You can even swing across the border from one country to the other
There is a little village southwest of China‘s Yunnan Province where, by simply stepping across a line on the ground, you will have crossed into another country, from China to Myanmar. Or vice versa.
Half-Chinese, half-Myanmar, this unique village divided by the China-Myanmar border has two names. The Chinese territory called Yinjing can be accessed from Ruili City, in China’s Yunnan Province. From Yinjing, look for a yellow line on the ground. Cross it, and you will be in Mangxiu, the Burmese side of the village.
You might need to keep your eyes peeled for the border line, because it is not an elaborately or ceremonially marked border. There are no security guards positioned there. In fact, the line is so simply drawn, it is even defined at some parts of the village by a painted yellow line on a road, a ditch, or some scaffolding. The most noticeable marking of the division is made using colours – the ground at some places is divided by a line, and painted yellow on one side, white on the other. If you’re in the white half, and you’re in Myanmar. Step over to the yellow half, and you’re in China!
The villagers of Yinjing and Mangxiu live in harmony with one another, and the architecture of the area is a testament to their cultural integration. Buddhist temples featuring the Burmese-style gilded golden cone-shaped tip are quite a common sight in the village.
Many of the villagers come from the same ethnic group, the Dai, and so many of them share a common language and common cultural traditions. While the Dai are officially recognised as one of China’s ethnic minorities, they have a shared heritage with the Lao and Thai people, and they live in China, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar. In fact, Myanmar has the largest population of Dai people, followed by China’s Yunnan region. In the mornings, many children from the Burmese half of the village as well as the rest of Myanmar would cross the border to attend school at the Chinese half.
As more and more tourists visit the village, more landmarks have been set up to highlight the unique, almost seamless linking of two nations in a playful way. Some are really interactive, like a swing above the border line – you enter Myanmar when you swing forward, and then you’re back in China in mere seconds as you swing backward. (And vice versa, depending on which direction you are facing.)
More quirky markers include this tree curved right over the border line, thus gaining the name “One Tree Two Nations”:
There’s also a little hut that straddles the border:
One of our favourite landmarks is this double well sitting on the border line. Visitors can stand at the left to draw water from China, and then cross over in just a few steps to get water from Myanmar. Would the water taste different, even if it’s just in your head? You’ll have to visit to find out!