The Chinese province of Yunnan may appear rural at first, but the wealth of opportunities it offers is beyond imagining. This is one of those stunningly ‘Chinese’ locations because of the names appended to the attractions here and also because of how strongly Oriental tradition and history has rooted itself.
Check out Lugu Lake. This 45-meter deep, plateau-type lake is as pure as it is vast. Stretching 52 square kilometers, this is one sight worth soaking up and where a boat ride transmutes into a journey through an unadulterated past. Nestled inside lovely mountains, you’ll find the Holy Gemu Mountain (the Lion Mountain) held sacred by the Mosuo people and where the Goddess Gemu is worshipped. In addition to having five islands on its body, Lake Lugu is suffused with Mosuo culture and tradition worth checking out.
The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain redefines magnificence, what with 13 intimidating peaks and a stunning height of 18,360-feet. This isn’t a series of bleak mountain landscapes but rich in wild flowers and rare fauna. The shape of the mountain, seen from a certain angle, looks like a lean silver dragon has made it its home; you can see where it gets its name from. Boasting an age of 230 million years (approx.), its present shape came together less than 12,000 years back. With vegetation like Fir, Dragon Spruce, Camphor and more, the verdant nature of this mountain is splendid. The rare Wild Snow Tea finds conditions adequate to thrive in. The animal species are as rare as they are diverse, from clouded leopards to Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys, among more than ten other unique species.
The rivers, waterfalls and lakes in the Napahai Natural Lake Reserve are sights you have to see to believe. Etched perfectly into the surrounding landscape, this zone in the Yunnan province hosts several different bird species. The changing seasons see this place shifting from one ‘look’ to another, a view you simply must see what with the ice-melt and/or leaf color-change. You’ll also spot one of the 12 rarest bird species here, namely the black-necked crane.
Stone Forest Yunnan
About 87 kms from Kunming City rises the Stone Forest, a place veritably out of some fantasy world. Spread across 400 square kilometers, the scenic spots here are as innumerable as they are sensational. At about the time of the Ming Dynasty, this place was considered the first wonder of the world. It’s a strange almost deliberately made zone with many a labyrinth and formations verging on lovely. It makes you think how something so sensational could exist naturally. The Stone Forest follows karsts topography, dating back to 270 million years.
The ancient city of Dali is another must-see here in Yunnan. With a history going back to 1382 AD and many a Ming influence being seen hereabouts, this city is a lesson in tradition and culture that’s been preserved with an almost reverential awe. This market city thrives still and the architecture will take you back in time.
Yunnan is a wonderful location to come visit. Besides, what’s mentioned above is but a few things you’ll find here. That notion alone is sufficient to encourage your decision to head on down to the Yunnan province of China and soak up a place as amazing as the history it’s seen and made down the ages.