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Yunnan Top Things

Top Things to Do in Yunnan

Yunnan is an enchanting land that will captivate you with its picturesque natural scenery, well-preserved ancient towns as well as varied minority cultures, which make it a perfect getaway to escape from the bustle and hustle of the city life. So here we’ve hand-picked some top Yunnan experiences that you should not miss to enjoy your trip to the utmost.
Step back in Time-honored Towns
Lijiang Old Town

Prepare to feel like walking into a time warp when you visit Yunnan’s ancient towns, where traditions are well preserved and so are the buildings, streets, dresses, etc.

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The UNESCO-listed Lijiang Old Town is the most famous ancient towns in China. A winding maze of cobbled streets, small waterways and beautiful old courtyards make it a romantic, relaxed place to stay. Nearby Shuhe Ancient Town is more rustic and tranquil, characterized by an intoxicating mix of quaint houses and lovely cafes where you can appreciate ancient Naxi culture. In Daili Old Town, with a glorious history tracing back to 738, you still can catch charming remnants of its past, like ancient pagodas, temples, Bai minority architectures and traditional craft of tie-dyeing.

Explore more Yunnan Ancient Towns in:
6 Days - Best of Yunnan
8 Days - Classic Yunnan Tour to Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La

Capture Jaw-dropping Landscapes
Yuanyang Terrace
Dongchuan Red Land

Blessed with mind-blowing varying landscapes, Yunnan is absolutely a heaven for photographers.

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Step in the Stone Forest to shoot spectacular karst landscape, full of limestone formations in all shapes and sizes dating back some 270 million years. Gaze at the incredible masterpiece of Hani people in Yuanyang Terraced Fields, presenting thrilling beauty of sea of clouds, mirror-like rice paddies, glowing sunrise and sunset. The dream-like Dongchuan Red Land must not be missed; you are sure to be amazed by the fiery red soil and patches of green, yellow or white making a stunning oil painting. All of these picturesque Yunnan's photography destinations will add a kaleidoscope of colors to your trip.

Join in our Yunnan photography tours:
7 Days - Private Tour of Kunming, Yuanyang Terraced Fields & Dongchuan Red land
4 Days - Private Yunnan Photography Tour

Soak up Slow Pace and Leisure Life

The most leisurely city in Yunnan, Lijiang is where many urbanites decided to settle themselves and escape from faced-paced city life. There you can see colorful flowers blooming in every household, Naxi women in traditional blue clothing smiling and the elderly enjoying sunshine with tea… It’s nice to stroll around or just cozily lounge on a lovely café to soak in the relaxed vibe.

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Besides, a stroll around the Flower and Birds Market will impress you with the Kunming style of local daily life. In Dali, you can be tempted by the life of leisure that Bai minority people enjoy despite of the throngs of tourists.

Experience Colorful Minority Culture
Minority Culture

Yunnan is the most culturally intriguing province in China because 25 China’s ethnic minorities call Yunnan their home, including the Yi, Bai, Hani, Naxi, Zhuang, Dai, Miao, Lisu, Yao and Tibetan. Travelling to original minority villages and towns, like Xizhou, Zhoucheng or Yuhu Village, you can come into close contact with locals to discover their distinctive dwellings, costumes, dialects, lifestyle and diverse festivals, which are all eye-catching and fascinating.

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The best time to enjoy the colorful culture is to travel at Yunnan festival times, such as the Torch Festival of Yi, Water-Splashing Festival of Dai and March Fair of Bai, when you can join in an amazing array of activities.

Get more Ideas from Our Article:
Yunnan Minority People & Festivals

Discover a Hybrid of Religious Beliefs
Three Pagodas

You will be surprised to find that there are so many religions gathering in Yunnan compatibly, including Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Catholicism, Islam as well as primitive religions of Yunnan’s ethnic groups. A wonderful demonstration is the Baisha Murals, fusing the cultural features of Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and local Dongda religion.

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Other important religious sites include Three Pagodas, the iconic landmark of Dali, with 1100-year-old history; Yuantong Temple, Kunming’s largest Buddhist temple nestled in picturesque garden scenery; Yufeng Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Lijiang, famous for thousands of camellia flowers in full blossom in spring.

Hike/Cycle along Enchanting Scenery
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Erhai Lake

With beautiful and dramatic scenery, Yunnan boasts some of China’s top hiking trails, and the most famous one is located at the Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world. Take in amazing vistas of green valleys, snow peaks and rare animals as you trek through pristine wildness. Numerous guesthouses along the way make it a fantastic place to hike.

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A cycling tour can be on top of your must-do list in Yunnan for discovering gems off the beaten track. We recommend you pedal off from Dali Old Town to Erhai Lake; you will glimpse the rustic countryside, harmonious lifestyle and picturesque lake scenery against the backdrop of Mt. Cangshan.

Recommended Tours:
2 Days - Private Hiking Tour to Tiger Leaping Gorge
3 Days - Classic Dali with Cycling Experience

Make a Journey to Mythical Shangri-La

First appeared in James Hilton’s Lost Horizon in 1939, Shangri-La still remains mysterious as the venerated world of Tibetan culture with its unique traditions. A visit to a local Tibetan Family will quickly impress you with the hospitality of Tibetan people who welcome strangers with fragrant yak butter tea. And the impressive Songzanlin Monastery invites you to discover the sacredness of Tibetan Buddhism.

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In the Earthly Paradise, you also will be caught by Pudacuo National Park, offering otherworldly highland beauty of pastures, meadows, original forests, lakes and pure blue sky. At an altitude of 3200 meters, some may experience shortness of breath or headache. Remember to take it easy and drink lots of water.

Tours including Shangri-La:
1 Day - Group Day Tour to Shangri-La
5 Days - Best of Lijiang with Shangri-La

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