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Unveil remote ancients villages in Yunnan

By : InKunming | Published: 2013-11-12

Deep in the mountains of Yunnan province hide numerous unknown ancient villages. Just like silent anchorites, they decorate the province with unique landscapes and local cultures.

According to the second batch of Chinese Traditional Villages List issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Finance recently, 915 ancient villages successfully made their marks in it. A total of 232 ancient villages in Yunnan were placed in the list in the second batch. At present, Yunnan has 292 ancient villages.

It seems that ancient culture is fading away with the rapid development of society nowadays. However, the historic culture is the soul and vitality to a city as well as a village.

Today, we recommend you eight typical villages featuring Yunnan elements.

An aged woman smokes a pipe in Wengding Village(翁丁村). [yunnan.cn]

Wengding Village: a mysterious village featured with Wa people's customs

Wengding Village is an aboriginal tribe in Lincang City. In Chinese, "Weng" literally means water, and "Ding" means connection, thus "Wengding" represents a place connecting with water.

Even though the village has seen great development in tourism, it is still a mysterious destination for visitors to explore original Va people's ethnic cultures.

The village possesses a history of more than 350 years, and has a population of over 1,100 now. An ancient tree, which is as old as the village, is believed to bless the village by local residents.

A plenty of wooden timbers can be seen in the village, and each timber is capped with a funnel-shaped bamboo basket which contains a human skull. The skulls in baskets were used for sacrifice long time ago.

Dwellings in Wengding Village are beautiful and quaint, while the village is getting to be known nowadays. Some young residents in the village are dressed in fashionable clothes, and some of them even get their hair dyed.

Wengding people seem to get used to strangers' visits now. They enjoy their traditional lifestyles, yet accept the economic income brought by tourism.

Location: Wengding Village of Mengjiao Town(勐角乡), Cangyuan Wa Autonomous County(沧源佤族自治县), Lincang City.

Climate: a subtropical monsoon climate with mild temperature all the year round, with adequate rainfalls and rich sunshines.

Route: Drive from Kunming to Lincang City with expressway all the way through, then drive to Cangyuan County, and head to Wengding Village.

Buses connecting Kunming and Lincang City are also available in the Western Bus Terminal.

Cangyuan County is about 222 kilometers from Lincang City, and about 886 kilometers from Kunming. The village is about 17 kilometers away from Mengjiao Town, and about 39 kilometers away from Cangyuan Wa Autonomous County.

Travel Tips:Visitors have to buy entrance tickets for sightseeing in the village.

Picture shows the beautiful sunset of Yunnanyi Village(云南驿村), the first place that was named with "Yunnan" in history. [yunnan.cn]

Yunnanyi Village: the first place called "Yunnan"

With profound historic and cultural background, Yunnanyi Village deserves its crown of Chinese Traditional Village.

The village was firstly included into the territory of the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 24) as the capital of Yunnan County in 109 B.C. From then on, "Yunnan" has been officially used as the name of the province.

"Yi" literally means courier stations in Chinese. In accord to its name, Yunnanyi Village had been an important courier station in the the Horse and Tea Trading Route. The village reached its prosperity in Ming(1368 A.D.-1644 A.D.) and Qing(1636 A.D.- 1912A.D.) Dynasties.

During the World War II(1939 A.D.-1945 A.D.), Yunnanyi Village was a significant military base of the Sino-Myanmar battlefield, as well as a crucial air transport hub in the famous Hump Course. At that time, the busy village was crowned as the "Miniature Hong Kong".

Up to today, the runway built in 60 years ago is still well-reserved at Yunnanyi Airport. Yet a 1.8-meter-long stone pathway and the traditional dwellings along the roadsides remain through the changes of time.

It is said that the local government is to integrate the village's historic and cultural advantages, so as to design Yunnanyi Village into a tourist-friendly destination in the future.

Location: Yunnanyi Village of Yunnanyi Town, Xiangyun County(祥云县), Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province.

Climate: the average temperature annually is 15.2 degrees Celsius and an annual rainfall is 705.6 mm.

Route: drive via Chuxiong-Dali Expressway from Kunming, then drive into the No.320 National Highway in the Xiazhuang Expressway Exit(下庄出口) and keep driving for about 10 kilometers.

drive via Chuxiong-Dali Expressway from Dali, then drive into the No.320 National Highway in the Qiansuo Expressway Exit(前所出口) and drive for another 10 kilometers, you will get there.

Tavel Tips: there are a lot of hotels and restaurants distributing along the No.320 National Highway. The admission fee to visit the Yunnanyi Historic and Cultural Tourist Area is 40 yuan.

Limi girls wear their traditional clothes. [Xinhua]

Limi Tribal Village(俐侎部落村): a tribe worships black

Though as a branch of Yi people, Limi people have great differences in both languages and customs from Yi people. Nowadays, there are less than 30,000 Limi people living in the Limi Tribal Village.

Limi people worship the color of black. It is said that their ancestors escaped from the tyrannical rule of their former tribes to Lincang area hundred years ago. Wearing black on their migrating way, they survived finally. Until today, they still wear black clothes, and prefer black during important activities, such as weddings and funerals. Therefore, Limi tribe is renowned as the "tribe of black", as well as the "tribe of black soul on the earth".

Sangzhaoli Festival(桑沼哩节) is the most important and grandest festival of Limi people, which is celebrated annually on the 15th of the 2nd lunar month. On that day, Limi people will go to have a bath in the hope of washing away bad lucks.

Sangzhaoli Festival also serves as their valentine's day when married people are allowed to date with their ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends.

Location: Limi Tribal Village of Erdao Bridge, Wumulong Town(乌木龙乡), Yongde County(永德县), Lincang City.

Climate: a subtropical monsoon climate featuring indistinct four seasons

Route: you can travel to Lincang City by self-driving, riding buses or taking planes from Kunming, then transfer to the Limi Tribal Village in Yongde County.

Recommended Drives Routes to Lincang from Kunming:

A.Kunming-Xiangyun(祥云)-Lincang(about 530 kilometers)

B.Kunming-Xiangyun-Dali-Baoshan(保山)-Changning(昌宁)-Fengqing(凤庆)-LinCang(about 760 kilometers)

C.Kunming-Yuxi(玉溪)-Ning'er(宁洱)-Jinggu(景谷)-Lincang(about 685 kilometers).

Regular buses connecting Kunming and Lincang are departed from Kunming in the Western Bus Terminal. The ticket price ranges from 200 to 240 yuan.

Daily flights from Kunming to Lincang are also available.

Travel Tips: visitors had better to lodge in Yongde County. 

Husa Knife(户撒刀) boast its sharpness. [Provided to InKunming]

Mandong Village(曼东村): famous for producing Husa Knife

The knife was an important weapon in the cold weapon age. Nowadays, it has lost most of its practical applications, but been reserved as an art form.

Mandong Village of Husa Town is famous as a cradle of Husa Knife.

Husa Knife, also known as A'chang Knife(阿昌刀), was officially rated as one of the first batch of National Intangible Cultural Heritages on 2006. The knife is said to be so sharp that it can easily cut through iron. It is crowned as the first three famous knives in China, along with the Yengisar Knife(英吉沙小刀) of Uygur people and Bao'an Broadsword (保安腰刀) of Bao'an people.

Husa Knife gained its reputation in Ming Dynasty(1368 A.D.-1644 A.D.), when Husa Town was served as an important arsenal at that time.

The craftsmanship has been inherited down all over the changes of time. Up to now, Husa Knife has more than 100 kinds of models and norms, with over 1,000 local residents working on forging the knife.

Location: Mandong Village, Husa Town, Longchuan County(陇川县), Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture.

Climate: a subtropical monsoon climate with adequate sunshine

Route: you can go to Mangshi(芒市), the capital of Dehong Dai & Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture by plane, self-driving, or buses in the Western Bus Terminal from Kunming, then transfer to Longchuan County by bus, which charges about 30 yuan, and take another bus to Mandong Village from the county seat.

Travel Tips: local snacks are must during a trip, such as the Guoshou rice noodle(过手米线), a kind of rice noodle served with palms.

The featured resident dwellings in Mantan Village(曼滩村). [yunnan.cn]

The beautiful Mantan Village borders on Laos. [yunnan.cn]

Mantan Village: a village with black roofs

Mantan Village is a traditional village with Dai people's characteristics. Dai people has lived there since the Emperor Yongzheng(雍正) of Qing Dynasty(1636 A.D-1912 A.D.). Up to now, Dai people have occupied 95% percent of the population in the village.

Well-reserved natural environment and ethnic dwellings make the village beautiful and quiet. No garbage can be seen when strolling along the roads in the village.

Compared to Dai's dwellings in other places, ethnic houses in the village have their distinctive features. Roofs of the houses are made by black soil. Each house has an exquisite bamboo fence.

Bordered with Vietnam, the village sees 18 transnational marriages with Vietnamese.

Location: Mantan Village of Zhengdong Town(整董镇), Jiangcheng Hani & Yi Autonomous County(江城哈尼族和彝族自治县), Pu'er City

Climate: a subtropical monsoon climate with an annual average temperature of 18.7 degree centigrade. The hottest months there are June and July.

Route: you can drive to the Jiangcheng County via Kunming-Mohei(磨黑)-Pu'er-Jiangcheng at first, then transfer to the Mantan Village of Zhengdong Town.

Jiangcheng County is about 520 kilometers away from Kunming, and about 147 kilometers away from Pu'er City. Zhengdong Town is about 59 kilometers away from Jiangdong County. Mantan Village is about 200 kilometers away from Jinghong City, the capital of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture.

Travel Tips: the village is free to visit.

Chenzisanzhai Village(城子三寨村): a unique village with exotic flavors

About 8 kilometers away from Mantan Village sits the Chengzisanzhai Village. It is a small yet ancient village where Dai people have lived there for generations. Traditional customs of Dai people are intactly reserved in the village. Exquisite traditional houses of Dai people can be seen everywhere.

The village borders to Laos and Vietnam. Its unique geographical location contributes to Dai people's close communication with southeast Asian countries. Nowadays, local Dai residents still keep the custom of intermarriage with the Lao and the Vietnamese, which endows an kind of exotic flavor to the village.

Location: Chengzisanzhai Village of Dongzheng Town, Jiangcheng County, Pu'er City

Climate: a subtropical monsoon climate with an annual average temperature of 18.7 degree centigrade. The hottest months are June and July.

Route: drive to the Jiangcheng County via Kunming-Mohei(磨黑)-Pu'er-Jiangcheng at first, then transfer to the Chengzisanzhai Village of Zhengdong Town. Jiangcheng County is about 520 kilometers far away from Kunming, and about 147 kilometers away from Pu'er City. Zhengdong Town is about 59 kilometers away from Jiangdong County.

Ham plays an important role in the rich food culture of Nuodeng Ancient Village(诺邓古村). [yunnan.cn]

There are over 100 ancient resident dwellings in Nuodeng Ancient Village at present. [yunnan.cn]

Nuodeng Ancient Village has witnessed the history of salt culture over thousands of years. [yunnan.cn]

Nuodeng Ancient Village: a village witnesses the history of salt culture

Most of people may first meet with the Nuodeng Village by watching its ham broadcast in A Bite of China, a popular programme introducing famous foods in China. However, ham is only a small part of the rich food cultures in Nuodeng Village.

The village has witnessed the history of salt culture for over thousands of years. Remains about ancient salt manufacturing, such as salt wells, salt bureau, salt-trading road can still be seen in the village. The ancient salt wells, which have a history of over one thousand years, are testimonies of Nuodeng Village's glory days. Nowadays, residents there still follow the ancient method for making salt.

Nuodeng Village is also an epitome of the past. It is one of the Chinese Traditional Villages, as well as one of the National Historic and Cultural Villages. So far, there are more than 100 ancient buildings in the village, including resident dwelling houses, temples, ancestral halls, etc.

Local government is planning to renew the traditional salt manufacturing tradition and farmers' fairs in Nuodeng Village. A folk custom museum may also be built there.

Location: Nuodeng Village of Nuodeng Town, Yunlong County(云龙县), Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture.

Climate: a mild monsoon climate with small temperature difference in four seasons.

Route: Nuodeng Village is about 518 kilometers, 158 kilometers, and 6 kilometers away from Kunming, Dali, Yunlong respectively. Visitors can go to Dali by train, plane, bus, or self-driving, and then transfer to Yunlong County for another 3 hours' drive.

After arriving at Yunlong County, visitors can go to Nuodeng Village by foot, or riding motor tricycles which charges 10 yuan per capita for a one-way ride.

Jiubao Village: a one-thousand-year village

Lianghe County is about 690 kilometers away from Kunming, about 114 kilometers from Mangshi via Luxi(潞西)-Yingjiang(盈江) road, and about 160 kilometers away from Mangshi via Tengchong-Longling(龙陵) road.

Jiubao Village is about 2 kilometers away from the urban Lianghe County.

The history of Jiubao Village can trace back to over one thousand years ago. The village was included in the territory of Eastern Han Dynasty (25 A.D.-220 A.D.). Owning to the important traffic location in connecting Tengchong County and Myanmar, the local governments gave weight to the preservation of the village.

In the past, streets in the village were paved by slabstones, with prosperous shops standing along the roadsides. Yet time past by, stone paths are replaced by cement roads, and most of the traditional dwelling houses are vanished from people's sight now. Only a few historic buildings have been reserved.

However, it is lucky that the ancient folk customs and culture have been handed down through generations, which endow great vitality to the ancient village.  

Location: Jiubao Village of Jiubao Town, Lianghe County(梁河县), Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture.

Climate: a subtropical monsoon climate which is warm and moist. Four seasons are not clear there.

Route: you can go to Mangshi, the capital of Dehong Dai & Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture by plane, self-driving, or buses in the Western Bus Terminal from Kunming, then transfer to Lianghe County by bus.

Cilck here to view related report.

(Editors: Tracy, Lynn)

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