Life in Nansha was pretty much as in Jinghong: a South East Asian feel, people walking and eating on the street... but we didn't have much time to enjoy the city life, so a bit of food and to the hotel to have some rest.
The road from Nansha to Xianje is spectacular: narrow, going all the way uphill and offering impressive views of the valley where Nansha is. Finally, the driver told us he could go all the way to Duoyishu, and so we did, having the first glimpse of the rice terraces on the way. And you can already see how impressive they are.
This time the hostel was really nice with a perfect location, but with one problem: nobody was there, only a member from the staff who didn't speak any English but who offered us some food, so after eating some noodles and waiting for a while, Richard appeared. He's the owner of the hotel, a young guy from Shanghai who moved here in search of peace. He was stressed like hell, tired, running everywhere... a really strange guy. he gave us the key to the room and immediately disappeared, so we were left alone with no information of any kind.
Back into the hostel, Richard appeared again and this time he gave us a bit more of imnformation, enough for the rest of the day, at least.
We got to Bada viewpoint well before the sunset and what we found there was crazy. If the whole Yuanyang area is quite laid back and relaxed, at the sunset (and sunrise) times, the main viewpoints get fuly crowded with Chinese tourists waiting there for hours with their megacameras and megatripods. They all look like from the National Geographic waiting for the perfect shot to publish it in the cover of the magazine. In my opinion, they are not much more than idiots that are travelling around in group with a photographic kit that weighs twice their own weight. Very smart! The annoying thing is that they quite spoil the whole place, as they put all the tripods and stuff there and you have to find a tiny gap to admire the view.
Some more noodles (already starting to hate Yunnan noodles) and to bed after telling Richard that the following day we would like to visit a local market held in a nearby village. For that, he offered us to go with him and with a few other travellers around 11, to what we agreed.
Back to the hostel, jumped into a minivan with a Chinese guy, two Italian girls and a Swiss-Chinese other girl and to the market. We drove for one hour to reach a small village close to Xianje. There is actually almost one market every day in a different village and they are following the Chinese calendar. This is, every day the market is devoted to a different animal. In this case, it was the chicken market, and of course, there were plenty of chickens and ducks being sold.
We had some food in the area devoted to restaurants (just tables and chairs scattered all around) and went back to Duoyishu, this time stopping enroute for some hiking. Richard appeared in the market and told us if we fancied some hinking in the middle of the rice terraces. We agreed and started walking for a few kilometers. It was really really nice, as you see the terraces from a different point of view and you pass by small villages whose main inhabitants are pigs, water buffalos or chickens. It was like being back in time a few centuries!
We finished the hiking at a viewpoint to wait for the sunset, this time a different one than the day before. Richard went to the hostel and we were supposed to be picked up by the driver after the sunset. It was nice, but I wonder who was in the hostel while Richard was away. Probably nobody, this guy is crazy...
We ended up the day relaxing at the hostel and trying to get some help from stressed Richard on how to get to Dali, our next destination the following day.
The days in yuanyang, despite the chaos that Richard is, were really profitable and definitely one of the highlights of the trip so far. What the Hani people built there hundreds of years ago is really impressive and it is a totally reccomendable trip for anyone visiting Yunnan. Even if you have seen rice terraces before, these ones will make your jaw drop for sure!
For more details on how to get there and different stuff, don't forget to check our Yuanyang Travel Guide and the complete set of Yuanyang Pictures!