Laomeng Sunday Market in Jinping County, Honghe
About Going to Market
Going to the market is one of the few recreations that people in the remote countryside. All over China in the rural areas where there are significant numbers of minorities, Market Days (赶集) are important days indeed. Minorities from all around the villages where the Market Day is held will flood into the village, both to buy as well as to sell all sorts of things.
Market Days are significant events in the weekly calendar of most minorities. It is an occasion for some to earn something extra by selling excesses from their farms; for others it is their weekly shopping experience. However more significantly, it is a major social event in their calendar. Most minorities, especially the ladies will dress up in their best and most colorful traditional dresses to go to the market. It is an opportunity for them to meet and to exchange news and gossip with others.
Why is Laomeng Sunday Market So Special?
In Jinping County of Yunnan Province, China, fascinating ethnic minority market can be seen in all its glory once a week at the Sunday Laomeng Market(老猛赶集). Laomeng(老猛) holds the most flamboyant market every Sunday. One can see people from six different ethnic minorities, with women and children dressing up in colorful dresses, different in their own traditional style. Market Days are great opportunities to see the various minorities in their traditional dresses.
Features of Laomeng Sunday Market
1. Laomeng Market is well worth the journey, a very flamboyant place with a variety of different minority groups such as the Hani, the Yao, the Yi and extremely colourful Miao.
2. There are places where one can have a bite to eat but not so much at temporary stalls geared up for the job on the day but at small permanent restaurants that are part of the towns makeup. There are sections selling lovely multi coloured ethnic minority clothes and materials, sections selling fresh fruit and vegetables, metalware and bamboo items.
3. As with other markets in the area Laomeng is no different with regards to it not only being an open air or outdoor supermarket but also a place for socializing.
4. On the whole Laomeng is a fascinating insight into minority groups with their traditional ways of life and preserved cultural habits. The tribal costumes or finery of each different minority group contrast starkly with each other and before long one is able to recognize due to the colour of the cloth, the headdress or ornamentation which group a person belongs to.
The Time of Going to Market
Market Days are normally held on a regular basis in most places. This can be once a week, every 5 days and so on. Laomeng Town holds the market every Sunday. Market Days normally last a whole day. People, especially traders will start arriving at the market from very early in the morning. Throughout the day, there will be people streaming in from all the surrounding villages. Most of these markets do not finish until around 4 pm. The peak of such markets is normally around noon. Shortly after lunch time the market winds down, the hustle and bustle wanes and truckloads of Indigenous peoples can be seen leaving Laomeng with sacks of produce or heavily laden baskets.
How to Get There
Laomeng Town(老勐镇) is far from Kunming, and the way to Laomeng Market may be not so good.
1. Departing from Kunming
There are 6 non-stop buses a day from Kunming East Station to Jinping Bus Terminal. When you are there in Jinping bus terminal, You can take the regular buses to Laomeng Town there, about 3 hours.
Price: 134 CNY, 141 CNY, 148 CNY or 159 CNY
Departure Time: 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00
Distance: 397 kilometers
Consume Time: 5 hours
Tips: The price and time are for reference only, specific with actual condition. More prices and departure time, you can ask for details at bus terminals.
There is no railway station in Jinping County, you can’t reach to Jinping County directly by train. If you want to take train, you are suggested to transfer in Mengzi City.
You will spend about 4 hours on the train from Kunming to Mengzi, then around 4.5 hours from Mengzi to Laomeng Town of Jinping County.
2. Departing from Yuanyang
Departing from Xinjie Town of Yuanyang, there is no railway station, so trains are not available. You can take the bus or chartered bus from Xinjie bus terminal to Laomeng Town, about 2.5 hours.
Accommodation Around Laomeng Market
For accommodation, tourists can go to the county seat of Jinping County or Xinjie Town of Yuanyang County. However, for a better traveling experience, you are suggested to stay in Yuanyang County for overnight. There are a lot of attractions in Yuanyang County, especially the Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces as well as the sunrise and sunset of Rice Terraces. Supporting facilities of tourism in Yuanyang County are relatively complete.
Useful Travel Tips
1. The trick again with Laomeng is to either overnight there the day before the market or travel early from wherever else you might be to get there to see the vividly coloured crowd ‘en masse’ so to speak doing all things indigenous.
2. As with all the other markets in Yunnan Province one has to arrive at Laomeng pretty earlier to make the most of this exceptionally vibrant and colorful affair. The early bird certainly catches the worm or at least some very photogenic scenes and characters if you like photographing.
3. At the market day, there are minorities from surrounding villages going to Laomeng Market. Learn something about these minorities as well as their costumes and culture in advance.