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Published: October 8th 2013
And so with my fresh new visa, I was ready to back-trek a little to finish up my plans for Yunnan, and my next stop was the famed Yuanyang rice terraces, a 4.5h hour bus ride from Hekou.
Now I've seen my fair share of rice terraces and padi fields the past year and a half or so. Most notable of course were those in the Cordilleras Highlands in North Luzon, Philippines, which were truly stunning. But basically any long bus ride you take in pretty much any Southeast Asian country (bar Singapore, and maybe Malaysia) would probably take you through swathes of rice padi. So I wasn't so sure if I would be impressed anymore by what Yunnan had to offer, as enticing as the write-up in LP sounded.
And indeed the first location in Yuanyang what I checked out, called Laohuzui (Tiger's Mouth), was very pretty, but perhaps not exactly spectacular. After all, I couldn't help but mentally compare it to Maligcong in the Philippines, which had the added benefit of being the first that I saw. My expectations tempered, I made my way to the next location, called Duoyishu (Many Reliant Trees - yes some Chinese
place names don't translate elegantly word-for-word). As I descended down the path, the view behind some thickets and shrubs gradually became more visible, and before long, I found myself in the midst of what was truly a stunning amphitheater of rice terraces. And not just dis-used ornamental fields either. There were several local families in traditional garb working these fields, complete with the obligatory water buffaloes, which made the entire sight seem particularly authentic. I couldn't help but think back to my Philippines trip, when I regretted making the decision not to visit Batad, which was supposed to have the most visually-impressive rice terraces. Was Duoyishu in Yuanyang as good as what I'd missed in Batad? I'm not sure when I'll ever find out. But I'm sure glad I did make the trip after all this time.
Stayed at Chen's Family Guesthouse.
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