Panorama Friday: Market Day and Banana Peels in Yunnan, China

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be in the middle of an ethnic minority market in China’s Yunnan Province? Even if you haven’t, we’re going to show you anyway.

360-Degree Panorama: Ethnic Market in Yuanyang, Yunnan

panorama directions

Last night, as we noshed on a dose of dim sum amidst mildly tacky stateside Chinese decor (who knew so many varieties of plastic flowers existed?!), we recalled this market scene from our visit to China. As we gazed around the restaurant, it occurred to us that China is several orders of magnitude more interesting than Chinese restaurants in America might lead you to believe. The scene above serves as just one example that China goes beyond the red lantern and skyscraper narrative.

We took this spherical panoramic photo at the Niujiazhai weekly market near the famous Yuanyang rice fields. As you move inside the image, what do you notice first? The colors of ethnic Hani, Yi and Dai women’s clothes, handmade baskets strapped to their backs, or their various styles of headwear?

Or maybe it’s the deer-in-the-headlights expression of the two boys who did not know what to make of us as we spun around with our camera?


More Stories on Traveling Independently Through China

As for the rest of China, here’s what we saw (forgive us for our use of the word authentic), what we ate (Chinese food in China is such a joy compared to some of the goop served at Chinese restaurants abroad) and the many people we met (China is more diverse than you might imagine) during our three month journey across this rapidly changing country.

And yes, it is possible to travel in China without speaking a lick of Mandarin, see Tibetan culture outside of Tibet proper, survive the pastime of spitting, learn how to pluck the eyebrows off a pig’s face, pick up some dating advice from a place aptly named “Friend-making clubhouse at half-past eight” and become fluent in Chinglish and Pandanese.

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  1. says

    OMG, that panoramic view is absolutely amazing!!! You have to do a post on how to create that. Gosh, I miss China so much now after reading this post.

  2. says

    @Cam: If you already have a DSLR camera, the only additional equipment you really need is a fisheye/wide-angled lens. Glad you enjoyed the image!

    @Andi: We do have a post half-written on how we do this type of panoramic photography, so stay tuned! China is a pretty fascinating place, isn’t it? It was fun to reminisce putting together this post by reading some of our older pieces.

    @Brian: It is pretty great how the accessibility of certain technology allows regular folks like us can put together professionally looking websites, create ebooks and present panoramas like this one. We’ll be sharing soon how non-technical folks can do something similar.

  3. Emily says

    Oh yay! I was with you that day! It was one of my favorite days in China – thanks for the reminder. I have a picture of the woman whose back is to you and is wearing the green head scarf – I thought she was beautiful. I might have to dig it up and send it to you.
    Hope all is well!

  4. says

    @Mitchell: Great to see you here again! The Yunnan and southern regions of China were very interesting due to its diversity and how everything in the rural areas was also being built up and changing quickly. Perhaps you can visit on your next trip.

    @Cornelius: There are a few pieces of software that stitch spherical panoramas together and then you need a “tour” software to embed it like we do on this site. We’ll be writing about this soon…

    @Emily: That was a great day, wasn’t it? Although the rice fields were beautiful, I think I enjoyed the market most. I still remember the activity and feel of the place. That, and those yummy grilled tofu squares dipped in roasted red pepper sauce. Hurts so good…

    Yes, please send us the photo!

  5. says

    That capture of the boys faces is what I first caught and I laughed out loud at their absolutely stunned expressions – what a site you must have been to have garnered that sort of look! :-)

  6. says

    Fantastic photos! China seems like such an interesting place, I hope I’ll soon have the opportunity of going there myself!
    I noticed that you wrote that you are vegetarians, I am too and that is one of the things I have been told would be hard if you go to China, to find vegetarian food. But you didn’t experience that?

  7. says

    @Shannon: Their expressions made me laugh out loud when I first stitched this together – priceless. We got a lot of strange looks when we were in China!

    @Aurora: China is a fascinating place. If you go, make sure you spend time in both the big cities and the countryside. It’s amazing how quickly rural areas are changing as well.

    We ate mostly vegetarian when we were in China and thought it was plentiful, but we are not strict vegetarians (meaning that we were OK with meat-based broth). The availability of greens, vegetables and tofu is plentiful, but you may need to be specific about not cooking them in meat-based products.

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