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Best Places to Visit in Yunnan

Yunnan, in Chinese means the southern part of the colorful cloud, is a place decorated with unique ethnic culture and extremely beautiful scenery. TopChinaTravel would like to introduce some of the Best Places to visit in Yunnan, to help you find your way to explore the unspoiled beauty of this highland area. Where to visit in Yunnan? Travel with us, just let us to be your guide and accompany with you to discover the charms between mountains and customs.

Stone Forest, Kunming

As one of the representatives of China South Karst landform, the Stone Forest in Kunming is famous in the world for its unique scenes that peaks rise steeply and dangerous stone are towering into the sky.
The magnificent, strange and steep landscape of the Stone Forest creates countless labyrinthine vistas, all of which feature stones in various formations. Animals, plants, and even human figures can be found here. Some are elegant, some are rugged, and each is lifelike with its own distinguishing characteristics. Geologists say that the Stone Forest is a typical example of karsts topography. Approximately 270 million years ago - during the carboniferous period of the Paleozoic era - the region was a vast expanse of sea.
Over years of movements, the lithosphere gradually caused a retreat of the waters and the rise of the limestone landscapes. Due to constant erosions by the elements, thee area finally developed into the present-day Stone Forest.

Dali Ancient City, Dali

Built in 1382 and located 13 km north of Xiaguan, Dali Ancient City is one of the first group of the famous historic and cultural cities. It is a traditional city featured with Bai ethnic culture and architectural style.

Unlike any other Chinese town, the traditional Bai ethnic folk houses give the town distinctive feel. The town's layout was uniform, with five main streets from south to north and eight main streets from east to west, while marketplaces were neatly arranged within the town, which has remained unchanged to this date.
Besides the Bai houses, the houses with gray-green roof tiles, peculiar workshops, temples, schools and churches with antique flavor are scattered. Traditional marble artworks, like pencil vases, striped screen, and a variety of woven handicrafts of fine straw are laid chockablock on both sides of the street to be appreciated and purchased. Its grand city wall, traditional Bai houses and marvelous scenery have been attracted many visitors.

Mount Cangsha and Erhai Lake, Dali

Mount Cangshan and Erhai Lake are two famous scenic spots for travelers. Mount Cangshan with majestic appearance in west Yunnan is the main peak on the southern end of Yunling Mountain. And Erhai Lake is a high mountain lake with an exquisite scenery as the second largest lake in Yunnan.
Mount Cangshan: The peaks, straight and magnificent, are overgrown with primeval forests, and 18 springs and streams filled with crystal-clear waters serpentine among them. Waterfalls and surging rivers emit thunderous roars. Malongfeng, the main peak, shoots up into the sky with its top clogged with dazzling snow all the year round. 'Clouds, Snow, Peaks and Streams' are four spectacular views of the Mountain.
Erhai Lake was formed by the subsidence of geological fault. It is reputed as the pearl on plateau for its beautiful scenery. The famous sights of the Erhai Lake include Three Islets, namely Jinsuo, Chiwen, and Yuji, Four Lands, namely Malian, Mandarin Duck, Qingsha, and Daguanpeng, and Nine Curves, namely Lotus, Huge Crane, Panji, Phoenix Wing, Dill, Ox Horn, Bozuo, Gaopin, Soaring Crane.

Lijiang  Old Town, Lijiang

There is a lifestyle called “Lijiang”. With the international fame for a few decades, Lijiang gradually become a word referred to the leisure life. If you have been to Lijiang, you will unconsciously stop for a while to get a touch with paradise.
Lijiang Old Town, which is perfectly adapted to the uneven topography of this key commercial and strategic site, has retained a historic townscape of high quality and authenticity. Its architecture is noteworthy for the blending of elements from several cultures that have come together over many centuries. Lijiang also possesses an ancient water-supply system of great complexity and ingenuity that still functions effectively today.

Tiger Leaping Gorge, Lijiang

Tiger Leaping Gorge
, a word popular among travelers who are fond of hiking and trekking, is a place to catch magnificent photos as well as adventurous feelings.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is a canyon on the Yangtze River or the Golden Sands River, located 60km north of Lijiang, Yunnan. Around 15km in length, the canyon is located where the river passes between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain in a series of rapids under steep 2000m cliffs. Legend says that in order to escape from a hunter, a tiger jumped across the river at the narrowest point, still 25m wide, hence the name.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang

Jade Snow Mountain
is the highest snow mountain in the south of the northern latitude. The 13 peaks of 18,360-foot Jade Dragon (Yu Long) Snow Mountain, a treasure of wild plants and rare animals, are like a silver dragon lying in the clouds.

Awesome and unconquered, they dominate the Lijiang Plain. Some have described Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as a radiant cornet crowning Lijiang's head.

Lugu Lake, Lijiang

Lugu Lake is famous for its unique marriage culture – walking-marrige custom. This custom is an exceptional “living fossil of the matriarchal society”.
Lugu Lake is located between Ninglang County in Yunnan Province and Yanyuan County in Sichuan Province, about 300km away from Lijiang. It is a plateau lake with a total area of 52 square kilometers, 2,685 meters above the sea level. The average depth is 45m, and the deepest point being 93m. The lake remains an uncontaminated plateau lake with the crystal-clear water.

Lugu Lake is embraced in green mountains. The best-loved one by the Mosuo people is the Holy Gemu Mountain (the Lion Mountain). The local people worship it as their Goddess Gemu. On 25th July of each lunar year, they will gather at the foot of the mountain for a great sacrificial rite. 

Potatso National Park, Shangri-La

With the lively green in the summer and splendid white in the winter, Potatso National Park always presents its charms with the natural resources there.
Located 22km east of Shangri-La, Potatso is the first national park in mainland China. In Tibetan language, Patatso means reaching the opposite side of the lake by boat under the help of deity. Bitahai Lake and Shuduhu Lake are two major parts of the park. Besides these two lakes, forest, marsh, valley, alpine meadow and so on can be seen in the park. All major spots are connected by walkable plank which offers a closer distance for travelers to experience the natural environment.

Meili Snow Mountain, Shangri-La

Meili Snow Mountain towers over the landscape in the west of Deqin County (Shangri-la) in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Also known as 'Prince Snow Mountain', it is the most sacred mountain the in the world.
Meili Mountain has long been famous for Kang Karpo Peak, Yunnan's tallest mountain - 6,740m above sea level. Among one of the eight sacred mountains the Tibetans worship, it looks like gilded when the sun rises. There are 13 lesser peaks around it, each more than 6,000m above sea level.
Legend has it that Kang Karpo Peak is the incarnation of a Tibetan God who helped the local people drive the evil spirit away. The mountain's name means white snow mountain in the Tibetan language and it is named after a patron saint in Tibetan Buddhism. It's said Kang Karpo often rode a white horse with a sword in his hand. His majestic appearance was similar to that of the peak. It is said that reaching the top of the Potala Palace, you would see the profile of Kang Karpo through the colorful clouds. Every year from the end of autumn to the start of winter, thousands of Tibetan pilgrims walk to pay their homage to Kang Karpo.

Songzanlin Monastery, Shangri-La

Built at the foot of a hill, Songzanlin Monastery is reputed as the “Small Potala Palace” or Guihua Monastery in Chinese. Songzanlin is the largest Tibetan Buddhism monastery in Yunnan Province. Covering an area of 30 hectares, it looks like a mini Kumbum (Ta Er) Monastery. It is located on a mountain slope 5km from the county town of Shangri-La.
Built in the style of Potala Palace in Lhasa, the magnificent monastery complex resides on top of a hill and consists of the two Zhacang and Jikang lamaseries - which take on the form of five-story Tibetan watchtowers - five gates, numerous sub-lamaseries and hundreds of rooms for the monks. Walking up the 146 steps that lead to the main prayer hall is a tiring exercise at 3,300m above sea level, but it allows you to trace mentally the pilgrimage route that generations of devout Buddhists living on the plateau take on their knees and foreheads every year.