They call it ‘The Lost Palette of God’, though I must say that the entire credit should not go to the God. Here, the soil is red, extremely red! ‘God’ or nature whomever you wish to consider is behind this red color, but keeping some parts of the red terraces bare is human’s idea and effort, while other parts are beautifully planted with multicolored crops like buckwheat, potato, rape seeds so that the entire farmland of Dongchuan looks like a collage of red-yellow-white-green!
If you would like to gift yourself this visual treat, then following tips may be of your help:
Best Time to Visit Dongchuan Red Land
For the best experience one should visit there either in May-June or in September-November. Usually the farming season ends in May-June and new crops are yet to grow, therefore visitors get the chance to see maximum amount of blood red soil uncovered, while the period from September to November is good to see the wonderful color-palette of multicolored crops in full bloom along with some parts of red soil left bare.
How to Reach Dongchuan Red Land
Dongchuan Red Land is under Yunan province of China. Though Dongchuan city is 226kms away from Kunming, but the red land area is around Huashitou village, which lies on the way, 46kms prior to Dongchuan city. Therefore if you are coming from Kunming and interested to visit the red land area, then just get down on Huashitou.
Buses leave from North Coach Station of Kunming for Huashitou at 7.50am & 8.30am. Try to be there at least 30-45 minutes before the departure, otherwise tickets would be sold out. It will take almost five hours by bus.
By car one can arrive at Huashitou within 3-3.5 hrs, but as you are free to get down from your privately hired car wherever you wish, therefore, your journey time would depend on your will and pace. Hiring a car is expensive, but it is recommended because otherwise you will miss the chance of getting down on those areas of scenic wonder on your way.
Where to Stay in Dongchuan Red Land
There are few hotels and guest houses (from low budget to high end) in Huashitou. If you are planning to visit on week end or during festivals like national holidays, Labor Day or spring festivals, then an advanced booking is recommended.
Visitors often prefer to skip the night stay there and opt for a day trip from Kunming. Yes it is possible to cover all the viewing areas of red land in a single day, if one can start very early from Kunming; but I personally feel that the multicolored terraces look most stunning after sunrise and before sunset, so I will suggest you at least 1 night 2 days’ trip.
How to Visit Dongchuan Red Land
There are a number of viewing areas in red field. Please zoom on the following map:
- If you are traveling to Huashitou by bus, then after arriving there, you have to hire a car for visiting the viewing areas of the red field.
- If you are traveling to Huashitou by hired car, Luosiwan will be on your way and you can visit the place before arriving at Huoshitou.
- Your car cannot go close to the thousand years’ old Laolong tree, but you will enjoy the fifteen minutes’ stroll through countryside.
- Apart from the listed destinations, there are several unnamed beautiful locations, especially on the way towards Huashitou. Don’t forget to keep your eyes outside so that you would not miss any spot worthy for a photo-stop.
- At Luosiwan, you will find a very old man in ethnic costume smoking from a long pipe. His entire appearance with the background of red field is absolutely photogenic, though cliché, as this man appears in front of whomever he sees with a camera, so almost every visitor takes his snap. If you do the same, please tip him. This is the way he earns.
- Damakan is the best place for sunrise, while Luoxia Valley looks most beautiful under the setting sun.
- Here the weather is very unpredictable, so photo-enthusiasts should plan for at least a couple of days. Though the colors look most stunning under bright sun, but still sometimes cloud or rain can create a magic for you.
- For having best shots reshoot any location on different time of a day.
- Farmers working on the colorful fields, cattle carts loaded with crops are good photo-opportunities one should not miss.
- Apart from the designated viewing platforms, try to walk through the narrow allies between the fields for variety snaps.
What to Eat in Dongchuan Red Land
Only local food is available in Dongchuan area. Here are few gourmet tips for you:
- You will find poor old ladies selling grilled potatoes, eggs and corns in different places of red land. They will be happy to have foreign guests and along with those food-stuffs you will be offered numerous types of sauces, really finger-licking for spice-loving taste-buds like what we have, but absolutely not recommended for others.
- Colored mushrooms are usually poisonous, but here you will find colored, but edible non-poisonous mushrooms. We bought a violet mushroom from a local shop and requested the cook of our guesthouse to make a dish for us. It was delicious!
- On your long way towards/back from Huashitou, you can take meal at Tandian town. Here you may try fresh fish caught from nearby rivers.
- On Kunming-Dongchuan highway you may stop at village market in Sadan. Here you can see and also buy exotic mushrooms, fruits, veggies and even wasps. We bought some wasps and a lady working in a nearby food-stall fried them for us.
Things to Remember
- Bring your umbrella or raincoat to avoid frequent rain.
- Nights are cold, so don’t forget to pack winter garments.
- Huashitou is a small village, with limited number of shops. Try to buy your essentials, even mineral water before leaving Kunming.
- Dongchuan is not a common tourist spot for foreign visitors, so don’t expect a single English word from any of the locals. Download an offline translation app to your phone and if you feel difficulty to manage even after this, then try to arrange an English speaking driver.