The access point for viewing the rice terraces is Yuanyang, a district 80km south of Jianshui and 300km from Kunming. The name covers two settlements: the riverside township of Nansha (元阳南沙, yuányáng nánshā), terminus for Jianshui buses; and, where you actually want to base yourself, XINJIE (元阳新街镇, yuányáng xīnjiēzhèn), 30km uphill at the top of a high ridge. Xinjie is a small, untidy brick-and-concrete town which becomes a hive of activity on market days (every five days), when brightly dresssed Hani, Miao, Yi and Yao women pour in from surrounding villages.

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