The Yuanyang Rice Terraces line the slopes of southern China. It’s said that 1,000 years ago, the local Hani people sculpted these rice terraces with their bare hands! Together, they transformed the then-barren valleys into a profitable and plentiful rice-baring Eden.
Over 3,000 feet of the gentle sloped terraces are still farmed today, backing the claim that the Yuanyang has the world’s most extensive terraces. It’s not uncommon that the terraces are cloaked in cloud cover or fog, and they definitely don’t ruin any photo op.
The best time to visit is definitely from December to March or April. The terraces have been flooded to prepare for the rice planting and you’ll enjoy vistas much like this. Plus, while most of China is still cold during this time, because you’re further south, the climate won’t be as unbearable.
For the best views, head to the terraces in the early morning for the sunrise or later in the evening for dusk or sunset. Don’t be afraid to hike along the terrace paths, either, but you should be careful as they can become slippery.