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Luoping, Yunnan

Luoping is a small county in Yunnan located about 228 kilometers north east of Kunming. It is located close to the border of Yunnan with Guizhou and Guangxi provinces. The town was often overlooked by tourists passing through the region until recently. It had become a Mecca for photographers, who flock to this small county every early spring to capture the magnificent “sea of yellow” of blooming rapeseed flowers. The majestic photos in turn, draw more and more tourists to this beautiful rural photographic haven.

Photo Albums

In early spring, the sprawling farmlands in Luoping are covered in golden, yellow rapeseed flowers stretching as far as the eyes can see, all the way to the horizon. The blooming buds fill the air with the refreshing smell of spring that not only attracts human, but also bees. The beauty of the yellow sea of rapeseed flowers swaying in slow swirling waves in the gentle breeze is a sight that is out of this world.

Rapeseed flowers are planted to harvest cooking oil from their seeds after the flowers had withered after their colorful bloom. They are planted all over China but bloom at different times of the year, depending on the temperature of the locations. The rapeseed farms in Luoping are among the largest scale in China. They are normally the “first-off-the-block” every year, followed by those in Guizhou and other provinces.

It is also the season for beekeeping and honey processing. Beekeepers set up base in tents amongst the rapeseed farms every spring to keep bees and harvest their honey- the bees feed on the rapeseed flowers. Hence most rapeseed farms are also abuzz with bees in the spring and can be a little irritating. These beekeepers move on to other locations within Luoping after the rapeseed season, using wildflowers as feedstock for their bees.

There are three recommended locations to enjoy rapeseed flowers: See Map - Around Luoping.

Hundred Thousand Hills (Shiwandashan) 十万大山

This rolling hillside of rapeseed farms are located about 15km outside of Luoping town. The farms are all along both sides of the country road, up and down the slopes, dotted with little settlements and hamlets. The view of the farms is backed by rows and rows of mountains in the distance inside the province of Guizhou. The panorama of yellow foreground with settlements in the middle and backed by mountains in the background is especially attractive if one climb up to any higher vantage points.

Getting there: One can take a minibus for Duoyi River Park at Luoping Bus Station.

Golden Rooster Hills (Jinji Lin) 金鸡岭

This is perhaps the most popular spot for rapeseed flowers viewing in Luoping. It is located only a few kilometers outside of town and is easily accessible by bus. Unlike Hundred Thousand Hills, the landscape here is flat, punctuated by a few mounds of little hills, breaking the monotony. The flatness allows the gentle breeze to move the flowers in mesmerizing sways.

Photographers can be seen climbing up the few tiny hills for better angle and panorama. However the best vantage is to be had from a hillside across the road from the farms. To access this viewpoint, one has to simply head for the hundred-year-old temple Lingyi on the hill. The panorama here is more attractive as it is further away from the hills, hence, giving a better perspective of the vastness and magnificence of the farms.

- Getting there: Take the green Banqiao at Luoping bus station (Y5) and get off at Jinji.
- Entrance: Y3 (Lingyi Temple灵仪寺).
- Accommodation: The temple midway up the viewpoint hill offers basic accom for Y5/per bed per night as well as vegetarian meals.
- An ideal spot for admiring the sunrise and sunset.
- After the viewpoint, one can also walk further to the top of the hill for more dramatic panoramic views.

Snail farms(Luositian) 螺蛳田 at NiuJie 牛街

NiuJie is a few kilometers to the north of Luoping town. The farms here are of smaller scale. They are carved out of a shallow valley with gentle slopes. These farms do not look any different or attractive as one passes them by on ground level. However as soon as one gets higher up, following the road, the scenery changes.

The flowers are grown in circular rings following the contours of the slopes. As a result, from higher ground, these farms looks like the rings of a snail’s shell, akin to rice terraces in corkscrew patterns. It is rather amazing when one considers that the farms were created by the farmers as a response to the natural limitations of the land. Yet they are like a work of art, with an artist exquisitely drawing circular rings on the ground and then filling them up with splashes of shocking yellow.

Getting there and away: It is easier to take a taxi to Luositian (Y30). For return, one can walk to Niujie 牛街, and take a mini bus to luoping (Y3). The bus stops at the north part, outside Luoping downtown.

Photo Albums

Other Attractions

1. Jiulong Waterfalls: 九龙瀑布
Although it is lesser known than its neighbor, Huangguoshu Waterfall in Guizhou, Jiulong is listed as one of China's biggest and most beautiful waterfalls.
- Getting there: Take the green bus to Banqiao at Luoping bus station (Y5), and change to a mini bus for Jiulong, the park entrance (Y5).
- Entrance: Y60. Cable car: Y15 (to the viewpoint, not necessary)
- On a pleasant walk upstream, one can discover half a dozen waterfalls and many cascades. The biggest called Shenlong (Dragon) waterfall, is 56-meter-high and 112-meter-wide. Walk all the way to the upper valley which is dotted by small pools and cascades.
- Time: 2-3 hours, visit the park in the morning for photographing.
- Restaurants are available outside park, locals sell grilled potatoes and noodles in the park.

2. Duoyi River Park 多依河
The park is located 45km southeast of Luoping. One can take a minibus at Luoping Bus Station (Y15).
- Things to see: Map - Click here.
. The park (entrance: Y40, bus:Y20) is a tourist spot catering to Chinese tourists.
. Buyi minority villages and market (every Thursday) are more interesting than the park. One can walk along the Duoyi river outside the park to Lazhe village 腊者 where one can find traditional silt wood houses.
- Accommodations: The park runs a resort at the entrance, Y140 for a standard double room. One can find simple guesthouses run by local Buyi families. (Y10-Y15/per bed). We stayed at Buyi Guesthouse.

Transportation

By Train: The Guangzhou-Kunming train stops at Luoping at 11:30 and arrives in Kunming at 15:30.

By bus: Regular buses head for Luoping departure at Kunming Dongju 东菊 bus station (Y53). From Yuanyang to Luoping, one has to go first to Gejiu 个旧, and then to Luxi泸西, before finally reaching Luoping.

When to visit : February to March during the Rapeseed flowers season. Luoping is not worth a visit during other seasons.

Written by CBP in March 2007.


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