Study in Yunnan Province
Study in Yunnan
Yunnan (Beautiful Clouds in the South) Province is the most southwest region of China bordering the countries of Vietnam, Laos, and Burma. Yunnan Province borders Guizhou Province and Guangxi Zhang Autonomous Region to the east, Chongqing and Sichuan to the north, and Tibet Autonomous Region to the northwest. Yunnan encompasses 394,000 square kilometers (152,084 square miles) and has a population of more than 42 million people.
Within these borders, Yunnan has a diverse topography that ranges from alpine mountain ranges to tropical rainforests and the greatest number of plant species in China (more than 18,000) as well as an incredible array of animals, including the Asian elephant and the protected Yunnan golden monkey. There is even a rainforest in the area known as Xishuangbanna where you will find many rare and endangered species of plants and animals.
The Stone Forest Ethnic Minority Groups
Yunnan Province is endlessly fascinating. There are 25 different ethnic minorities in Yunnan, making it the most culturally diverse province in China. This multiplicity of cultures has endowed the province with a rich heritage that it shares with all who come to visit. There is always something wonderful to see and do here. Whether you are visiting a Dongba village, the Dai Water Splashing Festival, the Third Month Fair of the Bai Nationality, or the Torch Festival of the Yi people, you will find that Yunnan is a place that celebrates life.
Stone Forest (Shi Lin), located outside of the capital city of Kunming, is one of the world's natural wonders. Here, massive pillars of gray rock have formed a gigantic forest of stone. Some of these natural stone formations have the appearance of animals such as snakes, elephants, birds, and dragons. Kunming has many interesting temples and parks such as Daguan Park, Black Dragon Pool, Zheng He Park, Bamboo Temple, Golden Temple, and the Western Hills, to name only a few. Each of these places has unique features that capture the imagination. For example, the Bamboo Temple has 500 life-size luohans that were sculpted in the 1800's. The Western Hills contains three temples: Huating Temple (from the 11th century), Taihua Temple, and the Sanqing Temple. At the top of the path, which takes about two hours to reach, is Longmen (Dragon Gate). Dragon Gate is comprised of sculptures, grottos, and pathways that were built by a Taoist monk in the late 1700's. The view from Dragon Gate overlooking DianChi Lake and the city of Kunming is spectacular. Moreover, you can always be certain of fabulous spring weather in Kunming regardless of the time of year!
At the southern end of Yunnan Province bordering on Laos and Myanmar is Xishuangbanna, a tropical rainforest that is the home of the Dai people. The Dai have many festivals that span across the year. The Water Splashing Festival occurs officially in mid-April but has become such a famous event that it is enacted regularly. In the northwest section of Yunnan, on a plateau amidst the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Mountain), is its most beautiful pearl, the city of Lijiang. Lijiang Old Town, rebuilt because of a devastating earthquake in 1996, is a traveler's oasis. Three small rivers course through Old Town's cobbles-stoned streets that are lined with trees, wonderful restaurants and cafes, shops, residences and a theatre where you can attend a performance of music played on original period instruments that date back to the Han dynasty. Lijiang has been designated by UNESCO as one of the world's major cultural heritages, and is the center of the Lijiang Naxi Ethnic Minority Autonomous County. The Naxi (one of 25 ethnic minorities of Yunnan Province) are the predominate population of Lijiang and its surrounding area. There are also a variety of beautiful parks and temples around Lijiang.
The natural beauty of Yunnan Province defies description. It has mountain ranges and glaciers that are snow-capped all year round, deep virgin forests, lakes and hot springs, alpine landscapes, precipitous valleys, beautiful farmlands, mountain rivers and valley streams, floral splendor that blooms throughout the year, and vast skies with amazing clouds.
Until recent times most of Yunnan was not easily reachable as it was cut off from communication with the outside world by precipitous mountains. Many believe that the Shangri-La referred to in James Milton's Lost Horizons, was here in Yunnan. It now may be the last virgin land where one can observe cultures whose layers go back for thousands of years into the past. Visit Yunnan and be prepared to be enchanted. She welcomes you!