God’s Palette- Dongchuan Red Land

Dongchuan, a rural area in the northeast of Kunming, is believed that it has the world’s most imposing red earth, even more magnificent than that in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Because of the warm and humid climate in Yunnan, the Iron oxide in the soil deposited slowly through years and gradually developed an extraordinary reddish brown soil. It is seldom visited by general tourists for its remoteness and inadequate lodging facilities, however, the land with picturesque scenery is paradise for photograghpy fans.


At between 1,800 and 2,600m  above sea level, the area’s altitude and relative isolation make for dramatically clear skies that tend to be especially beautiful at sunrise and sunset, when the slant of light catches the red clay, yellow and green fields of grain, and striated hillsides just right. Despite the altitude, Dongchuan remains quite warm from spring through autumn, and the humidity and iron-rich soil sustain a thriving network of small agricultural communities.


Although discovered in the mid 1990s, the exact location is kept secret among few Chinese photographers who scooped award-winning photos here. People who have been the first time to visit this land will be deeply impressive by the gorgeous scenes. Lands in deep red, purple, bright red, etc… cover thousands of mountains. When wind blows, the plants in fields wave tenderly. It is a colorful picture drew by the nature. Viewing it from away, it looks like an oil painting more than a Chinese painting.

Photo genetic, breathtaking, wonderful are not big words to describe this land. Those strong colors of red, white, yellow, green, gold, and blue, remind people of Van Gough’s oil paintings. The real Van Goughs are the local peasants, who are the painters and artists of this natural picture. They plogugh, they grow, they harvest, but meanwhile, not on purpose, that they created the most beautiful land oil painting in the world. This land is becoming one of the most beloved paradise by the photographers and fans of the world.

The Dongchuan Red Lands (dōng chuān hóng tǔ dì 东川红土地) have become increasingly popular in recent years among photographers and backpackers for its mix of striking landscapes and laid-back villages. Far enough from Kunming to escape the crowds, it’s a fine spot to spend a few days in a local hostel, dining in small country-style restaurants and hiking the stunning red-earth landscape.

Scenic Spots


Damakan Village (dǎ mǎ kǎn cūn 打马坎村): Looking down at the Damakan Village after the sun rising, you will enjoy the smoke from the kitchen chimneys, morning frogs above the red lands and clouds.

Qicaipo (qī cǎi pō 七彩坡): You can enjoy the different colors of the earth here, especially the dawn and sunrise.

Yuepuao (lè pǔ āo 乐普凹):You can see the rural sceneries with well-arranged villages scattering around the red land.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit is between the middle May and the early June, and the middle October and November, when tilling turns up large swathes of red earth which contrast beautifully with the greens and yellows of the wheat and barley favored by local farmers. Otherwise, Dongchuan in snow weather will show a different style, but roads may be blocked due to the frozen days.