Stuck in the deep west of Yunnan province surrounded on three sides by Myanmar, the Dehong Autonomous Prefecture has been thriving off trade with Myanmar since the border opened up in 1990.
Visitors to the region are able to buy some of the cheapest jewels and jade wares in the world. Many domestic travelers come here specifically to get first dibs on goods coming in from India, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. Many business-savy visitors extend their stays in order to set up their own businesses.
Dehong's population is half Han Chinese and half minorities, mainly Jingpo and Dai. The Burmese minority, which are employed mainly in border trade, are readily visible in their national dress of traditional sarongs.
The highlights of the area are Hinayana Buddist temples, sprawling kilometers of Banyan trees, pagodas, the subtropical natural scenery, minority culture and border trade.
The border town of Ruili (whose name means "fortunate" and "beautiful") is starting clean up its reputation of drugs and prostitution. Some predict the town to become the next big destination in Yunnan for travelers.
Browsing the markets in Ruili, you will come across some Burmese stallholders. During the political unrest in Rangoon in 1988 and 1991, these Muslims fled religious persecution by taking refuge in China and never left.
One notable aspect of Dehong is the existence of so many border crossings that you need to be careful to not cross by accident.