Duoyishu – The unexplored Yunnan region : how to access and photograph it

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The Yuanyang province is an agricultural region known for its crops of rice fields. Perched between 1400 and 2000 meters, many generations of the Hani minority have sculpted the fields relief to implement the own special irrigation technique.

The Duoyishu village is an extraordinary example of this kind of farming that has now become an amazing tourist place. Hundreds of visitors – and lots of enthusiastic photographers – come at dawn time to throng over the balconies built in few strategic place on the hill side. They all share a few inches of the unique viewpoint.

These balconies were built by a private company, together with the restaurants and a big parking space to host the many tour buses. The area is delimited and you need to buy a ticket (RMB 180, AUD 38, USD 28) to access the main five viewpoints. You can also decide to bypass the Duoyishu village all together and, although you will miss an awesome view, you will probably feel less guilty in knowing that none of this entrance fee is actually going to the local farmers, subjects of million of photos.

Can people access the rice fields? The answer is yes, although it took a long legal fight by the Hani farmers which can now host some of the tourists arrived here to admire their unique rice fields

Today, most the local farmers have a guest house and the rice plantation is no longer their principal income. There are many guest houses in front of the rice fields and these are the best places to stay during your photography trip. From here you can wander around and discover your unique photography spots.

The best time to come here is March, when the rice fields are full of water. However, if you are in the region in the other months of the year, I would definitely plan a visit anyway, you will have a different view, a different way to discover this area

The Yuanyuang region is mostly populated by the Hani minority. In most of the days they have a market in the villages around Douyishu. My favourite one is in the Sheng Cun village.

Travel Photography tips

  • come here in March, when the rice fields are full of water. However, if you are in the region in the other months of the year, I would definitely plan a visit anyway, you will have a different view, a different way to discover this area
  • stay with the local farmers and you will be able to wander around with your camera
  • do not miss any sunrise and sunset when here. They are both great opportunities for you photography
  • if you have a DSLR and you are travelling light just plan to take with you a lens to cover between 18-20 and 110-120mm. This will help to take some fantastic landscape shots as well as portraits and life style photography at the local markets
  • check the map for all the major points to visit

View more posts on The unexplored Yunnan region

Map with top sites to visit


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Remi Lesueur
I love the light, travel and the idea that our steps that creates the way. I don't like vacuum cleaners, be catching cold and cooked chicory. I try to make photos like telling a story. A plot of contrasts with the colourful words, moving characters and a smile for the end.

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