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 Bama Yao Ethnic Autonomous County

Bama Yao Ethnic Autonomous County

Written by Candice SongUpdated Sep. 3, 2021

Bama is a small but famous county in the south of China. The population of Bama is about 240,000 with more than 80 residents over the age of 100. The standard set by the United Nations for outstanding longevity is over 75 centenarians to every 1 million people. It has one of the top five longevity villages in China.  

Quick Facts:

  • Location: northwest Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, 3½ hours' drive from the capital city of Nanning or 10 hours' drive from Guilin.
  • Population: 240,000
  • Ethnic Groups: altogether 12 including Yao, Zhuang and Miao
  • Feature: natural scenery, ethnic communities and 'Longevity Village'

Ping'an Village in Bama

An Old Woman From The Village Of Longevity In Bama Yao Autonomous CountyAn old woman from the village of Longevity in Bama Yao Autonomous County

The first house we visited belongs to Huang Ma Song Mei, who is 106 years old. It was during the winter time and quite cold and we found Huang sitting in her house nursing a fire to keep warm. Her family runs a guesthouse with her 77 year old son and grandchildren taking care of the business. Despite her age, the old lady still enjoys doing housework from time to time.

Near Huang Ma Song Mei’s house another elderly resident resides named Huang Magan who lives 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”. Despite being 103, she still has great hearing and likes to chat. She even helps her granddaughter make porridge for the baby.

Of the seven centenarians, only one is a 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.

This brings us to the inevitable question: Why are there are so many people that live such a long life span in Pingan Village? Many scientists have visited over the years to try to find the answer but the local people have concluded that the reason is that Bama and its villages are in a remote area with few factories or pollution. 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.

Check out our Bama video for more information.

Bama's Karst Caves and Underground Rivers

Karst Cave In BamaKarst cave in Bama

Baimo Cave and Bainiao Grotto are two nearby scenic areas with plenty to see and explore. Both sights can be easily reach by boat. Many people come here to drink and bathe the spring water, which is filled with healthy minerals. The river flows through a karst landscape and therefore the water is rich in calcium carbonate with a PH value between 7.2 and 8.5. Weak alkaline ionized water can help make the body more effective in resisting bacteria, viruses, inflammation and disease. The air in Bama is also quite clean compared to other Chinese cities.

Bama Food

By simply walking around the county and exploring the different stores and restaurants, you will get a taste of authentic Bama cuisine. The Bama specialties include hemp, yellow corn, sweet pig, as well as oil fish and mineral water fresh from the Panyang River.

Bama Accommodation

Huayu Holiday Hotel: A hidden gem in the small city, this particular hotel is comfortable, clean and modernized with a view of the mountains from your room. There are also certain rooms that have a jacuzzi that is available upon request.

Wuming Guesthouse: For those who are searching for something a little more budget friendly, this hotel would be the ideal option. The rooms are quaint, yet decadent and feature all of the amenities needed. The hotel features both a bar and restaurant to liven up your Bama experience.

How to Get There

Visitors can get to Bama by flying from Guangzhou to Baise City and then driving for about 1.5 hours. Another good way to get to Bama is by high-speed rail (HSR). 

  • From Guilin to Baise it takes about 4 hours by HSR and costs approximately ¥200. However, if you prefer to fly it takes approximately 1 hour and costs ¥400. 
  • From Kunming to Baise it takes about 3 hours by HSR and costs ¥180. 

Once arriving in Baise, you can take the local bus to Bama which is about 75 miles away. The buses arrive frequently between the hours of 06:10–20:00.

Nearby Guilin

Center Of GuilinTwin-tower Fir Lake in the center of Guilin

Since Guilin is near Bama, combining the two would make for an enriching experience. Similar to Bama, Guilin is known for its majestic karst landscapes and enticing rivers, as well as ethnic minority culture. 

One of the best ways to enjoy the karst landscape is by taking a cruise on the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo. The river is like a green ribbon winding among the green peaks, along which pinnacles, bamboo forests, caves, and fishing villages which are scattered.

Unlike Bama, Guilin offers visitors the chance to visit unique karst hills such as Elephant Trunk Hill, a spot overlooking the entire city of Guilin and its rivers, and the terraced rice fields of Longsheng. For more fun ideas, check out The Top 8 Things to Do in Guilin.

Visting Bama with Us

Red Yao Woman Meets Foreign Tourists In Longji, GuilinWe can help you meet the long-haired Yao at the Longji Rice Terraces in Guilin, as well as the long-lived Yao in Bama.

Each year, many people visit Bama and stay for a while with the hope of becoming healthier and prolonging their life. The elderly people are like a living history book and are living treasures. Our experts can help you get the most from your tour. We arrange hotels, activities, transport, and food that suit your personal style and requirements.

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