A trip to Wase Market

Wase Market 挖色 Lake Erhai

Singing ladies Wase Market
Singing ladies Wase Market

A trip to Wase Market held every 5 days is a fantastic off the beaten track excursion if you are passing through Erhai Hu Yunnan Province.

A trip to Wase Market Melon seller
Melon seller Wase Market

Getting to Wase from Xizhou 喜洲

Getting to the Saturday market at the Bai village of Wase wasn’t as easy as we had first thought. Most people in Xizhou , the town on the opposite side of Lake Erhai where we were staying, had told us that there was no ferry and that we should try to get to Wase by hopping on and off the numerous buses that go around the lake.

Jin Hua Restaurant Xizhou
Jin Hua Restaurant Xizhou

To make matters more complicated, none of the locals agreed as to whether it was better to go round the North, or the South way. Only the owner of the Golden Flower Restaurant on the central square of Xizhou was convinced that there was a boat.

On Saturday we got up early and tried our luck on the road, waving our arms energetically at any north-bound bus, but to no avail. In desperation, we tried asking about the ferry again. The first man I approached categorically denied the existence of any boat.

Fisherman Lake Erhai

A second man was equally adamant that there was indeed a boat, and he was backed up by a number of local Bai women, who happened to be passing by. According to them, there was a ferry leaving at 9.00 from the pier at the village we thought was called Huoyijia, about 2 kilometres away. I think now the village was called Jiangshan Cun.

The pier at the village of Huoyijia or Jiangshan Cun?
The pier at the village of Huoyijia or Jiangshan Cun?

“How do we get there?” I asked with a certain urgency, because it was by now 8.50! They called over a young man on a motorbike with a trailer behind. We quickly agreed on a price and hopped on.

Scenery Near Huoyijia or jiangshan cun
Scenery Near Huoyijia or Jiangshan Cun

A trip to Wase Market: Missing the Boat

Unfortunately, the dirt road from Xizhou to Huoyijia/Jiangshan Cun is nothing but a series of bumps and craters; in short, more dirt than road. In order for the trailer not to overturn, the driver had to engage in endless manoeuvres, which reduced our speed to a snail’s pace. 

Scenery Near Huoyijia or jiangshan cun
Scenery Near Huoyijia or Jiangshan cun

Soon we found ourselves being overtaken by smiling children and cheerful old ladies on bicycles.  If there was such a thing as a boat, only unpunctuality would help us catch it!

Visitors to Wase Market

At 9.07 our trailer finally made it to the quay, where we could only stand and stare in disillusionment and disbelief at the ferry, fading away into the distance across the lake. It was a classical example of the implacable working of ‘Murphy’s Law’! It would eventually take a further two hours, two buses and a taxi, following the southern route this time, to get to Wase, and its lively and interesting Saturday Market.

A trip to Wase Market

A trip to Wase Market: Brushing Shoulders with the Bai

A trip to Wase Market

We were dropped off at the top of a narrow alley, leading into town. The alley was chock-a-block with fruit sellers and donkey parking lots, with piles of wooden yokes and saddles stacked up breast high.

A trip to Wase Market

When we managed to shoulder our way through the crowds, we emerged onto a large square, near the boat pier, with hundreds of stalls, mostly selling an amazing array of fruit and vegetables. The only souvenir stalls in town, selling batiks and ethnic embroidery, are located here as well.

The square is a buzzing, but friendly hive of activity, with hundreds of colourful Bai women pushing  and shoving backwards and forwards, using the huge wicker baskets they carry on their backs as buffers.

A trip to Wase Market: A lot of Haggling

Cries of haggling fill the air as produce is picked up, inspected and either exchanged for money, or tossed contemptuously back onto the pile it came from.

As usual, men seem to be in short supply; they are mainly found peacefully smoking a pipe, or playing cards in one of the packed restaurants on either side of the square.

Packed Restaurants Wase
Packed Restaurants Wase

Moving on from the square, the market continues down the main street for at least another kilometre. Here you can stock up on household goods, such as plastic buckets, scoops and ladles, iron woks and other cooking pots and pans, wicker baskets, brooms, colourful balls of wool and lengths of cloth. 

Checking Bank Notes ar Wase
Checking Bank Notes ar Wase

More exotic items include the embroidered parts of headdresses and belts, embroidered shoes, silver jewellery, or even wedding dresses.

Broom Sellers A trip to Wase Market

For all the variety, there was one item we missed at Wase market: the large, odd shaped bamboo fish traps that abounded around Lake Erhai, fifteen years ago. Perhaps they have been replaced by the more modern nylon fishing nets that we often saw stretched out along the lake shore.

Bai traders A trip to Wase Market

Apart from the stalls, there is the usual varied collection of street artisans and other ‘professionals’, such as dentists, hairdressers and ear cleaners. Eventually the market finishes at a small animal market where chickens and pigs come to meet their end.

Chicken for sale A trip to Wase Market

Ghost shopping.

What is curious about this market is that it not only provides for the living, but for the ghosts of the dead as well. There are several stalls selling paper clothes, shoes, houses and other luxury articles; all presumably meant to make ‘life’ in the after world more pleasant. One stall in particular was selling the most exquisite miniature paper shoes, and the Bai ladies were buying them by the bag-full.

Singing ladies Wase Market

At one point we were drawn away from the main street by a large group of middle-aged and ancient ladies, sitting on wooden benches, singing and tapping small wooden instruments.

Singing ladies Wase Market

To one side, there were several other grannies, busy folding and burning coloured pieces of paper. When we asked them what they were doing they explained that they were singing, or praying, to the dead and burning prayers. It was apparently the auspicious and appropriate time of the month for doing this.

Singing ladies Wase Market

Practicalities:

Location: Wase is situated on the eastern side of Lake Erhai, about 350 kilometres north of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan. Apparently, the Wase market used to take place every 5 days, but it is now held on Saturday mornings, and runs well into the afternoon.

A trip to Wase Market buying eggplants
Buying Eggplants

Besides the obvious attraction of the market, the town is full of wonderful traditional Bai homes and mansions, characterised by their sturdy adobe walls and painted doorways.

Bai Architecture Wase
Bai Architecture Wase

There are numerous other markets in the various Bai villages around Lake Erhai. The most famous and popular is the Monday market at Shaping, about 33 kilometres from Dali.

Shaping Market 1991
Shaping Market 1991

Even in January 1991, Shaping market was already pretty touristy, though interesting. These days, Wase’s Saturday market hasn’t been swamped by the tourist hordes from Dali yet.

Coming and Going

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Erhai-lake-and-temple4-1024x759.jpg

By Boat:

we can personally vouch for the existence of a boat that leaves from the pier at Huoyijia village / jiangshan Cun, on the western side of the lake near Xizhou, at 9.00 on Saturdays (at least in 2006 it existed). According to locals, it departs again sometime between 12.00 and 14.00.

Leaving Wase Market
Leaving Wase Market

People in Wase were far from unanimous in confirming that the last boat returns to Huoyijia / Jiangshan Cun at 17.00. We didn’t stay around to risk it, as the last bus back to Xiaguan is at 16.00. If you are staying in Dali, you might be able to organise a boat over (we saw one tour group getting to Wase that way), but expect to pay through the nose, unless you are in a large group.

By Bus:

Putuo Dao and Putuo Dao si
Putuo Dao and Putuo Dao si

if you are staying in Xizhou (far more recommendable than Dali), or anywhere else around the Lake,  you can get to Wase by bus in both directions, though locals advised us to take the southern route via Xiaguan rather than the northern route via Jiangwei, because buses are more frequent.

Amazing Courtyard Wase
Amazing Courtyard Wase

The trick is to take any passing bus to Xiaguan, where you will be dropped off at the western bus station. From there, you can take a local bus or taxi (6 Yuan) to the eastern bus station, from where there are regular departures to towns and villages along the eastern part of the Lake, including Wase.

The Journey from Xiaguan to Wase takes about an hour and a half. The new road opened in 2006 means that from Haidong onwards, the bus skirts the lake shore all the way, thus avoiding the laborious inland route that climbed over and around the mountains.

Basket Sellers Wase
Basket Sellers Wase

As a result, the views of Lake Erhai and the Island of Putuo Dao from the bus are excellent. The last bus back to Xiaguan is at 16.00. From Xiaguan to Xizhou there are buses until at least 19.00.

Shopper in Wase
Shopper in Wase

Places to Eat:

After a couple of hours of wandering around, its worth stopping for lunch in one of the restaurants around the main square.

Informal But delicoius lunch in Wase
Informal But delicoius lunch in Wase

The local fish from the lake is particularly good, especially the deep-fried fish strips in batter. Some of the restaurants are quite used to dealing with foreigners, as they are frequented by tour groups, boated over in style from Dali.

Places to stay:

There is apparently a government guesthouse in Wase, though we are not sure whether we saw it. The courtyard restaurant on the left-hand side of the square (facing the water), which is where we ate, may have doubled up as a guesthouse, but we are not sure.

Laomeng Sunday Market

Enjoy these photos taken at Laomeng Market August 2oo6. If you have been recently, tells us how it has changed.

Laomeng Sunday Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan: Five minorities at One Market
Click here to see the photo video with music: https://youtu.be/H0NaaHfpLaA
Laomeng Sunday Market 老勐 市场
aomeng Market 老勐 市场

(Yunnan Province)

Five minorities at One Market

Laomeng Sunday Market, five minorities at One Market, that is what we were promised. The hotel owner in Yuanyang had told us to get there early, as many of the hill tribe people have to walk all the way back and the market starts breaking up at around noon.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Laomeng Sunday Market: Arrival

So we got to Laomeng at about 8.30, where we were among the first to arrive. We walked once round the town and had a look at the few stalls already set up by a small number of colourfully dressed Miao ladies and some older Yi women.

Yao minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Most of them seemed as curious about us, as we were about them. By the time we got back  to our starting point, dozens of vans, carts and other vehicles had already arrived, unloading hundreds of passengers and all kinds of goods.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

They brought with them a kaleidoscopic mix of colours, as ladies from the Hani, Yao, Yi, Miao and Black Thai ethnic groups spilled out from the back and descended upon the market for a few hours of frenzied buying and selling.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

For the next 3 hours we were treated to a visual feast that left us drained and out of film. Our driver had filled us in on some of the intricacies of the local costumes, so we were more or less able to distinguish between the women from the different ethnic groups. However, The men on the other hand were fairly indistinguishable, wearing pretty much the same peasant clothes and large wide-brimmed hats.

The Miao 苗族 at Laomeng Sunday Market

miao minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Firstly, the Miao. The most colourful group are the Miao. The women of this ethnic group wear short, pleated skirts in electrifying colours such as bright orange, turquoise, yellow, pink or neon green.

miao minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
苗族Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

The skirts are held in place by tight, embroidered belts and further embellished by lavishly decorated aprons, worn at the back (to protect their clothes when they are carrying loads, or sitting down on their haunches).

Miao minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Their lower legs are covered by leggings, usually black, although the trendiest young ladies can wear coloured ones, adorned with dangling pieces of silver, or coins. Their outfits are completed by a final, embroidered strip of cloth, wound around the head as a kind of turban, peaking at the front.

miao minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Miao with different style hats Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Given the vibrant nature of their attire, it isn’t surprising that their Vietnamese relations are known as the Flower Hmong. 

The Yao 瑶族 at Laomeng Sunday Market

Yao minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan

Secondly, the Yao. In stark contrast with the Miao, the Yao are probably the most fascinating to look at. Their all-black outfits of loose, flowing tunics and trousers, topped by incredible black boxed hats (resembling a Fez) lend them at once a forbidding and mysterious aspect.

Yao minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
瑶族 Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

The stern black of their costume is only livened up by tresses of fuchsia coloured wool, pinned to the front of the ladies’ tunics, and the heavy silver earrings and necklaces they wear. The proud Yao ladies stride through the crowds mostly unsmiling and they are reluctant to have their pictures taken.

Yao minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

The Hani 哈尼族 at Laomeng Sunday Market

Hani minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Thirdly, the Hani. Hani women also tend to wear a tunic or jacket over trousers, like the Yao, though their tunics are shorter and tighter. And like the Miao, they wear a  protective apron at the back.

hani minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Hani and Miao buying apples Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Their colours are subdued, blue and black are the favourites, but some green and petrol- blue can be seen too. If a Hani lady’s headdress is very colourful and decorated, this means that she is single. On the other hand, if her jacket is decorated with silver coins, she is married.

Hani minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

The Yi 彝族 at Laomeng Sunday Market

Yi minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan

Forth the Yi, The Yi ladies are almost as colourful as the Miao, but they wear trousers, not skirts. On top, they wear brightly coloured jackets, often with short sleeves.  The colours can vary, but light blue, pink, yellow and mauve appeared to be all the rage.

Yi minority Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Yi and Hani Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

The top part of the jacket is covered with a semi- circle  made of embroidered flowers. At the back, instead of an apron, they tend to wear two embroidered lozenge-shaped appendages.

Black Thai 壮族 at Laomeng Sunday Market

zhuang black thai Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Black Thai Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Finally, the Black Thai were the least in evidence and dressed very simply in black, as their name suggests. Their ladies wore straight black skirts and short-sleeved blouses.

Zhuang black thai Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Black Thai Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

As to location, the market spreads out all over the town, which is small enough to be explored thoroughly in a couple of hours. Like most markets in China, each area or street is dedicated to a different product.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

The square given over to vegetables and fruit is one of the highlights, with colourful ethnic women squatting down behind their wares, mostly small piles of exotic-looking vegetables, herbs or spices, spread out on a piece of cloth.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Purchases in this section are usually wrapped up in banana leaves.

Lunch

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Food Stalls Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Another, larger square combines meat and simple food stalls with stands selling clothes, cloth, wool and other items necessary for sewing, embroidering or knitting. The latter are particularly popular with the younger ladies.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Yao Lady having lunch Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Lunch is a simple affair, with stalls selling noodle dishes with plenty of meat, vegetables and spicies.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

On the outskirts of town, there are corners dedicated to selling chickens, piglets, or watch dogs. 

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

It’s a great place to watch and take photos as well, because once the market is in full swing, nobody will pay much attention to you, even though you may be the only foreigner in town, which is what happened to us.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Don’t come to this market looking for souvenirs; there are few things for sale that would interest tourists, which should hopefully keep tour groups away. We had a look at one of the colourful Miao skirts and were a bit taken aback by its price: although it was handmade and weighed a tonne, we thought that 300Yuan was a bit steep.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Going home Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

True to our landlord’s prediction, by midday the market began to wind down and the vehicles filled up again with their multi-coloured cargo.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Heading Home Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

As we were driving away, we could see lines of people heading off into the forest and up the mountain paths, back to their villages.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Packing up for the day Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Practicalities:

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Laomeng is situated in the south of Yunnan, not far from the Vietnamese border. As the town lies in a river valley, the climate is hot and humid and the surrounding countryside is extremely green and fertile, allowing for two rice harvests a year.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Regarding its ethnic composition, Laomeng straddles two prefectures, Yuanyang and Jinpin. Of these, Yuanyang is home to many Hani and Yi who tend and cultivate the stunning rice terraces the area is famous for, while Jingpin is home to the Miao, Black Thai and Yao.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

The first two live low down near the rivers, in the sub-tropical fertile lands, while the Yao dominate the high mountain areas and ridges and therefore the poorer lands.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

As for Laomeng town, there are a couple of basic hotels, small eateries and shops, but not much more, and the buildings are definitely on the drab side.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

However, the market converts the town into festival of colours and sounds and it would probably make a good base for exploring the area.

Coming and Going:

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

From Yuanyang there are plenty of mini buses to Laomeng. The journey can take more than 2 hours, depending on how many passengers the bus stops to pick up and drop off.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

You can hire a minivan for about 150 Yuan to take you to the market and back, including several hours waiting time. Buses from Laomeng also go to Jingpin and surrounding villages.

Laomeng Market 老勐 市场 Jinping Yunnan
Rural Scene Outside Laomeng Laomeng Market 老勐 市场

Click here for Jianshui near Laomeng

Hui Minority Market in Lhasa: Photo 6

Sixth photo in a series of photos featuring the Muslim Hui community in Lhasa.

A continuation of our series of photos of the Muslim Hui community in Lhasa.

Hui Minority Market in Lhasa
Street Market in the Muslim quarter of Lhasa

Hui Minority Market in Lhasa

See previous photos: click here:  1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5

Menghai Market Yunnan Province

A rain sodden trip to see local markets in Xishuangbanna 西双版纳 Yunnan Province

Menghai 勐海 xishuangbanna 西双版纳 yunnan Province云南省
Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province
Menghai Market 勐海市场 西双版纳

Menghai Market Yunnan Province (勐海市场) is a large agricultural produce market in Yunnan’s Xishuangbanna province.

Thwarted by the Monsoon

Our attempts to reach the Sunday market at Menghun 勐混 were thwarted by the monsoon: due to heavy rain the new highway between Jinghong 景洪 and Menghai 勐海 had collapsed and no buses were running that Sunday morning.

sellers Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province
Menghai Market 勐海市场

When we eventually headed to Menghai 勐海 a few days later the buses were running again, but only on the old road, turning the normally smooth 45- minute journey into a four- hour crawl .

Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province
Snack sellers taking advantage of the traffic Jam

Chaos leaving Jinhong

The most chaotic scenes occurred at the exit of Jinghong, as lorries, buses, tractors and private cars leaving the city fought with those vehicles trying to enter the city to either get on or leave the old road.

bad traffic jinghong to menghai
Crawling traffic on the Jinghong / Menghai old road

The chaos was such that there were kilometres of traffic jams in each direction and not one person of authority was there to put some order to the mayhem.

A rain sodden trip to see markets in Xishuangbanna 西双版纳, Yunnan China.
Crawling traffic on the Jinghong / Menghai old road

With so many vehicles stuck with nowhere to go, local entrepreneurs ran between the traffic, selling anything from boiled eggs to grilled meats and soft drinks.

Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province
Beautiful Rural Scenery Near Menghai

Overturned lorries and their spilt loads only further aggravated an already desperate situation.

Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province
Tofu seller Menghai Market 勐海市场

Olympic games taking place in Beijing on T.V

In the evening as we settled into our clean but rundown hotel in Menghai we watched the well-organized and meticulously planned Olympic games taking place in Beijing on T.V and wondered if we were really in the same country.

menghai surroundings an old bridge
Beautiful Rural Scenery Near Menghai

Our first destination from Menghai 勐海 was Gelanghe,  a Dai 傣族 and Akha / Yaozu 瑶族 settlement, some 30 kilometres southeast. We took the lazy and wrong option and hired a car and driver for 200 Yuan to take us to Gelanghe.

Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province surroundings
Beautiful Rural Scenery Near Menghai

The road starts climbing into the jungle clad hills only a few kilometres outside Menghai affording stunning views of the valley below.

Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province
Beautiful Rural Scenery Near Menghai

Stuck in the Mud

Unfortunately due to torrential rains the road had become a quagmire. Our van slid and skidded its way up and up. Twice we had to release it from the mud with stones and planks of wood until the van eventually succumbed to the inevitable and got completely bogged down.

stuck in the mud near Menghai
Stuck in the mud on the way to Gelanghe

We now became the spectacle. The passing Akha / Yaozu 瑶族, who we had gone to see, stopped to gawp, comment and laugh at our predicament until a tractor, the only type of vehicle able to navigate the road, and its friendly driver pulled us out of the bog and turned our van round.

help is on its way menghai
Akha / Yaozu 瑶族 Help is on the way

Defeated we headed back.

old bridge near menghai
Beautiful Rural Scenery Near Menghai

Manlei Buddhist Temple at Mengzhe

To compensate for the aborted trip to Gelanghe, we visited the Bajiao Ting (The Octagonal Temple) at Jingzhen 20 kms from Menghai and the Manlei Buddhist Temple at Mengzhe, a few kilometres further along the road.

dai pagoda near menhai
The Jingzhen Octagonal Temple Bajiaoting 景真八角亭

Although both temples are pleasant, they are reconstructions of originals destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.

temple near menghai
The Jingzhen Octagonal Temple Bajiaoting 景真八角亭

The Jingzhen Octagonal Temple Bajiaoting 景真八角亭,had some pleasant Dai style Buddhist murals that depicted gentle rural Scenes.

temple painting near menghai
The Octagonal Temple Bajiaoting 八角亭

However, the new paintings at the Manlei Temple, painted by young Dai artists are quite striking and the hell scenes are pretty gruesome.

temple near menghai
Manlei Temple 曼磊佛塔

While the outside of the temple looks rather plain, it’s interior is a riot of colour and the paintings are not for the squeamish.

hell near menghai
Manlei Temple 曼磊佛塔

You can see more of the murals from the Manlei 曼磊佛塔 Temple on our photo video: Buddhist Hell.

Menghai Market 勐海市场
Menghai Market 勐海市场

Menghai Market Yunnan Province

Don’t miss Menghai’s morning Market just behind the Main road near the post office.

Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province
Menghai Market 勐海市场

It has a real buzz and you might catch a few Akha, Dai and Lahu dressed in their finest.

Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province

Unlike the Menghun market 勐混 市场, the Menghai market 勐海市场 is a market for locals and people from the countryside around. The market gets underway at the crack of dawn and is heaving by 9.00 a.m. By midday it has fizzled out.

Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province
Menghai Market 勐海市场

The next day we headed out to Xiding Market (See Article).

Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province
Menghai Market 勐海市场

Menghai 勐海 Coming and Going:

Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province
Menghai Market 勐海市场

It should be a brisk 45 minute to 1 hour zip along a new highway from Jinghong 景洪 to Menghai 勐海. That is if the monsoon rains haven’t washed the highway away. 

Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province
Menghai Market 勐海市场

Buses run continually throughout the day from both Jinghong’s bus stations. From Menghai’s bus station there are regular buses to Jinghong, Menghun 勐混, for the Sunday market.

Menghai Market 勐海市场 Yunnan Province
Menghai Market 勐海市场

There are inconvenient buses for Xiding and its Thursday market (see article). If you are heading to the Burmense border there are buses to Daluo. For the route to Ruili there are plenty of buses to Menglian and Langcang.

pagoda near menghai
The Octagonal Temple Bajiaoting 八角亭

This was our plan but the rains made the trip a travel nightmare. Eventually we had to back-tract and head to Menglun and Laos. Outside the wet season this westward journey would make a great trip.

temple near menghai
The Octagonal Temple Bajiaoting 八角亭

Accomodation:

We stayed at the post office hotel. A clean double cost 80 yuan. Staff were extremely friendly.

statue near menghai
The Octagonal Temple Bajiaoting 八角亭

Food was a bit limited in Menghai to say the least. Simple restaurants can be found along the main street and some noodle stalls set up at night near the main square.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

From our diary: August 2003

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场 old men
Having a spot of Lunch at Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场: Once One of China’s most Fascinating Farmer’s Markets

Anshun Sunday Market used to be one of the biggest and most spectacular in China. However, China has changed so much and so rapidly over the last twenty years that trying to make sense of what has been happening can be almost impossible. In such a short space of time China has been catapulted from a largely agrarian society into a modern industrial and high tech country. While pockets of old China remain, evidence of modernization reaches even the most remote corner.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场 seller
Trader with weighing tools Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

If the old doesn’t go, the new won’t come

The Chinese have a saying: If the old doesn’t go, the new won’t come ( 旧的不去,新的不来, jiù de bù qù , xīn de bù lái ). Nowhere is this saying more appropriate than when used to describe the virtual disappearance of the Sunday Farmers Market in Anshun; a quirky barometer to show just how far and fast China has changed.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场 overloaded horse
Poor horse: Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

just over a decade ago hordes of peasants, farmers and merchants, who made make up a vast array of a jack of all trades, would descend upon the Sunday market in Anshun in their thousands to sell their wares and ply their goods:

basket seller Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Fish net seller: Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

The Traders and their Customers

Some would produce their wares on the spot; basket makers, tobacco pipe craftsmen, chili sauce grinders all jostled for space with sellers of human hair, street dentists and Taoist soothsayers.

human hair seller Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Hair seller: Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Professional pickpockets took advantage of non-too street wise peasants from the countryside to relieve them of their hard earned profits.

street dentist Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Dentist: Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

It was organized bedlam that now, due to modernization, has been reduced to a few dilapidated streets and left waiting for the final death knell.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场 very busy
Traders:Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Below is our account from our diary of the first of our three visits to Anshun’s Sunday Market 安顺星期七农民市场. Some of the photos are from our later visits in 2005 and 2007.

Anshun 2003 安顺星期七农民市场

pipe smoker Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Pipe smaker:Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

The receptionist looked at us with a puzzled expression and asked: “What market?”.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场 pipe smoker
Pipe smoker: Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

“The Sunday market”, I replied, almost in despair, in my faltering Chinese. My spoken Chinese tends to lose a lot of its coherence when the reply to a question is not at all what I’m expecting.

old buyi man Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Farmer: Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

“There are some good shops near the bus station, all the tourists go there”, she insisted.

“No not those; we have already seen those”, I responded.

brush seller Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Household goods seller:Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

“Oh I don’t know. There is a  local market where all the villagers come to buy and sell their products, but you wouldn’t be interested in that one; there are no souvenirs, or anything else for foreigners to buy”.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场 pipe smoker
More Pipe smoking: Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Locating the Market

“Yes, that’s the one!”. I could have given her a hug. “How do we get there?”

Location.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场 street hairdresser
Street Scene:Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

The city of Anshun, a mere two-hour bus ride away from Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province, is a pretty ordinary modern town.

pounding chilis Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Chilli Crushers: Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Nowadays, its new concrete buildings are encroaching relentlessly upon the few remaining pockets of old wooden architecture.

peasants Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Peasants: Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Worth the trip

However, we had been told that Anshun’s Sunday market was well worth seeing and, as it turned out, we were not disappointed.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Compressed into the north-western part of town, the market mostly follows one long street, spilling over into side streets and small squares.

basket weaver Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Basket weaver Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

All goods are rigorously divided into sections: there is a square for vegetables and chillies, an alley dedicated to tobacco and pipes, a hairdressers’ and dentists’ corner, streets full of artisans, another square where carpenters work on wooden and wicker furniture, etc. etc.

buying bamboo ples Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Buying bamboopoles:Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Fascinating artisans.

Watching the artisans at work is fascinating, especially now that so many of the old trades have become redundant and have almost disappeared from the modern cities.

bucket makers Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Here, you can still observe street dentists extracting a tooth, see people having their bodies cupped, or watch a bearded sage selling ancient Taoist tracts.

fortune teller Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Taoist Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

You can try and guess which of the five bamboo poles that the farmer is carefully inspecting and testing, he will eventually buy. Marvel at how quickly the wicker workers can put together a chair or a basket.

Farm tools maker Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Encourage groups of young men pounding mounds of chillies into a pulp. Work out how much that mass of human hair, lying on a set of portable scales, might be worth.

pipe smoking brush seller Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Broom seller:

Finally, you might also catch a professional pickpocket at work, using a giant pair of tongs to extract a purse or wallet from his unsuspecting victims.

bucket maker Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Basket Maker Anshun

A sea of blue.

Buyi ladies Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Bouyi shoppers Anshun

However fascinating the artisans are, the real highlight of this market are the people. Anshun is the heartland of the Bouyi ethnic group, whose origins are Thai, and who are related to Guangxi’s Zhuang nationality.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场 ladies waiting to go home in the rain
Sellers in the rain Anshun

Many of the Bouyi, as well as a few Miao, come to the market, dressed in their Sunday finest, for a few hours of hectic buying and selling.

Buying Bamboo polls Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Choosing the right bamboo pole Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Most of the women wear indigo blue tunics over baggy black trousers and aprons. On their heads they wear black or white headscarves, folded into small turbans.

Fashioable minority ladies Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Trendy Minorities Anshun

A few of the younger Bouyi girls wear brighter colours, such as turquoise or light-green, and combine their traditional clothes with high-heeled shoes, creating quite a stylish and fashionable look.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场 old men
Old Men Anshun

The Old Men

The older men tend to dress in blue Mao jackets and cloth caps. Many of them have distinguished long grey wispy beards and smoke elongated and extravagantly carved pipes.

out door hairdressers Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Hairdresser Anshun

Try and find a quiet spot from which to observe this blue-grey sea of shoppers and traders, pushing and shoving their way through the jam-packed, narrow streets.

Choosing a bamboo carrying pole Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Choosing a bamboo pole Anshun

Most of the time you will pass unnoticed, as the people are so engrossed in their shopping; other times you might become the actual focus of attention, as many of the Bouyi from further afield have rarely seen foreigners.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Pole buyers Anshun

What to eat

overloaded horse Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Horse chaos Anshun

Food at the Sunday market is not that appetising: fiery dog- meat hot pots and other such local specialities very much dominate the menu.  It might be worth waiting for the excellent daily night market to set up its stalls to enjoy a decent meal.

spice seller Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Spice Seller Anshun

What to buy

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场 in the rain
Shopper in the rain Anshun

Finally, as far as shopping is concerned, our receptionist was right: apart from the delicately carved tobacco pipes and rustic wicker products the market hasn’t got much to tempt travellers with.

buying drying tools Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Buying wicker implements Anshun

If you really want to buy something in Anshun, you are better off going to the shops on Nanhua Lu, next to the bus station.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
More horse chaos Anshun

Here you can find a good selection of Batiks, a Bouyi and Miao speciality, such as wall hangings, table cloths, ethnic jackets and bags at a fraction of the price you will be charged in touristy places such as Kunming or Dali, or around Beijing’s Houhai lake.

spices Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Spice sellers Anshun

Other Anshun Attractions

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
The hordes Anshun

The countryside surrounding Anshun is dotted with Karst Mountains, jutting out the ground, with the medieval, stone villages of the Bouyi nestled in between. Some of these, such as Shitou Zhai and Tianlong, have become tourist attractions in their own right and can easily be visited by bus.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场 very busy
Packed on Sunday Anshun

Moreover, some 64 kilometres from Anshun is Guizhou’s number one tourist site and China’s most famous waterfall, Huangguoshu. In full flood the waterfall is a spectacular sight, while the surrounding area, with other, smaller falls and little villages, offers wonderful opportunities for walking and exploring.

old ladies Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Buying Bamboo Anshun

Practicalities:

Coming and going:

Baslets Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Basket sellers Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Anshun is easily reached by frequent buses from Guiyang. It is also on the Guiyang – Kunming train line. Moreover, buses link Anshun to the interesting town of Xingyi (starting point for exploring the Maling Canyon) and other destinations in the remote western part of Guizhou.

chili seller Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Chilli seller Anshun

Update; Anshun is now connect by high-speed trains to various parts of China.

Places to stay:

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Going home Anshun

In recent years, Anshun has been put firmly on the Chinese tourist trail, not for the market but because of the waterfalls, and hotel prices have risen accordingly.

Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场 bored pole sellers
Bamboo pole anybody? Anshun

Bear in mind that at weekends and especially during the summer months the city can get quite full and finding a reasonably priced room may take a while. Most of the hotels that feature in the popular guidebooks seem to be eternally full.

fish seller Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Fruit and eel sellers Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

We stayed at the clean, bright and friendly Huayou Binguan n Tashan Xilu (tel. 322 6020) , excellent value for 150 Yuan. The hotel is in the centre of town, to the left of the roundabout on Tashan Donglu. Unfortunately, it was completely full on our last visit.

buying flase teesth Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Teeth for sale: Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

In 2007 we really had a hard time finding a room. Eventually we were pointed to the huge Fu Yun Hotel, right next to the bus station on Guihuang Gonglu lu. Light, airy rooms, arranged around an atrium, were 210 Yuan, a modest breakfast included. Staff were extremely friendly.

the world's most amazing pipes Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Anshun’s special reed pipes. Now very expensive Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

Other cheap options that may have vacancies are the Ruo Fei Binguan on Nanhua Lu, and the Anju Binguan next to the train station.

Places to eat in Anshun:

For photos of Anshun night Market click here on Shitou Zhai and scroll down.

smoking tools Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
More pipes Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

There are restaurants all over town, but nothing beats the night market. Try one of the many tents, where you can roll your own pancakes with an incredible selection of cold vegetables, pickles and noodles. The hot pots are good too, though they are not for those with a weak stomach. The food is spicy enough in Guizhou to rival any of its neighbouring provinces, such as Sichuan or Hunan. 

garlic sellers Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Garlic Seller Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

For vegetarians there is a real treat, something that seems unique to Anshun: at the top end of Gufu Jie there are two tents that specialise in vegetable pancakes. For 4 Yuan you get ten small pancakes that you can stuff with any of the vegetable fillings, meticulously prepared and attractively laid out on plates. Sauces and chilli are provided for dipping.

old man in the rain Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Old man in the rain Anshun marlket Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场

The Hair Seller of Anshun: Photo of the Week

the hair seller of Anshun at Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Hair seller Anshun Sunday Market 安顺市场 卖头发的农民

Not so long ago Anshun’s Sunday Market was one of the biggest, most vibrant and exotic in China. Kilometers of streets filled with farmers, traders, ethnic minorities, craftsmen and a gaggle of pockpockets. These days the market is a mere shadow of its former self and is restricted to a few delapidated streets.

These photos were taken in 2003 and show the hair seller at the market.

weighing the human hair the hair seller of Anshun at Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Hair seller Anshun Sunday Market 安顺市场 卖头发的农民

His bags are full of human hair that are sold in small bundles mostly to women who attach it to their own hair, either to cover thinning or to make it look longer. The bundles are sold by weight.

the hair seller of Anshun at Anshun Sunday Market: 安顺星期七农民市场
Hair seller Anshun Sunday Market 安顺市场 卖头发的农民

We will be re-posting our article about Anshun’s Sunday Market market very soon. Article now posted.

Faces of Chong’an Market

 Guizhou Province 贵州省 Map

Faces of Chong’an Market is a continuation of a post from a few months ago. While the previous post focused on the market at Chong’an and the ambience, these photos focus on the the people. I hope you enjoy them.

Chong'an Market local men watching the world go by
Chong’an Market local men watching the world go by.

Faces of Chong’an Market / 重安市场的本地人

Faces of Chong’an Market is a selection of photos taken at the bustling market of Chong’an held once every five days.

Miao Ladies buying hats

Aesthetically, Chong’an won’t win any prizes, and you definately won’t find it in any China photo book on a coffee table. However, you will encounter an incredible number of archetypal Chinese characters that appear to have leapt straight out of an ancient classic Chinese novel. The pipe smoking men with wispy beards and the colourful minority women in local dress are the stars of the show at Chong’an.

Faces of Chong'an Market Pipe Smoker
Lighting up and having a smoke

Chong’an is small scruffy rural town not too far from the vibrant city of vibrant Kaili. It’s buildings are more than dilapidated and somewhat even Dickensian. 

However, that is not to say it is not without its own charm and the minorities, principally, Miao and Gejia; the latter being a sub-group of the Miao, really compensate for the architectual horrors.

Faces of Chong'an Market Miao lady Shopping in the muddy streets
Miao lady Shopping in the muddy streets

The surrounding countryside, on the other hand is a different kettle of fish. Meandering rivers and verdant hills dotted with pretty  minority villages are within easy walking distance of  the town.

Faces of Chong'an Market trap seller
Business seems slow for the fish trap seller

Faces of Chong’an Market: Taking the Photos

I used up two roles of film at Chong’an and Margie another one. I suppose if I had had a digital camera I would have taken even more photos.

Faces of Chong'an Market Gejia Lady inspecting the produce
Gejia Lady inspecting the produce

I still have some qualms with digital photography. I feel that when you knew you had to pay for developing your pictures, you spent more time framing them better .

Faces of Chong'an Market
Happy shopper

The photos of the I took at Chong’an were taken on a pretty bog standard camera. Nevertheless, I really love these photos and they continue to give me joy when I go back and look at them.

Cupping while shopping Faces of Chong'an Market
A little bit of Cupping while shopping

The market goers appeared relaxed when I was taking a photo. I would raise my camera and ask Keyi 可以 (can I)?  Nobody ever objected. Even when I was taking the photos of the clients undergoing cupping treatment (these photos), they just smiled and encouraged me to take the photos.

Continue reading “Faces of Chong’an Market”

Chong’an Minority Market Guizhou

Chong’an Minority Market 重安市场

Guizhou Province 贵州省

From our diary (August 2005) Updated
Chong'an Market 重按市场: Guizhou 贵州省
Chong’an Market 重安市场

Arrival

Chong'an Market 重按市场: Guizhou 贵州省
Chong’an Market 重安市场

Chong’an Minority Market Guizhou gets underway early. The early morning mist and heavy cloud cover bestowed an eerie atmosphere over Chong’an 重安. The river was motionless and silky smooth like a millpond.  The town and the surrounding scenery seemed as if suspended in a  landscape painting. Silence reigned.

Chong'an Market 重按市场: Guizhou 贵州省
Chong’an Market 重安市场

Then there was a shout, a curse and the haggling began. Chong’an Market was open for business.

Chong'an Market 重按市场: Guizhou 贵州省
Chong’an Market 重安市场

Chong’an Minority Market: Held every 5 days

The huge market held in Chong’an every five days is one of the best and most colourful in Guizhou. The local Miao 苗族 and Gejia 革家 ethnic groups swamp the small scruffy town in a frenzy of buying and selling that lasts the entire morning and carries on into the early afternoon.

Chong'an Market 重按市场: Guizhou 贵州省

Like the huge Sunday markets in Anshun and Rongjiang, Chong’an market is a farmers’ market, not a place to pick up souvenirs, but an excellent spot for people watching and soaking up the atmosphere. We got there pretty early, when things were just starting to kick off.

Continue reading “Chong’an Minority Market Guizhou”

Rongjiang Sunday Market

Rongjiang Market 榕江市场 (Updated)

Guizhou Province 贵州省

Rongjiang Market 榕江市场 Guizhou Province 贵州省

Rongjiang Sunday Market: 

Rongjiang Sunday Market is one of South West China’s great markets. It is where the Dong and Miao minorities come together on a Sunday morning for a few hours of shopping mayhem.

Updating article and travel information

We are updating this article with new photos. Rongjiang 榕江 is dusty but expanding town in Guizhou Province 贵州省 that forms part of what is known as the Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture 黔东南苗族侗族自治州; Qiándōngnán Miáozú Dòngzú Zìzhìzhōu.

China’s High Speed Railway Network now connects Rongjiang to major Cities such as Guangzhou and Guiyang, .  The Train station is 5km out of town and there are buses, 2 Yuan, and Taxis 10/15 Yuan, connecting Rongjiang to the train station. Rongjiang is on the Guangzhou – Guiyang line.

Rongjiang Market 榕江市场 Guizhou Province 贵州省

Rongjiang: First Impressions

Rongjiang 榕江 is definitely not one of china’s most attractive towns. It’s dusty, slightly chaotic and white tiled. However, there are a number of redeeming factors. Not only does Rongjiang provide a fascinating gateway to minority villages, but it also has an amazing Sunday Market that draws in a myriad of different ethnic minorities for the day.

Rongjiang Market 榕江市场 Guizhou Province 贵州省
Rongjiang Market 榕江市场 Guizhou Province 贵州省

On market day you are sure to come across the Dong minority 侗族 in huge numbers as well as various Miao 苗族 ethnic groups including the Gaoshan Miao (see Bakai article) and maybe even the odd Top knot Miao coming up from Basha village 芭沙村 near Congjiang 从江.

Rongjiang Market 榕江市场 Guizhou Province 贵州省

Passing through this area on your way between kaili 凯里 and the famous dong Village of Zhaoxing 肇兴; Rongjiang 榕江 makes for great break in the journey. In fact, just the spectacular bus ride between Kaili and Rongjiang makes the whole trip worthwhile.

oñd and the  modern Rongjiang Market 榕江市场 Guizhou Province 贵州省
Rongjiang Market 榕江市场 Guizhou Province 贵州省

Arrival in Rongjiang

Our bus bumped into Rongjiang’s run-down and grubby bus station after a gorgeous five- hour, 160- kilometre bus ride from Kaili 凯里. Rongjiang. We stumbled off the bus and into a scruffy town spread along the banks of two rivers, the Duliujiang and the Zhaigaohe. The town sits firmly within the Dong minority heartlands and this was immediately evident by the way many of the locals looked and dressed.

Continue reading “Rongjiang Sunday Market”

Xiding Market Yunnan

Faces of Xiding Market Yunnan

Bulang Women Xiding Market 西定市场 Yunnan
Bulang Women Xiding Market

Xiding Market Yunnan: an Authenic Minority Market

Xiding Market Yunnan (西定市场) in the Xishuangbanna Region of South-West is one of the best minority markets to visit in the region. 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 Xiding Market 西定市场 Yunnan
Hani Women

             

Stuck in the Mud Again!

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  Xiding Market 西定市场 Yunnan
Our Taxi van being towed away

Amazing Scenery, but Xiding a bit of a Dump

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.

Xiding Market 西定市场 Yunnan

              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 Xiding Market 西定市场 Yunnan
Hani Women

A hive of activity from dawn to midday

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 Xiding Market 西定市场 Yunnan
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, the only things on sale are local produce, household goods and cheap clothes. A few noodle stalls feed the hungry shoppers.

Continue reading “Xiding Market Yunnan”