Yunnan, “Dian” for short, is located in southwest China with Kunming as its provincial capital. Yunnan Province borders Myanmnar, Laos and Vietnam. The Tropic of Cancer crosses the southern part of the province.
Yunnan’s terrain is high in the northwest and low in the southeast with an exceptionally great elevation difference. The main peak of Meili Snow Mountain, the highest point, is at an elevation of 6,740 meters, while the lowest place only 76.4 meters above sea level. Yunnan brings together the natural beauty of all kinds of climatic zones.
The province enjoys rich and diverse climate types. There are seven types of climates, the north tropical climate, south subtropical climate, mid-subtropical climate, north subtropical climate, warm temperate climate, mid-temperate climate and plateau climate.
Yunnan has 5 of China’s 45 world heritage sites, namely, the Old Town of Lijiang, Three Parallel Rivers, Lunan Stone Forest, Chengjiang Fossil Site, and Yunnan Hani Terraced Fields.
Yunnan is the province with the most ethnic groups in China, providing a variety of customs. There are Yi people in the Stone Forest, Bai people in Dali, Naxi people in Lijiang, Dai people in Xishuangbanna, Tibetan people in Diqing, etc. Each ethnic group has its own unique customs.
Yunnan Province comprises 8 prefecture-level cities and 8 ethnic autonomous prefectures, including Kunming, Qujing, Yuxi, Baoshan, Zhaotong, Lijiang, Pu’er, Lincang and Dehong, as well as Nujiang, Deqen, Dali, Chuxiong, Honghe, Wenshan, and Xishuangbanna.
Lijiang is a distant and mysterious place boasting unique attractions such as the pure Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Naxi ancient music, which has been called the “living fossil of Chinese classical music,” and the world’s only “living” Dongba hieroglyphs.
Old Town of Lijiang
Old Town of Lijiang is an ancient town without walls’known as the “Oriental Venice.” In the ancient town, there are blue flagstone roads, small bridges, flowing waters, and well-arranged ancient houses. There is landscape of both the mountain and the water.
Black Dragon Pool Park
In the Black Dragon Pool, water bubbles up out of the stones. Clear springs merge into a pool whose surface is 40,000 square meters wide. The towering Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is reflected in the clear water of the Black Dragon Pool.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
According to Naxi legends, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is an incarnation of God Sanduo, and is a holy mountain. Shanzidou, its main peak, at an altitude of 5,596 meters, is high and precipitous, with a summit that has never yet been reached.
Lugu Lake has fascinating colors and ancient legends. Ancient Mosuo people settled by the lake are the only ethnic group that adopts a system of matriarchy in China, practicing the unique “walking marriage” custom, where “men do not take a wife, and women are not married off.”
Shuhe Ancient Town
In Shuhe Ancient Town, situated near the mountain and by the river, residential buildings are well arranged. It is the home of Naxi ancestors in Lijiang, a well-preserved important market_town on the Ancient Tea Horse Road, and the birthplace of Chieftain Mu.
Lashihai is a highland lake with picturesque scenery, lush forests, and dense flowers and plants. Like a mirror, the lake reflects the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, where hibernating waterfowl rest peacefully, forming the unique atmosphere of the plateau wetland.
First Bay of the Yangtze River
Blocked by Hailuo cliffs, the rolling Yangtze River is forced to make a big V-shaped bend and flow northeast. This bend is the famous first bay of the Yangtze River.
Shangri-La is located on the southeastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, the northern end of the southern section of the Hengduan Mountains, and the outskirts of the “Three Parallel Rivers.” There are unique melting snow-capped mountains, canyons, grasslands, alpine lakes, virgin forests and ethnic customs.
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery
The Ganden Sumtseling Monastery built alongside the mountain adopts a design similar to the Potala Palace in Tibet. Shaped like a castle, it is known as the “Little Potala Palace.”
Napa Lake is a seasonal plateau lake that is flat, surrounded by mountains on three sides. In autumn, hordes of black-necked cranes, bar-headed geese, and white cranes come here to forage and play in the lakeside marsh.
Meili Snow Mountain
Meili Snow Mountain is a place of holy pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhism, first of the eight Tibetan holy mountains. Its main peak, Kawagebo, is a pyramid-shaped snow capped mountain with an altitude of 6,740 meters, commonly known as the “God of Snow-Capped Mountains.” To this day, no one has reached its summit.
World Heritage Sites
Shinlin - Stone Forest Scenic Region
Stone Forest, the Three Gorges, Guilin Landscape and Jilin Rime are known as China’s four natural wonders. The Stone Forest Scenic Region is the world’s largest sword-like karst spectacle, hailed as ” the First Wonder in the World.”
Honghe - Hani Rice Terraces
The Honghe Rani Rice Terraces are an agricultural civilization wonder created by people of all ethnicities, especially the Rani people. According to records, they have a history of over 1,300 years. The terraced fields here are grand in scale, with 40,000 acres within the territory of Yuanyang County alone.
Northwest Yunnan - Three Parallel Rivers
The ” three rivers” of the Jinsha River, the Lancang River and the Nujiang River flow from north to south in parallel for over 170 kilometers, forming a rare wonder in the world of “Three Parallel Rivers.” This is a region with some of the most abundant geological features and biological species in the world.
Kunming is famous both at home and abroad for its nickname “Spring City,” which comes from the fact that it is neither intensely hot in summer nor intensely cold in winter. With a pleasant climate, abundant sunshine, and more sunny days than rainy days, it is a famous tourist city.
Green Lake Park
The Green Lake has a beautiful environment with glittering ripples and green trees. The park is hailed as “the jade in the city.” The east-west dike and north-south dike split the lake into four parts. Every winter black-headed gulls migrate here for hibernation, contributing to the Spring City’s landscape.
Golden Temple Park
In the park, there are verdant mountains and clear waters, beautiful scenery and the stories of Wu Sangui and Chen Yuanyuan. The magnificent Golden Temple is a square building with a wood-like structure, double eaves and multiple pavilions made of pure copper. The most attractive and amazing relic here is the sword of Wu Sangui.
The West Mountains were originally called the Biji Mountains. Seen from afar, they resemble a sleeping Buddha and a girl lying on her back, so they are hailed as the “Lying Buddha Mountains” and “Sleeping Beauty.” In the park, there are rolling peaks and verdant trees，among which Longmen is the place with the best scenery.
Haigeng Park is the best place to have a close view of Dianchi Lake, which is narrow, tranquil, and relaxing. The tall eucalypti, the beautiful West Mountains’reflection in the water, strolling tourists, and children playing with seagulls are all part of this park’s beautiful scenery.
Dali is world-renowned for its beautiful landscapes and ethnic customs. In Dali, the Butterfly Spring, Erhai Lake, the Three Towers in Chongsheng Temple and other attractions are good examples of the town’s attractions.
Dali Ancient Town
Dali Ancient Town.was built in the Ming Dynasty. The simple, tranquil ancient town still preserves the layout of the Ming and Qing dynasties. “Foreigners’Street,” lined with bars and cafes, is undoubtedly the most famous in the town.
The magnificent Cangshan faces Erhai Lake. Nineteen peaks stretch from north to south like a palace for the immortals. All peaks are at an altitude of over 3,500 meters and the highest peak, Malong Peak, is 4,122 meters high.
The clear Erhai Lake boasts a beautiful landscape hidden among the mountains. Boating on the lake, one seems to enter the world of immortals on earth. It is also the birthplace of the ancestors of the Bai civilization and still displays their ancient culture.
Xishuangbanna means “the ideal and magical paradise” in the Dai language. It is world-renowned for its magical rainforest landscape and the ethnic customs found in the region.
Manting Park, located at the triangle formed by the Lancang River and the Liusha River, has beautiful scenery with lush forests. Originally, this was the Imperial Garden of the Dai King. In the park, there is the Vine Area, Tropical Orchid Garden, Peacock Garden Release Lake, Tea Culture Area and other scenic regions as well as a bronze statue of Premier Zhou Enlai.
Mengle Buddhist Temple
Mengle Buddhist Temple w_as built on the former site of the Jingpiao Buddhist Temple by the Dai King Bolong to commemorate the deceased queen Nansha Weibian. The beloved queen was a life-long believer in Buddhism, so the Dai King built this temple to commemorate her and promote the Dharma.
According to legend, Ganlan Sandbar was the place where Sakyamuni preached. It is an oasis of lush forests, with tropical Dai bamboo buildings and water scenery. Visitors can also participate in water-sprinkling activities.
Kunming - Yunnan Ethnic Groups Village
Yunnan Ethnic Groups Village show cases the 26 ethnic minorities of Yunnan, including the Yi, Dai, Jingpo, Wa, Rani, Naxi, etc. Ethnic villages, dance performances and other programs can all be found here.
Xishuangbanna - Dai Park
In Dai Park, there are village communities that have not changed for a 1,000 years, folk customs passed down throughout that time, charming subtropical garden scenery and a magical Buddhist culture, earning it the title the “peacock plume.”
Gongshan - Bingzhongluo
Bingzhongluo is considered a typical example of paradise on Earth. Tibetan, Nu, Lili, Derung and other ethnic groups all live here and all ethnic groups have different costume and performances. There are still some Derung women who practice the mysterious custom of face tattooing.
Historically, Tengchong was an important hub of the ancient Southwest Silk Road. Due to its important location, it was heavily guard d with massive forces throughout China’s dynasties. A stone town built in the Ming Dynasty, it is known as “the First Town on the Edge.”
Tengchong Geothermal Springs
Tengchong Geothermal Springs are a geothermal attraction covering an area of about nine square kilometers. There are over 80 large air springs and hot springs with the water temperature of ten reaching more than 90 degrees centigrade.
Heshun Home Town of Overseas Chinese
Heshun is a famous hometown of overseas Chinese in China. There are many unique dwellings, charming Huizhou-style buildings with white walls and grey tiles, the beautiful Jiangnan ancient town, with bridges and flowing water, as well as Western buildings, all forming a kind of cultural maze.
The Tengchong Volcanoes are hailed as a “natural geological museum”, with 97 dormant volcanoes of various types as well as the landscapes that includes volcanic dammed lakes, crater lakes, lava dammed waterfalls, and giant lava springs.
Qiubei - Puzhehei
Puzhehei is of typical karst landform. In the lake, there are nearly 2,000 acres of lotus flowers. The nearby Dalong Mountain is surrounded by water on three sides, and looks like a dragon floating on the water when seen from afar. In its cave there are mysterious totem cliff paintings, creating a numerous atmosphere.
Luoping - Jiulong Waterfalls
Jiulong Waterfalls arc China’s largest waterfalls. Every spring, when the canola flowers blossom, many people are drawn to watch the waterfalls and flowers.
Chuxiong - Yuanmou Soil Forest
Yuanmou Soil Forest is China ‘s most typical example of a soil forest. The Wumao Soil Forest, Banguo Soil Forest and Langbapu Soil Forest are the best. Soil forest has a kind of columnar term in formed by groups of earthy debris.
Kunming - Dongchuan Red Earth
Dongchuan Red Earth is the world’s second most impressive red earth next to only that of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Each year from September to December, thanks to the seed-so wing time difference, red earth will show different colors, especially beautiful and colorful when seen from afar.
Recommended Tourist Itineraries
A Tour of World Heritage Sites
Route: Diqing — Lijiang — Kunming — Yuanyang
Sight: Yunnan Province has beautiful scenery as well as a rich natural and cultural heritage. Currently, there are five World Heritage sites in the province: The Three Parallel Rivers, Stone Forest, Old Town of Lijiang, Yunyang Terraced Fields, and Chengjiang Fossil Site. Take the World Heritage Tour to experience the beauty of different characteristic landscapes.
A Tour of Great Mountains and Rivers
Route: Yuexiu Park — Shamian Island — Chen Clan Temple — Canton Tower — Baiyun Mountain — Chimelong — Conghua Hot Spring
Sight: This route is a classic landscape route including the “Plateau Pearl” Lugu Lake, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which is the holy mountain of the Naxi people, “Snow Prince” Meili Snow Mountain , as well as the beautiful Cangshan and Erhai Lakes, and the Tengchong geothermal springs. The route includes walks through gorgeous mountains and valleys.
A Tour of Ethnic Customs
Route: Kunming — Lijiang — Dali — Tengchong
Sight: Yunnan is home to many ethnic groups. It includes many ethnic autonomous regions where these ethnic groups live and have their own characteristic cultural customs. Visiting Yunnan, one has the opportunity to appreciate different customs.
Yunnan cuisine, with various ingredients, has many flavors, fresh, tender, slightly sour and spicy. Special attention is paid to original, authentic taste. Famous delicacies include braised termite mushroom, grilled fish with lemongrass, Dali milk fan with mashed red beans, Yunnan Crossing the Bridge noodles, colorful rice, Shiping tofu, Lijiang stuffed bun, thin soy flour and so on.
Yunnan Crossing the Bridge Noodles :
Yunnan Crossing the Bridge noodles are symbolic of Yunnan cuisine. A bowl of noodles, a big bowl of chicken soup, meat, cucumber, greens, tofu, eggs, and pickles, etc., make up the delicious soup and creamy rice noodles.
Special local products mainly include Jianshui purple pottery, Pu’er tea, Jiahua flower pastry, Panax notoginseng products, Cordyceps sinensis, Zhaotong gastrodia elata, bornite handicrafts, jadeite products, silverware, ethnic costumes, tamarind cake, sweet tamarind and wild edible mushrooms.
Xuanwei Ham: Xuanwei ham, also known as Yun ham, is one of China’s special “three hams.” Yun ham is red, white and bright with a unique flavor and aroma, and can be easily kept for a long time.
In Yunnan there are 12 civil airports. Among them, Kunming Changshui International Airport is a regional hub airport, while the other 11 in Lijiang, Xishuangbanna, Tengchong, Dali, Baoshan, Mangshi, Shangri La, Pu’ er, Zhaotong, Lincang, and Wenshan are regional airports.
Yunnan’s railway network has Kunming as the center. With Guiyang-Kunming Railwwy in the east, Chengdu-Kunming Railway in the north, and Nanning-Kunming Railway in tho south, the network leads to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and other major cities directly. In addition, there are also the Guangdong-Dali Railway, Dali-Lijiang Railway , Yuxi-Mengzi Railway and other main provincial lines that reach Dali, Lijiang, Honghe, Chuxiong and other places.
Yunnan Province’s highway network has Kunming as the center. There are National Highways 108, 213, 214, 320, 321, 323 and 326, as well as 61 provincial highways which connect major cities in the province and beyond. A number of expressway·s have been opened to traffic.