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Yunnan (云南, Yúnnán) is the most diverse province in all China, both in its extraordinary mix of peoples and in the splendour of its landscapes. That combination of superlative sights and many different ethnic groups has made Yunnan the trendiest destination for China’s exploding domestic tourist industry.

More than half of the country’s minority groups reside here, providing a glimpse into China’s hugely varied mix of humanity. Then there’s the eye-catching contrasts of the land itself: dense jungle sliced by the Mekong River in the far south; soul-recharging glimpses of the sunset over rice terraces in the southeastern regions; snowcapped mountains as you edge towards Tibet.

Infrastructure development makes travel here easier than ever, but you’ll need time to see it all – whatever time you’ve set aside for Yunnan, double it.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Yunnan.