Pingbian is an extremely poor Miao and Yi area just north-west of the Vietnamese border where steep slopes and frequent fog make agriculture a challenge.
Pingbian’s Miao slightly outnumber the Han, with each group at around 55,000, while the Yi, mostly along the Nanxi river valley number less than 30,000. Most Miao are forest dwellers, carving out a living on the steep slopes. As in other parts, the government is eager to resettle the Miao from their isolated huts in more compact villages, both to reduce erosion and facilitate education and healthcare and newly built villages can be seen all over the county. Poverty and isolation mean that Pingbian offers little in colourful traditional dress unless the government decides to sponsor the Caihuashan Festival at the beginning of the lunar year.
The main historic attraction are the remains of the now discontinued Vietnam narrow-gauge railway. A new line which will pass Pingbian county is currently under construction.
Transport can be slow and busses are often full.
Miao Caihuashan 24 Jan 2023