By P Chong
23 Feb. 2011
Yunnan is endlessly a place of fascination
Surpassing many well-trodden places
To delight the hearts & souls
With hills & valleys away from shores
With rivers & streams gurglingly flow
Through its streets both new & old
Beneath its natural clear blue sky
From its distant snow-capped mountains
To the lakes & canals of its cities & towns.
Though occupying only about 4.1% of China‘s landmass, it contains 25 different ethnic minorities reflecting the most culturally diverse province in China & the national realm of harmonious living in unity in diversities.
From the UNESCO listed Stone Forest of Kunming, the Capital of Yunnan, an unique karst topography, depicting the concrete jungle of modern metropolitan China to the age-old towns of Dali or Lijiang, the traveller can feel the pulse of China’s economic surge while being reminded of a land unsurpassed in history & culture.
This plateau land in the south-west corner of China beckons to you, one & all, though for the seniors, I would suggest that you’re fit to truly enjoy the many natural spots of interests, without having to worry about aching feet or weary & painful backs. The are certainly lots of cobble-stone roads to trudge, laborious steps & stairs to ascend or descend, jostling crowds to mingle with . . . ceaseless streets with surprising turns of fun & joy.
For the ‘shopperholics’, the narrow streets are lined with quaint little shops filled with leather goods of sorts, souvenirs both old & new, clothing, jade, silverware & porcelain ware. The atmosphere is one of festivities, colours everywhere with red as the dominant choice for prosperity & good fortune.
The crowd is predominantly young. I would say 99% of them with a sprinkle of senior members & foreigners. Thousands of these tourists are Chinese nationals. This is such a prominent feature everywhere you turn . . . young & vibrant, mobile, modern tech population group with time to spare & money to spend. Virtually everyone, male or female alike, is equipped with the mobile phone, the popular iPhone or other smart phones.
Both Dali & Lijiang have preserved their ancient enclosed or walled townships where visitors & tourists are encouraged to stay rather than in their developed new areas and experience of a life of an era gone by.
- South of the Clouds: Dali, Yunnan, China (gadling.com)
- South of the Clouds: Hiking Cangshan Mountains, Dali, Yunnan, China (gadling.com)
- South of the Clouds: Lijiang, Yunnan, China (gadling.com)