China's Yunnan Province is rich in natural resources and ethnic minority cultures. It has over 25 different ethnic minority groups and some of the most beautiful ancient towns in China. Visitors to Yunnan can witness the ancient ethnic minority cultures that have been handed down for centuries. The ancient towns of Lijiang, Dali, Shangri La, and the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture are very popular destinations in Yunnan Province. The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas is one of the most exotic and enchanting areas in China. Its charms of it are composed of torrential rivers, soaring mountains, splendid ethnic cultures, rare plants, and animals, highlighted by the world-famous Lijiang Old Town and Shangri-la, a lost paradise for tourists.
The capital of Yunnan, Kunming, is situated on the high plateau of eastern Yunnan Province. It is well-known as the "City of Eternal Spring". The most famous scenic spots in Kunming are the Stone Forest and The Western Hills Dragon Gate. The Stone Forest is located in the Shilin Yi Minority Autonomous County 70 kilometers away from Kunming. It is often called the best Karst rock formation in the world. It is known for its bizarre rock formations which have been created over thousands of years by wind and rain. The Western Hills Dragon Gate Grotto was built over 72 years during the Ming Dynasty. The grottos include three caves and the Datian Pavilion. The pavilion is the ideal place to enjoy the cooling breezes and get a fantastic view of the surrounding area and Dian Lake.
Lijiang Ancient Town:
Originally built in the late Song dynasty, Lijiang Ancient Town has a history of over 800 years. Located at the foot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the mountain can be seen from all parts of the ancient town and is an ideal backdrop. The town has many canals, and this combined with the many ancient weeping willows swaying in the breeze makes the ancient town feels like a living Chinese painting. The heart of the old town is Square Street.
Lijiang also boasts the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge, the world's deepest river canyon. The 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) long gorge was formed by the Yangtze River crashing through the area, which has some of the roughest and most spectacular white water rapids in the world.
Dali Ancient City:
Located in the northwest of Yunnan Province, 300 kilometers northwest of Kunming, Dali Ancient City is the economic and cultural center of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. The city is a beautiful example of an ancient Chinese city and has remained relatively untouched. Beautifully located on a fertile plateau nestled between the Cangshan Mountains to the west, and Erhai Lake to the east, the ancient city has been attracting visitors for centuries.
The ancient town of Shangri-La is a beautiful place. Surrounded by a snow-capped mountain, and lush valleys, visiting the town of Shangri-la feels like stepping into the pages of James Hilton's novel where he described Shangri-La as a heaven of peace and happiness. Located on the Diqing Plateau, in the Diqing Zang Autonomous Prefecture, the town was originally named Zhongdian, but because of its beauty, and charm, was renamed Shangri-La in 2002. In the county, you should not miss Songzanlin Monastery, which is often called the little Potala Palace because of its traditional Tibetan architectural style. In 1679 the fifth Dalai Lama chose the monastery’s location by divination and it quickly became the most important Tibetan Buddhist temple in Yunnan.
Many photographers also visit Yuan Yang rice terraces and Nujiang River, to capture the thrilling beauty of the landscapes. Besides, they like strolling in Jianshui which has a 1200-year history and is rich in cultural heritage from ancient time.
For tropical wonder lovers, the world-class, beautiful magical Xishuangbanna seems to be a good choice.
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