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Hotels of Yunnan

A hotel in Yunnan is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Yunnan hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Yunnan are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Yunnan hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Yunnan hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Yunnan have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Yunnan
An upscale full service hotel facility in Yunnan that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Yunnan hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Yunnan
Full service Yunnan hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Yunnan
Boutique hotels of Yunnan are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Yunnan boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Yunnan may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Yunnan
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Yunnan travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Yunnan focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Yunnan
Small to medium-sized Yunnan hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Yunnan traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Yunnan hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Yunnan
A bed and breakfast in Yunnan is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Yunnan bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Yunnan B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Yunnan
Yunnan hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Yunnan hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Yunnan
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Yunnan hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Yunnan lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Yunnan
Yunnan timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Yunnan often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Yunnan on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Yunnan
A Yunnan motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Yunnan for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Yunnan motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Yunnan

Not to be confused with Yunan.
Yunnan Province
Name transcription(s)
Chinese 云南省 (Yúnnán Shěng)
Abbreviation (Diān)
Also: / (Yún)
Map showing the location of Yunnan Province
Map showing the location of Yunnan Province
Coordinates:  / 25.050; 101.867  / 25.050; 101.867
Capital Kunming
Largest city Kunming
Divisions 16 prefectures, 129 counties, 1565 townships
• Secretary Chen Hao
• Governor Ruan Chengfa
• Total 394,000 km (152,000 sq mi)
Area rank 8th
Population (2010)
• Total 45,966,239
• Rank 12th
• Density 120/km (300/sq mi)
• Density rank 24th
• Ethnic composition Han – 67%
Yi – 11%
Bai – 3.6%
Hani – 3.4%
Zhuang – 2.7%
Dai – 2.7%
Miao – 2.5%
Hui – 1.5%
Tibetan – 0.3%
De'ang (Ta'ang)-0.19%
• Languages and dialects Southwestern Mandarin;
25 ethnic minority languages
ISO 3166 code CN-53
GDP (2013) CNY 1.2 trillion
USD 191 billion (24th)
• per capita CNY 25,500
USD 4,000 (30th)
HDI (2010) 0.609 (medium) (29th)
Yunnan (Chinese characters).svg
"Yunnan" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese 云南
Traditional Chinese 雲南
Literal meaning "South of the Yun[ling Mountains]"
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu Pinyin Yúnnán
Bopomofo ㄩㄣˊ ㄋㄢˊ
Gwoyeu Romatzyh Yunnan
Wade–Giles Yün-nan
IPA [y̌n.nǎn]
Romanization Yiuin-noe
Romanization Yùn-nàm
Yue: Cantonese
Yale Romanization Wàhn-nàahm
Southern Min
Hokkien POJ Hûn-lâm

Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country. It spans approximately 394,000 square kilometres (152,000 sq mi) and has a population of 45.7 million in 2009. The capital of the province is Kunming, formerly also known as Yunnan. The province borders Vietnam, Laos, and Burma.

Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with high elevations in the northwest and low elevations in the southeast. Most of the population lives in the eastern part of the province. In the west, the altitude can vary from the mountain peaks to river valleys as much as 3,000 metres (9,800 ft). Yunnan is rich in natural resources and has the largest diversity of plant life in China. Of the approximately 30,000 species of higher plants in China, Yunnan has perhaps 17,000 or more. Yunnan's reserves of aluminium, lead, zinc and tin are the largest in China, and there are also major reserves of copper and nickel.

The Han Empire first recorded diplomatic relations with the province at the end of the 2nd century BC. It became the seat of a Sino-Tibetan-speaking kingdom of Nanzhao in the 8th centuryAD. Nanzhao was multi-ethnic, but the elite most-likely spoke a northern dialect of Yi. The Mongols conquered the region in the 13th century, with local control exercised by warlords until the 1930s. From the Yuan dynasty onward, the area was part of a central-government sponsored population movement towards the Southwestern frontier, with 2 major waves of migrants arriving from Han-majority areas in northern and southeast China. As with other parts of China's southwest, Japanese occupation in the north during World War II forced another migration of majority Han people into the region. These two wave of migration contributed to Yunnan being one of the most ethnically diverse provinces of China, with ethnic minorities accounting for about 34 percent of its total population. Major ethnic groups include Yi, Bai, Hani, Zhuang, Dai and Miao.

Yunnan: History

Main article: History of Yunnan

Yunnan: Prehistory period

The Yuanmou Man, a Homo erectus fossil unearthed by railway engineers in the 1960s, has been determined to be the oldest-known hominid fossil in China. By the Neolithic period, there were human settlements in the area of Lake Dian. These people used stone tools and constructed simple wooden structures.

Yunnan: Pre-Nanzhao period

Around the 3rd century BC, the central area of Yunnan around present day Kunming was known as Dian. The Chu general Zhuang Qiao (庄跤) entered the region from the upper Yangtze River and set himself up as "King of Dian". He and his followers brought into Yunnan an influx of Chinese influence, the start of a long history of migration and cultural expansion.

Bronze sculpture of the Dian Kingdom, 3rd century BCE

In 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang unified China and extended his authority south. Commanderies and counties were established in Yunnan. An existing road in Sichuan – the "Five Foot Way" – was extended south to around present day Qujing, in eastern Yunnan. The Han–Dian wars began under Emperor Wu. He dispatched a series of military campaigns against the Dian during the southward expansion of the Han Dynasty. In 109 BC, Emperor Wu sent General Guo Chang (郭昌) south to Yunnan, establishing Yizhou commandery and 24 subordinate counties. The commandery seat was at Dianchi county in present-day Jinning. Another county was called "Yunnan", probably the first use of the name. To expand the burgeoning trade with Burma and India, Emperor Wu also sent Tang Meng (zh) to maintain and expand the Five Foot Way, renaming it "Southwest Barbarian Way" (西南夷道). By this time, agricultural technology in Yunnan had improved markedly. The local people used bronze tools, plows and kept a variety of livestock, including cattle, horses, sheep, goats, pigs and dogs. Anthropologists have determined that these people were related to the people now known as the Tai. They lived in tribal congregations, sometimes led by exiled Chinese.

During the Three Kingdoms, the territory of present-day Yunnan, western Guizhou and southern Sichuan was collectively called Nanzhong. The dissolution of Chinese central authority led to increased autonomy for Yunnan and more power for the local tribal structures. In AD 225, the famed statesman Zhuge Liang led three columns into Yunnan to pacify the tribes. His seven captures of Meng Huo, a local magnate, is much celebrated in Chinese folklore.

International trade flowed by din of Yunnan.

In the 4th century, northern China was largely overrun by nomadic tribes from the north. In the 320s, the Cuan () clan migrated into Yunnan. Cuan Chen (爨琛) named himself king and held authority from Lake Dian, then known as Kunchuan. Henceforth the Cuan clan ruled eastern Yunnan for over four hundred years.

Yunnan: Nanzhao period

Before the rise and dominance of the Nanzhao Kingdom around Yunnan in the eighth century, many local tribes, clans, and other groups sprang up. Around Lake Erhai, namely, the Dali area, there emerged six zhao: Mengxi(蒙巂), Yuexi(越析), Langqiong(浪穹), Dengdan(邆赕), Shilang(施浪), and Mengshe(蒙舍). Zhao() was an indigenous non-Chinese language term meaning "king" or "kingdom." Among the six regimes Mengshe was located south of the other five; therefore given the new, larger context, it was called Nanzhao (Southern Kingdom).

By the 730s Nanzhao had succeeded in bringing the Erhai Lake–area under its authority. In 738, the western Yunnan was united by Piluoge, the fourth king of Nanzhao, who was confirmed by the imperial court of the Tang Dynasty as king of Yunnan. Ruling from Dali, the thirteen kings of Nanzhao ruled over more than two centuries and played a part in the dynamic relationship between China and Tibet.

By the 750s, Nanzhao had taken eastern Yunnan into its empire and had become a potential rival to Tang China. The following period inevitably saw conflicts between Tang China and Nanzhao. In 750, Nanzhao attacked and captured Yaozhou, the largest Tang settlement in Yunnan.In 751, Xianyu Zhongtong (鮮于仲通), the regional commander of Jiannan (Sichuan), led a Tang campaign against Nanzhao. Geluofeng regarded the previous incident as personal and wrote to Xianyu to seek peace. Howerver, Xianyu Zhongtong detained the Nanzhao envoys and turned down the appeal. Confronted with Tang armies, Nanzhao immediately turned its allegiance to Tubo. The Tubo and Nanzhao agreed to be "fraternal states"; Geluofeng was given the titles zanpuzhong ("younger brother").The Nanzhao-Tubo alliance finally made Xianyu's expedition became a disaster.

Tang China did not give up after one failure. In 753, another expedition was prepared, but thiswas also defeated by Nanzhao. In 754, the Tang organized an army of more than 100,000 troops that advanced to the Dali plain, resulting in only another slaughter. By the end of the eighth century, Tang was no longer a major threat to Nanzhao.

Nanzhao's expansion lasted for several decades. In 829, Nanzhao suddenly plundered Sichuan and entered Chengdu. When it retreated, hundreds of Sichuan people, including skilled artisans, were taken to Yunnan. In 832, the Nanzhao army captured the capital of the Pyu kingdom in modern upper Burma. Nanzhao also attacked the Khmer peoples of Zhenla. Generally speaking, Nanzhao was then the most powerful kingdom in mainland Southeast Asia, and played an extremely active role in multistate interactions.

In 859, Nanzhao captured Bozhou, and this event exacerbated the Nanzhao-Tang clashes. When the Tang governor of Annam took Bozhou back in the following year, Nanzhao, with the help of native peoples, occupied Hanoi as the Tang army moved to Bozhou. When the Tang forces returned, Nanzhao troops retreated from Hanoi but attacked and plundered Yongzhou. In the winter of 862, Nanzhao, allying with local groups, led an army of over 50,000 men to invade Annam again. It is reported that the Tang forces lost over 150,000 soldiers (either killed or captured by Nanzhao) in the two Annam battles.The autumn of 866 saw Tang victory in Hanoi and soon all of the Nanzhao forces were driven away. But Tang China had lost its ability to attack Nanzhao.

While Nanzhao was being defeated in Annam, it still occasionally attacked Sichuan. In 869, Shilong (世隆), the eighth king and the first empire of Nanzhao, invaded Sichuan. In 874, Nanzhao attacked Sichuan again.

In 902, Zheng Maisi, the qingpingguan (清平官,"Primier Minister") of Nanzhao, murdered the infant king of Nanzhao, and established a short-lived regime, namely, Da Chang He. Nanzhao, a once-powerful empire, disappeared.

Yunnan: Post-Nanzhao period

In 937, Duan Siping overthrew the Nanzhao and established the Kingdom of Dali. The kingdom was conquered by the Mongol Empire in 1253 after Dali King Duan Xingzhi defected to the Mongols. The Duans incorporated into the Mongol dominion as Maharajahs of the new province. The Mongolian prince sent to administer the region with them was killed. In 1273, Kublai Khan reformed the province and appointed the Semuren Sayid Ajall as its governor. The Yunnan Province during the Yuan Dynasty included significant portions of Upper Burma after the Burmese campaigns in the 1270s and 1280s. But with the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368, the Ming Dynasty destroyed the Yuan loyalists led by Basalawarmi in the Ming conquest of Yunnan by the early 1380s. The Ming installed Mu Ying and his family as hereditary aristocrats in Yunnan.

A scene of the Qing campaign against the Miao people in 1795.

During the Ming and Qing dynasties, large areas of Yunnan were administered under the native chieftain system. Under the Qing dynasty a war with Burma also occurred in the 1760s due to the attempted consolidation of borderlands under local chiefs by both China and Burma.

Yunnan was a destination for Han Chinese during Yuan rule. Colonizers moved into the area during Ming and Qing rule.

During the Ming Dynasty, 3 million Han Chinese mostly from Nanjing (before the original Nanjing population was largely replaced by Wu speakers) and some from Shanxi and Hebei settled in Yunnan.

Although largely forgotten, the bloody Panthay Rebellion of the Muslim Hui people and other local minorities against the Manchu rulers of the Qing Dynasty caused the deaths of up to a million people in Yunnan. A British officer testified that the Muslims did not rebel for religious reasons and that the Chinese were tolerant of different religions and were unlikely to have caused the revolt by interfering with the practising of Islam. Loyalist Muslim forces helped Qing crush the rebel Muslims. The Qing armies only massacred Muslims who had rebelled or supported the rebels and spared Muslims who took no part in the uprising.

In 1894, George Ernest Morrison, an Australian correspondent for The Times, traveled from Beijing to British-occupied Burma via Yunnan. His book, An Australian in China, details his experiences.

The 1905 Tibetan Rebellion in which Tibetan Buddhist Lamas attacked and killed French Catholic missionaries spread to Yunnan.

Yunnan was transformed by the events of the war against Japan, which caused many east coast refugees and industrial establishments to relocate to the province. It assumed strategic significance, particularly as the Burma Road from Lashio, in Burma to Kunming was a fought over supply line of vital importance to China's war effort.

University faculty and students in the east had originally decamped to Changsha, capital of Hunan. But as the Japanese forces were gaining more territory they eventually bombed Changsha in February 1938. The 800 faculty and students who were left had to flee and made the 1,000 mile journey to Kunming, capital of Yunnan in China's mountainous southwest. It was here that the National Southwest Associated University (commonly known as 'Lianda University') was established. In these extraordinary wartime circumstances for eight years, staff, professors and students had to survive and operate in makeshift quarters that were subject to sporadic bombing campaigns by the Japanese. There were dire shortages of food, equipment, books, clothing and other essential needs, but they managed to conduct the running of a modern university. Over those eight years of war (1937-1945), Lianda became famous nationwide for having and producing many, if not most, of China's most prominent academics, scholars, scientists and intellectuals. Both of China's only Nobel laureates in physics studied at Lianda in Kunming.

Yunnan: Naturalists

From 1916 to 1917, Roy Chapman Andrews and Yvette Borup Andrews led the Asiatic Zoological Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History through much of western and southern Yunnan, as well as other provinces of China. The book, Camps and Trails in China, records their experiences.

Other notable explorers include Heinrich Handel-Mazzetti; George Forrest; Joseph Francis Charles Rock, who from 1922–1949 spent most of his time studying the flora, peoples and languages of southwest China, mainly in Yunnan; and Peter Goullart, a White Russian who studied Naxi culture and lived in Lijiang from 1940 to 1949.

Yunnan: Geography

Snowy mountains in Diqing, northwestern Yunnan.
Erhai Lake (洱海湖), Dali, Yunnan
Lugu Lake, northern Yunnan.
The Yangtze River near the Tiger Leaping Gorge

Yunnan is the most southwestern province in China, with the Tropic of Cancer running through its southern part. The province has an area of 394,100 square kilometres (152,200 sq mi), 4.1% of the nation's total. The northern part of the province forms part of the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau. The province borders Guangxi and Guizhou in the east, Sichuan in the north, and the Tibet Autonomous Region in the northwest. It shares a border of 4,060 kilometres (2,520 mi) with Burma in the west, Laos in the south and Vietnam in the southeast. For practical purposes, all of Yunnan province falls within the Zomia (region) of Asia.

Yunnan: Geology

Yunnan is at the far eastern edge of the Himalayan uplift, and was pushed up in the Pleistocene, primarily in the Middle Pleistocene, although the uplift continues into the present. The eastern part of the province is a limestone plateau with karst topography and unnavigable rivers flowing through deep mountain gorges. The main surface formations of the plateau are the Lower Permian Maokou Formation, characterized by thick limestone deposits, the Lower Permian Qixia Formation, characterised by dolomitic limestones and dolostones, the Upper Permian basalts of the Ermeishan Formation (formerly Omeishan plateau basalts), and the red sandstones, mudstones, siltstones, and conglomerates of the Mesozoic–Paleogene, including the Lufeng Formation and the Lunan Group (Lumeiyi, Xiaotun, and Caijiacong formations). In this area is the noted Stone Forest or Shilin, eroded vertical pinnacles of limestone (Maokou Formation). In the eastern part the rivers generally run eastwards. The western half is characterized by mountain ranges and rivers running north and south.

Yunnan: Paleontology

See also: Maotianshan Shales
  • Yunnanozoon – Lower Cambrian possible chordate
  • Jingshanosaurus – Early Jurassic long-neck prosauropod dinosaur

Yunnan: Climate

Yunnan has a generally mild climate with pleasant and fair weather because of the province's location on south-facing mountain slopes, receiving the influence of both the Pacific and Indian oceans, and although the growing period is long, the rugged terrain provides little arable land. See Agriculture in Yunnan. Under the Köppen climate classification, much of the province lies within the subtropical highland (Köppen Cwb) or humid subtropical zone (Cwa), with mild to warm winters, and tempered summers, except in the almost tropical south, where temperatures regularly exceed 30 °C (86 °F) in the warmer half of the year. In general, January average temperatures range from 8 to 17 °C (46 to 63 °F); July averages vary from 21 to 27 °C (70 to 81 °F). Average annual rainfall ranges from 600 to 2,300 millimetres (24 to 91 in), with over half the rain occurring between June and August. The plateau region has moderate temperatures. The western canyon region is hot and humid at the valley bottoms, but there are freezing winds at the mountaintops.

Yunnan: Topography

The terrain is largely mountainous, especially in the north and west. A series of high mountain chains spreads across the province. There is a distinct canyon region to the west and a plateau region to the east. Yunnan's major rivers flow through the deep valleys between the mountains.

The average elevation is 1,980 metres (6,500 ft). The mountains are highest in the north where they reach more than 5,000 m (16,000 ft); in the south they rise no higher than 3,000 m (9,800 ft). The highest point in the north is the Kawagebo Peak in Deqin County on the Diqing Plateau, which is about 6,740 m (22,110 ft); and the lowest is in the Red River Valley in Hekou County, near the Vietnamese border, with an elevation of 76.4 m (251 ft).

The eastern half of the province is a limestone plateau with karst scenery and unnavigable rivers flowing through deep mountain gorges; the western half is characterised by mountain ranges and rivers running north and south. These include the Nujiang (Thai: Salween) and the Lancangjiang (Thai: Mekong). The rugged, vertical terrain produces a wide range of flora and fauna, and the province has been called a natural zoological and botanical garden.

Yunnan: Borders

Bordering Chinese provincial-level divisions are Tibet, Sichuan, Guizhou and Guangxi. Starting from the east and working clockwise, bordering countries are Vietnam (Hà Giang, Lào Cai, Lai Châu and Điện Biên provinces), Laos (Phongsaly, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha provinces), Myanmar (states of Shan and Kachin). The main border crossings are:

  • Hekou–Lào Cai, by road and rail, is the only Sino-Vietnamese land border crossing open to non-Chinese/non-Vietnamese.
  • Sino-Laotian at Boten
  • Ruili–Muse is the only Sino-Burmese border crossing open to non-Chinese/non-Burmese.

Yunnan: Lakes

There are several major lakes in Yunnan. The province has nine lakes with areas of over 30 square kilometres (12 sq mi). They include:

  • Dianchi Lake, near Kunming
  • Fuxian Lake, in Yuxi, the second deepest lake in China
  • Xingyun Lake, directly south of Fuxian Lake and connected with it by a short river
  • Qilu Lake, south of Fuxian and Xingyun Lakes, separated from them by mountains, in Tonghai County
  • Erhai Lake, near Dali City
  • Lugu Lake, in Ninglang near the border with Sichuan
  • Yangzong Lake, in Yiliang County
  • Yilong Lake

Yunnan: Rivers

Yunnan is the source of two rivers, the Xi River (there known as the Nanpan and Hongshui) and the Yuan River. The Hongshui is a principal source stream of the Xi River. Rising as the Nanpan in eastern Yunnan province, it flows south and east to form part of the boundary between Guizhou province and Guangxi autonomous region. Flowing for 345 km (214 mi), it unites with the Yu River at Guiping to form what eventually becomes the Xi River.

The province is drained by six major river systems:

  • the Yangtze River, here known as the Jinsha Jiang (River of Golden Sands), drains the province's north.
  • the Pearl River, with its source near Qujing, collects the waters from the east.
  • the Mekong (Lancang), which flows from Tibet into the South China Sea forming the boundaries between Laos and Burma, between Laos and Thailand and through Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam
  • the Red River (Yuan or Honghe) has its source in the mountains south of Dali and enters the South China Sea through Hanoi, Vietnam
  • the Salween (Nujiang), which flows into the Gulf of Martaban and the Andaman Sea through Burma
  • the Irrawaddy, which arises from the confluence of two rivers in Kachin State in Burma, has a few small tributaries in Yunnan's far west, such as the Dulongjiang and Taping River, and rivers in the prefecture of Dehong.

Yunnan: Biodiversity

Yunnan is China's most diverse province, biologically as well as culturally. The province contains snow-capped mountains and true tropical environments, thus supporting an unusually full spectrum of species and vegetation types. The Yunnan camellia (Camellia reticulata) is the provincial emblem.

During summer, the Great Plateau of Tibet acts as a barrier to monsoon winds, trapping moisture in the province. This gives the alpine flora in particular what one source has called a "lushness found nowhere else".

This topographic range combined with a tropical moisture sustains extremely high biodiversity and high degrees of endemism, probably the richest botanically in the world's temperate regions. Perhaps 17,000 species of higher plants, of which an estimated 2,500 are endemic, can be found in the province. The province is said to have "as much flowering plant diversity as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere put together".

Yunnan Province has less than 4% of the land of China, yet contains about half of China's birds and mammals. Yunnan is home to, most notably, the southeast Asian gaur, a giant forest-dwelling bovine, the Indochinese tiger and the Asian elephant. Other extremely rare species are the Yunnan box turtle and the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey, and it is feared that the Yunnan lar gibbon already is extinct.

The freshwater fish fauna is highly diverse with about 620 species, including more than 580 natives (the remaining are introduced). This equals almost 40% of the freshwater fish species in China. Of the Yunnan natives, more than 250 are endemic to the province and many of these are threatened. Several species that are restricted to single lakes (notably Dian, Erhai, Fuxian and Yilong) are likely already are extinct. By far the most diverse order in Yunnan is Cypriniformes; both in total species number and number of endemics.

See also: Distribution of orchid species

Yunnan: Designation

Yunnan has been designated a:

  • "Center of Plant Diversity" (IUCN/WWF: Davis et al. 1995)
  • "Global 200 List Priority Ecoregion" for biodiversity conservation (WWF: Olsen and Dinerstein 1998)
  • "Endemic Bird Area" (Birdlife International: Bibby, C. et al. 1992) and
  • "Global Biodiversity Hotspot," as a part of the Hengdu Mountain Ecosystem (Conservation International: Mittermeier and Mittermeier 1997)

Yunnan: Natural resources

A main source of wealth lies in its vast mineral resources; indeed, mining is the leading industry in Yunnan. Yunnan has proven deposits of 86 kinds of minerals in 2,700 places. Some 13% of the proved deposits of minerals are the largest of their kind in China, and two-thirds of the deposits are among the largest of their kind in the Yangtze River valley and in south China. Yunnan ranks first in the country in deposits of zinc, lead, tin, cadmium, indium, thallium and crocidolite. Other deposits include iron, coal, copper, gold, mercury, silver, antimony and sulfur. More than 150 kinds of minerals have been discovered in the province. The potential value of the proven deposits in Yunnan is 3 trillion yuan, 40% of which come from fuel minerals, 7.3% from metallic minerals and 52.7% from nonmetallic minerals.

Yunnan has sufficient rainfall and many rivers and lakes. The annual water flow originating in the province is 200 cubic kilometres, three times that of the Yellow River. The rivers flowing into the province from outside add 160 cubic kilometres, which means there are more than ten thousand cubic metres of water for each person in the province. This is four times the average in the country. The rich water resources offer abundant hydro-energy. China is constructing a series of dams on the Mekong to develop it as a waterway and source of power; the first was completed at Manwan in 1993.

Yunnan: Drought

After four years of drought, in the fall of 2012, winter of 2012-13, and spring of 2013 severe drought was reported which affected flow of springs and the level of spring-fed lakes; agriculture and urban water supplies were also affected. Water levels in Yilong Lake dropped and grass was reported growing in the middle of the lake bed.

Yunnan: Scenic areas

Yunnan: National parks

See also: List of national parks in China
  • Pudacuo National Park, opened in 2007, in Shangri-La County
  • Laojunshan National Park (老君山国家公园), in Lijiang Prefecture, pending approval

Yunnan: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

  • Old Town of Lijiang, accepted in 1997 as a cultural site
  • Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, accepted in 2003 as a natural site
  • South China Karst, accepted in 2007 as a natural site
  • Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, accepted in 2013 as a cultural site

Yunnan: Governance

Yunnan: Administrative divisions

Main articles: List of administrative divisions of Yunnan and List of township-level divisions of Yunnan

Yunnan consists of sixteen prefecture-level divisions: eight prefecture-level cities and eight autonomous prefectures:

Administrative divisions of Yunnan
Yunnan prfc map.png
Division code English name Chinese Pinyin Area in km Population 2010 Seat Divisions
Districts Counties Aut. counties CL cities
530000 Yunnan 云南省 Yúnnán Shěng 394000.00 45,966,239 Kunming 15 70 29 15
1 530100 Kunming 昆明市 Kūnmíng Shì 21,001.28 6,432,000 Chenggong District 6 4 3 1
2 530300 Qujing 曲靖市 Qǔjìng Shì 28,939.41 5,855,000 Qilin District 2 6 1
3 530400 Yuxi 玉溪市 Yùxī Shì 14,941.53 2,304,000 Hongta District 2 4 3
4 530500 Baoshan 保山市 Bǎoshān Shì 19,064.60 2,506,000 Longyang District 1 3 1
5 530600 Zhaotong 昭通市 Zhāotōng Shì 22,439.76 5,213,000 Zhaoyang District 1 10
6 530700 Lijiang 丽江市 Lìjiāng Shì 20,557.25 1,245,000 Gucheng District 1 2 2
7 530800 Pu'er 普洱市 Pǔ'ěr Shì 44,264.79 2,543,000 Simao District 1 9
8 530900 Lincang 临沧市 Líncāng Shì 23,620.72 2,430,000 Linxiang District 1 4 3
13 532300 Chuxiong Yi
Autonomous Prefecture
楚雄彝族自治州 Chǔxióng Yízú Zìzhìzhōu 28,436.87 2,684,000 Chuxiong 9 1
14 532500 Honghe Hani and Yi
Autonomous Prefecture
红河哈尼族彝族自治州 Hónghé Hānízú Yízú Zìzhìzhōu 32,167.67 4,501,000 Mengzi 6 3 4
15 532600 Wenshan Zhuang and Miao
Autonomous Prefecture
文山壮族苗族自治州 Wénshān Zhuàngzú Miáozú Zìzhìzhō 31,409.12 3,518,000 Wenshan 7 1
16 532800 Xishuangbanna Dai
Autonomous Prefecture
西双版纳傣族自治州 Xīshuāngbǎnnà Dǎizú Zìzhìzhōu 19,107.05 1,134,000 Jinghong 2 1
12 532900 Dali Bai
Autonomous Prefecture
大理白族自治州 Dàlǐ Báizú Zìzhìzhōu 28,299.43 3,456,000 Dali 8 3 1
9 533100 Dehong Dai and Jingpo
Autonomous Prefecture
德宏傣族景颇族自治州 Déhóng Dǎizú Jǐngpōzú Zìzhìzhōu 11,171.41 1,211,000 Mang 3 2
10 533300 Nujiang Lisu
Autonomous Prefecture
怒江傈僳族自治州 Nùjiāng Lìsùzú Zìzhìzhōu 14,588.92 534,000 Lushui 1 2 1
11 533400 Diqing Tibetan
Autonomous Prefecture
迪庆藏族自治州 Díqìng Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu 23,185.59 400,000 Shangri-La 1 1 1

The sixteen prefecture-level divisions of Yunnan are subdivided into 129 county-level divisions (13 districts, 14 county-level cities, 73 counties, and 29 autonomous counties).

Yunnan: Politics

Further information: List of provincial leaders of the People's Republic of China

Secretaries of the CPC Yunnan Committee: The Secretary of the CPC is the highest ranking and most important position in Yunnan.

  1. Song Renqiong (宋任穷): 1950–1952
  2. Xie Fuzhi (谢富治): July 1952 – August 1959
  3. Yan Hongyan (阎红彦): August 1959 – January 1967
  4. Zhou Xing (周兴): June 1971 – October 1975
  5. Jia Qiyun (贾启允): October 1975 – February 1977
  6. An Pingsheng (安平生): February 1977 – July 1985
  7. Pu Chaozhu (普朝柱): July 1985 – June 1995
  8. Gao Yan (高严): June 1995 – August 1997
  9. Linghu An (令狐安): August 1997 – October 2001
  10. Bai Enpei: October 2001 – August 2011
  11. Qin Guangrong: August 2011 – October 2014
  12. Li Jiheng: October 2014 – August 2016
  13. Chen Hao: August 2016 – incumbent

Governors of Yunnan: The Governor is the second highest office in Yunnan, after the Secretary of the CPC Yunnan Committee. The Governor, who is elected by the Yunnan Provincial People's Congress, is responsible for all economic, environmental, political, personnel and foreign affairs issues concerning Yunnan.

  1. Chen Geng (陈赓): March 1950 – February 1955
  2. Guo Yingqiu (郭影秋): February 1955 – November 1958
  3. Ding Yichuan (丁一川): November 1958 – January 1965
  4. Zhou Xing (周兴): January 1965 – 1966
  5. Tan Furen (谭甫仁): August 1968 – October 1970
  6. Zhou Xing: October 1970 – October 1975
  7. Jia Qiyun (贾启允): October 1975 – February 1977
  8. An Pingsheng (安平生): February 1977 – December 1979
  9. Liu Minghui (刘明辉): December 1979 – April 1983
  10. Pu Chaozhu (普朝柱): April 1983 – August 1985
  11. He Zhiqiang (和志强): August 1985 – January 1998
  12. Li Jiating (李嘉廷): January 1998 – June 2001
  13. Xu Rongkai (徐荣凯): June 2001 – November 2006
  14. Qin Guangrong: January 2007 – August 2011
  15. Li Jiheng: August 2011 – October 2014
  16. Chen Hao: October 2014 – incumbent

Yunnan: Demographics

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1912 9,468,000 -
1928 13,821,000 +46.0%
1936-37 12,042,000 −12.9%
1947 9,066,000 −24.7%
1954 17,472,737 +92.7%
1964 20,509,525 +17.4%
1982 32,553,817 +58.7%
1990 36,972,610 +13.6%
2000 42,360,089 +14.6%
2010 45,966,239 +8.5%

Yunnan: Ethnicity

Major Autonomous areas within Yunnan. (excluding Hui)
Sumtseling Monastery in Zhongdian.

Yunnan is noted for a very high level of ethnic diversity. It has the highest number of ethnic groups among the provinces and autonomous regions in China. Among the country's 56 recognised ethnic groups, twenty-five are found in Yunnan. Some 38% of the province's population are members of minorities, including the Yi, Bai, Hani, Tai, Dai, Miao, Lisu, Hui, Lahu, Va, Nakhi, Yao, Tibetan, Jingpo, Blang, Pumi, Nu, Achang, Jinuo, Mongolian, Derung, Manchu, Sui, and Buyei. Several other groups are represented, but they live neither in compact settlements nor do they reach the required threshold of five thousand to be awarded the official status of being present in the province. Some groups, such as the Mosuo, who are officially recognised as part of the Naxi, have in the past claimed official status as a national minority, and are now recognised with the status of Mosuo people.

Ethnic groups are widely distributed in the province. Some twenty-five minorities live in compact communities, each of which has a population of more than five thousand. Ten ethnic minorities living in border areas and river valleys include the Hui, Manchu, Bai, Naxi, Mongolian, Zhuang, Dai, Achang, Buyei and Shui, with a combined population of 4.5 million; those in low mountainous areas are the Hani, Yao, Lahu, Va, Jingpo, Blang and Jino, with a combined population of 5 million; and those in high mountainous areas are Miao, Lisu, Tibetan, Pumi and Drung, with a total population of four million.

Yunnan: Languages

CIA map showing the territory of the settlement of ethnolinguistic groups in Yunnan Province (1971).

Most dialects of the Chinese language spoken in Yunnan belong to the southwestern subdivision of the Mandarin group, and are therefore very similar to the dialects of neighbouring Sichuan and Guizhou provinces. Notable features found in many Yunnan dialects include the partial or complete loss of distinction between finals /n/ and /ŋ/, as well as the lack of /y/. In addition to the local dialects, most people also speak Standard Chinese (Putonghua, commonly called "Mandarin"), which is used in the media, by the government, and as the language of instruction in education.

Yunnan's ethnic diversity is reflected in its linguistic diversity. Languages spoken in Yunnan include Tibeto-Burman languages such as Bai, Yi, Tibetan, Hani, Jingpo, Lisu, Lahu, Naxi; Tai languages like Zhuang, Bouyei, Dong, Shui, Tai Lü and Tai Nüa; as well as Hmong–Mien languages.

The Naxi, in particular, use the Dongba script, which is the only pictographic writing system in use in the world today. The Dongba script was mainly used to provide the Dongba priests with instructions on how to carry out their rituals: today the Dongba script features more as a tourist attraction. Perhaps the best known Western Dongba scholar was Joseph Rock.

Yunnan: Literacy

By the end of 1998, among the province's population, 419,800 had received college education or above, 2.11 million, senior middle school education, 8.3 million, junior middle school education, 18.25 million, primary school education, and 8.25 million aged 15 or above, illiterate or semi-literate.

Yunnan: Religion

Circle frame.svg

Religion in Yunnan (2005)

Chinese religions, ethnic minorities' folk religions, or not religious (91.3%)
Buddhism (6%)
Islam (1.4%)
Christianity (1.3%)

According to a demographic analysis of religions in Yunnan, as of 2005 the province has around 4 million believers of the five government-sanctioned organised religious doctrines of China, almost 90% of them belonging to the ethnic minorities. Of these:

  • 2.6 million or about 6% of the total population are Buddhists;
  • 620,000 or 1.4% are Muslims;
  • 530,000 or 1.2% are Protestants;
  • 240,000 or 0.5% are Taoists (note that "Taoist" traditionally only defines priests);
  • 66,000 or 0.1% are Catholics.

According to surveys conducted in 2004 and 2007, in those years approximately 32.22% of the province's population was involved in worship of ancestors and 2.75% declared a Christian identity.

Most of the population of the province practices traditional indigenous religions including the Chinese folk religion among the Han Chinese, Bimoism among the Yi peoples and Benzhuism among the Bai people. The Dai people are one of the few ethnic minorities of China that traditionally follow the Theravada branch of Buddhism. Most of the Hui people of the region are Muslims. Christianity is dominant among the Lisu, the Jingpo and the Derung ethnic groups.

The Kunming High-tech Industrial Development Zone (KMHNZ), is a state-level high-tech industrial zone established in 1992 in Northwest Kunming. It is administratively under Kunming Prefecture. It has covers an area of 9 km (3.5 sq mi). KMHNZ is located in the northwest part of Kunming city, 4 kilometers from Kunming Railway Station, 5 kilometers from Kunming International Airport.

  • Kunming Dianchi Tourism & Vacation Zone
  • Kunming Airport Economic Zone
  • Ruili Border Trade Economic Cooperation Zone

Ruili Border Economic Cooperation Zone (RLBECZ) is a Chinese State Council-approved Industrial Park based in Ruili, Dehong Prefecture, founded in 1992 and was established to promote trade between China and Burma. The area's import and export trade include the processing industry, local agriculture and biological resources are very promising. Sino-Burmese business is growing fast. Burma is now one of Yunnan's biggest foreign trade partners. In 1999, Sino-Burmese trade accounted for 77.4% of Yunnan's foreign trade. In the same year, exports for electromechanical equipments came up to US$55.28 million. Main exports here include fiber cloth, cotton yarn, ceresin wax, mechanical equipments, fruits, rice seeds, fiber yarn and tobacco.

  • Wanding Border Economic Cooperation Zone

Wanding Border Economic Cooperation Zone (WTBECZ) is a Chinese State Council-approved Industrial Park based in Wanding Town, Ruili, Dehong, founded in 1992 and was established to promote trade between China and Burma. The zone spans 6 km (2.3 sq mi) and is focuses on developing trading, processing, agriculture resources and tourism.

  • Qujing Economic and Technological Development Zone

Qujing Economic and Technological Development Zone (QETDZ) is a provincial development zone approved by Yunnan Provincial Government in August 1992. It is located in the east of urban Qujing, the second largest city in Yunnan in terms of economic strengths. The location of the development zone is the economic, political and cultural center of Qujing. As an agency under Qujing municipal Party committee and municipal government, the administrative commission of QETDZ functions as an economy supervising body at the prefecture level and an administration body at the county level. It has 106 km (41 sq mi) under its jurisdiction. It shoulders the task of building a new 40-square-kilometer city area and providing service for a population of 400,000 in the upcoming 10 years.

  • Yuxi Economic and Technological Development Zone
  • Dali Economic and Technological Development Zone
  • Chuxiong Economic and Technological Development Zone

Chuxiong Economic Development Zone is an important zone in Yunnan. Now the zone has attracted a number of investment projects. It is an important industry for the development of new-type industry platform. The zone covers an area of 12 km, composed of four parks.

  • Songming Yanglin Experimental Zone for County & Township Industries
  • Hekou Border Economic Cooperation Zone

First established in 1992, Hekou Border Economic Cooperation Zone is a border zone approved by State Council to promote Sino-Vietnamese trade. It has a planned area of 4.02 km (1.55 sq mi). The zone implemented several policies to serve its clients in China from various industries and sectors including investment, trade, finance, taxation, immigration, etc.

  • Jiegao Border Trade Economic Zone
  • Lijiang Yulong Snow Mountain Tourism Zone
  • Cang Mountain & Erhai Lake Tourism and Vacation Zone at Dali
  • Xishuangbanna Tourism and Vacation Zone
  • Tengchong Tourism and Vacation Zone
  • Yangzonghai Lake Tourism and Vacation Zone
  • Fuxian Lake Tourism and Vacation Zone

Yunnan: Education

Since the 1960s, improvements have been achieved in the overall educational level, which can be seen in the increase in average years of regular education received. The development of part-time schools have brought adult, distance and continuing education to farms, factories, offices, and other places. Evening, time off work / study leave classes allow people to receive education without leaving their jobs. Policies to upgrade adult education have begun to complement the campaign against illiteracy. A basic Chinese vocabulary in simplified strokes is taught to millions of illiterate people in short, intensive courses. Despite progress made, Yunnan's illiteracy rate remains one of the highest in China mainly due to insufficient education among minority peoples.

In higher education, Yunnan has one "National Key University"-Yunnan University in Kunming. There is also a growing number of technical schools, among which the most prominent are the Yunnan Normal University, the Southwest Forestry University, Yunnan Agricultural University, Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Kunming Medical University, Yunnan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Kunming University of Science and Technology. Other notable establishments of learning are the Kunming branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Yunnan Astronomical Observatory, and the Yunnan Provincial Library. As of 2000, there were 24 institutions of higher learning in Yunnan, with an enrollment of over 90,400 students and a faculty of 9,237; 2,562 secondary schools with an enrollment of more than 2,137,400 students and 120,461 teachers; and 22,151 primary schools with an enrollment of 4,720,600 pupils and a faculty of 210,507. The gross enrollment rate of school-age children was 99.02%.

See also: List of universities and colleges in Yunnan

Yunnan: Health

Yunnan Province is responsible for about 50% of officially reported malaria cases in China.

It is presently considered to be the main source of plague in China.

Yunnan: HIV-AIDS

  • HIV/AIDS in Yunnan

Yunnan: Transport

Main article: Transport in Yunnan

Yunnan: Railways

Viaduct of the Dali–Lijiang Railway near Dali

The first railway in Yunnan was the narrow gauge Yunnan–Vietnam Railway built by France from 1904 to 1910 to connect Kunming with Vietnam, then a French colony. In Yunnan, the Chinese section of this railway is known as the Yunnan-Hekou Railway and the line gave Yunnan access to the seaport at Haiphong. During the Second World War, Britain and the United States began building a railway from Yunnan to Burma but abandoned the effort due to Japanese advance.

Due in part to difficult terrain both locally and in surrounding provinces and the shortage of capital for rail construction, Yunnan remained outside of China's domestic rail network until 1966 when the Guiyang–Kunming Railway was completed. The line would not enter into operation until 1970, the same year that the Chengdu-Kunming was completed. The Nanning–Kunming Railway to Guangxi was completed in 1997, followed by the Neijiang–Kunming Railway in 2001. The Panxi Railway, originally built in 1975 to draw coal from neighboring Guizhou, was electrified in 2001 and adds to eastern Yunnan's outbound rail transport capacity.

Within the province, the Kunming–Yuxi, opened in 1993, and the Guangtong–Dali, opened in 1998, expanded the rail network to southern and western Yunnan, respectively. The Dali–Lijiang Railway, opened in 2010, brought rail service to northwestern Yunnan. That line is planned to be extended further north to Xamgyi'nyilha County.

The province is extending the railway network to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. From Yuxi, the Yuxi–Mengzi Railway, built from 2005 to 2013, and the Mengzi–Hekou Railway, under construction since 2008, will form a standard gauge railway connection with Vietnam. The Dali–Ruili Railway, under construction since May 2011, will bring rail service to the border with Myanmar. Also under planning is a rail line from Yuxi to Mohan, in Xishuangbana Prefecture, on the border with Laos. This line could be extended further south to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Yunnan: Burma Road

The Burma Road was a highway extending about 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) through mountainous terrain from Lashio, northeast Burma northeastward to Kunming, China. Undertaken by the Chinese after the start of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and completed in 1938, it was a vital transportation route for wartime supplies to the Chinese government from Rangoon and shipped by railroad to Lashio from 1938 to 1946. An extension runs east through China from Kunming, then north to Chongqing. This traffic increased in importance to China after the Japanese took effective control of the Chinese coast and of Indochina. It was seized by the Japanese in 1942 and reopened when it was connected to the Stilwell Road from India. The Ledo Road (later called the Stilwell Road) from Ledo, India, into Burma was begun in December 1942. In 1944 the Ledo Road reached Myitkyina and was joined to the Burma Road. Both roads have lost their former importance and are in a state of disrepair. The Burma Road's importance diminished after World War II, but it has remained a link in a 3,400-km road system from Yangon, Burma, to Chongqing.

Yunnan: Highways

Road construction in Yunnan continues unabated: over the last years the province has added more new roads than any other province. Today expressways link Kunming through Dali to Baoshan, Kunming to Mojiang (on the way to Jinghong), Kunming to Qujing, Kunming to Shilin (Stone Forest). The official plan is to connect all major towns and neighbouring capitals with expressways by 2010, and to complete a high-speed road network by 2020.

Roadway in Lijiang with the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance.
Road sign in Xamgyi'nyilha County.
A street in Jinghong lined with palm trees.

All county towns are now accessible by paved, all-weather roads from Kunming, all townships have a road connection (the last to be connected was Yangla, in the far north, but Dulongjiang remains cut off for about six months every year), and about half of all villages have road access.

Second-level national highways stretch 958 km (595 mi), third-level highways, 7,571 km (4,704 mi) and fourth-level highways, 52,248 km (32,465 mi). The province has formed a network of communication lines radiating from Kunming to Sichuan and Guizhou provinces and Guangxi and Tibet autonomous regions, and further on to Burma, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

National highways running through Yunnan province are:

  • China National Highway 108
  • China National Highway 213
  • China National Highway 214
  • China National Highway 320
  • China National Highway 323
  • China National Highway 324
  • China National Highway 326

Yunnan: Expressways

After the opening of the Suolongsi to Pingyuanjie expressway, Luofu expressway, the first between Yunnan and Guangxi Province, opened on October 2007. It has made material and passenger transportation between the two provinces much more convenient. Moreover, Luofu Expressway has also become the main road from Yunnan to Guangxi and the coastal ports. Luofu Expressway begins from the crossroads of Luo Village between Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces and ends at Funing County of Wenshan State. The total length of the expressway is 79.3 kilometers which has shortened the commute between Yunnan and Guangxi from the previous 3 and half hours to just 50 minutes.

Expressways running through Yunnan province are:

  • Kunming–Bangkok Expressway
  • G5611 Dali Expressway from Dali to Lijiang
  • G78 Shankun Expressway from Shantou to Kunming
  • G80 Guangkun Expressway from Guangzhou to Kunming
  • G8011 Kaihe Expressway from Kaiyuan to Hekou on the Vietnamese border

Yunnan: Waterways

Yangzi River

Generally, rivers are obstacles to transport in Yunnan. Only very small parts of Yunnan's river systems are navigable. However, China is constructing a series of dams on the Mekong to develop it as a waterway and source of power; the first was completed at Manwan in 1993.

In 1995, the province put an investment of 171 million yuan to add another 807 km (501 mi) of navigation lines. It built two wharfs with an annual handling capacity of 300,000 to 400,000 tons each and four wharfs with an annual handling capacity of 100,000 tons each. The annual volume of goods transported was two million tons and that of passengers transported, two million.

Yunnan: Airports

Dali Airport

The province has twenty domestic air routes from Kunming to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Haikou, Chongqing, Shenyang, Harbin, Wuhan, Xi'an, Lanzhou, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Nanning, Shenzhen, Guiyang, Changsha, Guilin, Lhasa and Hong Kong; ten provincial air routes from Kunming to Jinghong, Mangshi, Lincang, Tengchong, Lijiang, Dali, Xamgyi'nyilha, Zhaotong, Baoshan and Simao; and ten international air routes from Kunming to Bangkok, Kolkata, Chiang Mai, Yangon, Singapore, Seoul, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur and Vientiane.

Replacing Kunming Wujiaba International Airport is Kunming Changshui International Airport, which opened June 28, 2012.

Yunnan: Bridges

Bridge-building in Yunnan date back at least 1,300 years when the Tibetan Empire built an iron chain bridge over the Yangtze to the neighboring Nanzhao Kingdom at what is today Weixi Lisu Autonomous County during the Tang Dynasty. Iron chain bridges are still found across high river valleys of Yunnan. The Jinlong Bridge on the Jinsha River in Lijiang remains the oldest bridge over the Yangtze. With the expansion of the highway and railway network in Yunnan, numerous large-scale bridges have been built across the region's myriad of rivers, including the Yangtze which has dozens of crossings in Yunnan.

Yunnan: Culture

See also: Major national historical and cultural sites (Yunnan)
Hand-painted Chinese New Year's poetry pasted on the sides of doors leading to people's homes, Old Town, Lijiang.

Yunnan's cultural life is one of remarkable diversity. Archaeological findings have unearthed sacred burial structures holding elegant bronzes in Jinning, south of Kunming. In Zhaotong in northeastern Yunnan, there has been discovered, frescos of the Jin Dynasty (265–420). Many Chinese cultural relics have been discovered in later periods. The lineage of tribal way of life of the indigenous peoples persisted uninfluenced by modernity until the mid-20th century. Tribal traditions, such as Yi slaveholding and Wa headhunting, have since been abolished. After the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), when many minority culture and religious practices were suppressed, Yunnan has come to celebrate its cultural diversity and subsequently many local customs and festivals have flourished.

Yunnan: Eighteen Oddities of Yunnan

Main article: Eighteen Oddities of Yunnan

Yunnan: Cuisine

Main article: Yunnan cuisine

Yunnan: Tea

For the tea from this region, see Yunnan tea.

Yunnan has several different tea growing regions. One of Yunnan's best known products is Pu-erh tea (or Puer), named after the old tea trading town of Pu-erh (Puer). The province is also known for its Yunnan Gold and other Dianhong teas, developed in the 20th century.

Yunnan: Music

Main article: Music of Yunnan

Yunnan: Chinese medicine

Yunnan is host to 15,000 species of plants, including 60 percent of the plants used in traditional Chinese medicine.

  • Yunnan Baiyao

Yunnan: Tourism

Rice-terraced mountains of Yuanyang county

Yunnan Province, due to its beautiful landscapes, mild climate and cultural diversity, is one of China's major tourist destinations. Most visitors are Chinese tourists, although trips to Yunnan are organized by an increasing number of foreign travel agencies as well. Mainland tourists travel by the masses; 2.75 million Chinese visited Yunnan last October during National Holiday. Also a different trend is slowly developing; small scale and environmentally friendly ecotourism. At the moment projects in this field are often being set up with help of NGO's.

In 2004, tourism revenues amounted to 37 billion RMB, and thus accounting for 12, 6% of the provincial GDP. Another fact indicating the importance of tourism in Yunnan Province is capital Kunming hosting the China International Travel Mart every two years. This tourism trade fair is the largest of its kind in Asia and serves as an important platform for professionals in the sector. More than 80 countries and regions were present during the 2005 edition.

Tourism is expected to grow further. In 2010, the province welcomed over 2.3 million overseas tourists and the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Bureau aims to draw 4.3 million overseas arrivals under the 12th Five-Year Tourism Development Plan. Kunming city is expected to add 11 new mid- to high-end hotels with an inventory of under 4,000 rooms between 2012 and 2016.

The Nature Conservancy and the Chinese government came together to form a partnership and explore the possibility of bringing adventure tourism onto the rivers of Southwest China. A two-month white-water expedition explored from the Mekong River's Moon Gorge to Yangze River's Great Bend. The expedition provided valuable information to the partnership, encouraging them to take into account the safety, culture, economics, and conservation of the Yunnan Province. Creating an adventure tourism sector would bring valuable economic resources to the economically struggling population, who had once relied on logging as income prior to it being banned due to deforestation.

Tourist centres in Yunnan include:

  • Dali, the historic center of the Nanzhao and Dali kingdoms.
  • Chuxiong, the first stop on the way to Dali and Lijiang. Home of the Yi ethnic minority and their respective ancient town.
  • Jinghong, the center and prefectural capital of the Xishuangbanna Dai minority autonomous prefecture.
  • Lijiang, a Naxi minority city. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
  • Xamgyi'nyilha County (also known as Shangri-La and formerly Zhongdian), an ethnic Tibetan township and county set high in Yunnan's northwestern mountains.
  • Shilin (Stone Forest), a series of karst outcrops east of Kunming.
  • Yuanyang, a Hani minority settlement with vast rice-terraced mountains.
  • Xishuangbanna, a national scenic resort, noted for its natural and cultural attractions.

Yunnan: Places of interest

The Three Pagodas of Dali City
The Gucheng Mosque of Yunnan
  • Black Dragon Pool
  • Baishutai
  • Cangshan
  • Erhai Lake
  • Ganlan Basin
  • Green Lake Park
  • Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
  • Lancang River (Mekong River)
  • Manting Park (Chunhuan Park) in Jinghong
  • Meili Snow Mountain in Deqin
  • Pujian Temple
  • Sanchahe Nature Reserve in Jinghong
  • ShaPing Market, Dali
  • Shaxi
  • Stone Forest
  • Three Pagodas
  • Tengchong (hot springs)
  • Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Visitor Center for Nature and Culture in Northwest Yunnan
  • Wase markets, near Dali
  • Xishuangbanna Tropical Flower & Plant Garden
  • Yuantong Temple
  • Yunnan Provincial Museum

Yunnan: Sport

Professional sporting teams in Yunnan include, Yunnan Bulls in the Chinese Basketball Association. Football teams include Yunnan Lijiang Dongba and the defunct Yunnan Hongta.

Yunnan: References

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  4. David Paterson, Kunming Institute of Botany’s honorary senior horticulturalist and former director of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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  6. Yang, Bin (2008). "Chapter 2 The Southwest Silk Road: Yunnan in a Global Context". Between Winds and Clouds The Making of Yunnan Second Century BCE to Twentieth Century CE (PDF). Columbia University Press.
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Yunnan: Further reading

  • Dillon, Michael (26 July 1999), China's Muslim Hui Community: Migration, Settlement and Sects, Richmond, UK: Routledge / Curzon Press, ISBN 0-7007-1026-4, retrieved 28 June 2010
  • Forbes, Andrew ; Henley, David (2011). Traders of the Golden Triangle. Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books. ASIN: B006GMID5K
  • Forbes, Andrew ; Henley, David (2011). China's Ancient Tea Horse Road. Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books. ASIN: B005DQV7Q2
  • Fytche, Albert (1878), Burma past and present, LONDON: C. K. Paul & co., retrieved 28 June 2010 9=(Original from Harvard University)
  • Jim Goodman (2002) The Exploration of Yunnan. Buy book ISBN 7-222-03276-2
  • Stephen Mansfield (2007) China: Yunnan Province. (Bradt Travel Guide China: Yunnan Province) Buy book ISBN 1-84162-169-2
  • Ann Helen Unger and Walter Unger. (2007) Yunnan: China's Most Beautiful Province. (Orchid Press) Buy book ISBN 3-7774-8390-7
  • Damien Harper. (2007) China's Southwest. (Lonely Planet Country & Regional Guides) Buy book ISBN 1-74104-185-6
  • Patrick R. Booz. (1998) Yunnan. (Odyssey Passport: McGraw-Hill Contemporary) Buy book ISBN 0-8442-9664-3
  • Susan K. McCarthy. (2009) Communist Multiculturalism: Ethnic Revival in Southwest China (University of Washington Press) Buy book ISBN 0-295-98909-2
  • Population Profile of Yunnan – United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
  • Economic Profile of Yunnan – Hong Kong Trade Development Council
  • Economic Integration of Yunnan with the Greater Mekong Subregion Asian Economic Journal Volume 20 Issue 3, Pages 303–317

Yunnan tourist trail travel guide from Wikivoyage

  • Yunnan Province e-Government website
  • Yunnan at DMOZ
  • Township level administrative map of Yunnan
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