The best terrace views are to be had in winter when the air is clearest, preferably on a cold day with a little wind and cloud. For sight seeing the terrace areas can be divided into sunrise and sunset spots:
Xingcun, about five kilometres from Yuanyang in direction of Laomeng, has been declared a Hani cultural village. Houses are preserved (or made look as if built from adobe) in the traditional ’mushroom house’ style, with neatly thatched roofs. A cultural path winds through the village (past the dancing ground, the swing, ceremonial areas) through some rice terraces (with water-mills; watch out for the water dividers, which traditionally ensure that every family receives the same amount of water) and ends up at the new museum. The main exhibits are artifacts of material culture and history; the second floor is dedicated to Hani costumes from the various groups in the province. The museum’s claim that the Hani made the mountains arable by breaking up the rock with fire and cold water is a bit dubious, agriculture in the area is more likely to have started with swidden farming, that slowly turned into permanent rice farming.
Good photos of Xingcun, especially in winter mornings, when it is often engulfed in swirling clouds, can be made from the main road, maybe one kilometre past the village turn-off.
Vehicles with driver are readily available in Xinjie, but arrange in the evening: It is a race to the terraces in the morning. There is also some accommodation near Duoyishu, expensive for the offerings.
Miao Caihuashan 14 Feb 2021