YouTube – Travelogue – Lisu & Pumi 3/3

I’m now on my way up north, to Gongshan Autonomous County, from where the canyon extends into Tibet. The way the mountains are arranged here forces three major rivers, the Jinsha, the Nu and the Lancang, to flow very close together from north to south. So hereabouts, they’re known as the ‘three rivers in parallel’.

The town used to serve as a major stop on the famous ‘Tea and Horse Caravan Trail’. With all the goods and traffic that passed through the town en route between Yunnan and Tibet, it became home to different ethnic minorities who, in return, give the town its unique cultural mix.

The road leads to another rather mysterious village. I just can’t wait.

We’re here at this village called Bingzhongluo. In Bingzhongluo village, locals believe that these mountains are God Mountains. There are in total 10 God Mountains. Not only that. This community is a mixture of all religions and all different minority groups. As I walk down this trail, I can see a Christian Church, Tibetan Buddhism and all the families who live around here, have their own religion and living happy together.

Everybody stopped, so I’m going to find out what’s going on. This road breaks every day, so I’m going to check out what’s going on.

The village is called ‘Wuli’, which means ‘in the mist’. So, if you hadn’t already guessed it, now you know – the village: lies deep in the mountains. There’s no road to it, which can make things rather inconvenient. The advantage is that Wuli remains unaffected by modern civilization, the original un-spoilt paradise, in fact.

The village is home to the Nu – one of the oldest ethnic peoples in Yunnan, who live mostly in the four counties of the prefecture. With a tiny population of less than 30,000, they are farmers who cultivate their fields and grow corn in the mountains.

All these houses are made out of local material. On top of this house, you see the platforms are cut from a rock. Piece by piece it’s cut out and now it’s lying there to protect the water. It’s waterproof. The woods are all trees from the local mountains. So they cut it and strip the skin.

Actually from here you can see a little difference as the time passes. They didn’t have a lot of tools to work with, so all you see is an entire tree, layer by layer, add together.

With the newer ones, they had the right tools so they could cut piece by piece. So it’s all material from the local area. The families, who live here, enjoy their lives and live from everything they are surrounded with. They make their own food; houses are made from their own sources. It’s an independent world over here.

A little away from the village, there is a rough road – the only route from Yunnan to Tibet in the canyon. For those traveling on foot, it presents quite a challenge.

From here, the canyon and the Nu River continue on into Tibet. There was a time when the river served as a transport link between Tibet and the rest of the world, away to the southeast. Owing to the roughness of the canyon, a road was eventually carved out of the cliffs in the canyon. Merchants’ caravans started making the journey backwards and forwards between Tibet and Yunnan, carrying goods such as tea, ghee, salt and grain on their horses. And so the road became known as the ‘Tea and Horse Caravan Trail’, which at one time was the only transport link between Tibet and southwest China.

Still today, there is some traffic along the road. But it’s nothing like the days when it was crowded with horses and merchants, with the sound of the horses’ bells echoing through the valley. The carved rocks bear testimony to the locals’ eagerness to make contact with the outside world in those days.

It’s time to bid farewell to the canyon, and to its charm and beauty. From here, our journey will continue on the famous road. The plan is to travel with the caravans of the past, in anticipation of discovering and experiencing all the wonders and mysteries that waits on the road ahead. Our journey will take us on into the great and mysterious highland of Tibet. So stay tuned for more of Travelogue’s Ethnic Odyssey.


“Nu River Gorge” is the second grandest canyon in Zhe world, and many of the cliffs here rise to well over 3000 meters, and that’s higher than anything the Grand Canyon (in Arizona, USA) can boast.

Another wonder of the canyon is its people. It is hard to imagine anywhere else in the world with such a huge diversity of dialects, costumes, customs and faiths.



YouTube – Lisu song, Lisu new year

YouTube – Lisu song

A beatiful Lisu song from Lukhu, China

very good

Very rare, great!

YouTube – Lisu Hill Tribe New Year, Chiang Mai Province Thailand 1

YouTube – Lisu Hill Tribe New Year, Chiang Mai Province Thailand part 2

Many of the hill tribes in north Thailand celebrate their new year the same time as the Chinese and last for several days. One of these hill tribes are the Lisu who originate from Yunnan Province in China. Here in part 1 you will see the early morning start of the festivities, which include drinking, fireworks, animal sacrifices and spirit worship and the beginning of the dancing. Many of the hill tribe where their colorful costumes during the New Year celebrations and the Lisu probably have the most elaborate and colorful costumes .

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