Yunnan Sheng Things to Do Tips by XenoHumph Top 5 Page for this destination
Yunnan Sheng Things to Do: 78 reviews and 86 photos
Ailao Shan Mountains, Yunnan, China
The Ailao Shan Mountains are characterized by steep slopes, very rarely a flat area, covered with green vegetation. Lots of the mountain sides have been worked into terraces, rice at low altitude, tea and corn higher up. Pretty but poor villages of mud bricks dot the landscape. This area is not described in the guidebooks (e.g. Lonely Planet SW China). Although there are more spectacular regions in Yunnan, Ailao Shan offers an authentic, unspoiled and off-the-beaten path experience of Yunnan.
Address: 250 km SW of Kunming, 10 km NW of Mojiang
Directions: Take the freeway by bus from Kunming. The area I went to is that of Bixi and Shuangguo.
In a buddhist temple, Aialo Shan Mountains, Yunnan
The picture shows offerings in a small Buddhist temple in the Ailao Shan Mountains. We happened to stop there for the bathrooms! But all our group flocked to the quaint looking temple and our guides had a hard time to get us all back in the bus to keep up with the schedule!
Anyway, I suggest you enter these local temples and stroll through their quiet courtyards. They have amazing brightly painted deities and seem to be maintained with love and care. They give you a glimpse of an important part of the life of Chinese people.
Red River, Yunnan, China
The Red River valley was a highlight of our geological trip. Indeed it flows along a main escarpment created by one of the biggest geological fault of SE Asia, the Red River fault. In response to the collosal collision of the Indian and Eurasian continents 50 million years ago, the Himalayas mountains were created and SE Asia was pushed out towards the SE along these big cracks accomodating the push, the major faults. India is still pushing North, and the whole Himalayan region very often shakes from powerful earthquakes, especially Yunnan, which is straddling some of the biggest faults.
Anyway, the Red River is indeed red and the region is very pretty!
Directions: About 250 km SW of Kunming.
Western Hills, near Kunming, Yunnan, China
Elongated North-South, this beautiful lake measures 150 by 40 km. It is sided on the West by the Western Hills from which the views on the lake are grandiose (see picture). Another good view of the lake can be obtained at its Northern tip at Daguan Park (Daguan Gongyuan) where you can also rent boats. Daguan Park was built in 1690, has a few nice pagodas, and is especially fun to observe local families on their week-end outings. My guidebooks say that the lake is rich in fish and that there are lots of fishermen. Yet, judging by the disgusting color of the water and the amount of junk I saw floating in its waters, I am not sure I want to eat any of that fish (I probably did anyway in the "Accross the bridge noodles"...!!)! This lake, like any lake or river in Yunnan, is horribly polluted.
Address: 10 km SW of Kunming
Directions: We took a taxi from downtown Kunming.
Western Hills, near Kunming, Yunnan, China
Southwest of Kunming, along Lake Dian, lies an elongate mountain range called the Western Hills. Famous temples of various ages were built in these hills most of which is a park. A cable car from accross the lake at Haigeng Park brings you half way up the hill. At that level you can visit the tomb of the composer of the Hymn of China, Nie Er, who died in 1936. You can then take a tourist tram up to the temples around the Dragon Gate (Longmen). Built between 1781 and 1853, the path leading to the latter was carved by hand in the cliff. It is really amazing to hike up the narrow corridors along the cliff and admire the plunging views on Lake Dian below. At the Dragon Gate, you are supposed to touch the top of the gate, and you will be ensure a happy life ever after (cool!)! After that you can hike up to the "Attainment of Heaven" shrine, and you are set!!!
There are other sites on these hills I haven't seen, most famously two 14th century Buddhist temples, Huating Si at the foot of the hill and Taihua Si higher up.
The whole site is really touristy, especially on week-ends, and again, you are surrounded with big groups of people wearing the same cap and their guides with flags!
Address: 15 km (10 miles) SW of Kunming
Directions: We took a taxi from Kunming to the bottom of the cable car at Haigeng Park
Stone Forest, Yunnan, China
The "Major Stone Forest" is the most amazing karst topography I have ever seen!! Carved by water in carbonate rocks, towering pillars make a labyrinth which the name "Stone Forest" describes perfectly. You can stroll along well maintained paths between limestone towers several stories high, sometimes reflecting in water pools. Although one of the most popular tourist spot of Yunnan, and therefore full of noisy groups of tourists wearing the same cap and following their guide with a little flag, it is possible to get away on the side paths,,, and get lost! By the way, most guides are from the Sani minority (part of the Yi people) whose villages are in and around the Stone Forest. Finally do not miss the little temple-like little tower dominating the site as you have amazing views from it (see picture). The "Minor Stone Forest" has the rock pillars more interspaced and looks more like a big park with beautiful flowers. A definitive must-see in Yunnan!
Address: 126 km (100 miles) SE of Kunming
Directions: Several ways to get there:
- Take the Express train from the Southern train station of Kunming: 1h30mn
- Minibus from the Camellia hotel (96 Dongfeng Dong Lu, Kunming): about 3 hours
Canal and street of Lijiang, Yunnan, China
A rare opportunity in China: an old preserved entire town!! Indeed, Chinese officials like to torn down old districts of major cities or entire villages and build new modern (and plain ugly, believe me) buildings instead. Therefore, old Lijiang is a gem with its maze of cobblestone streets, tiny canals and ancient wood houses. This is a wonderful place to stroll through, or sit at the terrace of the many restaurants. And have no fear to see it being destroyed too as it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Lijiang started as a big market site before the 8th Century AD (Tang dynasty) and developped more when it became part of the Silk road, with an emphasis on horse trade. It is at the heart of the Naxi minority region. In 1996, an earthquake of more than 7 on the Richter scale detroyed most of it but the old Naxi houses resisted better than the modern town (that's according to my guidebooks; the local guides say that the modern part resisted better...!).
Finally, Lijiang is an ideal place to go shopping for souvenirs as the main streets are transformed into a major tourist shopping mall. I strongly advise to get off these and explore the side streets as well as hike up to enjoy the view from the terrace of the overlooking Lion hill.
Directions: Northwest of Yunnan, about 400 km from Kunming
Street in Kunming, Yunnan, China
Kunming is the capital of the Yunnan province and has 3.3 million people (a small city for China!). Most of it is recent buildings, the majority of which are very ugly. It is a bustling, modern and busy city with the traditional crowds of bicycles, lots of cars, people on cell phones, and the mix of business suits and traditional minority costumes (the farmers selling their produces on markets!).
I had only one day to visit so I am not very versed on everything to see. But I highly recommand the Old Quarter, where there are still traditional wood houses, and a wonderful flower and bird (and everything else!) permanent market.
The Bronze Age culture was very developped in the area (the Yunnan Provincial museum has a hall of bronze drums that I wish I had seen!). At that time, around 200 BC, Kunming was already a Chinese prefecture. It became an important town during the Nanzhao independant kingdom (7th-10th Century AD). During the Mongol invasion, Marco Polo apparently came there! Finally, Kunming is a the heart of the Yi minority region. And everybody and their brothers you will meet will repeat you 3000 times that Kunming is "the Spring City", refering to its nice weather all year long.
Erhai Lake, near Dali, Yunnan, china
This beautiful lake is elongated North-South for 35 km and is about 6 km wide, and is the 7th largest in China. It is worth driving around it for the great landscapes it offers. There are also ferries to get accross or reach some of the islands. This picture was taken from Erhai Park at the Southern tip of the lake next to the town of Dali. Although the water is supposedly unsafe for swimming because of the presence of a nasty parasite (schistosomiasis), I saw lots of people in the water in that park. The lake is also famous for the profusion of fish it provides.
Directions: A few km North of Dali
Three Pagodas, near Dali, Yunnan, China
This beautiful pagoda defied earthquakes for centuries: it was built in the 9th Century AD! The highest tower is 70 m high. The 2 small towers were built in the 11thCentury.It is extremely elegant and benefits from an outstanding location between Erhai Lake and the back drop of the Cangshan mountains. There is a museum on what archeologists found in the pagodas in the temple behind the pagoda.
It costs, if I remember well, 52 yuan to get in. It is one of the major attractions of the Dali area, so be ready for bus loads of tourists and souvenir shops.
Directions: 2 km Northwest of Dali
More Reviews (49)
XenoHumph's Related Pages
Yunnan Sheng Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Mountains and Minorities"
- "Yunnan - South of the Clouds"
- "Southest Yunnan - Off the tourist trail"
- "The Colourful Province"
- "paradise found in Dali"
- "The Shangri-La in my heart"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Yunnan Sheng
- Hotels in Yunnan Sheng
- Transportation in Yunnan Sheng
- Nightlife in Yunnan Sheng
- Restaurants in Yunnan Sheng
- Shopping in Yunnan Sheng
- Warnings and Dangers in Yunnan Sheng
- See All...
Explore the World
- Kampong Ayer Molek Hotels
- Round Top Hotels
- Ballydangan Hotels
- Cardigan Hotels
Badges & Stats in Yunnan Sheng
- 63 Reviews
- 105 Photos
- 4 Forum posts
- 0 Cities
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (8)
Have you been to Yunnan Sheng?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Yunnan Sheng
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Houston Intro, 101 reviews, 157 photos, 5 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Big Bend National Park Intro, 60 reviews, 109 photos, 5 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Yunnan Sheng Intro, 63 reviews, 105 photos, 5 travelogues
- Antarctica Intro, 35 reviews, 90 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Martinique Intro, 24 reviews, 87 photos
- Kamchatskaya Oblast' Intro, 31 reviews, 74 photos, 5 travelogues
- Paris Intro, 24 reviews, 80 photos, 5 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Moab Intro, 22 reviews, 46 photos, 3 travelogues
- Iceland Intro, 34 reviews, 33 photos
- Figeac Intro, 27 reviews, 36 photos
Travel InterestsSee All Travel Interests (5)
Top Yunnan Sheng hotels
- Lijiang Hotels
- 567 Reviews - 1869 Photos
- Kunming Hotels
- 607 Reviews - 1430 Photos
- Xishuangbanna Hotels
- 42 Reviews - 85 Photos
- Dali Hotels
- 220 Reviews - 703 Photos
- Hekou Hotels
- 1 Review
- Menglun Hotels
- 8 Reviews - 14 Photos
- Mengla Hotels
- 3 Reviews - 4 Photos
- Menghan Hotels
- 12 Reviews - 88 Photos
- Lufu Hotels
- 1 Review - 4 Photos
- Liuku Hotels
- 1 Review - 2 Photos
- Jiangxi Hotels
- 19 Hotels
- Jinghong Hotels
- 63 Reviews - 96 Photos
- Xizhou Hotels
- 8 Reviews - 29 Photos
- Xinjie Hotels
- 14 Reviews - 100 Photos
- Xinjie Hotels
- See nearby hotels