The Chinese New Year is over. This year we celebrated the year of the rat in China! To live an amazing experience and to remember it I decided to discover the district of Yunnan in the south of China, very famous for its rice fields.
First of all, you have to know that if your trip starts from Shanghai, the travel is very long. Indeed, you have to take a flight to Kunming for 4 hours, then a train to Jianshui for 2 hours (Train tickets are now available online!) and if you are lucky you can take a bus for Yuanyang (approximately 5 hours) from Jianshui Bus station. During the Chinese New Year period buses are rare so you can take a taxi (approximatively 3 hours). At our arrival in Jianshui, there were no buses available. By the way, the road is amazing and landscapes are very natural.
My sister visited me during this period. We decided to stay at Green Hostel and Sunny Guest House homestay. The hotel was situated just near the rice fields and we had a beautiful view.
The host is very welcoming. We ate with his family and other visitors for the Chinese New Year. Food was so good! After that, we saw a lot of fireworks from the terrace of the house. We experienced the Chinese New Year as locals and I really appreciated it. The next morning, we saw mums who were trying to give red pockets to their children. It was really funny because the children did not want to accept the gift. Plus, if you like animals, this hostel is made for you. They were a lot of puppies and kittens.
They were no tourists during this period. People in the village were very welcoming and I was very surprised because some of them talked to us in English (which is very rare in China!). Our host teaches some English classes to the children of the village. They were very proud to tell us « Happy new year! ». We met a lot of chickens, gooses, water buffalos on the streets…
The famous rice fields
One tip if you want to visit this area classified as a Unesco world heritage site: download the app Mapsme. You have a lot of viewpoints in it and it will help you find your way around. Some of the viewpoints were accessible by walk from our hostel. That was very nice. Others are further away but you can go by shuttle or hitchhiking. Locals are used to bring some people to the points of view for cheap. A lot of information about the construction of the rice fields is available in the villages to learn more about the history of this area. For example, I learned that it is the Hani population who created these rice fields about 1300 years ago…!
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus, some of points of view were closed… but this did not prevent us from enjoying the beauty of the landscapes and celebrating the Chinese New Year in a local way!
If you want more advice about this amazing local Chinese experience, please feel free to comment this article!