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Home >>> China Travel Guide >>> Yunnan Province

YunNan

     Also called Dian or Yun for short, the southwest Chinese province of Yunnan covers an area of 380,000 square kilometers. During the Warring States period (475bc-221bc),the region

belonged to the State of Dian. In the Tang and Song dynasties, it was under the jurisdiction of the state called Nanzhao and Dali. During the Yuan Dynasty (1271-13680, Yunnan province was founded. The province has a population of 42.88 million, and is the home to 26 ethic peoples including Yi, Bai, Hani, Zhuang, Dai, Miao, Hui, Lahu, and others. The population of minority nationalities makes up one third of that of the province and take up one seventh of that of chinese minority, all these make yunnan a province with most ethnic minority in china. Kunking is the capital city of the

province.  
   Yunnan is situated on the yungui plateau, and mountain areas account for 94 percent of the province’s total land. Its complicated and varied climates make it a best home to thousands of birds, animals and plants, which win it a reputation of “the kingdom of plants and animals”. For the reason of its favorable geographic conditions, yunnan is rich in resources of tourism, countless cultural relics and historical sites. Old town of lijiang and the three parallel rivers are world heritage sites, and kunming, dali and lijiang are all national famous historical and cultural cities. Dianchi lake, stone forest of lunan, xishuang banna, and jade dragon snow mountain are listed as national important scenic resorts. Other attractions are yuantong temple, grand view pavilion, emerald lake park, black dragon pool, site of the world horticultural exposition of kunming, manfeilong pagoda, three pagodas at dali, butterfly spring, cangshan mountain, erhai lake, lugu lake, and so on. Among the original folk festivals held here are the torch festival in lunan, water-splashing festival in olive dam and the third month street fair of dali.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

4Old Town of LiJiang

As a state-level ancient cultural town, lijiang is located in the northwest of yunnan province and covers an area of 3.8 square kilometers. the town has a history of 800 years. at the end of the southern song dynasty (1127 –1279), the Naxi (also spelt Nakhi or Nahi) ethnic group moved here and built the town. The town is famous for its unique layout. The buildings in the town assimilates the architecture styles of Han, Tibetan, Bai and other ethnic

groups, but still hold the traditional natural aesthetics of the Naxi people and their interest in life. Together with the Dongba culture, Naxi ancient music and Baisha fresco, all these are the testimonies of the long and rich traditional culture of the town. In1997, the UNESCO had it inscribed on the list of world heritage.

Kunming

    Kunming is the capital of Yunnan Province and a famous historical and cultural city in the center of Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau about 1,891 meters above sea level. with mild humidity, an average annual temperature of 15 degrees celsius, and flowers blooming in all four seasons, Kuming is called “spring town” by chinese people. As a world –famous tourist resort, kunming holds such major attractions as dianchi lake, west hill, west hill forest park, yunnan ethnic village, grand view pavilion, qiongzhu temple, golden hall, Yuangtong temple, Cuihu park,and the garden of the
World Horticultural Exposition. The 300-square-km Dianchi is Yunnan’s largest alpine lake known as “highland bright pearl” for its vast expanse of liquid silver and graceful scenery. standing by dianchi lake is yunnan ethnic village, a huge congregation of ethnic villages in which visitors are entertained with a diversity of folk singing and dancing and folklore gigs. Dianchi lake itself is surrounded by many scenic attractions, including dianchi national holiday resort, west hill forest park, and grand view pavilion. china’s largest cast-bronze hall is found in Jindian (golden hall)

zone on the camellia-covered Mingfeng mountain to the Northeast of Kunming. In 1999 from may 1st to October 30th, Kunming was the venue of the last international Horticultural Exposition, which was a resounding success. The large group of buildings erected for this exhibition has been converted into the garden of the World Horticultural Exposition, now open as a new tourist attraction to tourists.
 

DaLi

    Located in the northwest yunna province, dali is a famous chinese historical and cultural city and a national scenic zone. A rich heritage could be dated back to the days when the city was the capital of the kingdoms of nanzhao and dali. dali is a major habitat for the ethnic bai people, whose folkways are once time-honored and distinctive. the ancient city of dali was first built during the early ming dynasty; today only two city gate towers are still there. the dwellings of the bai people in the town are in perfect condition, straight streets running from gate to gate with shops on both sides. the three pagodas of the chongshen monaster, standing stately at the foot of cangshan mountain and by erhai lake for more than 1,100 years, have
become the emblem of dali. the pagodas, the mountain and the lake are major tourist attractions of dali. dali’s another attraction is the butterfly spring, where the congregation of thousands of butterflies in the fourth lunar month every year is indeed a feast to the eyes
 

LiJiang Naxi Autonomous County

    Lijiang naxi autonomous county, 200 km away from dali is another famous historical and cultural city, which is proud of the age-old towns, imposing mountains and virtuous folk traditions. Major attractions: ancient dayan town, snow-capped yulong mountain, hutiao gorge on jingsha river, the first bend of the yangtze river, 10,000-flower camellia tree in yufeng temple, and yuqian park. The naxi people, with a venerated history and tradition, are marked for their unique dwelling architecture, dress and living habits, and they are still using one of the few pictographic 

languages in today’s world. listening to the classicalnaxi music is an unforgettable experience. The ancient city of lijiang is located at dayan, lijiang naxi autonomous county and a 1.4-square-km town with an 800-year-old history and 4,000 or so naxi families. the entire county is laid out according to a well-conceived plan. the streets are tidy, the back alleys are tucked away in remote corners, brooks and streams flow through every courtyard, and every courtyard is a captivating garden of trees and flowers. in 1997, dayan was put on the list of world cultural heritage of the unesco. the snow-capped yulong mountain, 15 km north of lijiang, is a national scenic resort and the site of a natural skiing ground open in all four seasons. At an altitude of 5,596 meters above sea level, it is the northern hemisphere’s southernmost mountain with snow all year round. the yangtze river’s first bend is found at shigu town, which is 53 km to the southwest of lijiang. There, the jinsha river, which is the upper reaches of the mighty yangtze, flows from northwest into a mountain cliff, and makes a v-shaped turn before tumbling away to the northeast.

 

XiShuang BanNa

    It takes 50 minutes to fly the 692 km from kuming to jinghong, capital of xishuang banna prefecture in southwest yunnan. there the land is covered with layers upon layers of primitive forests and tropical rain forests, forming what is called as “mid-air park”. For the reason of its favorable climate, it has become a homeland to some 5.000 kinds of tropical plants and hundreds of rare birds and animals. major sights: manfeilong white pagoda, mengang botanical garden, olive dam, wild elephant valley, lushi forest park and so on.

Three Pagodas

    The three pagodas arise at the foot of Cangshan mountain overlooking the Erhai lake. They are also called the three pagodas of saintly worship for their location in front of the former monastery with the same name. Qianxun pagoda, the tallest of the three has 16 tiers and reaches a height of 69.13 meters. it is a close-eaved square brick pagoda built in a style of the tang dynasty (618-907). The two smaller octagonal pagodas, each 42 meters high with 10 tiers, have a luxurious appearance with their exquisite carvings. they were built in the five dynasties (907-960). In 1978 during the renovation works, many precious relics of the tang and song dynasties were discovered in the three pagodas , which make them even more famous.
 

ShangRi-La ----ZhongDian

    Surrounded by snowcapped mountains, the mysterious valleys are lying down on the vast grasslands of the plateau, where the pyramid-looked snowcapped peaks, crystal-blue lakes and the age-old temples, churches, like magnet, never fail to allure visitors and to stir the imagination of the people living in towns.

This is the place named "Shangri-La", the hidden paradise described by James Hilton in his novel Lost Horizon. Zhongdian, with its virgin beauty, like a bright pearl, is located in the "great triangle" of Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibet, as well as the juncture of the three rivers (Nu river, Lancang river and Jinsha river). Apart from its well-preserved natural ecology, Zhongdian also has its unique folkways, which is simple
and unsophisticated in the world.

    For its unique topography, traveling from the Jinsha river toward the land, one can experience the different climates and enjoy different scenery within one day. Just like the local saying goes “there are four season in one day; within 5 kilometers world could be different.” On the way there are also many other attractions, such as the "tiger leaping gorge", one of the world famous canyons, gedan songzan monastery forest, also called small potala palace, the white water platform, which is considered as the origin of dongba culture, the bita sea, a pearl in the plateau and the napa lake, a paradise of crane.

Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas

    Consisting of eight geographical protected areas within the boundaries of the three parallel rivers national park, in the mountainous area of the northwest of yunnan province, the region covers an area of 40,000 square kilometers and features sections of the upper reaches of the three great rivers of asia: the yangtze, mekong and salween –namely, the jinsha, lancang and nu rivers –run roughly parallel about 400 kilometers, north to south, through steep gorges of the hengduan mountains. the region features the magnificent view of the three giant rivers, as well as the cultural interests of various ethnic groups in the area and rich biodiversity. The
three parallel river region boasts rare high mountain landforms and outstanding biodiversity. The number of animal species alone in it accounts for more than 25 % of the nation’s total. meanwhile, it is also a place where 16 ethnic groups are located and that pools many languages, religions and ethnic habits and cultures. although the region only has less than 0,4 % of the total territory of china, it has more than 20 % kinds of advanced plants of the country’s total, therefore the site is an epicenter of chinese biodiversity. It is also one of the richest temperate regions of the world, in terms of biodiversity. In 2003, unesco had the three parallel rivers of yunnan protected areas enlisted on the world heritage list.

ErHai

    Just as its name implies, the erhai (ear lake), a fresh-water lake two kilometers northeast of dali, for the reason of its shape looks like that of an ear, thence it is named. covering 250 square kilometers and an average altitude of 1,966 meters, the blue, rippling lake and the snow-covered mt. Cangshan sitting on the western shore, add radiance and beauty to each other. the scene is, therefore, described as “silver mt. cangshan and jade erhai”.
 

Scenic Lu Gu Lake

    Ninglang county, some 200 km northeast of lijiang, is the site of the lugu lake, where the white clouds dotted blue sky with snow-capped mountains is reflected quiveringly in its crystal clear waters. The place is also the home to an “unusual matriarchal kingdom” –the local mosuo residents still manage to keep their matrilineal tradition very much intact in their daily life, dress, dwellings, marriage, etc.

 

 

Stone Forest

    Covering a total area of 350 square kilometers, the stone forest is a masterpiece of the great nature. Out of a topographical turmoil, the stone forest is made up of a jungle of 100 or so groups of monoliths in various shapes ranging from overhanging cliffs to grotesque boulders. Situated in the shilin autonomous county of the yi nationality, about 84 km southeast of kunming, it consists of seven scenic areas –the big and small stone forests, naigu stone forest, dadieshui waterfall, moon lake, subterranean stone forest in zhiyun cave, and cave of magical wind. thousands of stone peaks and stone pillars, taking in various shapes such as pagodas, spears, animals or human being figures, are scattered here and there. It is reputed as “the most fantastic scenery under heaven”. Apart from the natural spectacle, another allurer to tourists is the inhabitants, the sani people around the stone forest and theirs unique culture, whose peculiar habits and customs never fail to make visitors captivated. Grand celebrations are held during the torch festival, which fall on the 24th day of the 6th lunar month.


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