Ruili Travel Guide,Yunnan
Ruili, located in the southwest border of China in the Dehong Prefecture of Yunnan, features a unique natural landscape, rich mineral resources and colorful folklore. Adding to its special location neighboring Myanmar on three sides, the speedy development of Ruili and its modern life style have still not removed its aura of mystery.
Ruili is the birthplace of the Dai ethnic group, a Dai village spans a section of the Sino-Myanmar border line to form a special landscape of "one village, two countries." As Yunnan's most westerly town, Ruili is barely thirty minutes by road from the sober formalities and politely quiet cross-border sneaking at Wanding, but infinitely distant in spirit.
Once the capital of the Mengmao Dai Kingdom but now an ostentatious boom town, Ruili revels in the possibilities of its proximity to Burma - 5km south over the Shweli - with such a heavy flow of illegal traffic pouring over the dozens of crossing points to Mu Se, its Burmese counterpart, that locals quip "feed a chicken in China and you get an egg in Burma".
Nongdaobingmao Por is an important trading point in Ruili along China's southwestern border leading to Myanmar, India and Nepal. The frontier trade and tourism are developed speedily in Ruili now. Though things along the Burmese side have tightened up considerably in recent years, trade is very much a two-way affair, and Ruili is the main channel for Burmese heroin entering China, reflected in the town's high incidence of addicts and AIDS patients.
Burmese, Pakistani and Bangladeshi wander around in sarongs and thongs, clocks are often set to Rangoon time, markets display foreign trade goods and most Chinese in town are tourists, attracted by the chance to pick up some cut-price trinkets and the decadent thrills of commercial sex and night-long karaoke sessions.
"Wangding" means "the Place Where the Sun Shines Directly'' in Dai language. With a population of 10,000, it was the smallest town at the county level in China. Bordering on Burma in the south, separated only by a river from Jiugu, an important town in the north of Burma and has a boundary line of over 28km.
Wanding was a key point on the Southwest Silk Route. In 1938, theYunnan - Burma Road was open to traffic, and Wanding was the terminal stop in China. During the Anti-Japanese War, the Japanese army blocked all other ports in China. Wanding became the only international passageway on land, through which many military supplies were carried to the interior of the country, making great contribution to the war.
Wanding Bridge, cross over the Wanding River in the south of the town, is a bridge over the boundary river between China and Burma. A customs house and a frontier inspection station are set up on the bridge.
Tiger-Jumping Rocks & Water Dropping Cave in Yingjiang
Situated at the foot of the mountains at the edge of the Yingjiang Basin and 34km southwest of Ruili. Two huge rocks, like two half-opened gates, block the Daying River, whose upper section is flowing smoothly. The distance between the two rocks is only 7.3m, where a tiger can jump from one rock to another. As the river suddenly narrows down here, the currents become swift, with huge waves rolling as powerfully as thunderbolts. There is a saying that you can't boast of having been to Yingjiang unless you have been to the Tiger Jumping Rocks. After flowing 500m further, the water is completely blocked by a precipice, where the Daying River has been devoured by a small cave and only the roaring of the water can be heard. Through the cave, the water pours roaring down the rocky banks, where waterfalls are gushing over the edge of the precipice and form a magnificent rainbow in the sun.
Jiele Golden Pagoda
5km east along the Mangshi road is the 200-year-old Jiele Jin Ta at Jiele Village, a group of seventeen portly Dai pagodas painted gold and said to house several of Buddha's bones. It is honored as the first Buddhist pagoda in Dehong, enjoying the same prestige as Mandele Buddhist Pagoda in Burma, one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in Southeast Asia. On important occasions such as the Water Splashing Festival, there will be three-day Buddhist services for contributions and prayers. Nearby are some open-air hot springs where you can wash away various ailments. The same distance south takes you past the less expansive Jinya Ta (Golden Duck Pagoda) to the busy bridge over the Shweli River into Burma, though apart from the volume of traffic, there's little to see.
Heading west along the road from Jinya Ta, another 5km brings you to a small bridge with the region's largest Buddhist temple, the nicely decorated Hansha Si, just off to the north. Ten kilometres beyond Hansha Si is the town of JIEXIANG and the splendid Tang-era Leizhuang Xiang , where the low square hall of a nunnery is dominated by a huge central pagoda and four corner towers, all in white. Another fine temple with typical Dai touches, such as "fiery" wooden eave decorations, Denghannong Si , is farther west again, and though the current halls were built only during the Qing dynasty, the site is said to mark where Buddha once stopped to preach. Beyond Denghannong, about 25km in all from Ruili, NONGDAO XIANG is a nice place to spend the evening chatting to locals. There's a hostel (up to Y30) next to the post office, and the town is surrounded by Dai communities.
- Ruili Border Trade Street & Jiegao Border Trade Port
Ruili is the largest land port in China with an area of 175sqkm. There are 54 boundary tablets and 28 passageways to Burma along the 114km borderline. The area is characterized by "One Basin, Two Countries and Three Towns". Beautiful scenery, rich ethnic cultures, prosperous border trade streets, China-Burma Street, peaceful and mysterious border areas and exotic cultures form spectacular pictures. Ruili is an important passageway connecting China and the Southeast Asian countries. It is also a national port town open to other countries and leads to Mujie, a national port of Burma. It is a convenient and economical international passageway.Ruili Border Trade Street is located at the northwestern end of the town with an area of 32sqkm, coming into use in 1989.
"Jiegao" is a Dai word, meaning "the old town". Lying 4km from Ruili, it is the only part of Ruili on the southeastern bank of the Ruili River. During the WWII, American planes frequently came here, carrying military supplies. In 1987 Jiegao became an important port where bilateral trade could be done. In 1991, "Jiegao Border Trade Economic Zone" was set up. China and Burma have built China-Burma Street, which is now filled with stores and shops. Since 1992 the imports and exports from Jiegao have accounted for 50-60% of the total imp/exp of the border trade in the province. Jiegao Bridge across the Ruili River links Ruili with Jiegao. The bridge is now the longest road bridge in Yunnan and on the boundary line in the Southwest of China.
Getting there & away
Ruili has dailly flight connetctions with Kunming(50 minutes) via Mangshi Airport/芒市机场, which is a 2hr drive away. Mini buses run between the airport and the Yunnan Airlines Office at Renmin Lu,Ruilin.
From Tengchong to Ruili - 230km, 5~6hrs, minibus departing from 7:30am till 1:20pm, around Y40.(as of Jan.2007)
There are 2 bus stations in Ruili, the long-distance bus station in the center of town and the north bus station at the top of Jiegang Lu. Minibus run from Ruili long-distance bus station to Mangshi from 7am to 7:30pm fro around Y20. For loca destinations, minibuses and vans leave from the minibus station nearby the jade market, or you can just flag one beside the street.
To Myanmar - to cross China into Myanmar, you need have the right visa and travel permits, and be part of the an official "group". The group, which might consisit of only yourself, will be escorted from Jiegao in Ruili to Hsipaw in Myanmar, an 8-hour drive from the border.
Ruili is a small town which can be measured by foot. A taxi ride within the town is Y5, out of town price is negotiable. Bicycle rental available in some hostels, Y10-15/day, deposit needed is you are not staying in the hotel.
Choices of budget hotel in Ruili, price ranges from Y50~60/room, or Y15~30/bed. Check a few before you decide.
Limin Biguan - located in Nanmao Jie, Y15/dorm, Y50~80/dbl
Nanyang Binguan - Nanmao Jie, Tel.0692-414 1768, in the centre of the town, with great new dbl rooms.
Menglongsha Binguan - Located in the middle section of Ruihong Lu, Tel.0692-4142979. Y60/std. dbl, Y15~20/dorm.
The mobile stalls around the market on Xingshi Jie serve fine grilled meats, hotpots, soups and buns, and you'll also come across some Burmese delicacies. Try moongsee joh, a sandwich made from purple glutinous rice pancakes heated over a grill until they puff up, and spread with sugar and peanut powder.
Another similar confection involves bamboo tubes stuffed with pleasantly bland, sweetened rice jelly, while niezi binfang is a thoroughly Southeast Asian drink made from sago, coconut jelly, condensed milk, sugar, crushed ice and water - quite refreshing on a hot day.
Hotel restaurants have good Chinese fare, but since you're here, try the Burmese cafés , which you'll find both north of the roundabout on Jiegang Lu, and hidden away at the eastern end of the Xingshe Jie market. They don't look much, but can produce a platter of a half-dozen small pots of tasty pickles, curry and dhal, and also sell samosas, plain cakes and tea. If you can't find English speakers to help, try ordering using the box above.