Bama Yao Ethnic Autonomous County
- Location: Northwest Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Three and a half hours' drive from the capital city of Nanning, or ten hours' drive from Guilin.
- Population: 240,000
- Ethnic Groups: Altogether 12 including Yao, Zhuang and Miao
- Feature: Natural scenery, ethnic communities and 'Longevity Village'
Bama is a small county located in the southwest of China. The population of Bama is about 240,000 but more than 80 people who live in this small city are over 100 years old, and now the number continues to grow. It is one of five "longevity villages" in China where there are over 75 centenarians to every million people. This is a standard set by the United Nations. Visitor can get there by flying from Guilin or Guangzhou to Baise City and then a 1.5 hour drive to Bama.
The village with the greatest number of elderly people is Pingan village which is about 40 minutes drive from Bama. Pingan village is surrounded by green hills and the with clear Panyang River flows through the village. The karst geography is as beautiful as Guilin which is famous for its nature landscape. Pingan Village has 560 villagers with more than 30 of an age of 80 or more. Seven are 100 or more. We visited a number of them while we were in Pingan village.
The first house we visited belongs to Huang Ma Song Mei, who is 106 years old. It is in winter time and quite cold and we found Huang Makun was sitting in her house nursing a fire to keep her warm. Her family runs a guesthouse so her 77 year old son and grandchildren are take care of the business. The old lady still like to do some housework.
Nearby Huang Ma Song Mei’s house another elderly resident named Huang Magan live with her family. Her family runs a small shop in the village. Huang Magan is 103 years old. She likes to make textiles with the old machine in her house. Some of her clothes are sold in shop. She has her own “designer label”. She still has great hearing and like a chat. She even helps her granddaughter to make porridge for the baby.
Of the seven centenarians, only one is man. His name is Huang Bu xin and he is 110 years old. This old man took part in the revolutionary movement when he was young. He often recalls the old days. His family members span five generations and his son is over 80 years old. Many people visit him each day.
Why there are so many people that who live such life in Pingan Village? Are there some amazing secrets? Many scientists have visited over the years to try to find the answer but this is the local people’s discoveries and conclusions. Bama and its villages are in remote a area with few factories or pollution. The river flows through a karst landscape and therefore the water is rich in calcium carbonate and as a PH value of between 7.2 and 8.5. Weak alkaline ionized water can help maintain the acid-base balance of blood and bodily fluids makes the body more effective in resisting bacteria, viruses, inflammation and disease.
Many people come here to collect the spring water. The air in the area is clean. The negative oxygen ions are per 3000 cubic centimeter along the river side which is 10 times the average value in big cities.
The earth’s magnetism is 0.58 gauss which is twice the ordinary value. It is believed that an appropriate geomagnetic environment is will good for blood circulation and encourages a low rate of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and the electromagnetic waves bring a better quality of sleep. The people of the area do mostly labor intensive work while their food is quite simple and vegetables are a large part of the diet. Their simple life is quiet and stress free.
Each year, many people visit to bama and stay for a while in the hope of becoming more healthy and prolonging their life. The elderly people are like a living history book and are living treasures. Contact us for a tour to Bama and discover the miracle of life.
Questions and Answers About Bama Yao Ethnic Autonomous County
I updated this article on December 13, 2012
See all my travel articles