Yúnnán has some of the most magical and diverse scenery in all of China. There are endless trekking opportunities in the south’s tropical rainforests, and in the north, snow-capped Tibetan peaks hide dozens of tiny villages and temples rarely visited by tourists.
Yúnnán is also home to a third of all China’s ethnic minorities (nearly 50% of the province is non-Han) and despite the best government efforts, numerous pockets of the province have successfully resisted Han influence and exhibit strong local identities.
Even Kūnmíng, the provincial capital, has a flavour that seems more than half a world away from Běijīng. Despite the rapid economic growth, Kūnmíng, ‘Spring City, ’ retains an individuality that has earned it a reputation for being one of the more cosmopolitan and relaxed cities in the southwest.
Yúnnán is the sight of important archaeological discoveries, including sophisticated Bronze Age cultures around Diān Chí (Lake Dian) and the oldest human remains yet found in China (human teeth fragments dating from 1.75 million to 2.5 million years ago).
The province is also home to the nation’s highest number of species of flora and fauna – including 2500 varieties of wild flower and plant – and is known for its mild climate year-round.
It’s hard to comprehend all that Yúnnán has to offer until you get here. If you’re a traveller planning to start your China journey in Yúnnán you should be warned, once you’ve come see it for yourself, you may never get further east than Kūnmíng.
Best places to stay in Yúnnán
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