Photographer's Note


Qingkou Sunrise

Some 6 km South of Yuanyang town is a little tribe named Qingkou belongs to the Hani minority people where I came and waited for sunrise and this is one of the shots from this best-kept secret location.

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. Yunnan is called 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.

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 themselves. From November to April, fields are full of water and the yield different colors depend on the sunlight direction changing from hour to hour. From May to October, after rice has been planted, the valley turns into green and the color sinks into nearby mountains. Near Yuanyang, nice terraces extend from river’s edge at Hanipuma village up to Mali village in the mountains.

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

While Yuanyang has no nightlife, it has several positive aspects: almost no tourists, 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.

*For additional info, please refer to the artwork of Maciej Tomczak, Yann Layma, Ben Fox and lestwe4get.

*On August 08, 2006, Lonely Planet announced the result of their June photo competition in which this humble snapshot has been chosen as one of the “winning pictures” for their book in the new series featuring “The Travel Book and The Cities Book”. Please share the joy with me. Thanks.

*About the books:
The Africa Book and The Asia Book are the new titles in Lonely Planet’s best-selling series featuring The Travel Book and The Cities Book. These large, hardback coffee-table books will delve into every country on the continent in depth with evocative and arresting images and imaginative text, and will also include thematic chapters about the continent as a whole.


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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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