the Turtle

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Nice article. Couple of notes (1) as a general rule, seems to me it would be nice if those who put bombs in the ground in a war they lost should be require to clean them up - rather doubt if the UN or any similar organization will ever have the power to enforce such, or even have the balls to propose it, considering that their sponsors are governments. So the world must wait for tourists.. (2, more practical): better to do 10 hours conscious on the day bus from LP to Vientiane than to try to sleep on it at night. .

Congrats to Jeff for stepping into this exciting new role. I went down and checked out the exhibit as part of a YFBC event. It is well done and interesting, particularly with Jeff onhand to explain the history of each artist and background of each piece. The '1903' development in which the museum is located is not exactly to my taste, what with the international chains like Gap and Starbucks. On the other hand, there are some interesting looking restaurants there, including Gare de la Sud, which was forced to move out of its original location near the city center. Dined there. Pricey, but food quality still quite good.

@Cloudtrapezer Think on it for a while; I'm sure you'll get there.

Yuanyang needs more than one day for sure.

Best time of year is around Spring Festival after the terraces are flooded and before they are planted. You also need a car/van and driver.

Best times of day is dawn and sunset to get light reflecting off the paddies. You only have about 15 minutes with the best light. My experience was mixed. At sunset there was a lot of haze and smoke from farmers burning whatever they had cleaned out of the terraces. The driver showed up late in the morning then insisted on breakfast.

I got my best shots at Dou Yi Cun and Bada at sunrise and the morning.

I was there in 2010 as the lookout platforms were being built. It does get crowded with Chinese tourists who tend to bump and push. I was using two cameras on tripods. People had no problems touching, looking through and moving the camera I wasn't looking through. I was disappointed with my terrace photos.

I spent the daytime hours wandering in markets, streets and alleys. Got many great shot of minzu ladies in their finest 'go to market' dress, kids and some cool old faces. I was pretty much ignored taking people photos. I took over 2500 photos in three days.

@nnoble is right to get off the photo platforms and into the villages and markets. There many minorities, Yi, Hani, Eastern Dai, and others I could not recognize at Sheng Cun.Xiang,

I was told by everyone I know, and a few on this forum I don't know, that any visit longer than a day would be pointless. I stayed three nights this Spring Festival and I tend to make a further trip in future if I can. You could speed around the various sites in a minivan, jump out, take a few snaps and swiftly move onto the next viewing platform. If you can only afford one day, then it would be worth the effort. But unless you get down onto the terraces and into the villages, you've left a lot out. Some people lay on a beach for a week. I would argue that if you think you might like to make the trip to Xinjie, it's got to be worth more than 24 hours.

I lived in Wenshan for a year 2009-2010: Local minority tribes would gather at the town center and play cards, play music, dance, and sell various herbs and vegetables every night. Now living in Lijiang, that no longer happens, it just seemed life was more public then, now people are less inclined to socialize in public.

It is not so much the extra pressure on the environment that global tourism will cause, it is the effects that would occur if birdwatching becomes a more national phenomenon. I have seen the disruption caused by twitchers in the UK. If we multiply the potential for problems by the numbers factor (just look at any tourist site in Yunnan), this does require a lot of serious thought. The thought of a 'Birdline' China is a bit scary.