China's Most Beautiful Rice Terraces
About 7 a.m., the sunlight appears on the horizon, silhouetting the terraces and making for quite an amazing moment. Photographers are smitten by this image and the sounds of their camera shutters opening and closing interrupt the stillness. The sun rises persistently. The village nearby wakes up and people start walking on the ridge, presenting even more photo opportunities. After an hour, the sun has risen on the mountain. Everything is visible and clear, and we have filled our memory cards.
We then moved to the Bada terraces, which extend from the base to the top of the mountain. The ridgeline is quite clear and is extraordinarily beautiful. This is a good place to take pictures at sunset. On the way back to Yuanyang, we stopped at Qaunfuzhuang and Qingkou for a break. These are two ideal places to find a terraced field of some scale. You can also visit the Hani people’s village in Gingkou.
By noon, we were back in Yuanyang and that day was market day. According to local customs, the market is held at different villages each week. The Hani people and the Yi people from the surrounding area all come to the market, providing many photo opportunities.
The sun slowly descended behind the mountain and the light reflected on the water in fields. Everybody was busy taking pictures of this beautiful scenery. Longshuba is probably the next best place to take photos of the sunset, which was about a 40-minute walk from Yuanyang. The terraced fields in Longshuba grow duckweed; therefore, the water looks shinier. If you are lucky, you might see a sea of clouds while in Yuanyang. The terraced fields are draped in mist, creating an unforgettable impression.
Jiabang Rice Terraces — Mysterious Terraces with Cloud and Mist
Guizhou Province is a good place to experience ethnic cultures and customs; there are many ethnic villages inKaili and Southeast Guizhou. There are five notable rice terrace areas in Guizhou, and the most famous one is the Jiabang Rice Terraces in Southeast Guizhou.
Scenery: In Jiabang, the picturesque natural scenery of rice terraces is combined with the quaint wooden Miao houses. The Jiabang Rice Terraces were cut from the hilly terrain in hundreds of layers.
Best times to go: You can appreciate mirror-like terraces in spring, verdant terraces in summer, and gold terraces in autumn. The wet weather gifts Jiabang Rice Terraces mysterious scenery with cloud and mist almost every early morning.
Getting there: The Jiabang Rice Terraces are about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Congjiang Town (从江县城), and Congjiang Town is about 257 kilometers (160 miles) from Kaili. You can now take a bullet train to Congjiang. If you plan to have an in-depth tour of Kaili to visit the ethnic villages, you could extend your tour to Jiabang. Due to the complicated transportation, independent travel is not recommended.
Yunhe Rice Terraces — China’s Most Beautiful Terraces
The Yunhe Rice Terraces are recognized as the most beautiful rice terraces in China. The entire area of the Yunhe Terraces is 51 square kilometers (20 square miles), covering mountains, hills, and valleys.
Scenery: The altitude of the terraces ranges from 200 to 1,400 meters (650 to 4,600 feet), which gives Yunhe Rice Terraces amazing scenery, with seas of clouds in the early morning, especially during spring and summer. Being further north, you are more likely to see terrace scenery with snow or rime in the winter. In the Yunhe Rice Terraces, the best times for photography are early morning and at dusk.
Rare minority culture: You can learn about and experience the culture and customs of the She ethnic group (畲族), a minority with a very small population in China.
Transportation: The terraces are in Chongtou District of Yunhe County, Lishui Prefecture, Zhejiang Province, East China, only 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Lishui City. It is takes about 2 hours from Wenzhou to the Yunhe Rice Terraces, and 3 hours from Hangzhou to the terraces.