If you’re ever in remote southwest China you can bear witness to one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Dongchuan, which can be translated as Red Earth or Red Land, is 4 hours from Kunming city, the capital of Yunnan province in southwest China.
The unique country scenery is heaven for photographers with its palette of vivid colors and sprawling hills with geometric patterns.
There are many photographic tours offered in this area, however other tourists aren’t keen to travel to this rural location as there aren’t any places to accommodate wandering tourists.
This picturesque land is so far off the beaten track that some of the local areas don’t even have names. The locals refer to the areas by numbers marking the miles on the road.
This part of the world has an area of 1,858km2 (717 sq. mi) and is home to only 300,000 people and numerous villages with subsistence farmers. The sight of farmers tilling the land and using horses and carts is not uncommon.
The surreal landscape is sometimes referred to as Lexiaguo or Luoxia Gou Valley and when photographers first started coming to the region in the 1990s, they nicknamed it Nature’s Heavenly Palette.
There is no ideal time of year to come as the farmers change the crops according to the season and each season brims with different colors. The land has rich deposits of copper and iron and together with the warm climate, the soil glows with a striking red color.
In Jingkou Village you can see rice terraces. These striking fields have been cultivated by the Hani People for some 1300 years. During the winter the paddies are left alone and fill up with water. In the spring time the rice is planted for the next harvest.
Other attractions in the area include the nearby Stone Forest, which is 270 million years old and the Jiu Xiang Caverns, which are some of China’s largest caves. Local legend recalls that the Immortals smashed a mountain into a labyrinth, in order to give space to lovers looking for privacy.
The gorgeous contrasting reds, green and yellows sprawl across the hills because of generations of farming on the land. Each terrace has been planted with different crops and the plants are at different growth stages, creating one-of-a-kind scenery.