Simple living, happy living & early birds in Zhanglang

From Jinghong we went by bus further south towards the village Xiding which is known for its Thursday market where it is said that one can get a real feel of the mix of different minorities in Xishuangbanna. For every km we drove it definitely felt like we were getting closer to where we wanted to be: out there somewhere. Away from cities & civilization. The roads got bumpier, the villages smaller and the locals more exotic looking and sooo colorful dressed. Most important of all: the views got absolutely breathtaking as we drove through Yunnan's rice plantations to the renowned tea mountains. 

We reached Xiding to realize that the village's only accommodation option were full due to the forthcoming day's Thursday market. Instead we started our hike to Zhenglang where our new contact whom we met back in Jinghong had recommended a home-stay option. This was at his friend Xiaosan's family house and to our luck Xiaosan happened to be a hiking guide in the area. 

As soon as we walked out of Xiding we had to stop every 5th minute to get our cameras out. It was absolutely beautiful. After a few hours on the mountain roads the sun started to set and we reached the village Zhenglang and Xiaosan's family house. His family are of the Bulang people and we were surprised to realize that the women here were still wearing their traditional Bulang dresses.

Our accommodation was of the simpler and most basic kind to put it nicely... And Xiaosan's family seemed to live one of the simplest life possible. Furnitures and things in general were almost non existing, they cooked everything over an open fire in the middle of their house and the women seemed to be staying home with the smallest kids during the days. Through the eyes of Westerners they seemed poor yet so happy and with a rare peace of mind. No rush, no clock on the wall and no constant inputs from 3G, 4G and WIFI.

The small insight to the simple life here in Zhenglang made me think about aaaall the things and matters we surround ourself with and fill up our busy schedule with back in Shanghai. I find that we tend to think we have to do so much all the time and that we need all these things in our daily life. And in our head we turn them into being oh so important. In the end we may forget to safe some time and space for just being. Being together and just being in this moment. It seems an easy task to incorporate into your life when you are sitting on a distant tea mountain in the south of Xishuangbanna but in Shanghai it is a different story. A different life. I will definitely take this experience with me and continuously make an effort to live simpler.  

After an evening with delicious home-cooked food, hiking tips (including a homemade map) from Xiaosan and viewing the most beautiful sunset from the family's roof terrace we went for an early sleep in order to start hiking at sunrise. No alarm needed: by 4.30 am the first village rooster began the wakening session and the other 20 or so continued not long after.  

One of the villages we drove through on our way to Xiding

The market village Xiding

Just outside Xiding

Breathtaking views

Yunnan mountains with tea terraces, fields and forests 

Crossing paths with a local and his cows on our way to Zhenglang

Locals walking into Zhenglang

On the roof terrace outside our very simple accommodation for the night

Xiaosan's homemade hiking map. Literally Xiaosan means Little Tree

Sunset from Xiaosan's family house