After the first day with the hotel and backpack fiasco, we were ready for a fresh start to the day. I booked a room at the Mulan Guest House (referral link) in downtown Kunming. It’s a cozy inn with a very nice owner whom provided a lot of information on local eats and sights to see. I thanked her and told her our intended destination. She asked if we needed a room at Dongchuan because apparently she thought one day isn’t long enough to see the area.
We woke up early this morning for a three hour drive to Dongchuan Red Land (红土地). From Kunming to Dongchuan is a mountainous drive and scenic. We left before the sun rose and I happened to look out the window and I saw the sky turning pink and orange and stopped the car on the side of the road and waited for the show to begin. This is the scene that was waiting:
By the time the sun rose we still had an hour and a half drive to Dongchuan Red Land. While weaving through the mountains and oohhing and awwing at nearly every turn we listened attentively to the never ending GPS voice informing us of every upcoming turn.
Paved roads turn to gravel and then mud. Our white rental car now has a reddish tint because of the mud, but we don’t mind. The view is already stunning. The sky is an incredible deep blue and the sun is bursting with power rays of gold. As we continue onward while counting down the kilometers and looking for our intended destination the sweet GPS lady informed us we have reacher our destination.
There aren’t any immaculate signs that verifies we are at Dongchuan Red Land. After getting out of the car and stretching our legs, it quickly became apparent we were in the right place. Rolling hills covered in red, green, and gold seem to continue forever. As soon as I grabbed my camera and backpack from the back seat there was an old woman barely standing at four foot tall and holding a few heads of lettuce hitting me up for the parking fee of 10 yuan.
I almost laughed when she said, “This is private property, not state-owned property.” I gave her the money because it became clear that she wasn’t going anywhere until there was cash in her pocket considering we were the only car in the parking lot. This is very common in China. I don’t know if she was actually the parking lot attendant or not, She seemed like a local passing by on her way home, It doesn’t matter anyway.
Dongchuan Red Land (红土地) Images
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