In-depth Guide to Top 10 Yunnan Destinations

Characterized by various landscapes, amazing natural scenery and the multiple ethnic minorities, Yunnan has many distinctive tourism cities and scenic spots. And located in the southwest of China, Yunnan climate is always warm and comfortable to travel. Here are the in-depth guide to top 10 Yunnan destinations.


Black Dragon Park in Kunming
Kunming is knowns as Spring City, because the weather is comfortable all year round. The plants stay green and the flowers bloom all year round. Here are some top attractions. Stone Forest is a world geological park and natural heritage with most typical karst landforms in the world. Walking in the scenic area, tourists will definitely marvel at the various shapes of the stones. There is a clear karst lake called Long Lake surrounded by pinus yunnanensis. In Zhiyun Cave, tourists can also see rich karst landscapes like stalagmite, stalactite, and stone flower. Dianchi Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan Province covering 330 square kilometers (127 square miles). In the scenic area, tourists can watch lotuses and water hyacinth in summer and feed the black-headed gulls in winter, take a cable car to overlook the lake or take a boat to appreciate the lake scenery. Cuihu Lake used to be a part of Dianchi Lake and separated from it in Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368 AD). Now it is one of the most beautiful public parks in Kunming with lotuses all over the lake and willow trees planted around. 

 Recommended Tour:  8 Days Private Tour of Kunming - Dali - Lijiang - Shangri-La from $1299
Lijiang Old Town
Surrounded by mountains on three sides and with one river flows through, Lijiang Old Town is always one of the most famous Yunnan destinations. The layout and construction of the city has combined the architectural style of Han, Tibetan, Bai, Yi and Naxi nationalities. The most special is the ancient bridges spreading all over the town. Square Street in the center of the old town is a food court where tourists can taste Yunnan Rice Noodles, fried potato cake called Lijiang Baba, Naxi Roast Fish, etc. Also, Lijiang Old Town has various activities for tourists to experience the local ethnic minorities’ customs like Torch Festival, Naxi ancient music, Dongba worship ceremony and divination culture.

 Recommended Tour:  7 Days Private Tour of Kunming - Dali - Lijiang with Lijiang Old Town from $1039
Erhai Lake
Erhai Lake in Dali is shaped like an ear so it is called so, meaning ear-shaped lake in Chinese. The lake is so blue and pure which can calm you down and help you forget the bustle and hustle of city life. To better appreciate the scenery of the lake, a cruise on the lake is recommended. On a sunny day, you can appreciate the reflection of the nearby Cangshan Mountain on the lake. Many other scenic spots scatter around the lake, so tourists can also take a round trip along the lake if you have enough time. Standing on Santa Avenue, the panoramic view of Three Pagodas Temple can be seen. The characteristic Bai national residences in Xizhou Ancient Town is worth watching. Besides, tourists can experience the carriage ride in Haishe Park. If you wanna ride a bike along the lake, the wide East Huanhai Road is the best place where you can see both Erhai Lake and Cangshan Mountain.

 Recommended Tour:   3 Days Private Dali Tour to Erhai Lake
Located between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake, Dali Ancient City attracts numerous travelers every year. The ancient city is 2,000 meters (2,200 yards) long and 1,000 meters (1,100 yards) wide. All the buildings are wooden architecture with tile roofs and the roads are paved with blue stones. Along the roads is the spring water flowing from Cangshan Mountain. When all the lights are on at night, the ancient city is more fascinating.

 Recommended Tour:   5 Days Private Tour to Lijiang, Shaxi & Dali to Dali Ancient City
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Famous for the dangerous terrain, Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest gorges in China with a vertical depth of more than 3,900 meters (12,795 feet). It is formed because of the erosion of a river flowing between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain. Now the upper trekking routes of the gorge has been reputed as one of the world's ten classic hiking routes. Tourists can see the famous Tiger Leaping Stone in the narrowest of the gorge, snow mountain, bamboo forest, various strange stones, etc. The tour is undoubtedly exciting and challenging, making Tiger Leaping Gorge one of the top Yunnan destinations.

 Recommended Tour:   5 Days Private Lijiang & Shangri-La Tour with Tiger Leaping Gorge from $669
Shangri-La is reputed as “paradise on the earth” and one of the must visit Yunnan destinations mainly because of its untouched gorgeous natural scenery like snow mountains, grasslands, gorges, and lakes. With more than 10 ethnic groups, the city also boasts unique ethnic culture. Haba Snow Mountain with a height of 5,396 meters (17703 feet) has different plants grow and various wild animals. Potatso National Park is mainly composed of Bitahai Lake and Shudu Lake. In the park, the original ecological environment is well-preserved where tourists can see lakes, wetlands, forests, meadows, rivers, and wild animals. The most characteristic is the world-famous three parallel rivers region in Meili Snow Mountain where the Jinsha River, Lancang River and Nujiang River flow.

 Recommended Tour:   4 Days Private Shangri-La Tour
Lugu Lake
Lugu Lake is a plateau lake famous not only for its charming lake scenery, but also for the unique maternal cultural of Mosuo people living by it. The lake is surrounded by green mountains and the lake bank winds here and there, where many ethnic minorities live. Among them, Mosuo People is the most unique; they are the only group in China still practices maternal social system. There are five islands in the lake where the migrant birds inhabit. To the east of the lake is a wide area of grass. About 37 kinds of aquatic plants and 42 kinds of rare birds live there.

 Recommended Tour:  2 Days Lugu Lake Tour from Lijiang from $519
Xishuangbanna is a famous for the tropical scenery and ethnic customs. The only tropical rain forest nature reserve in China is in Xishuangbanna. With rich rare plants and animals, the rain forest has been a natural treasure of the world. In Wild Elephant Valley, tourists can have a close contact with elephants. To better know the ethnic customs of Dai nationality, Xishuangbanna Nationality Culture Park is worth visiting which shows the religion, history, culture, custom, architecture and clothing of the nationality. If you wanna experience the Water-Splashing Festival, go there during April 13th – 15th. Also, Xishuangbanna is the birthplace of the famous Pu’erh Tea. So Xishuangbanna has been a popular Yunnan destination of tourism for both Chinese and foreigners.
Yubeng Village
Yubeng Village is in the heartland of Meili Snow Mountain and only one road connects the village with the outside world. To enter and tour the village, tourists can only hike or ride a mule. For hundreds of years, the villagers live in the traditional way of farming and animal husbandry. The house is built by wood and the fence of courtyard is made of stone. In the road, there are cows, sheep and horses walking together with people. The most amazing is a clear ice lake, the waterfall flowing from the south Meili Snow Mountain and the mountain peak “painted” golden by the sunshine. The pure nature and simple lifestyle in the village make it a top Yunnan destinations.
Puzhehei, Yunnan
Puzhehei with an area of 388 square kilometers (150 square miles) has a typical karst landform. In the scenic area, there are 312 mountains, 83 karst caves, 54 lakes, a 13-km gorge, a 3-km ancient Tea Horse Road and a Karst wetland. With mountains, caves, grassland, villages, boats, lakes, lotus flowers, water plants, and migrant birds, Puzhehei is an idyllic Yunnan destination attracting numerous photographers. There is also a unique festival of Yi Nationality called Black Face Festival. It lasts from mid-July to mid-August for one month. People use black ash to smear others’ face. The blacker your face is, the more fortunate you will be.

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- Last updated on Apr. 06, 2021 -
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