The colourful terraces of China
In September this year my friend Jon and I travelled from Sichuan Province to Yunnan Province by bullet train and intended traveling around the province for about seven days. Jon had never been to Yunnan so I wanted to show him around but decided not to re-visit places I had been to. We didn’t want to stay very long in the capital so I arranged a tour guide and driver to take us to Dongchuan Redland which is about a four hour drive northeast of Kunming and has an altitude of around 1800 – 2600 metres. When we reached Dongchuan we stopped many times at Luoxiagou [Falling Cloud Ditch] to take photos of the beautiful landscape. Luoxiagou is surrounded by mountains and is adorned with traditional local villages and colourful fields – absolutely stunning!We arrived later in the afternoon which is said to be the best time for photography.
It was then time to drive to our hotel which was chosen by our tour guide. This meant I had no idea what was in store apart from our guide was told we wanted four or five star! But in China this could mean ‘China 4 star hard bed’ and not ‘Western 4 star comfy bed’…
We travelled down a very steep mountain which only allowed one car on the road at one time. Lucky for us no other vehicles were on the road. We then arrived at the most beautiful grounds surrounding a gorgeous hotel. The first thing we did after we were shown our rooms was to take a walk around the gardens. Lovely little bridges over small running streams, beautiful shrubs and trees, paved pathways and lush green grass.We were the only guests at the hotel along with our driver and guide and the staff asked us to select our fresh vegetables and meat [for Jon] from a large selection in the kitchen. Of course eggplant was selected for me and a local meat and vegetable dish for Jon. I enjoyed a lovely pot of Chinese tea whilst Jon tasted the local beer. Then it was time for bed. My room was lovely with a nice ensuite…bed pretty comfy…yay!!The next morning, we enjoyed a pot of tea in the dining room after which we departed for Dongchuan Redland. The Redland has high temperatures and abundant rainfall which makes the iron in the earth oxidised and together with different crops and unpredictable light it brings about fabulous coloured [and spectacular] scenery. Autumn in China (September to November) is a great time to visit and photograph the red fields or red earth. Whilst I could see the red earth, our guide told us that it was a little late in the season to see the bright red colour. He did say that the farmers turn over the fields for new crops including highland barley and wheat which add more colour to the landscape.
We also saw a few healthy cows on the hillside with a spectacular backdrop of coloured terraces.We stopped off at a lovely local restaurant for lunch. Great views from here also and there was a walkway really high up across part of the river; there was no way [ever] I was walking on it…Jon did!
Then it was time to drive four hours back to Kunming for an overnight stay before we departed for another road trip to see the Yuanyang Terraces but more on that later!