"Menghan or Galanba" Menghan by mke1963
Menghan Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 88 photos
There isn't much of China beyond Galanba, other than a last range of hills before the Myanmar border.
The mighty Mekong sluggishly skirts a big, rich, fertile olive-shaped plain and Galanba - or Menghan - sits at the river's edge, presiding over the old ferry that crosses the river here.
Galanba is barely an hour's drive from Jinghong but few visitors come down here. Most people only see Menghan's beauty from the sky as their Boeing 737 turns steeply over the town on the final approach to Jinghong airport.
The Mekong here is wide and slow, and mango trees and bamboo forest line the banks. This is a river that can rise and fall dramatically during the seasons, and like most towns and villages, the houses and streets are built well back from the water's edge.
Upstream, a gleaming pagoda can be seen (not visited), glittering gold in the sunshine. Nearby, a row of rotting pleasure cruisers lie by the bank, testament to inappropriate earlier tourism investment. Nice idea, but inevitably the China syndrome (lack of marketing; lack of maintenance) kicked in and the tourists never arrived.
Galanba is small but very busy, being the focal point for cross-river trade in these parts. The busy market is teeming and there are plenty of shops and restaurants.
The town felt more Laotian or South East Asian than any I have visited in China and the town had a relaxed, carefree feel to it. Buddhism is clearly a much stronger influence on lives here than in any other town - even Menglun nearby.
There are villages on the west bank of the river to discover and explore - mainly flowery-belt Dai. These isolated communities are welcoming, especially if you bring children! (Review of river trip written up in Jinghong pages)
Menglun is east of here, one hour by bus through some beautiful countryside.
- Pros:Beautiful riverside setting; access to many places
- Cons:Limited facilities
- In a nutshell:Beautiful!
The indoor market at Menghan stretches between two parallel north-south streets. Plenty of fruit and vegetables to take... more travel advice
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