Recommended Yunnan Itineraries
Yunnan, which refers to 'the place south of the colorful clouds', or 'the place south of Yunling (cloudy ridge) Mountain', is the most southwest province of China. Externally, it borders Vietnam, Laos and Burma; internally, it is neighbor to Guizhou, Guangxi, Chongqing, Sichuan and Tibet. It is a land of various ethnic groups, landscapes, natural scenery, creatures, etc where one could taste the most aspects of our planet.
The topography changes a lot on this land due to the sharply decreasing altitude. It can roughly be divided into west and east, each with its own very different morphological regions. In the west, the high mountains and valleys are closely spaced, forming a steep, unusual, and dangerous landscape. The famous Three Parallel Rivers is located here. In the east is the plateau area, which mainly consists of undulating low mountains and round hills. Among the plateaus and mountains are scattered many fault basins, which are called 'Bazi' by the locals. The 'Bazi' are relatively flat with thick soil deposits and flowing rivers, hence fertile and helpful in developing the farming economy. Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan, is located in one of these 'Bazi'. What's more, the diverse topographies nurse the greatest number of plant species (more than 18,000) as well as an incredible array of animals, including the Asian elephant and the protected golden monkey, making this land the real 'Plant Kingdom' and 'Animal Kingdom'. The province also boasts beautiful and spectacular natural scenery with the changing topographies, like Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Meili Snow Mountain,and the Stone Forest as well as many more.
Yunnan has the most ethnic minorities in China, which make up about 1/3 of the province's population. Of China's 55 ethnic minorities, the province is home to 51 and 25 of them exceed populations of 5,000. These ethnic minorities live together over vast areas in the region while some live in individual concentrated communities in small areas. The residences of the ethnic minorities are various and characteristic; their clothes are colorful and distinctive; some of them have their own languages and writings. Last, but not least, they celebrate varied and colorful festivals. The most famous ones include the Torch Festival of Yi Nationality, the March Fair of Bai Nationality, the Water-splashing Festival of Dai Nationality, the Zongge Festival of Jingpo Nationality and the Knife Pole Festival of Lisu Nationality, etc.
Visitors are advised to always carry changes of clothing due to the large variations in temperature between day and night. The climate is relatively dry, so drinking more water, protecting oneself from strong UV radiation at high altitude, and protecting oneself from altitude sickness are all recommended. To lessen the effects of altitude sickness, avoid strenuous exercise and have plenty of rest.