NuJiang: A Road Trip into Traditional China

Collection with 25 media items created by Teo Butturini

03 Aug 2012 05:00

Pictures from the bus,along the road that follows the NuJiang Valley in Yunnan, China, which is the most remote of the Three Parallel Rivers that make up the homonymous UNESCO reserve.

The NuJiang is a river that springs from the Tibet plateu down to Yunnan, and later on to Myanmar (Burma where its name changes to Salween. Here it marks the border with Thailand and then flows into the Andaman Sea.
It's one of the longest undammed rivers in the world, and it's part of the Three Parallel Rivers reserve, a UNESCO Heritage site that includes also the YangTze River and the Mekong (which chinese name is Cang Lang).
It's one of the places with the richest biodiversity in the world, and it's home of 7 out of the 26 ethnical minorities that live in Yunnan.
Human development and tourism are greatly endangering the area, that is also target of a dam project even bigger than the one realized at the Three Gorges, in the Hubei province.

Here is a series of pictures taken from some of the minibuses that everyday travel up and down the valley, from the bottom town of LiuKu up to BingZhongLuo and QiuNaTong.
The places and the faces of this forgotten valley, a road trip into a traditional China that is slowly disappearing.

Landscape Mudslides Road River Environment East Asia Travel Human Interest Photo Essay Collection Photo Collec... Bus China Road Trip

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NuJiang (2 of 25)
Liuku, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
02 Aug 2012

The Waiting room of the bus station in LiuKu, the town at the bottom of the NuJiang Valley. The small portraits are identification cards of the people working in the station.

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NuJiang (4 of 25)
Nujiang, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
03 Aug 2012

A woman from the DuLong (also Derung) minority, coming back to the valley after a long journey to BeiJing, looks to the river and the morning clouds outisde the bus window.

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NuJiang (3 of 25)
Liuku, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
02 Aug 2012

A view of Liuku, as seen from the window of the mini-bus. The writing on the mountain says : Nù Jiāng Dà Xiá Gǔ (怒江大峡谷) , that means Nu River Grand Canyon.

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NuJiang (16 of 25)
FuGong, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
09 Aug 2012

Minority people outside their shack, as seen along the road of the NuJiang Valley. In these remote areas the minorities aren’t taking any share of the development of the area, but are slowly pushed to the borders of the towns, collecting recyclables.

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NuJiang (18 of 25)
GongShan, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
08 Aug 2012

A shepherd walks his herd along the road of the NuJiang Valley, close to the town of BingZhongLuo. While cattle is quite scarce over there, sheeps, goats, pigs and chickens are very popular among the local people.

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NuJiang (21 of 25)
Fugong, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
09 Aug 2012

Workers jump on the load body of a truck, waiting to go back home for lunch. The working conditions are often extreme in these forgotten towns, with bamboo scaffoldings and men on the edge of the chasm barely tied with a jute rope.

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NuJiang (1 of 25)
GongShan, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
04 Aug 2012

Elderly man behind the counter in the small town of GongShan, Yunnan, China.

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NuJiang (10 of 25)
GongShan, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
05 Aug 2012

Local people living in a traditional wood house with stone tiles roof, right on the bank of the river.

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NuJiang (15 of 25)
Fugong, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
03 Aug 2012

Two kids play outside their house minutes before sunset, as seen from the bus window at stop between Fugong and GongShan.

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NuJiang (9 of 25)
FuGong, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
09 Aug 2012

A street view of the town of FuGong, as seen from a mini-bus. Fugong, at the center of the NuJiang Valley, is one of the main inhabited areas. Above this town the road gets dicey, especially with bad weather, because of the frequent landslides.

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NuJiang (7 of 25)
Fugong, Yunna, China
By Teo Butturini
03 Aug 2012

A sight of the NuJiang Valley's road from inside a mini-bus. The road is quite dangerous, as it's still unfinished and subject to landslides. Here the driver is seen on the dirt while smoking a cigarette and talking with his mobile phone.

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NuJiang (11 of 25)
FuGong, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
03 Aug 2012

Drivers and passengers loading some luggage and other stuff on the roof of a mini-bus, in the courtyard of the bus station in FuGong.

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NuJiang (20 of 25)
Fugong, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
09 Aug 2012

Workers set up the road between Fugong and GongShan, on the banks of the NuJiang River in Yunnan, China. In order to open and enlarge the road these men dig the mountain on one side, and then throw the rocks inside the river, to create a wider base.

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NuJiang (12 of 25)
GongShan, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
05 Aug 2012

A woman and her sons getting aboard one of the mini-buses that travel up and down the NuJiang Valley Road.

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NuJiang (24 of 25)
BingZhongLuo, Yunnan China
By Teo Butturini
05 Aug 2012

A mini-bus driver approaching a bridge on a tributary of the NuJiang River, between the towns of GongShan and BingZhongLuo.

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NuJiang (5 of 7)
Nujiang, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
03 Aug 2012

A group of people from the Lisu minority gathering at a small settlement along the road of the NuJiang Valley, as seen from the window of a mini-bus.

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NuJiang (13 of 25)
GongShan, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
05 Feb 2013

A young boy is waiting on the doorstep, close to the GongShan bus station.

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NuJiang (6 of 25)
Fugong, Ynnan, China
By Teo Butturini
09 Aug 2012

A worker rests on the side of the road in the NuJiang Valley, Yunnan, as seen fro the window of a mini-bus.

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NuJiang (23 of 25)
FuGong, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
09 Aug 2012

A family is eating under the porch of their house, just on the roadside close to FuGong.

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NuJiang (14 of 25)
FuGong,Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
09 Aug 2012

Lisu minority wimen walk on the side of the road after getting down from a mini-bus, heading home.

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NuJiang (8 of 25)
NuJiang, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
09 Aug 2012

A man is repairing the electricity cables close to the road, hanging from a rope above the NuJiang River.

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NuJiang (17 of 25)
Fugong, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
09 Aug 2012

A man is playing pool under a plastic sheet, at a checkpoint on the banks of the NuJiang River. Work is scarce, and it’s not unusual to find men playing cards or pool during some lazy afternoons.

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NuJiang (19 of 25)
BingZhongLuo, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
05 Aug 2012

The socalled “first bend” of the NuJiang River (eventhough this one isn't really the first one), and it's one of the most popular sights. The NuJiang has its source on the QingHai Mountains in Tibet and flows to Burma where its name is Salween.

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NuJiang (25 of 25)
Liuku, Yunnan, China
By Teo Butturini
09 Aug 2012

A tuctuc riding up the road to FuGong at sunset, as seen from the windshield of a mini-bus headed back to LiuKu.