那卡 Naka 那卡

Written by William le 06 february 2012



Naka is a famous Lahu village, but few people now exactly where it is located. It is quite a remote place which is not indicated on all maps. It lies on the northern end of Mengsong, between Menghai and Jinghong, not far from the highest peak in Xishuangbanna,

The rooftop of Xishuangbanna

Paddy fields on the plateau

The poorly maintained road makes this village isolated when the weather is bad. The closest town is one hour away by motorbike. As in many Lahu villages, the place is very preserved and most of the people can't speak mandarin.


Nonetheless, Naka is a really piece of heaven, the air is pure and the landscape is just amazing. Because of the higher altitude (1800-2000m), the environment different from most parts of Xishuangbanna and the air is cool. The village itself is on the mountain slope, surrounded by tea gardens.


Half of the tea fields consist in big, old trees. In those ancient tea gardens, the trees are highly concentated, like one could see in Hekai or Banzhang areas. They form a real labyrinth of slowly growth wood. The biodiversity looks low inside the tea fields but those are planted close to a dense forest. The lack of competition with other plants and the direct sunlight are favorable to leaf production.




Downhill, belowe the village, older and younger plantations grow slowly. The ''Taidi Cha'' from this area is sold more expensive than the average because it grows at a high altitude. Altitude is important because it changes the way plants are exposed to the sun, when the cloud layer is low the tea trees receive direct sunlight, when they are in the clouds, the humidity is much higher. A common tea proverb says: high and misty mountains give good tea (高山云雾出好茶).

A tea plantation 10 km away from Naka: high altitude and high biodiversity


In the tea markets, many cakes stamped ''Naka'' are sold. Since this village is getting popular, Naka tends to be a typical name given to any tea coming from the north of Menghai, with this ,characteristic, high fragrance and a dry mouth feeling. Many mountain ranges have their famous village from which every cake is named after: Lao Banzhang for Bulang Shan, Bingdao for Mengku, Banpo for Nannuo Shan... and Naka for Mengsong.


The Naka tea I drank in the village was quite bitter, a very short lasting bitterness tht could recall Mangjing or Lao Man E tea. This bitterness was coupled with the typical aroma of the Mengsong area and backed up by a deep huigan. It was one of the best tea I've ever had, while sitting around a fire, during a serious thunderstorm.


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