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YUNNAN

 

Located in the southwest part of China, covering an area of 394, 00 square kms, Yunnan Province is averagely 2000 meters above sea level and has a population of 40million. Three countries are its close neighbors: Myanmar to its west, Laos and Vietnam to its southwest. There are 17 prefectures and cities. Kunming is its capital city. For Westerners, Yunnan and Kunming are possibly better associated with the Flying Tigers daring pilots who flew "over the hump" from Bengal to help China during the Second World War. Yunnan actually has plenty of other claims to fame. As well as an important province sharing a large part in exporting to the ASEAN countries, Yunnan has been known for its well-developed tourism industry and infrastructure apart from its rich tourist resources.

 

Kunming (The City of Eternal Spring); is the capital city and the largest city of Yunnan province. The city, owing to its altitude of 1,890 meters and its tropical situation, is also blessed with perennially pleasant climate and intriguing highland scenes and sights. With an average annual temperature ranging from 15 to 18C, Kunming has earned the nickname "City of Eternal Spring". Major tourist attractions include the Stone Forest, Western Hills and Dragon Gate, Yuantong Temple, and the Bamboo and Golden Temples. Although greatly modernized for the hosting of World Horticultural Exhibition in 1999, the city has kept its slow pace and local flavor which makes it unique in China.

 

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Dali Capital of The Nanzhao Kingdom and the Bai minority. Dali lies just three kilometers from the shore of Erhai Lake, under the highest peak of the Cangshan Mountains, at an altitude of 2,300 meters above sea level, at the intersection of  the Yunnan-Myanmar Highway (Myanmar Road)  and the Yunnan-Tibetan  Highway. It was the capital city of the fierce Nanzhao Kingdom which stood up to the Tang Dynasty's armies and enlarged its territory from the high plains of today's Myanmar to Southern Tibet, to the east to the actual Guizhou province and Guangxi region and to the north of was is now Vietnam as its southern boundaries.  The kingdom was only defeated by the Mongols on their way to destroy Pagan in old Myanmar. Dali is the main center of Bai minority culture, one of Yunnan's most numerous and prosperous ethnic groups with the cities of Zhoucheng and Xizhou.

 

Lijiang Located on a plateau at an elevation of 2,400 meters in the northwest part of Yunnan, has been enlisted as a World Monument by the UNESCO in 1997. It is the center of the Naxi minority, a relatively small minority group with a richly textured culture. The Naxi people migrated to Lijiang long ago from northeastern part of Tibet. The surroundings offer many fascinating scenic places, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Grand canyon Tiger Leaping Gorge, Baoshan Stone Village where people live in houses made of stones, Yufeng temple with its ten-thousand-flower-Camellia, the frescoes of Baisha or just the little Naxi villages of the surroundings make of Lijiang a highlight destination not to be missed in Yunnan.

 

Shangri La Zhongdian is the center of the mythical Shangri La, le promised land of everlasting bliss. It is the capital of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and lies at an elevation of 3,300 meters in the northwestern part of Yunnan. This land of snow-capped peaks, virgin forests of immense spruce and pine, meadow ablaze with fragrant wild flowers and pristine lakes inhabited by Tibetans, offers an introduction to Tibetan culture and numerous activities for trekking and trailing. The annual event of the Horse Festival held in June or July is highly rated for those who want to discover more of the Tibetan culture. Driving further North on the Tibetan Highway, passing the important Buddhist Dongzhulin temple, lies the little border city of Deqin, at the foot of the Sacred Meili Snow Mountain (7,640 meters above sea level), an important pilgrimage mountain for Tibetans. The unique landscapes of small and colorful Tibetan villages, the kindness of the people and the approach of the Glacier offer to the visitors a true feeling of Tibet.