Top Things to do in Yunnan

Top Things to do in Yunnan

Yunnan is one of the most diverse provinces in China. It functions the fascinating crossroads of culture that link Myanmar, Vietnam with Titet and other part of China. Undoubtedly, beside the wealthy, varied tradition formed by different ethnics, Yunnan has so many things to lure its visitors. 
This short list of things you should do in Yunnan showcases a small portion of attractions and activities you can enjoy in the area:

Visit Lijiang's Old Town

​This UNESCO World Heritage site, with its maze of cobblestone streets lined with souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and guesthouses, is a must visit. This town with a history of more than 1000 yrs was once a confluence of trade and doesn’t fall short of charming tourists now. Performances by the Nakhi on Dongjing Music, can be experienced here for a fee. Lijiang’s old town becomes lively during the night and is a preferred party destination for the tourists.

hani rice terraces
                                                                       Photo: Satoshi Naohara

Hani Rice Terraces

Covering 16,600 hectares of southern Yunnan, the spectacular rice terraces cascade down the slopes of the towering Ailao Mountains to the banks of the Hong River. 1300 yrs old irrigation system by the Hani people is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a photographer’s paradise. When sun rises or sets, the light reflects the pools of water, creating spectacular views and colour that is truly hypnotic in nature. A visit to these rice terraces provides unique experience to global tourists.

See more: Top Rice Terraces in Asia

                                                                     Photo credit : Mr. John

Visit Tibetan Monasteries

Since northwest of Yunnan is heavily influenced by Tibet, in Shangri-La, one can spot numerous ancient Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and experience Tibetan culture. Many travellers visit to experience Tibet without having to enter the actual province. Songzanlin Lamasery and Feilai Monastery are the two notable monasteries of the region. Covering an area of 30 hectares, Songzanlin is the largest Tibetan Buddhism monastery in Yunnan Province. Whereas Feilai Monastery is the best place for meditation and taking photos of Meili Snow Mountain.

tiger leaping georges
                                                                     ​Photo: Rich - Gone for a Wander

Explore Tiger Leaping Gorge

The scenic canyon on Jinsha River, with a depth of approximately 3790 m, is a UNESCO World Heritage natural site, and should be explored on Yunnan visit. One of the deepest and most spectacular river canyons in the world, hardcore hikers can choose two or three day treks along the upper path, taking their time to immerse in views of the sky, mountains and rapids.

dali pagoda

Explore Dali

Along with Lijiang, Dali is a very popular old town that reflects the rich history of Yunnan. The main draw of Dali comes from its three pagodas and the unique culture of Bai minority. 
Read more: Top things to do in China

dong chuan
                                                                                            Photo: Melinda Chan

Doing Photography Tour in Dongchuan

Located about 180km from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, Dongchuan is now a must-included spot for any photography trip to Yunnan. The highlights of this area are mainly the colorful Red Soil in Xintian township in addition to the local plantation which exposes varied angles you can shoot. 

Try Guo Qiao Mi Xian

This well-known Yunnan cuisine is a must try. Literally meaning “Crossing the bridge noodles” this is a rice noodle soup that has many fan followings. Served with a large bowl of boiling hot broth and soup ingredients, it tastes heaven. This delicious piping hot dish has an interesting story for its name origin – the wife of a scholar created this dish, who wanted a soup that wouldn’t become soggy as she had to carry it across a bridge to the island where her husband was studying.

Taste Rubing

Rubing is a Yunnan speciality and a non-melting goat cheese made by the people of Bai and Sani minorities. It is often served pan fried with salt and chilli. It may also be stir fried with vegetables. These firm cheese are sometimes eaten with Xuanwei ham, another regional specialty.

Relax in Xishuangbanna

The palm tree lined streets of Xishuangbanna's capital Jinghong is so relaxing that tourists find it soothing. Xishuangbanna is an autonomous prefecture in Yunnan province, bordering Myanmar and Laos, and is known for Dai culture, distinctive temples and tropical rainforests. An evening stroll along the bank of Mekong River is truly fascinating

Try Stir fried insects

Snacking on deep fried insects, is pretty popular in Yunnan. Though it might sound weird, trying these crispy snacks can be exciting. Full of proteins, these insects when well-cooked in Yunnan style, can be delicious. Specialties like bamboo grubs, silk worms, cicadas, ant eggs and dragonflies can provide an ultimate culinary experience with all those crunchy, sweet and salty taste.


Cross Border to Burma

The connection in history of Yunnan and Burma is very visible through time. You can easily find some signature of Burma kingdom in Yunnan and vice versa. With the development in tourism infrastruction, a caravan tour to Myanmar is a perfect chance to reveal the beauty of both two countries, sampling the contrast from Kunming to Bagan or travel as far as Andaman Sea. 


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