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Yuanyang rice terraces

Kunming - Jianshui- Yuanyang - Kunming

Double Dragon bridge, Jianshui

The area south of Kunming, in the south of Yunnan heading towards the Vietnamese border, is often overlooked by those travelling north to Dali and Lijiang, but possesses historic remains in the old town of Jianshui and a stunning sight - a photographer's dream - in the terraced rice fields of Yuanyang, created by local ethnic minority Hani farmers.

Day 1  Arrive Kunming. Travel by road to Jianshui. Visit the extensive Confucius temple, originally a centre of learning and the second largest in the country. (L)

Day 2  Further exploration of Jianshui's historic sights, including the Zhu family mansion and the East Gate, or Chaoyang Gateway, which dates from the 14th century. Then onward to the Double Dragon bridge, one of the best preserved of all ancient bridges in China. This leads to Tuanshan village, a well-preserved example of a Yunnanese walled village compound which prospered in the 19th century from trade opened up by the railway to Kunming. (B + L)

Day 3  Travel onward to Yuanyang, visiting villages of the local ethnic minority Hani, Yi and Zhuang peoples en route. (B + L)

Day 4  Visit the spectacular rice terraces created by the Hani farmers, covering extensive areas of mountainside. (B + L)

Day 5  Return by road to Kunming airport (about 6 hour journey) for evening exit (B)