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Yuanyang county lies at an altitude ranging from 140 along the Red River up to nearly 3000 metres above sea level in the Ailao mountains and is situated about 50 km north of the border with Vietnam.
The climate of Yuanyang county is mainly central sub-tropical monsoon with wet summers and dry winters. Average temperatures range from 26 Celsius down in the Red river valley to 4 Celsius in the upper reaches of the mountains.
The closest large towns to the west of Yuanyang county are Shiping and Yuanjiang. Gejiu is the major town to the north-east and also the capital of Honghe prefecture. 70 Km directly to the north of Yuanyang lies Jianshui, a small city with interesting monuments. A few hours to the south-east of Yuanyang is Luchun, another major Hani minority settlement turned modern city.