There is an entrance fee into the Bingzhongluo
region of Y50. The collection gate is about 9km before the town itself.
Immediately after the ticket booth are two beautiful Nu villages on
each side of the river bank. To the east across the river (on a small
but motorable bridge) is Chala 查腊. The village to the west is Shuangla 双拉.
Both villages are spread out along the slopes of the hills, facing each
other. The former is the bigger one and has a Catholic Church.
houses in the villages are constructed mainly from wood and nestle
among beautiful wheat plots and walnut trees. The Nus here (as in
elsewhere) are extremely friendly. A unique tradition of the Nus is
harnessing the power of water. Hence it is common for each family to
have their own small hydro generator by piping water from the river.
Furthermore one is very likely to see water-operated wheat grinding
mills in the villages. These mills are small huts with a water wheel
underneath it. The water wheel spins a stone grinder in the hut that
grinds wheat continuously. There is a string of nine such mills in
There are possibilities for walks in
the villages and up the hills for great panoramas. In fact one great
walk is to trek up the mountain behind Shuangla to a small Drung (or
Dulong) village named XiaoChala. This is likely to be the only
opportunity for anyone to have any interaction with the Drung tribe,
short of trekking to the Drung Valley.
Drung tribe only numbers about 6,000 in China. The majority of them
reside in the Drung Valley in the west of Gongshan county (remote
northwest corner of Yunnan), immediately east (north) of Myanmar. The
Drungs are cut off from the rest of the country by high mountain passes
and dense forests. The former is often impassable due to snow while
there are regular landslides on the steep slopes to the valley. The
Drung River flows through the valley into Myanmar as the Irrawady
The Dulong River Trail is still the
only access to the mysterious Dulong People. Caravans can only
transport supplies to the Dulong villages between June and November.
Frequent precipitations make the trail along sheer slopes extremely
slippery and dangerous.
(Walking time: 6 days return on the Dulong River Trail from Gongshan)
unique feature of the Drung tribe is that the women had tattoos on
their face. Apparently this was done to avoid the women being kidnapped
by the nearby Tibetans as slaves. However this is now extremely rare
and such tattoos are only likely to be found on the faces of very old
women, which are numbered.
One such woman resides in the Drung village of XiaoChala. To meet this 80-year-old
woman, one needs to ask around the village. To reach the village, one
will have to trek for 2-3 hours up the very steep mountain from the
Getting there and away:
to Bingzhongluo consists mainly of vehicles passing through from the
south. One only needs to wait on the roadside for the regular
transport. The journey to Bingzhongluo is rather scenic and the
highlight is the so-called “First Bend of Nujiang” -the river does a
horseshoe bend here. It is definitely not the first horseshoe bend of
the river but maybe the only one that is easily viewed.
is no accommodation in any of these villages. However the Nus
frequently host travelers in their home. They also prepare simple meals
for travelers. Just pay them a reasonable amount for the hospitality.
Written by CBP in July 2005
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