Photographer's Note


I just received the new Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro UVIR camera that Ngoc-Son helped buying from New York and Thanh helped bringing from Houston to Hanoi for me a few days earlier. Hopefully you would share and give me some tips on how to best use it. Thanks.


According to info available online, Yuanyang is currently attracting some 300 photographers to its famous terraced fields in any given day.

Most travelers pass through Yunnan Province without realizing that Yuanyang exists. Yuanyang is within the Autonomous Region of Hani and Yi Tribes. No special permit is required to enter. Locates at a remote area 327 km from Kunming and 197 km from Hekou, Yuanyang is in the Southwest area of Yunnan—the gem of ethnic minority people. One in three of the entire Yunnan Province population is minority, and of the 56 ethnic minorities in China, 25 live in Yunnan. However, with the influx of Han Chinese, the unique culture of the tribes is being affected.

While Yuanyang has no nightlife, it has several positive aspects: almost no tourists, photographically beautiful rice terraces stretching across steep hillsides, and daily ethnic minority markets in nearby towns. The markets are packed with minorities of Hani, Yi, Miao, and Yao tribes. Each has their individual customs and dress. The Chinese calendar, such as the day of the bird, determines market dates. The location of the market on a particular day must be ascertained from a local.

The terraced fields of the Hani ethnic group in Yuanyang County are spectacular. The fields stretch from the foot of the mountain to the summit, like thousands steps of silver stairs. The smaller plots are only several square meters in size, while the larger pieces are half a hectare. These fields total hundreds of hectares. Yuanyang terraced fields are also called mountain soul by the Hanis. Nov-Apr fields full of water, shimmering May-Oct very green. To south is one of the best places to view. Near Yuanyang, nice terraces extend from river’s edge at Hanipuma village up to Mali village in the mountains. Also, nice area for markets – many different minorities, traditional clothing. Very nice terraces at Kuojie and Qingkou villages (6 km in direction of Luchun); at Mongpeng (11 km further along highway); Xingchun (2-hr walk); Nelgokjie (2˝-hr walk through many villages); Rieshuitan (2˝-hr walk), has hot spring.

With a population of 1.3 million in this region, Hani minority are distinctive in their traditional costumes with silver accessories — their mud brick houses roofed with pine leaves look like mushrooms from a distance.

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Additional Photos by Nhiem Hoang (hoangthenhiem) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 13 W: 0 N: 488] (2531)
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