Ruili to Lianghe

In between Ruili and Yingjiang there's three long mountain ranges running north to south, these mountains aren't as sickening as the ride from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng however they are about as beautiful, the whole thee hour bus ride I never got bored of staring out the window. As you come down the west side of the last mountain the Husa river runs along the side of the road, it drops in elevation much quicker than the road allowing you to get beautiful views looking down the canyon to the river as the elevation difference slowly equalizes. 


Ruili is a small town in the far south of the Dehong prefecture of Yunnan, it lies smack dab on the border with Myanmar. The town is quite similar in appearance to Jinghong with lush surroundings and monsoon like rains, only it's scaled down to 1/10 the size and has most westernized things stripped out of it. If you're Chinese you can cross over the border to Myanmar for the day and visit the China-Myanmar friendship street, this connects Ruili to the town of Muse. Although I wasn't allowed, I could feel the Myanmar side bleeding over into China anyway.

Dadenghan Dai Village @ Ruili

Dadenghan Dai Village is a small village 20km south of Ruili which has been preserved as an ethnic minority village. From Ruili bus station there is a line which goes to the town of Nongdaozhen, however they will gladly stop at this village if you ask. When I got off and looked around I was sure there was some sort of mistake, from the road side it would be difficult to know that anything of this sort would be in the vicinity. Luckily after walking half a kilometer down the road I finally recognized a Buddhist temple from pictures I'd seen on the internet.

Humdinger Brew Pub & Uncle Johns The Brew Pub @ Kunming

After I sat down at Humdinger and browsed through the ipad menu, I quickly locked onto the sampler and ordered. Little did I know the sampler here is more like ordering a full glass of every beer. They all had a hefty hoppy taste kind of reminiscent of US craft beer, at least what it taste like 4 years ago when I was drinking it regularly; the Irish Stout was my favorite of the bunch. I had a chicken sandwich here which was pretty well prepared, fried and smothered with some spicy chipotle sauce, nothing mind blowing, but it was a welcome change after 4 days of Tibetan food and a cramped plane ride.

I have no complaints about this place, however the feeling here was much more the style of a large cooperate US brewery in every way, the HDTVs on  every wall, the brewing tanks behind glass, the incredibly large western food selection, the soft pop music selection, the overdone interior decorating and the carefully crafted lighting. After becoming familiar with some more rugged breweries in Beijing, this place kind of reminds me of what might happen if Disney created a brewery.

Cell phone for size reference

NapaHai Lake @ Shangri-La

On the way over to NapaHai Lake we ran into a herd of cows, horses and sheep blocking traffic while an old lady tried to guide them back to safety by banging a stick on the ground, surprisingly this technique worked quite well.

Shika Snow Mountain @ Shangri-La

Shika Snow Mountain is a 5km high peak about 7 km west of Shangri-La. They sell appropriate cold weather clothing and oxygen tanks at the base, it's also equipped with a gondola, and wooden pathways all around the peak to make it an easy trip for any tourist.The gondola ride up consists of two parts and takes about 30 minutes total, giving you enough time to get to know the other tourists and take pictures of the terrain as you get closer too the top.

What was hard to tell from the bottom, is that today the top was inside of a cloud. The light faded around us as we neared the top, and when we finally were able to unload and look outside, all we could see is the silhouette of the rocky peak and Tibetan cloth decorations blowing violently in the wind around the shrines leading up to it.