Lincang Wengding Wa village–China’s last primitive tribe

Wengding Wa Village is a unique cultural treasure located in the southwest of Lincang, Yunnan province, known for preserving the traditional lifestyle of the Wa ethnic group. Below is a travel guide that could be used to introduce visitors to this fascinating destination:

Discover the Enchantment of Wengding Wa Village: China’s Last Primitive Tribe

Introduction to Wengding

Wengding, meaning “connected rivers” in the Wa dialect, is a village that encapsulates the essence of the Wa ethnic group’s culture and heritage. Situated 30 kilometers from the Cangyuan county seat, this village is home to 98 families, totaling around 400 villagers. Wengding Village is renowned for its well-preserved primitive Wa residential architecture and ethnic culture, making it the most authentic ethnic community in the Lincang Municipality of western Yunnan.

The Mystical Climate

The village’s climate is humid with abundant rainfall, contributing to its mystical ambiance with an average of 147 foggy days per year. This misty weather adds a layer of mystery to the village, enhancing the experience of stepping back in time.

The Wa Ethnic Group

Cangyuan is affectionately known as “Ah Wa Shan,” as it is predominantly inhabited by the Wa ethnic members, who are often referred to as the last group in China to transition out of a primitive society.

Traditions and Customs of the Wa People

Wood-drum: From Altar to Stage

The wood-drum is sacred in Wa religious ceremonies, believed to connect directly with the divine. Today, it is a talisman and at the heart of the Wood-drum Dance performed during festivals to celebrate joy and happiness.

Combing: The Wa Youth’s Marriage Custom

Wa youths have a unique courtship tradition where a young man invites his love interest to comb his hair, a gesture that often leads to the exchange of tokens such as combs, towels, or silver jewelry, signifying mutual affection.

Hair-swaying Dance: Grace of Wa Women

The Hair-swaying Dance is a mesmerizing display of Wa women’s beauty and grace. With their traditionally long hair, the women perform this dance in unison, symbolizing their maturity and femininity.

Buffalo-worship: A Peaceful Transition

The ancient and violent head-hunting ritual has been replaced by buffalo-worship, where buffalo heads, symbols of prosperity, are sacrificed instead. This transition reflects the community’s move towards more peaceful customs and is a highlight during significant ceremonies.

Travel Tips for Visiting Wengding Wa Village


The entry fee to the village is 25 yuan per person.

Getting to Wengding

Wengding Village is located in Mengjiao Town, Cangyuan County. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to drive from Cangyuan. The journey to the village is as scenic as the destination itself.


Guest houses are available in Wengding, offering a comfortable stay at reasonable prices and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Best Time to Visit

To fully experience the cultural activities and traditions, plan your visit during local festivals or when the weather is clear to avoid the foggy days that might obscure the village’s beauty.

Visiting Wengding Wa Village is more than just a trip; it’s an opportunity to witness a way of life unchanged for centuries, to learn about the rich traditions of the Wa people, and to appreciate the beauty of a culture that has withstood the test of time.