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  • Rick

China #13: Truly Ancient Nuodeng Ancient Village (云龙诺邓古村)

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Sights: Nuodeng Ancient Village (诺邓古村)

Region: Yunlong County, Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan


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Story #12: Trendy Dali Ancient City (大理古城)

Most ancient cities, towns and villages in China are more or less affected by tourism and modernisation and became less original over time. Despite all these external influences, Nuodeng Ancient Village, in a hilly area of Yunlong County, is one of the most well-preserved and still truly-ancient. The millennium Bai village (千年白族村) is relatively new to tourism but is primarily still a residential area for the Bai minorities. It will remain a peaceful village for many years to come.

After 3 days in Dali Ancient City, our group, comprising of 4 solo travellers, came to Nuodeng Ancient Village, led by Xiaolong, a Bai-people whose hometown was in Nuodeng Town (诺邓镇). We were in good hands.

Getting From Dali to Nuodeng Ancient Village

From Dali Ancient City, we took Bus Service 8 to Dali new city and alighted near the bus station.

From Dali Bus Station (大理汽车客运站), we hopped onto a local bus bounded for Nuodeng Town in Yunlong County. After reaching the town, Xiaolong got us onto a mini-van for Nuodeng Ancient Village after speaking with his fellow Bai-people in their own language. The mini-van was sort-of a taxi in the countryside. It took about 20 minutes to the village.

Where I Stayed

After reaching Nuodeng Ancient Village, we had to walk up several flights of steps to reach our accommodation for the night. This was inevitable as the village was built on a hill slope. Travellers with towed luggage would have problem getting up and down the steps — it is better to travel in rural areas with a backpack.

And we were finally at our accommodation, 復甲留芳苑 (Fujia Liufang Garden), a home stay. Yes, we would be staying with a Bai-minority family. There was another group of travellers staying at the home stay.

We could see the hill opposite Nuodeng Village unobstructed, which was the advantage of building houses on a hill slope. No houses would block each other's views.

Nuodeng Ancient Village was truly ancient and had preserved most of its traditional architectures and ways of life. And the toilets were still very ancient — they were wooden sheds above feces pools located a short distance away from any residence. There were planks with a hole in each toilet and everything would go down to the feces pool below. These ancient toilets were city dwellers' worst nightmares.

Knowing that most visitors from outside the village would have issues with the ancient toilet, our home stay had a modern toilet bowl in the cubicle. However, it was still located outside the residential premise and above a feces pool, except that visitors would not see the pool and what was in it.

Welcome to a truly ancient village!

Views of Nuodeng Ancient Village

Below is a view of Nuodeng Ancient Village from the foot of the hill. The houses were built on the hill slope, so getting to each unit would need to walk up and down multiple flights of steps. Note the long flight of steps leading through the village in the middle.

Some houses were built on the opposite hill slope, closer to the farmlands.

We took a trek up the hill opposite Nuodeng Village and saw these horses transporting goods to the other side of the hill. Horses were still better for carrying goods through mountainous regions.

And a full view of Nuodeng Ancient Village.

Back in the village, we walked around and checked out the houses. This household was into salt-making with a boiling wok and finished salt blocks outside the house.

This was an archway with the words "世大夫第" written on it.

Taking a look at the farmlands from the top of the village.

And a beautiful shot just before sunset.