Entries Tagged as 'Yunnan Province'

Cizhong 茨中 Yunnan: From our Diary

Cizhong 茨中

Village of Wine

 And is it still there?

Cizhong Church

Cizhong Church

Having just read a devastating  article about the future of Cizhong due to the Damming of the Mekong River (No Recourse: Upper Mekong Dam Spells End for Tibetan Village), we decided to publish this review from our diary that we had never previously put up on the blog.

The Journey

31/8/2007

The Road from Feilai Si near Deqin winds its way to the bottom of the Langcang Valley (Mekong River Valley) in a series of dramatic hairpin bends. On the right the mystical mountain of Meili Xueshan teases and torments the traveller with rare glimpses of its summit and glaciers in a game of hide and seek in the monsoon summer months.

Meili Shan hidding its peak

Meili Shan hidding its peak

For one second it’s there in all its majestic glory and then the next it’s gone, hidden behind swirling clouds or an impenetrable mist.

Road to Cizhong

Road to Cizhong

As the road reaches the river at the bottom of the valley, the barren rock faces on the left that threatened to come crashing down on our puny vehicle give way to fertile green fields dotted by white villages and prayer flags.

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Welcome to one of the most romantic places in China; the tiny village of Cizhong in China’s South West Yunnan province.

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The Village

While there are many other beautiful villages in the area, Cizhong stands out because of the lovely Catholic church that dominates the centre of the village and its surrounding vineyards.

Cizhong's amazing Tibetan style church

Cizhong’s amazing Tibetan style church

The church was built by French missionaries nearly [Read more →]

Faces of Xiding Market 西定市场 Yunnan

Faces of Xiding Market Yunnan

西定市场

Bulang Women Xiding Market

Bulang Women Xiding Market

Xiding Market 西定市场 in Yunnan`s Xishuangbanna Region is one of the best. In the previous post we put up we hadn’t got the photos ready. So here is a second post with the photos. Some things will have changed. But travellers still report that it continues to be an authentic rural market that attracts a number of different minorities including Bulang, Hani, and Dai.

Hani Women

Hani Women

              We abandoned our driver, his car buried deep in the mud, and mounted a motorbike. Ironically, the previously treacherous mud bath soon became a reasonably smooth, semi-asphalted road. The drive was stunning:

Our Taxi van being towed away

Our Taxi van being towed away

we passed Dai villages with their traditional raised wooden houses, thick jungle and vistas of mist-covered hills and valleys flashed by, and just when it seemed that the scenery couldn’t get better, we arrived in Xiding, looking like an island floating above the clouds. Unfortunately, on closer inspection, the town revealed itself as a bit of a dump.

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              The small, grubby market town of Xiding may seem a strange destination, especially if you have to spend so much time and effort trying to get there, but its Thursday market is one of the most authentic ethnic markets in Xishuangbanna.

Hani Women

Hani Women

A hive of activity from dawn to midday, the market attracts nearby Dai, Hani (Aini or Akha), and Bulang minorities. It is said that Lahu also drop in, but we didn’t see or recognize any. The only real sign of Han-Chinese presence are the huge military barracks overlooking the town, a reminder that the Myanmar border is only a few kilometres away.

Bulang women

Bulang women

                The market occupies a large square, just up the road from the bus station, as well as some of the adjacent streets. There is nothing touristy about this market, [Read more →]

Shangri-La goes up in Flames: The End of Zhongdian/ Dukezong

Shangri-La goes up in Flames

The End of Zhongdian/ Dukezong

Old Zhongdian / Dukezong

Old Zhongdian / Dukezong

Reports from the Chinese Press and Western News agencies talk of the Tibetan town of Dukezong (previouly Zhongdian) being destroyed by fire. It appears that the fire started in a backpacker hostel though this still has to be confirmed.

Old Zhongdian /Dukezong

Old Zhongdian /Dukezong

Memories of Zhongdian
Our first attempt to visit the town in 1991 was thwarted when the police pulled us of the bus just after Tiger Leap Gorge and sent us back to Lijiang. Zhongdian/ Dukezong was still apparently closed to Foreigners then. Eventually, we got there in 2007 on our way to Tibet.

Ganden Sumtsellin Gompa not destroyed by the fire in Zhongdian/Dukezong

Ganden Sumtselling Gompa not destroyed by the fire in Zhongdian/Dukezong

When we visited in 2007 we found an old wooden town (surrounded by a drab new town) that had been well-restored with a low key and laid back feel. There were some wonderful old Tibetan mansions around town as well as some nice bars and cafes in the old buildings. We especially remember [Read more →]

Jianshui 建水Yunnan Province: Which Minority? Can you help?

Jianshui Yunnan Province

Do you recognise this minority?

Is she Yi / Hani / Miao or Yao?

Which Ethnic Minority?

Jianshui 建水  2006.  This photo was taken in 2006 in Jianshui, Yunnan province from the top of the city gate. I have been trying to work out which ethnic minority this lady belongs to for a while now. My guess is that she is from the Yi Minority 彝族, but there are also Miao苗族, Hani哈尼族 and Yao瑶族 minorities in the vicinity of Jianshui. If anyone else can be more precise I’d be grateful.

Adam

Which Minority?

Laomeng Sunday Market: Photo Video

Laomeng Sunday Market

Yao lady and child at Laomeng Sunday Market

I hope you enjoy this photo video of Laomeng Market in the Jinping Prefecture of China’s Yunnan Province. It was definately one of the best markets we’ve ever been to.

Weishan / 巍山: Home of the Yi Minority

Weishan 巍山

An Yi in Weishan

Weishan on a mid-summer’s afternoon is a sleepy place where nothing much happens. This is small town China, where pipe smoking, card playing men squat on small bamboo stools that spill out onto the pavement and street, and while away their days in the teahouses.

Women sit by the roadside, grilling vegetables, or tend to their small shops. Long strings of drying noodles sway in the gentle breeze and baskets of freshly picked boletus, neatly arranged in wicker baskets, wait for buyers.

 

Teahouse paradise in Weishan

Local transport is equally divided between the motorized and the equine, with trishaws and horse carts vying for right of way in the narrow streets. The peace is only broken by the antics of the local madman who runs up and down the street, naked apart from something resembling a Polynesian skirt, and [Read more →]

Weibao Shan / 巍宝山 (Wei Shan Mountain Yunnan Province)

Weibao Shan 巍宝山

Charred Statue

A spooky grey sky hangs heavily over the summit of Weibao Shan, the air laden with the threat of a summer storm that refuses to burst. We catch a glimpse of a fluorescent green snake, slithering through the eye socket of a charred Taoist deity; victim of a lightning strike that had reduced his temple to a ghostly shell.

Burnt Statues on Weibao Shan

Lightning struck Statues on Weibao Shan

Down below, deep forests cover the slopes of the mountain and ancient Yi villages pepper the bottom of the valley.  The only other sign of life is a slightly dotty old caretaker and her dozens of cats.

Views From Weibaoshan

Situated about 55 kilometers from [Read more →]

Qiunatong秋那通 (The last village before Tibet)

Qiunatong 秋那通

 

Magnificent scenery, fierce canines, and laid-back locals await you on your visit to Qiunatong 秋那通, one of the last villages in Yunnan云南 before you enter Tibet西藏.

Beautiful old Church

Barring a few hamlets, Yunnan province virtually ends at Qiunatong. At least all paved roads end here. If you walk or cycle west of here for a day or so, you’ll find end up in Tibet proper. That is if you don’t stumble upon a Chinese border security post!

Map-of-Bingzhongluo and around

The Village

The Nu village 怒族 of Qiunatong is an attractive collection of large wooden farm houses set amongst [Read more →]

Dong Feng 东风 (Bingzhongluo 丙中洛-Nujiang Valley怒江谷)

Dong Feng 东风

 

Old-Tibetan-Temple

 

The Tibetan Village of Dong Feng offers one of the easiest day trips from Bingzhongluo 丙中洛. Head north out of town along the main road and you’ll soon find yourself on a wide dirt tract with a river running below it.

Is this China?

Continue for a few meters and the path veers sharply left; all of a sudden, Bingzhongluo has disappeared and Dong Feng comes into view.

 

Snow-Mountain

 

Unfortunately, distances around here are deceptive. The steepness of the mountain slopes makes everything look closer than it actually is, and the path to Dong Feng is no exception.

Hidden Dong Feng

As you enter the valley, the village looks [Read more →]

Bingzhongluo (Nujiang Valley 2)

Bingzhongluo 丙中洛

View over Bingzhongluo

The beautiful road from Gongshan 贡山 (see previous article) ends at the one- street town of Bingzhongluo 丙中洛. It is difficult to find a town in a more remote place in China that is accessible by road on public transport. More than 350 kilometres separate this outpost from Liuku 六库, the town at the mouth of the Nujiang valley 怒江谷, from where there are connections to the rest of Yunnan Province 云南省.

Watching the world go by

Arrive on a sunny morning, and you will find Bingzhongluo bustling with ethnic minorities shopping for provisions or chatting with friends. Take in the town’s dramatic location, set below the magnificent slopes of the snow-capped mountains gleaming in their various shades of radiant green, and above the raging waters of the Nujiang River, seemingly in a frenetic rush to reach Myanmar and empty itself in the Bay of Bengal, and you can easily imagine you’ve arrived in the Shangri-La of James Hilton’s Lost Horizon.

Mountain View From Bingzhongluo

On the other hand, should you arrive in Bingzhongluo late on a rainy, damp and misty evening, make your way past the flooded pot holes, dodge the mangy dogs fighting over scraps strewn across the street from the overturned bins, and you might ask yourself why you’d made the effort to get there.

Young Rubbish Collectors

As always, the truth about Bingzhongluo lies somewhere in the middle. It’s a kilometre long stretch of old wooden shacks, hastily built concrete shops, and China’s trademark white- tile administrative buildings. And yet, [Read more →]