Yunnan Province is located near the southwestern border of China, the capital of province is Kunming. It has a population of 45.8 million. It is famous for beautiful scenery, mild climate and a variety of ethnic groups who have preserved their unique way of life. In Yunnan live 25 nationalities, more than in any other province. Visiting Yunnan, you can see not only the sights, but also learn a lot about the diversity of the world, with an amazing and unique face. Yunnan – is a real museum of human society, because there live different ethnic groups with different histories and dissimilar cultures. You can get a lot of fun taking part in local festivals: The Water Spray in Xishuangbanna and Dehong, Feast of Third Month in Dali, Festival of People’s Twinkles In The Stone Forest, Festival of People’s Sword Lisu and Muna – Tszunge, that celebrate tszinpoes . Yunnan is a true “biological museum”. Here is the richest flora and fauna in China. Yunnan is also called “the kingdom of plants and animals” and “Kingdom of non-ferrous metals”.
Drinking age in Yunnan is 18. Toilets at roadside bus stop from Kunming to Dali are reasonably ordinary.
The Lion Mountain is considered number one in the southwest of China. Its outline resembles a lion. As everywhere in China, in the Lion Mountain many churches are built. More than 600 years ago, the second emperor of the Ming Dynasty became Yongle, after he expelled the former ruler, his nephew, Dzyanven. The former emperor lived in these places, escaped from his pursuers. Here Dzyanven became interested in growing peonies. And now near the temple are more than 40,000 peonies of 9 different colors and of more than 120 species.
Stone Forest is located on the territory of Lunan, autonomous region (area – 1,777 sq. Kilometers, population 220,000 people.). Stone Forest is often called “the most fantastic place in China”. It was formed about 270-300 million years ago. Stone Forest is 120 kilometers from Kunming. From a distance, it really resembles as a dense forest. But as you approach, it becomes clear that this is only a thin pointy rocks. Geologists have investigated the Stone Forest and found that it is formed from a special kind of limestone karst. It is a porous material, which is more peculiar to underground caves.
Source of Butterfly
Source of Butterfly is located at the foot of mount Yunnun (one of the Cangshan mountain range). Here you can see and drink crystal clear water. Every year on the 15th day of the 4th month by the lunar calendar Butterfly Festival is held in Dali. At this time, thousands of butterflies flutter around the camphor trees.
Old Town of Lijiang. It’s a well-preserved city which appeared on UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage List in 1997. It is more than 800 years old town that is cultural, educational, political, and trade center of Yunnan.
Shangri – La
Shangri-La is very popular around the world. There is stunning scenery, foggy and snowy mountains, clear and beautiful sky. Every tourist should visit and enjoy everything in this town.
Dali is one of the ancient cities in China. Khan Emperor Wudi set here the central government in 109 BC, creating a county Eyuy. From 8th to 13th century, Dali was the capital of Nanzhao and Dali kingdoms Asia.
Where to Eat
La Dolce Vita, Dali
A great selection of salads, pasta, pizza and desserts. The quality of ingredients and food was excellent. A very nice garden setting, perfect for warm weather. Friendly English-speaking staff and good service.
Clean, restful location with extremely friendly owners. The home-cooked Indian food is not to be missed; each curry is authentic, tastes different and can be adjusted to taste, with accompanying rotis, puris and rice being equally as good. Western food is good too (especially the Oreo Cheesecake) and the coffee is excellent.
This is where you really would want to eat! Well-balanced, fresh and colorful. The dishes are from different countries, and they taste as they actually are .The restaurant is easy to find, it’s just near the parking place to the old town, it’s not expensive and the atmosphere is very cozy.
Blue Bird Restaurant, Kunming
It is next to Grand Park Hotel and is throwback to French colonial style and with a nice terrace the place has a great ambiance.
Cacao Mexican Restaurant, Kunming
Fabulous Mexican Food made by real Mexican chefs in a stylish, modern setting. Not the cheapest place to eat but unless on a backpacker budget very reasonably priced.
French Café, Kunming
Great place for western sandwiches. Enjoyed sitting and relaxing without being hassled to move on.
NanYao Market is the largest market in Kunming and is located beside the railway station.
Yunnan Curio Building
Yunnan Curio Building is located on Nanping Lu Street where you can buy artworks or handicrafts.
Bird and Flower Market
Bird and Flower Market is a place where you should go in Kunming. You can buy there many exotic animals and birds.
Kunming Department Store
Kunming Department store is located on Dongfeng Xi Lu Street where you can buy all sort of commodities.
Qian Cun Department Store
Qian Cun Department store is located on Renmin Zhong Lu Street, and offers daily necessities.
Suare Street Supermarket
Suare Street supermarket in Dali where you can buy food and snacks.
Where to Have Fun
Salvaror’s Coffee House, Kunming
Great food, very hearty servings. Excellent value. Large selection of beer and drinks. A great place to get your fill of brilliant western food at a decent price. Great selection, good service and a lovely, relaxed atmosphere.
O’Reilly’s Irish Pub, Kunming
It’s excellent place to make your day or night an occasion to remember forever. As you visit the pub you should discover the “craic” that the pub is famous for.
Mekong Café, Jinghong
Better than never! All the stuff is extremely welcoming and interested. Western food is prepared by professional chef.
Slice of Heaven
Pleasant location with a small area for outdoor eating. Decent prices with a bakery inside and delicious homemade cakes for sale.
Black Dragon Cafe
You can trade books (2 for 1) and sit down with a nice cup of coffee next to you with no one disturbing you whatsoever.
Located in one of the busiest parts of Lijiang Old Town, this cafe is surprisingly quiet and relaxing. The cafe itself is very cute, the wait staff are lovely and very good.
How to Get Around
From Kunming everything is accessible by bus, so you can get everywhere. 4 hours takes Dali, about seven hours Lijiang, twelve Zhongdian. Generally, transport is built as hub and spoke, so the easiest way to get to a smaller place is travelling to next biggest town near it, then change and change again. You can reach to larger towns in Yunnan by day buses. There are a lot of night buses services. There are a lot of bus schedules so you can follow them all around Yunnan.
There are planes to Dali, Lijiang, Zhongdian, Jinghong and even to Dehong, Wenshan, Tengchong, Zhaotong, which are lesser known towns. There is a new airport that tourists are interested in. It’s under construction at Lugu Lake.
There are day and night trains that go both to Lijiang and Dali. Kunming is the hub of train transport in the province of Yunnan. Is spite of this, tourists are not much interested in trains in Yunnan.
If you want to explore great landscape of Yunnan and enjoy its beauty, a very good way to do this is bicycle touring. Many cyclists around the world have done this and were satisfied. One of the best routes for cycling, exploring ethnic minority and the landscape is the Dian-Zang highway. In Dali and Lijiang you can hire bicycles, and you can also deliver your bike by bus or by train.