Province is the most southwest region of China bordering
the countries of Vietnam, Laos, and Burma. Yunnan covers an area
of 394,000 square kilometers and has a population of more than 42
million. Yunnan has rich varieties of plants and animals. In Xishuangbanna
there are a lot of rare and endangered species of plants and animals.
The Karst physiognomy is widely distributed in Yunnan. So the natural
scenery in Yunnan is beautiful. There are 25 different ethnic minorities
living in Yunnan that makes the culture and custom varied in Yunan.
The picturesque landscape and rich cultural heritage attract people
from all over the world to visit Yunnan.
Most Famous Tourist Attractions in Yunnan
Stone Forest lies outside of the capital city Kunming,
is one of the world's natural wonders. Here, massive pillars of
gray rock have formed a gigantic forest of stone. Some of these
natural stone formations have the appearance of animals such as
snakes, elephants, birds, and dragons.
Dianchi Lake is about 300 square kilometers. It
is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan Province. The lake has
a reputation as 'A Pearl on the Plateau'. The lake is crescent-shaped,
about 39 kilometers in length and 13 kilometers in the widest part.
Its natural banks are formed by mountains on all four sides. More
than twenty rivers nurture the lake. The hills contribute to the
picturesque landscape, making visitors intoxicated and linger around.
Xishuangbanna Nationality Cultural Park is located
on the bank of the Liusha River near Jinghong city in southern Yunnan
Province. It was built in 1987 and covers an area of 667,000 square
meters. The park is at once a tropical garden and a showcase of
regional folkways. South part of the park has a plant specimen zone,
a tropical fruit zone and a sunbathing and swimming zone. The north
section exhibits the traditional houses and customs of six ethnic
minorities - the Dai; Hani; Yao; Jinuo; Blang and Lahu. They always
perform their dances for tourists.
The Manfeilong Pagoda is situated
on the top of a hill near Manfeilong Village, 70 kilometers away
from Jinghong City. It was built in the year 1024 and is a famed
stupa complex. It is also known by two other names: White Pagoda
and Bamboo Shoot Pagoda. The pagoda is dedicated to Hinayana Buddhism.
The Manfeilong Pagoda consists of nine stupas. Seen from the distance,
they look very like bamboo shoots that have emerged from the soil
after the spring rain. They are made of bricks, with typical club-like
bases topped by gourd shaped bodies. The principle and central stupa,
which is 16.29 meters high, is surrounded by eight smaller stupas,
each being 9.1 meters high. In each stupa, there is a niche wherein
a statue of Buddha is laid. The bells hung at the top of the pagoda
make a tinkling sound when the wind blows. Just to the south of
the pagoda, there is a footprint on the rock. According to legend,
this is the left footprint of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism.
The Manfeilong Pagoda is decorated with beautiful sculpture, relief
and colored paintings in the style of the Dai ethnic minority. During
the Water-splashing Festival (usually on April 13-15), the villagers
from the Manfeilong Village gather at the pagoda and chase one another,
splashing water as part of to welcome the new year in Dai calendar.
Mt. Cangshan, is made of 19 peaks. Malong Peak
is the highest. In between every two peaks are streams, and water
rushes down the mountain and pours into Erhai. These streams originate
from spring water or thawing snow and irrigate the farmlands around.
Cangshan Mountain enjoys great reputation for its snow, clouds,
springs and marble.
Erhai Lake is the largest highland lake next to
Dianchi and one of the seven biggest fresh water lakes in China.
It means, 'sea shaped like an ear', in Chinese. That Implies that
the lake is ear shaped and as large as a sea. The lake covers an
area of 250 square kilometers and is located about two kilometers
east of Dali. It is like a crescent lying between Cangshan and Dali
city as seen from Cangshan Mount. In a sunny day, the crystal waters
of Erhai Lake and the snow mantled Cangshan Mount reflect with each
other. Thus the scene was commonly described as 'Silver Cangshan
and Jade Erhai'. The surrounding islands, temples and villages are
worth visiting too. Golden Shuttle Island and the nearby fishing
community of Bai Minority do really deserve a visit with its attractive
Bai culture and lifestyle.
Three pagodas, about 1 kilometer
northwest of the ancient city of Dali, occupying a scenic location
at the foot of Mt. Cangshan facing Erhai Lake, has a history of
over 1,800 years. It is a symbol of the history of Dali City, and
a record of the development of Buddhism in the area. As its name
implies, Three Pagodas are made of three ancient independent pagodas
forming a symmetrical triangle. This is unique in China. A visit
to The Three Pagodas should not be missed by any visitor to Dali
City. The middle pagoda, Qianxun Pagoda, 69.13 meters high, is one
of the highest pagodas of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), while the
other lower two stand to the north and south sides of it. Many sculptures
of Buddha made of gold, silver, wood or crystal, Buddhist scriptures,
were found in Qianxun Pagoda, playing an important role in explaining
the ancient history of Dali City. Three Pagodas has survived several
eras of severe earthquakes. The local government still makes a great
effort to strengthen it to make it as strong as when it was built
to ensure the preservation of this architectural treasure.
The Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Museum is near the Erhai Dock.
It was built in 1986. It is really a garden Museum with strong local
ethnic minority's characteristics. It combines ancient Dali architectural
styles and Bai architectural styles. The museum is also the central
institution where the government of Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture
conducts cultural relic research, excavations, collecting, exhibiting
and so on.
Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Museum has amassed
a considerable collection. It holds more than 7,000 sub-collections
including historical, ethical, revolutionary and cultural relics,
fine marbles and other materials. Among these are many items found
nowhere else in the world but the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture
Museum. These include a Dali Bronze Drum, Serial Bells, etc. from
the time of the Warring States (476BC-221BC); the Earthenware House
and the Earthenware Horses from the Western Han (206 BC - 24 AD)
to the Jin Dynasty (265-420); Buddhist Maitreya's Pictures made
of different materials, fine natural marble pictures like 'A Peacock
in his Pride' from the Nanzhao Kingdom and the Dali Kingdom.
Dragon Snow Mountain lies between 100 04'-100 16'east
longitude and 27 03'-27 40' north latitude. It is the southernmost
glacier in the Northern Hemisphere. Consisting of 13 peaks, among
which Shanzidou is the highest one with an altitude of 5,600 meters,
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain stretches a length of 35 kilometers and
a width of 20 kilometers. Looking from Lijiang Old Town in the south
which is 15 kilometers away, the snow-covered and fog-enlaced mountain
resembles a jade dragon lying in the clouds, hence, the name Jade
Dragon Snow Mountain. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a sanctuary for
rare animals and wild plants. In fact, one fourth of all plant species
in China can be found here and 20 primeval forest communities shelter
a big family of 400 types of trees and 30 kinds of animals which
are protected by the state. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain now is a famous
scenic spot for sightseeing, mountaineering, skiing, exploration,
scientific research and taking holiday. Besides, widespread legends
and myths of the Naxi ethnic minority and the unclimbed Shanzidou
are all important attractive spots for those who come to Jade Dragon
The Old Town of Lijiang, a well-preserved old city
of ethnic minorities with brilliant culture, is a central town of
the Lijiang Autonomous County of the Naxi Ethnic Minority. Located
on the plateau which is 2,400 meters above the sea level and embraced
by the tree-covered Lion Mountain in the west, Elephant and Golden
Row Mountains in the north, vast fertile fields in the southeast
and crystal clear water running through, the old town looks like
a big jade ink slab, therefore got the alias the Town of Big Ink
The Old Town which occupies an area of three point eight square
kilometers was firstly built in the late Song Dynasty and the early
Yuan Dynasty and has a history of more than 800 years. Since Kubla
Khan who is the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty set his reign
here, Lijiang was on a fast developmental way and became the political,
cultural, and educational center in this area, playing a very important
role in the trading activities among Yunnan, China hinterland, Tibet,
India and many other Asian countries. Till now, when walking on
the streets of the Old Town, one can feel the prosperity and flourish
of the town from the shops with fancy and superb collections of
The Lijiang Old Town is built along the lie of mountains and the
flow of rivers, providing a very precious sample of the research
on the old-time architecture. The unique geographical location,
historical background and multiracial inhabitants make the town
the most special one.
The Old Town is the only old city built without a city wall and
there is an interesting story telling the reason. Lijiang had been
under the reign of the hereditary Mu family for more than 500 years.
If the Chinese character 'Mu' (represents the governor of Lijiang)
is put into a frame (represents the city wall), you have the character
'Kun' which means 'siege' or 'predicament'. This would mean that
the governing Mu family and their descendants would always be trapped
like a rat in a hole. Because of this symbolism, Old Town Lijiang
was never given a city wall.
Old Town of Lijiang
Dragon Dnow Mountain
As a result of the combination of the multinational
culture and the progress of Naxi ethnic minority, the buildings
in the town incorporate the best parts of the architectural traits
of Han, Bai, and Tibet into a unique Naxi style. The layout of the
town is free-style and flexible, the houses are close and diverse,
and the lanes are narrow and meandering. Naxi people pay much attention
to the decoration, the commodious and applied houses are mostly
timber and tile structure compound with a garden, each has engraved
vivid figures of people and animals on doors and windows, beautiful
flowers and trees in the garden. Living in such a beautiful and
comfortable environment is a real pleasant thing.
The old Town of Lijiang is a city depends on water for existence
and water is just like its blood. Black Dragon Pool (Heilongtan)
is the main water source of the town and subdivides into many streams
which can reach every family and every street in the town. Due to
the reticular aqueducts, willow trees grow everywhere and there
are almost 350 varied and inimitable bridges in the little town,
some of which were built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The usage
of the water created by the local people is very scientific. They
build three mouths every well from the upriver to the downriver.
The water in the first mouth is for edibility, the second one is
for cleaning of the vegetables and fruits, and the last one is used
to wash the clothes. The water not only meets the need of the dweller,
but also gives the town a beauty of gentle. The town reputed as
the 'Oriental Venice' and 'Suzhou in Highland', but it is much,
much more than this. Once you have visited Old Town Lijiang, it
will capture your heart for the rest of your life.
The center of the Old Town is the Square Street (Sifangjie). Four
main streets radiate from Square Street and extend to the four different
directions. Countless lanes extending in all directions form a network
and connect every corner of the town. Streets in the Old Town are
paved by the local bluestones which are neither muddy in the rainy
season nor dusty in the dry season. The massive and fine-grained
stones add a sense of antiquity and mystery to the Old Town. The
sluice at the center of town is opened late in the night and the
resulting current of water flushes and washes all the streets to
keep the town clean. This practical use of water is part of the
daily life of the residents in Old Town.
On December 3rd, 1997, the Old Town of Lijiang was put in the list
of the World's Relics by the World Cultural Heritage Commission
of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural
Organization). The charming Old Town is now a famous tourist attraction
for its traditional ethnic culture and customs, inimitable buildings
and the wonderful natural views.
Ten kilometers (six miles) northwest of Lijiang Old Town, there
are several ancient villages, including Baisha, Dayan, Shuhe, Yangxi
and Xuesong. There, the invaluable Lijiang Murals are stored, preserved
and displayed in 15 venerable temples, such as Juexian, Wande, Guiyi
temples and Sanbi Garden. Altogether, the mural used to include
more than 200 pieces of fresco. However, hundreds of years of historical
vicissitudes have left only 55 pieces in good condition. The most
famous frescos are known as Baisha Mural of the Dabaoji (Great Treasure)
Palace and the Colored Glaze Temple (Liuli Dian) in the town of
Most of the temples were built from the early days of the Ming Dynasty
(1368-1644) to the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and the Lijiang
Mural was created at the same time, over the course of about 300
hundred years. In Lijiang, it was an era of rapid economic development,
mutual acculturation of multinational culture, and the growth of
religions. Accordingly, Lijiang Mural was an artistic representation
of this cooperation, communication and progress. The authors of
these mural paintings had come from different nations, including
the local Naxi Dongba painters; the Taoist painter Zhang from the
Central Plain; Tibetan Lama artist Guchang; Han painters Ma Xiaoxian
and Li Zeng; and many other artists who were unknown to the public.
The originality and figures of the mural paintings
reflect the different religious cultures and artistic forms of Buddhism,
Lamaism, Daoism and the Naxi Dongba religion, as developed in a
Naxi school. Therefore, Lijiang Mural is quite different from other
frescos. Each painting includes at least one hundred portraits,
but perspective is used very well, and the close, middle and establishing
images are clear. The various lifelike portraits are not only Buddhas
but also ordinary people such as bureaucrats, criminals, tourists
and executioners. Many of the scenes and subject matters are drawn
from daily life-people are shown fishing, riding horses, weaving,
dancing and casting iron. The painters used different methods of
portrayal within the different elements of the fresco, such as flesh,
garments, jewelry, weapons and many other components. The style
of these true-life frescos is rural and unconstrained; the colors
are strong and have intense contrast but are also unified. The Lijiang
Mural fully demonstrates the superb artistic skills, outstanding
creativity and rich imaginations of these excellent craftsmen. The
vivid and exact figures, flowing lines, well-defined colors and
powerful effects of the exquisite details make the Lijiang Mural
not only the rare treasure of art, but also forceful proof of national
solidarity and an important source of information for research on
national religions, arts and history.
Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the
1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. In the book,
"Shangri-La" is a mystical, harmonious valley that was
surrounded by snow =clad peaks, blue lakes, broad grassy marshlands,
Lamaseries, Buddhist temples, mosques, Catholic churches. The people
of different ethnic groups and the nature were in perfect harmony.
Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly
a mythical Himalayan utopia-a permanently happy land, isolated from
the outside world. The word also evokes the imagery of exoticism
of the Orient. The story of Shangri-La is based on the concept of
Shambhala, a mystical city in Tibetan Buddhist tradition. According
to the research by experts, the area of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture is the original shape of Shangri-La in the novel. In
2002, Zhongdian County was officially named Shangri-La County by
the state council. The scenery in Shangri-La is really beautiful.
It is a Xanadu in the world. Inspired by the novel, so many tourists
from all over the world go there to visit.
Meili Snow Mountain, also known
as Prince Snow Mountain, is located 10 kilometers northeast of Deqin
County. The mountain sits on the border of Yunnan Province and Tibet
where the three famous rivers, namely the Jinshajiang River, Nujinag
River (Mekong) and Lancangjiang River(Salwen) flow.
Meili Snow Mountain boasts numerous snow-clad ridges and peaks,
thirteen of which exceed 6,000 meters above the sea level. The most
splendid view is of the Kawagebo Peak, the highest in Yunnan Province
rising about 6,740 meters. It is still a 'virgin peak' for no one
has ever reached the top. Thus, Meili Snow Mountain is a challenge
for all mountain explorers from all over the world.
Owing to its high altitude, the mountain owns several climatic zones
with a diversity of plants, vast expanse of grassland and rich fungi
species that are vertically distributed. The types of vegetation
here range from the Torrid Zone to Frigid Zone vertically. From
the altitude of 2,000 meters to 4,000 meters, forests flourish with
varieties of spruce. The depth of the forest is an exotic world
of rare birds and animals. The meadows surrounding the forests are
embellished by countless flowers which add more vitality and charm
to the mountain.
Meili Snow Mountain is one of the most sacred mountains of Tibetan
Buddhism. 'Kang Karpo Peak' means the God of Snow Mountain in Tibetan,
and is a holy land for worshiping. Pilgrims from Tibet, Qinghai
Province, Sichuan Province, and Gansu Province travel to the mountain
at the beginning of each winter to worship. Thousands of devout
pilgrims worship together and encircle the holy mountain, adding
even more mystery and loftiness to the mountain.
Bitahai Lake is widely recognized as 'A Pearl on
the Plateau' and the most attractive lake in Shangri-La. Legend
has it that a goddess dropped her mirror carelessly to the earth
when she was making up.
The mirror was broken into pieces and they became lakes on the plateau.
Among these pieces, the most beautiful piece with green jade turned
into today's Bitahai Lake.
In the center of the lake stands an islet shaped like a boat sailing
in the lake. The islet is 30 meters above the water level, and is
covered with rare plants and also includes spruces and rhododendrons.
Here, birds twitter happily and flowers emit their pleasant fragrances.
When stepping on the islet, one feels as if they are arriving at
Xanadu, and tourists have frequently remarked about how they have
felt intoxicated by the aura, beauty and tranquility.
Many different rhododendrons add to the beauty of the lake. Every
year around June and July, petals of the rhododendrons fall onto
the lake surface with the wind. When passing fish eat these rhododendron
petals they can be seen on their backs with their white bellies
exposed as they float upside-down amongst the petals as if they
are drunk. It is now the best-known sight of Bitahai Lake. It is
also said that in the past bears in the nearby mountains often came
out in the moonlight to catch these intoxicated fish.
Bitahai Lake is a place of legends. When one is here, one can find
that even a tree or a hill around the lake has a story. It is not
only a feast to the eye, but also enhances our sense of beauty and