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Beauty compromised, dam the consequences
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Traditional stilted houses are scattered around Bingzhongluo.

Traditional stilted houses are scattered around Bingzhongluo.

It'll take you a 40-minute flight, a 10-hour bus ride and at least a one-night stopover to get from Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, to Bingzhongluo, a small town at the boundary with Tibet autonomous region.

The journey sounds exhausting and you might be wondering if it is advisable to wait for improved transportation.

Be warned: This would be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you'd save yourself the tortuous journey but on the other, you'd also be too late to catch this unspoiled paradise before time catches up with it.

Drastic changes might happen very soon and transform not only the isolated town, but also a region that has been cut through and dominated by the mighty Nujiang (Salween) River.

A series of hydroelectric dams is planned for the country's only great undammed river. Although the mammoth project has been postponed due to heated debates on its negative impact on the local environment and communities, it still looms large over the area.

I had to spend most of my five-day trip to Bingzhongluo in a car but I never got bored of the scenery.

My travel companions and I started at Baoshan, crossed the Nujiang River by the Dongfeng Bridge and headed north along the river and all the way through the spectacular Nujiang River gorge.

The condition of the tar-sealed road was surprisingly good and the beautiful scenery seemed endless.

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