the Dimen Dong Cultural Eco-museum-- a brief introduction

On December 9, 2004 the Liping County Government approved the creation of the Dimen Dong Cultural Eco-museum, which opened formally on January 8, 2005. The first Chinese eco-museum ever administrated by the private sector, the Dimen Eco-museum consists of several constituents, including a Community Cultural Center, several thematic museums, and a research archive.

The Dimen Dong Village is the hub of the surrounding area, including 15 villages and 46 clans, stretching over an area of more than 172 square kilometers with more than 15,000 inhabitants. The Eco-museum-- core cultural preservation area includes the villages of Dimen, Ladong and Dengqin. The Community Culture Research Center is based in Dimen.

The Eco-museum-- cultural communities are committed to preserving indigenous Dong culture. Tangible cultural assets include drum towers, flower bridges, grain storages, archaic wells and walkways, and traditional housing, as well as botanical treasures such as the near-extinct Chinese Yew tree. Intangible assets include Dong folksong and opera, traditional papermaking and cookery, as well as textile weaving, dyeing and embroidering.

The mission of the Eco-museum is to foster the preservation, inheritance and development of indigenous cultures in their existing location, with active participation in the communities?economy and welfare being a fundamental principle. Local inhabitants and representatives participate in all levels of the Eco-museum's management from the planning stage to the present.

The Community Culture Research Center

The Community Culture Research Center is a platform for researchers and enthusiasts of many disciplines to study, learn, interact, and exchange research topics, including Dong cultural ecology, language, music, and traditional crafts. The Center regularly invites scholars and researchers to conduct fieldwork and is ready to provide support to researchers and visitors interested in the Dong culture.

The Research Centre comprises of the following components:

                a. Cultural Verandah: (This is the long structure in the photo) In the cultural
                    verandah, the ethnic production and arts and crafts tools( for example:
                    cotton spinning wheels, looms, oil pressing setups paper-making setups
                    etc are collected and displayed. Local people are invited and retained by
                    the Centre to demonstrate how to use these machines on a regular basis
                    and goods produced are collected by the Centre.

                b. The Centre has a reception area where basic office appliances, A/V
                    equipments and communication facilities are available. Internet
                    connection is also avaiable in the reception area.

                c. The Centre has a big multi-function hall which can be used as a dining
                    room, a meeting hall or performance hall which can accommodate more
                    than 100 persons easily.

                d. The Centre can provide accommodation to a maximum of around 60
                    visitors. The Centre usually will not entertain outside tourists or visitors
                    and only researchers and educational groups with advance arrangements
                    will be served. The Centre will take every precaution to avoid turning the
                    village into a mass tourists spot. The Centre will advise visitors the proper
                    codes of conduct in the eco-museum.

Dimen is pretty cool in the summer and a bit cold in the winter. The maximum temperature in summer is around 30íŠ ( usually between 25-28íŠ ) and at night, the temperature will drop to around 18-20íŠ. Therefore, there are no air-conditioning and electric fans in the village. In the winter, the temperature is usually between 3-15íŠ. Sometimes, it snows----when the Centre was opened formally early January, 2005, it snowed. The lowest temperature is around -3
to -5íŠ . Electric heaters will be used in really cold weather.

From Hong Kong, the standard route to Guiyang is: HK --- Shenzhen Airport ( by ferry or by car ), then take the flight from Shenzhen to Guiyang ( the Capital City of Guizhou Province, Monday-Sunday, many flights everyday ) or you can take the direct flight from Hong Kong to Guiyang ( Hong Kong Express: every Monday, Wednesday and Friday ; Air China: every Tuesday and Friday . All flights are in the late afternoon. ) From Guiyang to Dimen, you can either travel by car ( a road trip of about 8 hours ---- rather tiring, but good scenery and can see this part of Guizhou in close-up ) or you can take the flight from Guiyang to Liping ( one flight per day, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday around noon, flight delay and cancellation rate rather high, not reliable most of the time ) and then take a two-hour or so car trip from Liping Airport to Dimen.

If we depart very early in the morning in HK, take the morning flight from SZ to GY, arrive GY around 1130, then hit the road immediately, we'll arrive Dimen around 7-8 pm. The alternative is to make the right connecting schedule, take the flight from GY to Liping ( usually in the afternoon, the flight is only about 30-40 minutes ), we'll arrive Dimen before 5 pm.

Virtually every visitor loves the food in Dimen, and if you can take spicy food, you'll enjoy even more. Basically all the meat, vegetable, rice are grown in the village, wild vegetables are abound and taste very good.

The Centre will charge a fee of RMB600/USD90 per person per day. A special discount rate of RMB300/USD45 is offered to students and educational institutions.

This charge will include accommodation, food, using the facilities in the Centre ( except telephone charges ), interpretation and other support services provided by the Centre/ Museum staff ( for example, arranging visits and as guides ).