Yunnan Province China
Stunning Landscapes, Colorful Ethnic Cultures, Diverse Wildlife...
Yunnan Province is China's South-West jewel, with an incredible variety of striking landscapes, ethnic cultures and wildlife.
From stone forests, snow-caped mountains, deep ravines and rice terraces, Yunnan has been blessed with some of the country's most spectacular
scenery. It is home to the fabled Shangri-La and a third of China's minority cultures. Over half of China's flora and fauna species are found in Yunnan.
While Yunnan might not be the first choice for first-timers on the Great Wall track, it does have much to offer and is also a great place for
active families to enjoy the outdoors and discover the ethnic cultures of the area.
Yunnan Province Attractions and Highlights
These are some of our favorite places to explore and things to do in Yunnan which are easily done and have many facilities
that cater to travelers. We have indicated them in the map below to give you an idea where everything is and what can
be combined during your trip.
Shilin Stone Forest
A wonder of nature, rows upon rows of tightly-packed
limestone pillars, the jagged edges carved over centuries. Winding walkways, crystalline ponds and viewing pavillions complement the stunning landscape.
The Shilin Stone Forest is an easy day trip from Kunming.
Yuanyang Rice Terraces
The surreal landscape over immense areas of terraced fields which have been cultivated by the Hani people for generations,
can be normally enjoyed after the rice paddies have been harvested and the terraces are filled with water from around October until April when the new harvest begins.
Dali's San Ta Pagodas
On the outskirts of Dali, three imposing pagodas have been watching over the town for centuries.
The tallest, 16-tier Qianxun Ta, is square and stands at 230 feet (70 m), the smaller ones, 10-tiered, are octagonal pagodas and were built to appease the gods and
protect the town.
Lijiang Old Town
A charming town with cobblestone alleys lined with traditional wooden houses and shops, a colorful Market Square,
and many canals that criss-cross the picturesque setting. Lijiang is home to the Naxi minority, descendants of Tibetan nomads
and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Black Dragon Pool
This is the iconic spot featured in many travel brochures but photographs can never do justice to the breathtaking
scenery, the serene pavillion and ancient bridge reflected in the clear waters of the pool, with imposing Jade Dragon Mountain as backdrop, simply stunning.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
This is one of the deepest ravines in the world. With peaks towering side by side at 13,000 feet (4,000 m.),
it is an impressive sight. And if you have a couple of days and the stamina, the trek along the upper ridge will give you awesome views of the mountains,
quaint villages, waterfalls, terraced fields...
A land of majestic mountains, deep river gorges, rich forests thriving with wildlife, kind and gracious people... Shangri La is the legendary "heaven on earth" immortalized by James Hilton's Lost Horizon, and this could be where he found his inspiration. The area
of the Three Parallel Rivers is stunning and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the town of Zhongdian, this is the largest Tibetan monastery in the Southwest and home to approximately 600 monks, a good alternative if you are not
able to visit Tibet. You get sweeping
views of the town and the surroundings from the top of this 300-year-old relic.
Ethnic Minority Cultures
Yunnan Province is home to one third of China's ethnic minorities and very rich in colorful traditions. Make time to enjoy
absorbing some of the culture and folklore of the region which still remain despite rapid economic growth. Yunnan is home to Bai, Dai, Tibetan, Naxi, Miao people among others.
A few days, even weeks can be spent in this area, but if you only have a couple of days, choose wisely as
there is much to see and do here.
That said, Yunnan is easily accesible from just about anywhere in the mainland and many Asian capitals.
There are several daily direct flights to Kunming, Yunnan's capital and largest city, from many cities in China and South East Asia. If you will
be spending time in the Northwest section of the province, then flying to Lijiang or Zhongdian is probably best.
Yunnan Province China - Highlights and Attractions Map