommodation. Kunming has more choices for travelers and it’s more convenient to transfer for your next destination from Kunming.
  • The Visitor Center also provides tour guide service in Chinese, English, Japanese, Thai, etc. for tourists, and the guide service will charge a certain fees, please check with the staffs in the Visitor Center for detailed price
  • Tourists can find the location of toilets in the scenic area according to the infrastructure map on the back of the entrance ticket.

3. Lugu Lake in Lijiang

Lugu Lake, at the border between Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces and about 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Lijiang city, is an alpine lake renowned for its stunning scenery and unique Mosuo culture. The formation of the lake is thought to have occurred in a geological fault belonging to the geological age of the Late Cenozoic. 

Best Time to Photograph Lugu Lake

Lugu Lake is surprising beautiful place which can be visited all year round. Flowers blossom in different seasons, presenting you a charming painting scenery. The best time to visit Lugu Lake is from March to November and as for photographers, come from March to May and September to October that you will shoot brilliant pictures.

  • Spring: it is a land of idyllic beauty – emerald lake like a clear mirror with the surrounding peach flowers and pear flowers blossom happily, mountains reflecting in water, boats sailing quietly on the tranquil lake…
  • Summer: it is a summer resort – pleasant and cool weather with gentle breeze blowing, mist floating in the mild air after rainy, azalea in pink and white blossom in the mountain…
  • Autumn: it is a fairyland as beautiful as Jiuzhaigou – the surrounded mountains turn into a red and golden world with leaves changing, the glittering lake, the gorgeous sunglow, geese chirping in the sky that you can image how beautiful the scene is.
  • Winter: it is a world of waterfowl – different kinds of wild ducks playing on the water.

Read more about Lugu Lake Climate

Please Note: If you are interested in the grandest festival of Mosuo people, come to the lunar July 25 that you can see Mosuo people dressed in traditional festival to pay a worship to Gemu Goddess Mountain.

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Travel Tips

  • Lugu Lake is situated at 2690 meters high and ultraviolet ray is strong. The lowest temperature is 4 ℃ and the highest temperature is around 19 ℃ and the rainy months are from June to August. Sun-blocking scream and sunglasses are needed in four seasons. When visit in Summer, bring a light jacket and umbrella.
  • Know the rules and customs about “visiting marriage” and think again when someone shows his affection to you.
  • The Lugu Lake is famous for its Mosuo Culture, namely matriarchal clan tradition. You can ask the hotel boss for an address of home visit. But the Mosuo people usually only know their mothers and have no idea about their fathers, so don’t ask about the fathers when paying a visit into their homes.

4. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Located in Yulong Naxi Autonomous County, Lijiang City, Yunnan Province, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is 15 kilometers north of the downtown, which has a highest altitude of 5,596 meters and an area of 455 square kilometers. With thirteen perennial snow peak, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain resembles a jade dragon lying in the clouds, hence the name. Featured by its magnificence, precipitousness, uniqueness and beauty, the scenery of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain changes in accordance with seasons and weathers. 

Best Time to Photograph Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Since Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a hot tourist place, it has a series of highlights to make your tour here an unforgettable memory, such as the Blue- Moon Valley, the Glacier Park, the Spruce Plateau, Ganhaizi, Dongba culture, Impression Lijiang, and Baisha Mural, etc. Just go and explore it!

The best time to visit Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is during autumn and winter, especially in January, February and April, when the sky is clear and you can have a better view of the snow mountain the beautiful natural scenery.

Read more about Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Climate

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Travel Tips

  • A pair of sunglasses is necessary.
  • When in windy day, a feather jacket is necessary. (You can rent when arrival there.)
  • The hot drink on the mountain is expensive. So if possible, you can prepare some chocolate and hot drinking water by yourself when visit there.
  • Don’t choose to ride the horse to climb the mountain. It is a trap and you may have not chance to see the snow mountain.
  • Don’t walk fast when on the mountain, keep a moderate pace.

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5. Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces

Yuanyang County (元阳县) is one of the counties under the administration of Honghe Prefecture. It is located in southeast of Yunnan province, China, along the Red River. 74 kilometers from east to west, 55 kilometers from north to south, it covers a total area of 2189.88 square kilometers. Yuanyang becomes well-known for its spectacular rice terrace. Part of the area in Yuanyang now owns the 45th World Heritage Site in China. 

Best Time to Photograph Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces

Generally speaking, there are two best seasons in a year.

The first one is the spring sowing season from January to March. Before planting, the water-filled rice terraces are like thousands of mirrors reflecting the blue sky, green hills and mountains, or the sunrise and sunset, presenting a marvelous view.

The second one is the autumn harvest season from July to September. At this time, the bottom of the Ailao Mountains is golden yellow with rice. Rice terraces with different harvest times show different colors, either deep or light.

Compared with the autumn harvest season, pictures taken in the spring sowing season may be better because the lines between the water in the terraces and the ridges of the fields are clear and beautiful.

Read more about  Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Climate

Recommended Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Tours Including

The scenery of the terraced fields in Yuanyang is at its best from November to the following April. Taking a tour to Yuanyang Terraces in winter is amazing, since the fields are full of water, composing a colorful painting. We provide tourists with some tour routes to choose.

Read more about Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Tours

Travel Tips

  • Yuanyang lies on the Tropic of Cancer, so the climate is neither extremely hot nor cold. However, it is cooler in morning and evening, and the sun is very strong at noon. You should pay attention to sun protection. Moreover, T-shirts and shorts can be worn all year round, but you are advised to take a jacket.
  • It is very interesting to participate in a local country fair, during which the entire minority people dress in colorful ethnic costumes. It is very lively.

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6. Nuodeng Ancient Town

Nuodeng Old Town, which is 7 km away from the Yunlong County and 174 km northwest of Dali city, is located in the valley to the north of Yunlong County. It’s regarded as one of oldest traditional villages in Yunnan. Spectacular hamlet of ancient Ming and Qing dynasty houses and flagstone streets is unique.

Best Time to Photograph Nuodeng Ancient Town

March to April is the best time to visit Nuodeng. There are many festivals and activities of Bai nationality during March and April, traveling in March and April, people will experience the rich local folk customs.

Read more about Nuodeng Ancient Town Climate

Recommended Nuodeng Ancient Town Tours Including

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Travel Tips

  • A lot of festivals and events of Bai nationality focused on March to April each year, travel at this time you will feel rich ethnic customs.

  • When the weather is fine in Nuodeng, the sunshine is heated, and ultraviolet light is strong. People should avoid direct sunlight, and the sun hat preparation is required during outdoor activities, a pair of sunglasses will make you comfortable in the trip.

  • Respect local custom of ethnic minority.

  • You’ll likely be invited in to nose around a few places, just remember to be polite and not get too animated with the camera.

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7. Meili Snow Mountain

Meili Snow Mountain is one of the most sacred mountains of Tibetan Buddhism. In the 1930s, they were praised by American scholars as the most beautiful mountains in the world. Meili Snow Mountain boasts numerous snow-clad ridges and peaks, thirteen of which are more than 6,000 meters above the sea level. The highest peak Kawagebo, which rises to 6,740 metres, has never been summited.

Best Time to Photograph Meili Snow Mountain

The best time to visit Meili Snow Mountain is from October to next May. The best season is after the end of October, when you can view the main peak because of the nice weather, clean air and the high transparency there. However, in other seasons, it mainly depends on your luck to see the main peak. You are more likely to have a chance to see the snow-covered mountain in the early morning when when the sun rises.

Read more about Meili Snow Mountain Climate

Recommended Meili Snow Mountain Tours Including

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Travel Tips

  • Check with the hotel or guesthouse whether there is water for shower before checking in it for its lack of water in this area.
  • Feilaisi Temple is the best vantage point from which to photograph Meili Snow Mountain.
  • It is difficult to see the mountain in its entirety during summer and autumn, due to heavy cloud cover or mists.
  • The ultraviolet rays are strong and you may need to bring something anti-sunburn.
  • Please keep in mind that in the mountains, do not yell or shout, that would offend the God of the Mountains. Tibetans there is always very quiet and respectful. Believe it or not, at least we do as the Romans do or show the courtesy.

Read more about Meili Snow Mountain Travel Tips

There are many attractions that are best places for photography in Yunnan, so it is very difficult to introduce every place one by one. If you have any problems, please feel free to contact us.