Top ChoiceViewpoint in Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Bada Rice Terrace

Bada is one of the finest rice terraces at Yuanyang to catch the sunset at. If you only have time for one terrace, this is it.

Top ChoiceBuddhist Temple in Kunming

Golden Temple

The Golden Temple Scenic Area is equal parts religious space, forest park, botanical garden and open-air sculpture museum; it covers 118 hectares on the northwestern outskirts of the city. The obvious highlight...

Glacier in Deqin & Kawa Karpo

Mingyong Glacier

Tumbling off the side of Kawa Karpo peak is the 12km-long Mingyong Glacier. At over 13 sq km, it is not only the lowest glacier in China (around 2200m) but also an oddity – a monsoon marine glacier, which...

Buddhist Temple in Kunming

Bamboo Temple

Tucked away atop a winding mountain road up the forested hills northwest of the city centre, this serene temple is definitely one to be visited by sculptors as much as by those interested in temple collecting....

Buddhist Pagoda in Dali

Three Pagodas

Three Pagodas

Absolutely the symbol of the town and region, these pagodas, a 2km walk north of the north gate, are among the oldest standing structures in southwestern China. The tallest of the three, Qianxun Pagoda, has 16...

Buddhist Temple in Cang Shan

Gantong Temple

Originally constructed in the Tang dynasty, this was once the most important temple in the Dali area. Only one of the original 36 halls remains, but reconstruction continues apace and in its forested mountainside...

Viewpoint in Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Duoyishu Rice Terrace

Located about 25km from Xinjie, this rice terrace has the most awesome sunrises. As it's walking distance from Pugaolao it's an easy choice for the morning.

Historic Site in Lijiang

Lijiang Old Town

The old town is centred on busy and touristy Old Market Square, with the Waterwheel defining the northern edge and the lively Zhongyi Market marking the southern limit (which is a good stop for a slice of old...

Mountain in Tengchong County

Yúnfēng Shān

Dotted with 17th-century temples and monastic retreats, Taoist holy mountain Yunfeng Shan is 47km north of Tengchong. It’s possible to take a cable car close to the top, from where it’s a 20-minute walk to...

Natural Feature in Central Yunnan

Stone Forest

Inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage list in 2007 as part of the South China Karst, Kunming's Stone Forest Scenic Area is undeniably beautiful – but extremely popular with tour groups and independent travellers...

Park in Lijiang

Black Dragon Pool Park

Black Dragon Pool Park

On the northern edge of town is Black Dragon Pool Park; the view from here of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is an obligatory photo stop in southwestern China. The Dongba Cultural Institute is part of a renovated...

Nature Reserve in Shaxi


Wandering anywhere along the forested trails and stone pathways throughout Shibao Mountain makes for a pleasant day trip out of Shaxi, but the real highlights of the area are the Tang-era temples and carvings....

Museum in Kunming

Yunnan Provincial Museum

Originally built in 1951, this museum's relocation in 2015 gave it a thoroughly modern 60,000 square metres of exhibition space. Displays span the prehistoric to the present day; expect a broad overview of...

Mountain in Weishan

Wēibǎo Shān

Weibao Mountain, about 10km south of Weishan, has a relatively easy hike to its peak at around 2500m. During the Ming and Qing dynasties it was the zenith of China’s Taoism, and you’ll find some superb Taoist...

Bridge in Jianshui

Twin Dragon Bridge

This beautiful 30m bridge across the confluence of the Lu and Tachong Rivers features 17 arches, so many that it took two periods of the Qing dynasty to complete the project in 1839. It's 3km from the western...

Gardens in Menglun

Tropical Botanical Garden

Lovely tropical gardens – the largest botanic gardens in all China – with many rare plant species and decent English and Latin signage. Don't miss the Distinctive Plant Collection. In addition to the main...

Market in Ruili

Ruili Market

This is one of the most colourful and fun markets in all Yunnan, with a real swirl of ethnicities, including Dai, Jingpo, Han and Burmese, as well as the odd Bangladeshi and Pakistani trader. Get here in the...

Buddhist Temple in Xi Shan

Taihua Temple

The courtyard of the Ming dynasty Taihua Temple houses a fine collection of flowering trees, including magnolias and camellias, and is a popular to place to relax on the way up or down the mountain.

Monastery in Shangri-la

Ganden Sumtseling Gompa

This 300-year-old Tibetan monastery complex about 4km north of the old town is home to around 600 monks. Extensive rebuilding has robbed the monastery of some of its charm, but it remains the most important in...

Historic Site in Jianshui

Zhu Family Garden

This spacious 20,000-sq-metre complex, which includes 42 separate courtyards, is a fascinating example of Qing-era architecture. Comprising ancestral buildings, family homes, ponds and lovely gardens, it took 30...