Visiting Yunnan is an unforgettable experience. If you have never considered setting foot on its soil, you’re sure missing out. It’s often viewed as the most diverse provinces in all of China; featuring impressive landscapes and its huge melting pot of diverse ethnic groups. Without question Yunnan is one of the trendiest tourist destinations in China. The Yunnan Province lies on China’s southwestern border. To the west lies Myanmar; to the south, Laos; to the southeast, Vietnam.
The name nan of Yunnan means “south” while the Yun of Yunnan refers to the Yun Ling Mountains. Another saying is that Yunnan means “south of the clouds (Yun).” The capital city is Kunming boasts a population of over 6,626,000. Other cities like Lijiang, Dali, and Shangri-la are also well-known tourism cities in Yunnan and China. There are 8 cities and 8 ethnic groups autonomous prefectures under jurisdiction.
Yunnan is often seen as the parenting province to Chinese civilization. The Yuanmo People in Yunnan of 1.7 million years ago were the earliest recorded humans to have lived in China and Asia. Yunnan was the territory of State Dian in ancient times. It eventually turned into Nanzhao during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and Dali in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Yunnan Xingzhong Administration was established in the region in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and Yunnan Province was formally proclaimed here in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), which remained unchanged until now.
Among China’s 55 ethnic minorities, 51 of which can be found in Yunnan Province. There are 15 ethnic minorities that are indigenous to Yunnan Province. These include the Bai, Blang, Dai, De’ang, Drung, Hani, Jingpo, Jinuo, Lahu, Lisu, Naxi, Nu, Wa, Pumi, and Yi. Of the province’s 51 ethnic minorities, four of them have a population that exceeds one million: the Dai, the Hani, the Yi and the Zhuang.
Yunnan abounds in resources and, as a result, offers many delicacies with distinct local flavor. Yunnan Guoqiao Mixian Banquet offers Yunnan specialties prepared with the traditional method, which is both tasty and rich in nutrition. Yunnan Steam Pot Chicken is a traditional dish cooked with steam pot, which has been used for cooking purposes in Yunnan since ancient times. Minority cuisine, such as fish cooked in casserole of Bai nationality in Dali and chicken with lemongrass in Xishuangbanna is all very delicious.
Yunnan has many tourist attractions. Kunming has been designated as one of the first of leading historical and cultural cities for being known as a key tourist city. Situated about 120 kilometers southeast of Kunming, the Stone Forest is also known as the Lunan Stone Forest. Here is where you can find thousands of stone peaks reaching into the sky, and often touted as the “most spectacular view in China.”
If you’re looking for romance, visit Lijiang, a romantic city famous for its Lijiang Ancient Town and Yulong Snow Mountain. The local ethnic group Naxi people created vibrant and mysterious cultures. When we speak of Dali, people often think of Three Pagodas and Er’hai Lake.
Far from the urban area, Dali is surrounded by original landscape. Shangri-la, the idyllic place in Chinese people’s mind attracts visitors from home and abroad. The ancient town, natural beauties, Buddhism culture are making it a tourist gem within Yunnan.
A part from the urban area, Dali is surrounded by traditional landscapes. Shangri-la, the idyllic place in the eyes of the Chinese, and it attracts visitors from home and abroad. The ancient town, natural beauties, Buddhism culture are making it a crown jewel within Yunnan.
THINGS TO DO IN YUNNAN
Kunming Stone Forest
It has been one of the most famous scenic spots in China, at least since the Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644 A.D. It was formed by karst two million to thirty million years ago. It consists of peaks, pillars, stalagmites, depressions, underground rivers, and caves.
Dali Ancient Town
The history of Dali dates back to the Ming Dynasty and it has been listed among the top historic cities of China. There are many significant attractions near the old town, such as, Erhai Lake, Three Pagodas, and Shaxi Historical Village to just to name a few gems.
Lijiang Ancient Town
First built in 1126 in the late Song Dynasty, the Lijiang Ancient Town was listed as a national historical treasure and cultural city in 1986. There are many fetching attractions in the area, like, Shuhe Ancient Town, Baisha Frescoes, Jade Dragon and Snow Mountain.
This lake is protected from the hustle and bustle of urban life. It was regarded as the Plateau Pearl for its pure and virgin landscape as well as being famous for its fabled vision, a special and truly magical place.
Tiger Leaping Gorges
At a depth of about 3790 meters (12,434 feet) from the river to the mountain peak, the Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest and most unbelievable river canyons in the world. According to legend, a tiger leaped over the gorge to rapidly escape from hunters who had ran after it — the rest is history.
The Ganden Sumtsenling Monaster
It is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located 5 kilometers from the city of Zhongdian at elevation 3380 meters (11,090 ft) in Yunnan province, China. It was built in 1679, as the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province. Sometimes it is referred to as the Little Potala Palace.
Yuanyang Terraced Fields
One thousand years ago, Yuanyang terraced fields were sculpted by bare hands by the Hani people, transforming a barren valley into an affluent Eden. The 1000 meter mountain slopes of terraces is still in use today, claiming to be the world’s most spectacular and extensive terraces.
Hongwan Village Fire Sacrifice Festival
Located in the Red lake county of Yunnan Province, the Hongwan Village Fire Sacrifice Festival takes place every year. In the festival, you can watch locals with dramatically painted bodies performing dances re-enacting the day they first discovered fire — a special treat for anyone looking for an experience to remember.
Dongchuan Red Earth
Adored by many photographers and backpackers and often praised as “God’s palette,” Dongchuan’s Red Earth is one of the most unbelievable sights on God’s green planet. Here is where you can find red earth extending for almost 30 miles; making it the most noticeable and distinctive in the world.
The Clay Forest in Yuanmou
Often reviewed as a wonderland of clay formations, the Clay Forest of Yuanmou, is located in the Yuanmou County, 32 kilometers away from the downtown. Its scenic landscape has developed over the past 1.5 million years. Rightly wonderful, made by Mother Nature, this forest of karst landform is a masterpiece.
Meili Snow Mountain
Also called, “Prince Snow Mountain,” it was worshiped as the “holy mountain” by local Tibentans. The Meili Snow Mountain is sometimes called ”the mountain of medicine king” because “Meili” in Tibetan means”the king of medicine.” The best view of these snowy mountains are of course during the golden sunrise.
Luoping Peak Forest
Peaceful as it is easy on the eyes, the Luoping Peak Forest covers 100 square kilometers. The main attraction in Luoping would be the Golden Chicken Peak. In spring, blankets of flowers cover your eyes; in autumn, red sorghum covers the hills. And let’s not forget the loving embrace of the signature Luoping karst landforms.
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