rice fields

Terraced fields in Yunnan province – unique architectural masterpiece of human civilization.

Do you like picturesque landscapes and colossal architectural projects? Are you interested in unusual traditions of Chinese culture? Then you definitely have to visit the Honghe Hani rice terraces and enjoy the indescribable beauty of this place. Neither colorful illustrations of the encyclopedias nor first-class works of the best photographers of the world can convey magnificence of these fields. This place is worth seeing only with your own eyes! Hello, Yunnan!

Interesting facts about Honghe Hani terraces

  • Rice fields occupy a huge area (16,603 hectares) in the south of Yunnan province along the slope of the numerous hills of Ailao. They stretch to the very banks of the Hong Ha river.
  • This unusual creation is the result of the tremendous efforts of several generations of the indigenous population Hani.
  • The work took a long 1300 years and the result exceeded even the most daring expectations.
  • Today this truly majestic attraction is part of the UNESCO World Heritage and is under its protection.
  • The necessity to create such a system of channels was dictated by the peculiarities of the local climate and rather meager opportunities for efficient farming and cattle breeding. With the help of numerous channels, locals collect water that flows down from the mountain peaks and use it to irrigate the fertile soil layer without washing off from the slopes.
  • The collected moisture contributes to the saturation of the soil with nitrogen (one of the best known fertilizers). It is an excellent remedy for preventing germination of weeds.

Description and features

Despite the fact that the terraces are not considered as a tourist attraction, every year the slopes of the mountains are visited by a record number of tourists. Weather changes the Yunnan province is famous for, help to take unforgettable pictures. The constant play of light and shade, like a huge film projector, shows a fascinating movie about this interesting place.

There is nothing mysterious here, no intriguing legend that would tell us about the possible mystical power that created this sight. However, rice terraces are one of the most popular places for people seeking unity with nature. The local landscape is simply delightful! Just looking at it you will feel the spiritual harmony.

To assess the whole range of the nature’s colors, it’s desirable to visit Yunnan several times a year. Each season is not like the previous one. Weather lays its imprint on the landscape that opens before your eyes.

The famous Chinese rice is still cultivated here. With the first sprouts that appear in April, the province is painted with emerald green and closer to the autumn the colors change to reddish-yellow. This is the time of harvesting.

There is vibrant atmosphere in these places during the period from April to November. The golden sprouts of Chinese rice as a symbol of wealth and prosperity seem to admire their own reflection in the mirror-like surface of numerous puddles and sunbathe.


As mentioned earlier, despite the beauty of the local landscapes, Yunnan province is not considered as a tourist destination. Many experts agree that the main reason is its inaccessibility. To get to the treasured sight you have to walk a long way on foot. Not every beautiful landscapes admirer would like to spend time like this. The airport is far away and rains often сover roads leading to the province with mud.

But such circumstances have some advantages. Perhaps, due to these “difficulties”, today we can see a unique place that has hardly undergone changes throughout many years. This corner of the planet is almost pristine.

To gain access to the observation platforms, you will have to purchase a ticket. You can enjoy the beauties from the lower tiers without buying a ticket, but that will not always allow you to evaluate the full scale of the work of ancient inhabitants.

Rice terraces undoubtedly deserve your attention. It is necessary to find time and money to see the unusual landscape of Yunnan province with your own eyes. Right here one of the most brilliant creations of human civilization is located.


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