Yunnan · Honghe · Yuanyang
Nansha (Yuanyang Town) 南沙 (元阳乡城)

Once a Dai village, now the new county town.

Nansha, by the Red River, has replaced Yuanyang, about 1700m higher up on the mountains, as Yuanyang’s administrative and commercial centre, mainly because of the lack of water and level land for further urban expansion of the upper town.

Nansha was once, like most valley settlements, a Dai village and despite a growing Han presence the Dai still make up a good part of the population, wearing their dark tunics for the small everyday market in the side roads. In the morning, they bring fresh produce to the small covered market in the central section, while in the roads higher up a number of open-air stalls sell vegetables and everyday items. In the evening a lively night market with plenty of food opens in the centre. Even if there is not much to do, the town has a pleasant atmosphere, enhanced through the funny little electric golf-carts that serve as local busses.

Downstream from Nansha, the road crosses the Red River and enters Gejiu territory and on the southern side of the river there is precious little level ground for agriculture. But upstream, the road passes a number of hotsprings with Dai settlements nearby. A few kilometres from Nansha comes the turnoff for Magai, which attracts many Dai from the valley, but also very colourful Hani, not seen anywhere else, to its market.

Just upstream from Nansha is now one of the massive hydro-power stations along the Red River.

Travel Notes

A hot town with plenty of hotels.