Home to one-third of China's ethnic minorities and the sixth-largest province in China,
Yunnan is as geographically distinctive as it is diverse. Set in the foothills of the
Himalayas, Yunnan's climate ranges from the icy highlands of the western frontier to
tropical lowlands in the east bordering Myanmar and Laos. Travelers will find this a
province of picturesque scenery, affluence, and mystery, thanks to its diverse ethnic
population and tradition that has been preserved.
located four hundred miles from Beijing, at an elevation of 6,600 feet. Known as the City
of Eternal Spring, Kunming is home to approximately three-and-a-half million residents,
including people representing all 26 ethnic minorities of the province. Kunming has been
designated a Special Tourism center for its rich cultural heritage, which dates back 2,000
years. There is a colorful Nationalities Institute and Provincial Museum, both worth a
visit. Kunming offers a wide range of excellent tourism facilities.
Close by is Dianchi Lake, a national scenic spot and resort with Huatin and Taihua Temples
from the Tang Dynasty nestled in the surrounding hills. There is also a Yunnan Minorities
Village, featuring the province's colorful ethnic customs and traditional architecture.
The Stone Forest at Lunan, 70 miles from Kunming, is an extremely rare geological
phenomenon. These large Karst limestone formations, a forest of stone pillars formed over
270 million years, brings visitors to Kunming from around the world.
A one-hour flight
west of Kunming, Dali offers an opportunity to truly experience everyday life in a Bai
ethnic minority village. Here you can drink Yunnan white tea, enjoy dances of Bai girls,
and shop for ethnic handicrafts. The Dali Three Pagodas northwest of the city at the foot
of the Gangshan Mountain are favorite attractions.
Near the Myanmar and Laotian borders, in the deep south of Yunnan Province is home to more
than 300,000 Dai ethnic minorities and many unique species of plant and animal life. Near
the airport is located the Dai Nationality Village that has 179 Dai households on display.
There are also many Dai festivals of the region to enjoy, including the Water-Splashing
Festival held in mid-April. The octagonal Manfeilong Tower Group, a Buddhist shrine
landmark, graces many Chinese calendars.