China’s Spring Destination: Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces

The Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces is located in Honghe Hani and Yi autonomous prefecture in southeastern Yunnan province with 6-hours’ drive from Kunming. This man-made wonder was inducted into UNESCO’s World Heritage List at the World Heritage Committee’s 37th session in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Yuanyang Rice Terrace

The rice terraces cover 461 square kilometers and display the most concentrated and best-developed terraces in three valleys. The 82 villages in the area house 80,000 people from the Hani and six other ethnic groups. The more than 1,300-year-old terraces cascade from a summit 2,000 meters above sea level to the mountain’s base. In some places, there are as many as 3,700 terraces flowing down the slopes. The steepest drop at 45 degrees.

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The Hani rice terraces are not just a natural splendor but also the most harmonious masterpiece of man and nature. It creates a system that fuses agriculture and ecology, with forests, villages, terraces and water.

Yuanyang Terrace

The scenery before rice transplanting is like heaven for photographers. The terraces are full of water, which makes them appear as millions of mirrors reflecting the sun, clouds and sky.”


From late April to late September, Hani people grow red rice, the terrace’s dominant crop. Cattle and buffalo plow the terraces, and no chemical fertilizers are used. Fish and ducks are also bred in the paddies, which improves fertility while providing food for people and animals. The water from brooks, springs and rain is collected by the forests and distributed to the fields through a gravitational system of ditches, canals and bamboo pipes.

Yuanyang Rice Planting Season

(Source partly provided by: China Daily)

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