Yunnan: Luoping & Chengzi Ancient Village, Sep 2023

From Dongchuan, we drove for about 5 hours to arrive at another famed photography area in this part of Yunnan, Luoping (罗平).  Photographers usually flock here in the spring for its thousands of rapeseed or canola flowers blanketing the fields in golden yellow.  In the fall, they usually grow sunflowers, marigolds, or sorghum in the area.  Unfortunately, the harvest was earlier this year and we had just missed the sunflowers. We stayed one night at the Rongting Holiday Inn Luoping (羅平融庭假日酒店) which was a big improvement when compared to the hotel in Dongchuan.
When the flowers are in full bloom, Jinji Peak (金鸡峰) which translates to “Golden Rooster Hill” is one of the best places to capture this beautiful scene.

Imagine these fields all full of flowers….

Other than the fields of flowers, people also come to Luoping to visit the Jiulong Waterfall (九龍瀑布) or “Nine Dragons Waterfall”, reputed as “the most beautiful waterfall in China.  It is rated as the No. 4 waterfall among the top 6 waterfalls in China by Chinese National Geographic.  Jiulong Waterfall has 10 different cascades with the largest one, Shenlong Waterfall, spanning about 112m wide and 56m high.  Truth be told, I was not impressed.  Not only did we come during the wrong season (low water season), we also came at the wrong time of the day with the sun right behind the falls.  I struggled to get a few decent shots.

Overall Luoping, without the flowers, was a waste of time.  As we headed towards Yuanyang Rice Terraces, we made a stop at the little-visited Chengzi Ancient Village (泸西城子古村), set on the slope of Feifeng Hill.  The ancient folk houses here are a combination of both Yi and Han styles which is unique to this village.  The houses are made of wood and clay with flat roofs that are connected to form a long platform hundreds of meters long.  The oldest houses, without courtyards or windows, are on the hilltop belonging to the original 24 families, built in the 8th year of Emperor Yongzheng of Qing Dynasty more than 270 years ago.  As the population grew, the village expanded downward from the peak.  The lower down houses adopted the Han style of architecture with a courtyard in the middle and windows to promote natural lighting and air circulation.  However, the roofs of these newer houses are still connected to each other forming one long platform.  The villagers lay out their crop such as corn and chilies on the roof to dry and then drop them into the storehouses below throught openings in the roof.

Next post will be on the beautiful Yuanyang Rice Terraces.  Stay tuned!

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