Besides the famous and UNESCO rated rice terraces in Yuanyang, the local morning markets are another highlight visitors should not miss. The lively and colorful events take place regularly in various villages and are a great opportunity to deepdive into local customs.
Yuanyang County is located in Yunnan's south close to the border to Vietnam. It is also particulary famous for the region's density of ethnic minorities. While most of the population belong to the Hani and Yi, also people of the Miao, Dai, Zhuang and other ethnic minorities live in this area. When it's market day, many people of the whole area gather for example in Sheng Village to sell their products and to stock up their own supplies. The rural street market is an event for all senses!
In the early morning, first villagers in their colorful dresses get out in the streets. Goods ranging from livestock, local handicrafts, daily necessities, agricultural products and materials to proper food and smaller snacks can be found all over. The odour of grilled tofu and freshly cooked rice noodles is blown through the streets while the mostly elderly people sew beautiful patches for the clothes.
Going to the market is particularly of great significance for the majority of Yuanyang women. It is them, wearing the colorful costumes and carrying their bamboo baskets (Zhulou) to bring all sorts of items from home to the market in exchange for what they need.
The Yi ethnic minority has nearly one hundred sub branches and their dresses vary from each other. The clothing of the Yi minority includes not only feathers, long gown and shorts, In addition to their belted trousers, the clothes are decorated by embroidered waistcoats and often worn with square cut aprons around the hips as well a dazzling array of headdresses. The silverly sequined jackets and accessories with fine wool decorations match in a lovely contrast of colors.
The Hani people, famous for their farm work and the building of the rice terraces has similar traditions as the Yis. The farm work is often done by the women, while the men are more responsible for taking care of the family's kids. Also, the Hani women have a long tradition for colorful and embroidered dresses. But the dominant color is a dark blue which is decorated with bright patches giving them a very elegant appearance.
These colors, styles and patterns resemble the Hani's existence of the regional geographic environment as well as their ethnic social identity. It particularily reflects the women's diligence and wisdom.
Wonders Of Yunnan Travel organizes various tours to Yuanyang including photography trips and visits to this local morning market. Please contact us directly for specific dates and locations as well as any kind of travel support. Please read more about our tours and local accommodation in Yuanyang here.