"Southest Yunnan - Off the tourist trail" Top 5 Page for this destination Yunnan Sheng by crewrower
Yunnan Sheng Travel Guide: 2,029 reviews and 5,757 photos
I have been to Yunnan twice, once in February 2006 (described in more detail below), and once in February 2007. Both trips entailed flying from Shanghai, where I live, to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan. Both trips were biking tours, where I sent my mountain bike on train to Kunming, and picked it up there and set out riding. The ride in 2006 featured us getting very lost, and consequently seeing some wonderfully beautiful and backward parts of China. The ride in 2007 kept us sticking mostly to the state and provincial highways, which are actually like secondary roads that run parallel to a newer highway.
During the 2007 ride, we started in Kunming, road east and hit many interesting towns in Yunnan on the way to Guizhou province, including the border town of Fuyuan, which is in a valley and surrounded by beautiful sceneary. It's a town that is bustling and alive, but still very much developing, and the surrounding areas have not been stripped and destroyed (yet?) which is the case with so many other parts of China. The ride was 2 weeks in total, and most days were spent in Guizhou province (via Guiyang, the capital, and then north en route to Chongqing).
I spent the 2006 Chinese New Year holiday (7 days) biking east from Kunming through southeast Yunnan province toward and into Guangxi Autonmous Region. We spent our time in Yunnan biking through Kunming County, Shilin County (Stone Forest), Luxi County and Shizong County. We also spent a lot of time along the Nan Pan River.
We traveled to places that are almost never visited by foreign or Chinese tourists. The natural beauty was amazing and the people were great. All the roads were of dirt and rock, and in one place we had to sail down the river to even pick up the next dirt road. Many pictures and tips will be posted here.
One of the most interesting day of my life
By the 4th day of our ride, we had gotten throughly off our intended track, and were trying to ride our way back towards civilization. At the same time we were enjoying every minute in the extreme rural area we found ourselves. This was a trying test on my travel and Mandarin language skills, as I was physically exhausted from biking in unknown areas under the Yunnan sun, but also a leader of our group because I had the best Chinese skills. In fairness all three of us were leaders, the other guys had better sense of direction and were better riders than me; together we were a great group!
Anyway, the 4th day began with the knowledge that we'd have to make our way to the river, and find a boat to take us downstream so that we would be able to continue on our dirt track. The morning began searching for breakfast in the hamlet of [WHERE], where we witnessed an adult cat being strangled from a cinder block wall - a terrible thing to witness. Despite my getting a flat tire early in the ride, the day was amazing. We went through beautiful scenary as in this pic, found a HUGE cave near the river (see my Yunnan tip with pictures), had lunch (lamb meat and chinese cabage stew) with construction guys working on a major dam project, took the boat down the river after difficult negotiations (I got the price down from an original US$250 to US$6, but it took 4 hours of patience; that's ok because we found the cave during the waiting time). After the boat dumped us off, we had another 20+ km on a dirt track, mostly uphill, now in the dark, using the north star for guidance. Finally we reached a paved road, and luckily the next 20km toward the next down was all downhill. We were chased by dogs that came out of no where.....our voices got their attention so we had to keep telling each other to "shut up", and when the dogs would come, we'd haul tail as fast as we could to get away. When things got really bad, I found by getting off my bike and yelling at the dogs, they'd get scared and run away. Finally at 9pm, after 14 hours on the go, we reached a tiny town.
We stayed at a guest house there for US$0.60/person/night. It had a hot shower with good water pressure and, best of all, the owners of the place cooked us a HUGE feast. They felt bad that all the restaurants were closed. Most varied adventure of any day in my life.
I have written some tips that include some pictures from all this.
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- Pros:clean air, great mountains and rivers
- Cons:"Western Development" is changing the face of Yunnan fast
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