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China’s Yunnan and its melting pot of peoples

July 8, 2017 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

During Thailand Travel Mart plus Amazing Gateway to the Greater Mekong Sub-region (TTM+) 2017, held on June 14-16 in Chiang Mai, it was expected that booths from  the National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) of the GMS countries Cambodia, China (Yunnan and Guangxi), Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam will showcase and promote their new products next to Thailand. But surprisingly, there was only one representative fromChina around, namely Ms. Limin Fang, Deputy Director of the Marketing and Promotion Division of the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Development Committee, to give information and answer questions about China’s most diverse province.

Actually, Yunnan is the most diverse province in all of China, both in its mix of peoples and the picturesque landscapes they live in. Adventure, customs, culture, and taste makes Yunnan a great travel destination in a land of mystery. Counting some 26 ethnic minorities, Yunnan has been since ancient times a melting pot of peoples. Also, because of its location in the southwestern part of China it was heavily influenced by the civilizations of imperial China and India. Only since the time of the Mongol Kublai Khan, Yunnan became a part of the Chinese Empire. Ancient caravan trade routes ran through such as the southern Silk Road to India and the Tea and Horses’ Road from http://www.itehcmc.com/Xishuangbanna to Tibet in the north. Today, improved highways and railroads can now take you to the furthest reaches of Yunnan.

The mighty waterways of the Yangzi, Mekong, Salween, Red and Black River form deep valleys and connect Yunnan to Myanmar, Laos and Viet Nam. Yunnan covers an area of 394,000 square kilometers and is averagely some 2,000 meters high. Yunnan has a population of more than 40 million with its capital in Kunming. From there, it is easy to travel to the scenic Stone Forest, where the colorful dressed Sani people live, and then along the “northeastern route” to Qujing, Zhaotong and Sichuan province. The more popular “northwestern route” leads to Chuxiong and Dali, where you can meet the friendly Yi and Bai people, who are famous for their dances and songs. From Dali, continue up to Lijiang to visit the Naxi people, who have their own hieroglyphic script, and to explore Tibetan villages around Zhongdian and Diqing, a kind of Shangri-La hiding some of the snowcapped mountains.

The less traveled “southeastern” route leads you to Yuxi, known for its production of tobacco, and Honghe, where the Hani people cultivated their terraced rice fields since generations. Along the Red River go down to Hekou at the Vietnamese border or continue to Wenshan for its sweeping county side views and limestone caves. Another option is to follow the “western route” from Dali, which will lead tourists to Baoshan, Tengchong, and then to the Dehong Jingpo and Dai Autonomous Region, which brings you into contact with the complex history of Yunnan. The border town of Ruili was an important stage of the infamous Burma Road during the Second World War.

If you follow the “southwestern” route or express highway from Kunming to the Laotian border, you pass the towns of Yuanjiang, Mojiang and Pu’er on the way to Jinghong, which is the capital of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Region and where you can marvel at the prosperity of the villages and the natural biodiversity due to the tropical climate. The mighty Mekong River is the soul of the country, where the ancestors of the Thai people lived a long time ago. There are many other scenic destinations in Yunnan such as the Yuanmou Earth Forest, Lugu Lake with its matrilineal Musuo people, as well as the grand canyon of the Nujiang River (Salween). Different religions and customs abound everywhere.

While seeing the fields, valleys, mountains and lakes, markets are the places to stop to meet the people. To sample Yunnan’s diverse cuisine is an adventure, while hotels and entertainment are becoming more readily available and easy to find. Make sure that you experience some of the annual festivals and events when in Yunnan such as the March Fair Street Festival in Dali, the Water Splashing Festival of the Dai in mid-April or the Erhai Lake Fishing Festival from August to October. Anyway, Yunnan is an all year round travel destination and there are regular flights to the Spring City of Kunming from Bangkok, Yangon, Vientiane, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore among others.

Written by : Reinhard Hohler

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. MARIO MASCIULLO says:

    Congrats to Reinhard for his very interesting article on a non common-yet- china destination.

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