The most complete list of popular Yunnan tourist attractions
Known for its natural beauty, diverse culture, and rich history, Yunnan is a province in southwest China. The region boasts a variety of scenic attractions, including mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and so on. It is also home to many ethnic minority groups. Each group has its own unique set of customs, traditions, and languages. In this article, I introduce Yunnan’s most popular tourist destinations, including Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La.
Yunnan is extremely rich in tourism and cultural resources. Please read another article about the travel guide for the ten charming Yunnan ancient towns.
Kunming Old Street
Kunming Old Street is Kunming’s last remaining historical district. Kunming Old Street’s oldest buildings are nearly 900 years old. These buildings carry the memories and stories of the city. Visitors can also enjoy scenic views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. In addition, the street is a hub for traditional cultural activities, including festivals, performances, and exhibitions.
Stone Forest Scenic Area
The Stone Forest Scenic Area is a natural formation of karst limestone pillars that rise out of the ground to form unique and dramatic landscapes. It was named a World Geopark and a World Natural Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Section.
Dianchi Lake is the largest freshwater lake in China and is surrounded by scenic hills. It is home to more than 60,000 wetland birds of 175 species. The lake is known for its stunning natural beauty and is a popular spot for boating, fishing, and water sports. In addition to its natural attractions, Dianchi Lake is also home to several temples, parks, and gardens, making it a cultural hub.
Dali Ancient City
Dali Ancient City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region, known for its well-preserved ancient architecture and rich cultural heritage. The town dates back more than 500 years, Ming and Qing dynasties and has been a centre of trade and commerce for centuries. The town is dotted with charming cobblestone streets, traditional buildings, and ancient temples and monasteries, making it a unique and picturesque destination. Visitors to Dali Ancient Town can also explore the local markets, try traditional food and enjoy the scenic views of the nearby mountains and lake. The town is also famous for its beautiful arts and crafts, including tie-dye, pottery and wood carvings, which are available for visitors.
Erhai Lake is the second-largest freshwater lake in Yunnan. The lake is known for its scenic beauty, clear water, and diverse range of fish and bird species. The local Bai minority people have lived near the lake for centuries, and their traditional customs and way of life are an important part of the region’s cultural heritage.
Cangshan Mountain is the prominent peak at the southern end of the Yunling mountain range. The nineteen peaks of Cang Mountain are imposing and majestic, in stark contrast to the beautiful scenery of the Erhai Lake.
Shuanglang Ancient Town
Shuanglang Ancient Town is known for its well-preserved traditional architecture, which reflects the styles of the Bai ethnic group. Visitors can stroll along the cobbled streets, explore the old houses and temples, and appreciate the intricate wood and stone carvings, colorful murals, and beautiful gardens. Shuanglang is also renowned for its stunning natural scenery, including the nearby Erhai Lake and the Cangshan Mountain Range.
Three Pagodas are considered one of the most iconic landmarks of the region and are a popular tourist destination. These buildings, which date back to the 9th century, are known for their distinctive architecture, which combines elements of Chinese, Tibetan, and Indian styles. Visitors can admire the intricate carvings, beautiful sculptures, and peaceful atmosphere of the pagodas, as well as the surrounding temples and monasteries.
Lijiang Ancient Town
With over 800 years of history, the most popular Yunnan tourist attractions, Lijiang Ancient Town, is a well-preserved historical and cultural site. It is known for its traditional Naxi-style architecture, narrow cobbled streets, canals, and charming wooden bridges. Visitors can stroll through the town, admire the ancient homes and temples, and immerse themselves in the local culture.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is the southernmost snow mountain in the northern hemisphere. The prominent peak, Shanzidou, is 5,596 metres above sea level. The snowy alpine landscape here lies at an altitude of 4000m above sea level and boasts dangerous, strange, beautiful, scenic views. Visitors can take a cable car to the top of the mountain, where they can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. At the base of the mountain, there are also a number of traditional villages, where visitors can learn about the culture, sample traditional foods, and explore the ancient temples and monasteries.
Lugu Lake is a high-altitude freshwater lake with an island within it. It is known for its stunning natural beauty and the unique cultural heritage of the Mosuo people, who have lived in the region for centuries. Visitors can learn about the Mosuo people’s matriarchal society, traditional festivals, and distinctive customs.
Blue Moon Valley
Blue Moon Valley is world-renowned for its breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains, blue-tinted streams and beautiful gorge scenery. The valley is also known for its unique natural features, including the “Blue Moon” rock formations, which are said to glow blue at night under the light of the moon. It is said to be the site of the Blue Moon in “The Vanishing Horizon” by British author James Hilton.
Lashihai is a lake and wetland nature reserve. It is known for its diverse wildlife, including a variety of bird species, and is one of popular Yunnan tourist attractions for bird-watching. The lake and surrounding area are also home to many local minority communities, giving visitors a chance to experience the region’s unique cultural heritage.
Shangri-La was first introduced to the world in the 1930s in the novel Vanishing Horizons by British author James Hilton and was soon made into a film of the same name, which won several Oscars, making it even better known.
Pudacuo National Forest Park
The Pudacuo National Forest Park features a diverse landscape of rolling hills, crystal-clear lakes, and dense forests, making it a popular destination for tourists seeking a chance to connect with nature. Visitors can explore the park’s scenic hiking trails, admire the diverse plant and animal life, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the area. Additionally, Pudacuo National Forest Park is home to several traditional villages, offering visitors a glimpse into the local culture and way of life. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, hiker, or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Pudacuo National Forest Park is a must-visit destination.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest gorges in the world. The area is one of popular tourist Yunnan attractions for its breathtaking natural beauty and challenging hiking trails. The main hiking trail offers stunning views of the towering peaks, cascading waterfalls, and rushing rapids of the Jinsha River. Visitors can also explore the local villages and experience the traditional culture of the region. Whether you are an adventurous hiker or simply looking to admire the scenic beauty of Tiger Leaping Gorge, this destination is a must-visit for those visiting the Yunnan Province.
Haba Snow Mountain
The elevation of Haba Snow Mountain varies greatly. The landscape is divided into subtropical, temperate, cold temperate and cold climate zones. The temperature difference between the mountain’s foot and the top of the mountain is about 22.8 degrees. There is a wide variety of plants distributed here. The area is one of popular Yunnan tourist attractions for its breathtaking natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor adventure.
Meili Snow Mountain
Meili Snow Mountain is the highest peak in Yunnan, a sacred place of pilgrimage for Tibetans, a sacred place of the Yongzhong benzene religion, the first of the “Eight Sacred Mountains of Tibet”, and one of the “Ten Most Beautiful Mountains of China”… It is also one of the most dangerous snow mountains in the world and is exceptionally dangerous. Visitors can participate in activities such as hiking, trekking, and climbing to reach the mountain’s summit or simply admire the stunning vistas from a distance.
Songtsamlin Monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan Province and has a pivotal position in the entire Tibetan region, known as the “Little Potala Palace”. The temple is built on a mountain and looks like an ancient fortress. It is also known as the ‘Museum of Tibetan Art’, as it is a masterpiece of Tibetan modelling art.
Dukezong Ancient City
Dukezong Ancient City was once an important trading hub on the tea and horse caravan road. It is now one of popular Yunnan tourist attractions for its unique blend of cultural, architectural, and historical heritage. Visitors can explore the narrow, winding streets and admire the traditional Tibetan-style houses, temples, and monasteries that make up the town’s rich cultural tapestry. The city is also known for its vibrant nightlife, bustling market and many shops, restaurants, and cafes. Whether interested in history or architecture or simply looking to immerse yourself in the local culture, Dukezong Ancient City is a must-visit destination for those visiting the Yunnan Province.
Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture
Manting Park: Manting Park is the former rear imperial garden of the Dai royal family. The famous Chief Buddha Temple is here.
Wild Elephant Valley: The Wild Elephant Valley is the only place in China with wild elephants. You can also see wild elephant shows here.
Starlight Night Market: The Starlight Night Market is the largest night market in Asia. It brings together many Chinese delicacies.
Mengle Buddha Temple: The Mengle Buddha Temple was restored and rebuilt on the site of the ancient Dai Dynasty’s royal monastery, the Jing Piao Buddha Temple. “The temple was built by a Dai king named Dialong in the history of the Dai people to commemorate his deceased consort, Nan Sa Wei Pian.
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden: The Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden is the largest and most species-rich botanical garden in China, with more than 4,000 species of plants from all over the world.
Dai Garden: The Dai Garden attracts Chinese and foreign visitors with its charming subtropical courtyard scenery, rich Dai folk customs, typical Dai bamboo building shape, traditional handicraft production and magical Buddhist culture.
Home >> Yunnan >> Beyond Dali and Lijiang: Travel Guide to the Ten Charming Yunnan Ancient Towns There are many ancient towns and villages in Yunnan with very different styles. Some are sparsely populated; some are ancient and contain the…