Backpacking through China’s Most Diverse Province | iVisits

Backpacking through China’s Most Diverse Province

Embracing nearly half of the ethnic minorities of China, Yunnan has always been recognized as a mystery stunning land which stands on the southeast of China in permanent peace and tranquility.

Thanks to the delightful plateau climate here, where the terrain starts to climb until it reaches the astonishing Tibet, Yunnan undoubtedly prepare you the best natural scenes and comfortable living condition.

Indeed, the most well-known parts of Yunnan Province is  the Old Town of Lijiang leaning on the Jade Dragon Jokul, as well as Shangri-La of course, since James Hilton described it as a magical heaven, an outsider of the boisterous civilization in Lost Horizon, 1933.

However, if you want to actually dive into the peaceful way how people live in Yunnan, the capital city, Kunming, could be a more fascinating destination somehow.

On the southeast of Kunming lies the Dian Lake, which is even larger than Kunming City itself. If you start your trip like us at Kunming train station, No.44 Bus can take you right to the lake. It was built as a large park along the lake where people do exercise, and countless children join activities.

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We bought a cable ticket and step on Xi Hill beside the lake. There were really a lot of stairs and turnings before we were able to overlook the whole Kunming city inlaid in the blue peaceful Dian lake. It was stunning just standing nearly on the edge of the cliff, and what’s behind us was several delicate statues of Taoism in typical Chinese style.

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In a national voting some years ago, Kunming was regarded as one of the most suitable cities to live in, and it does possess leisure and happiness for all its citizen. Built around a green small lake in the center of the city, CuiHu Park was the best place for everyone to relax themselves.

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Moreover, Yunnan University is one of the good destination, since even the architectures here are subtly different from other universities, decorated with prosperous green trees, vines and various flowers.

The train glided northward in the dark, and after 7 hours of sleep we reached Dali at 6 a.m.. Looking out the car’s window, the top of continuous Cang Mountain was cloaked by clouds, which were all incredibly shinny at the sunrise.

Even the National Youth Hostel we chose here fits in the local style perfectly, as a large cluster of bright-colored bougainvillea greeted us on the roof of the front door, and the cats and trees in the courtyard are all so alive!


At night, the old town was full of fun! You would find various interesting shops on the main street, and in different kinds of bars, music are performed in turns, both ballad and rock.



If you’d like to use two words to describe Dali, CangShan and ErHai can definitely do the job. The small old town lies right at the foot of Cang mountain, facing the blue wide Erhai on its east, and its streets were all made as inclines to fit the terrain.

As the south ending point of Himalayas, Cang Mountain is a treasury geology vault with valuable collection of geological phenomena. But sadly we missed spring, the best season for flowers.


In comparison, Erhai is even more breathtaking. Though given the name with meaning of sea in Chinese by locals, Erhai is actually a large lake. Every bit of it has diverse charm, so you are highly recommended to hire a electromobile so that you can drive around the lake and visit through all those little hamlets with beautiful special houses of Bai nationality in Yunnan Province.

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Possessing the amazing scenes, Erhai is also a good choice for taking wedding photos.



When we sat down in a courtyard and rest, a local singer was there singing folk songs with her guitar in her hands.


In reality, rather than only a tourism attractive town, Dali was once given as the name of a glorious country where the royal Duan family ruled for hundred years before Genghis Khan’s army occupied it as his own territory.

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Buddhism was highly protected and praised in Dali, and surprisingly, on the basis of some folk tales, it was believed that there were 8 emperors in Duan’s ended up eminent monks.

Easily we would find the interesting difference between the local Bodhisattva and the popular ones molded in most Chinese temples. All the statues here are topless and wears costumes in Dai style, with huge earrings. It is like a interim between Buddhism in Tibet and in the east of China, connected and combined.

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This trip was truly a relaxation. Instead of the most thrilling activities and striking views, what we experience here was life.

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