Wonders of Yunnan

Yunnan Province, due to its beautiful landscapes, mild climate and colorful ethnic minorities, is one of China’s major tourist destinations. Yunnan is a province in southwestern China with a varied landscape encompassing snow-capped mountains, rice terraces, lakes and deep gorges. Yunnan takes pride in its rich natural and cultural resources. The most attractive of which is the folklore and culture of the area’s 25 ethnic minority groups. Therefore, there are not a few wonders in Yunnan surprising the tourists from home and aboard.

Hottest Destinations and Attractions in Yunnan

Hot Destinations Wonders
Kunming(Spring City) Stone Forest, Dongchuan Red Land
Dali Three Pagodas, Cangshan Mountain, Erhai Lake, Dali Ancient Town
Lijiang Lijiang Ancient Town, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Tiger Leaping Gorge
Shangri-La Songzanlin Monastery, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Dukezong Ancient Town, Haba Snow Mountain
Yuanyang Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces
Jianshui Jianshui Ancient Town, Jianshui Confucius Temple

XishuangBanna Tropical Botanical Garden, One Tree ForestWild Elephant Valley 

Nujiang Three Parallel Rivers Nature Reserve

Major Wonders in Yunnan

In this part, major wonders in Yunnan will be fallen into three categories: geological wonders, natural wonders and cultural wonders.

Geological Wonders

1. Stone Forest

Kunming Stone Forest, Shilin in Chinese, is a spectacular set of limestone groups and the representative of south China’s karst landscape. Known since the Ming Dynasty(1368-1644) as the ‘First Wonder of the World’, it is one of the most important attractions of Yunnan. An old local goes that if you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time.

Geologists say 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 time, the movements of the lithosphere gradually caused a retreat of the waters and the rise of the limestone landscape. Due to constant erosion by the elements, the area finally developed into the present-day appearance.

Main attractions in Stone forest are Greater Stone Forest, Lesser Stone Forest, Naigu Stone Forest and Long Lake. How to Get to Stone Forest from KunmingHow to Take Bus from Kunming to the Stone Forest.

Top 3 Stone Forest tours chosen by most customers to explore Stone Forest in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us. We provide some tour routes for you to choose.

1 Day Kunming Stone Forest Group Tour
1 Day Kunming Stone Forest Tour by High Speed Train
1 Day Kunming Stone Forest Tour with Nuohei Ethnic Village Discovery
More Tours related to Stone Forest.

2. Dongchuan Red Land

Dongchuan Red Land is a new rising tourist destination near Kunming, loved by photographers and backpackers, and praised as “God’s palette”. These red lands, extending for nearly 50 kilometers, are the most striking and distinctive in the world.

Red soil is a kind of low yield barren soil, mainly because of human and natural weather factors accelerated “red soil desertification”. Due to much people and less land, excessive development, deforestation, combined with the characteristics of the soil itself, the soil productivity of red soil area reduced and soil erosion is serious. Severe degradation happens in many regions, forming the “red desertification”. Steep slope land reclamation or excessive reclamation, or destroying forest for reclamation, destruction of surface vegetation leads to soil erosion and land degradation. In addition, in the southern mountain area hills, soil erosion is serious and the harm is greater than the loess plateau that the rocky exposed can not be recovered and forms a “red desert”.

Best places to photograph in Dongchuan Red Land are Damakan and Luoxiagou.

The Best Time to Visit Dongchuan Red Land in Kunming
1 Day Kunming Dongchuan Red Land Tour
2 Days Dongchuan Red Land Photography Tour
5 Days Kunming and Dongchuan Red Land Tour
More Tours

Natural Wonders

1. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

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. 
Scientists say she arose from an ancient geosyncline 230 million years ago in an age when dinosaurs began to increase and formed her present shape sometime during the last 600,000 years, even as late as 12,000 years ago. Storms frequently rage around the glaciers and silver-gray rocks and eternal snowfields of her five primary peaks. How to Get to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain from Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Tours.

2. Tiger Leaping Gorge

As the deepest gorge in the world, the scenery of Tiger Leaping Gorge is spectacular. Foreign backpackers started hiking in the area in the 1980s and now Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour has been one of the most famous hiking tour all around the world. From the top of Tiger Leaping Gorge, you can look down the steeply angled (70-90 degrees) mountain sides to the rushing Jinsha River with its 18 frothing rapids more than 200 meters below. Naturally Tiger Leaping Gorge is divided into three sections: Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge, Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge and Lower Tiger Leaping Gorge.

How to Get to Tiger Leaping Gorge from Shangrila
How to Get to The Upper Section of Tiger Leaping Gorge (Lijiang Side) from Lijiang
Tours including Tiger Leaping Gorge

3. Three Parallel Rivers

The Three Parallel Rivers refer to the three rivers of the Jinsha River, the Lancang River and the Nujiang River, which originate from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and run more than 170 kilometers from north to south in Yunnan Province, cross the mountains between Dandang Lika Mountain, Gaoligong Mountain, Nu Mountain and other high mountains and lofty hills.

The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Yunnan province, China. It lies within the drainage basins of the upper reaches of the Yangtze(Jinsha), Lancang(Mekong) and Nujiang(Salween) rivers, in the Yunnan section of the Hengduan Mountains. How to Get to Three Parallel Rivers in Yunnan? 

Check More Information about Three Parallel Rivers Travel Guide.
10 Days Three Parallel Rivers Circle Tour with Nanjiluo and Biluo Snow Mountain Hiking
12 Days Yunnan Three Parallel Rivers Overland Tour with Biluo and Meili Snow Mountains
13 Days Three Parallel Rivers Circle Adventure with Tiger Leaping Gorge and Yubeng Village Hiking Tour
15 Days Three Parallel Rivers Overland Adventure with Dulongjiang River Valley and Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking
20 Days Yunnan Three Parallel Rivers Adventure Trekking Tour

Cultural Wonders

1. Lijiang Ancient Town

The Old Town of Lijiang, a well-preserved old city of ethnic minorities with brilliant culture, is a central town of the Lijiang Autonomous County of the Naxi Ethnic Minority in Yunnan Province. Located on the plateau which is 2,400 meters above the sea level and embraced by the tree-covered Lion Mountain in the west, Elephant and Golden Row Mountains in the north, vast fertile fields in the southeast and crystal clear water running through, the old town looks like a big jade ink slab, therefore got the alias the Town of Big Ink Slab (Dayanzhen).

On December 3rd, 1997, the Old Town of Lijiang was put in the list of the World’s Relics by the World Cultural Heritage Commission of the UNESCO. The charming Old Town is now a famous tourist attraction for its traditional ethnic culture and customs, inimitable buildings and the wonderful natural views.

Lijiang Ancient Town – Dali Ancient Town Transportation
Tours Including Lijiang Ancient Town.

2. Jianshui Ancient Town

Jianshui, an ancient town in Honghe Prefecture of Yunnan Province, is one of the national famous historic and cultural towns of China. With a history of about 1200 years and an abundant distinctive cultural heritage, the Ancient Town enjoys a great reputation as a ‘Museum of Ancient Buildings and Residential Houses’ and attracts a lot of visitors at home and abroad.

Jianshui still retains the traditional style of the original town in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with break walls and a gate tower. From over 12 centuries of construction, more than 15 ancient buildings have remained in its present ancient town. If you come here to have a look, you will find many distinctive attractions. The famous scenic spots include: Jianshui Confucius Temple, Zhu Family Garden, Double Dragon Bridge and the National Examination Site of Xuezheng (the National Education Ministry) of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Apart from these attractions, the surrounding sights are also delightful, such as the Swallow Cave and Zhang Family Garden in Tuanshan Village.

Tours Including Jianshui Ancient Town
2 Days Jianshui Ancient Architecture Tour from Kunming
4 Days Jianshui Confucian Culture Festival Tour
11 Days Yunnan Classic Tour with Jianshui Old Town and Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces

3. Songzanlin Monastery

Being the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, Songzanlin Monastery, also known as Guihua Monastery, is one of the famous monasteries in the Kang region. It is located near Shangri -La, at the foot of Foping Mountain.

Songzanlin Monastery has another alias – ‘the little Potala Palace‘, so named because the whole monastery is in the traditional style with mysterious atmosphere. In 1679, Dalailama chose this place by divination, and it went on to become the uppermost public place in Yunan which features the particular local characteristics. Annually, the Gedong Festival is celebrated here by the Tibetans. Pious believers, with their knees and foreheads knocking the ground at every step, come here to pray.

Tours Including Songzanlin Monastery.
4 Days Shangri-la City Tour
5 Days Lijiang-Shangrila Tour
7 Days Shangrila Students Education Course
8 Days Yunnan Classic Tour by High Speed Bullet Train
15 Days Yunnan-Tibet Mount Everest Tours from Kunming to Lhasa by Flight

Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces

Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces are both natural wonder and cultural wonder. Yuanyang Rice Terraces has been a masterpiece of the ingenuity of the Hani people for generations. Southern Ailao Mountain, with this typical tiered landscape, is famed for its unique frontier scenery.

The Hani people’s ancestors came to this steep mountain area 2,500 years ago. In their struggle against the difficult terrain they successfully established the terraces, where they grew rice in order to make a living. The technology of developing fertile land on rugged mountain slopes didn’t spread all over China and Southeast Asia until 14th century. The creativity of the Hani people turned this mountain area into one of artistic beauty. In recognition, the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) emperor granted the title of ‘Skillful Sculptor’  to Hani people and their good reputation was passed down from generation to generation. At present, known as ‘land sculpture’ the terraced fields have been being officially acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site.

The Best-known terraces include Laohuzui(Tiger Mouth) Rice Terrace, Duoyishu Rice Terrace, Bada Rice Terrace and Longshuba Rice Terrace. Every year, a crowd of photographers are attracted by the spectacular view of Yuanyang terrace like sunrise, sunset, sea of cloud. More and more people admire the charm of Yuanyang rice terrace. 

Hiking Tours and Travel Tips of Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces
Hiking Tours and Travel Tips around Bada Hani Rice Terraces in Yuanyang
Hiking Tours and Travel Tips of Duoyishu Hani Rice Terraces in Yuanyang
Kunming to Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Transportation: by Train, Flight and Bus

Top Tours Including Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces
1 Day Yuanyang Bada Hani Rice Terraces Hiking Tour
1 Day Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Tour
3 Days Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Photography Tour from Kunming
More Tours

More information about Yunnan Tours, please click Yunnan Exploration or contact us by Email: contact@YunnanExploration.com, or Phone: 0086-871-63511469, Wechat: 908400838, Emergency Call:+86-13668720322.

Best Time To Visit Yunnan

Generally speaking, the weather in most areas of Yunnan is mild in winter and cool in summer. It is suitable to visit Yunnan all year round.

As mentioned, Yunnan’s varied terrain results in the diversity of its landscapes and weather. The time to go depends largely on what you want to see and which part you want to go to.

Summer(June to September) and fall(October to November) are the most favorable seasons if you do not want to experience the large temperature difference between daytime and nighttime in spring(March to May) and winter(December to February).

Spring and early summer are the best times to see the flora and fauna. Fall and winter are the best times to see snow-capped mountains and peaks.