Bamei Village in Yunnan

Bamei (坝美) village is a rather unique village that lies in the border between Yunnan and Guangxi. This sleepy and remote village has captured the imaginations of many Chinese. He Tianren, is the host of the Travelogue series from CCTV9 on Bamei village.

Here’s an introduction from TravelChinaGuide :

The famous Chinese litterateur Tao Yuanming who lived during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420) once told of a Peach Blossom Valley isolated from the hustle and bustle of the ordinary world. People lived there in peaceful, serene isolation. The description of Tao Yuanming came true when Bamei Village was discovered.

Located thirty kilometers (about nineteen miles) from Guangnan County in Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, Bamei Village is hard to find because of its unique location. The village is surrounded by hills, and visitors have to travel by small boat through a long, dark limestone tunnel. In the dark, you feel as if you are going back in time. When you emerge from the tunnel you will be amazed. In a hidden valley, in a grove of green bamboos and old trees, lies Bamei Village. A blue stream gently flows by, and hard-working farmers silently till the green fields. It’s a picture of another lost Shangri-la.

The local people belong to the Zhuang minority. Bamei means ‘cave in the forest’ in Zhuang language. It is said that the ancestors of Bamei residents are a Zhuang family of Guangdong Province. Six hundred years ago, they escaped from brutal outlaws and found the cave by chance. They believed it was a perfect place to hide, so later they invited some friends to live with them. Since then, Bamei Village had become a Peach Blossom Valley for these virtuous, amicable Zhuang people. They get up when sun rises and go to bed when sun sets. There is no electricity, and no one worries about their job or the future. Life is simple and easy for them. They can do everything for themselves. They plant rice paddies and cotton, spin and weave their own clothes, make bean curd with stone grinders, and even produce their own cooking oil. As long as they have enough salt, they can stay in the village without contact with the outside world.

They also fully preserve the traditions of the Zhuang minority. Most of the villagers live in traditional Malan houses, a kind of diao jiao lou. Their customs and festivals are also well preserved. The Devil Festival, the Ox Soul Festival, and the Singing Festival are all celebrated grandly. They are passionate and hospitable, and visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery and traditional ethos. Bamei Village is indeed an ideal place for getting away from the crowded city.

How to Get There:
As Bamei is far away from cities, you’d better take a coach from Kunming to Guangnan County first. Then take a coach to Bada Village and get out at Fali Village. Then you have to walk about 1 kilometer (about 0.62 miles) to arrive at the entry-cave.

Recommended Accommodation:
For those who want to enjoy local life, living with a local family is a good choice. But the condition might be quite rough because of the absence of electricity. You can also leave Bamei and stay in Guangnan County.

Admission Fee:
CNY 35 (one-way ticket including the boat fee)

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About kchew

an occasional culturalist
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