Exploring Yunnan.......Part 1
My friend Andrew has sent to me his travelogue of Yunnan. He told me that this was his third trip to the province. I thought of doing some search on the internet about Yunnan for knowing about this rugged mountainous region of China which I have learnt is breathtakingly beautiful.
This is what Wikipedia says about the region:
Yunnan islocated 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 (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
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 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.
It can roughly be divided into west and east, each with its own very different morphological regions. In the west, the high mountains and valleys are closely spaced, forming a steep, unusual, and dangerous landscape. The famous Three Parallel Rivers are located here. In the east is the plateau area, which mainly consists of undulating low mountains and round hills. Among the plateaus and mountains are scattered many fault basins, which are called 'Bazi' by the locals. The 'Bazi' are relatively flat with thick soil deposits and flowing rivers, hence fertile and helpful in developing the farming economy. Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan, is located in one of these 'Bazi'. Because of such a diverse topography there are a great number of plant species (more than 18,000) as well as an incredible array of animals, including the Asian elephant and the protected golden monkey, making this land the real 'Plant Kingdom' and 'Animal Kingdom'. The province also boasts beautiful and spectacular natural scenery with the changing topographies, like Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Meili Snow Mountain, and the Stone Forest as well as many more.
Ethnic Groups Yunnan has the most ethnic minorities in China, which make up about 1/3 of the province's population. Of China's 55 ethnic minorities, the province is home to 51 and 25 of them exceed populations of 5,000. These ethnic minorities live together over vast areas in the region while some live in individual concentrated communities in small areas. The residences of the ethnic minorities are various and characteristic; their clothes are colorful and distinctive; some of them have their own languages and writings. Last, but not least, they celebrate varied and colorful festivals. The most famous ones include the Torch Festival of Yi Nationality, the March Fair of Bai Nationality, the Water-splashing Festival of Dai Nationality, the Zongge Festival of Jingpo Nationality and the Knife Pole Festival of Lisu Nationality, etc.
云南是中国 最多的地区，约占全省人口的三分之一。在中国55个 中，该省有51个，其中25个民族的人口超过5000人。这些 在该地区的广大地区共同生活，而有些 则生活在小地区的个别集中社区。 民居多样而有特色;他们的衣服五颜六色，与众不同;他们中的一些还有自己的语言和文字。最后一点也同样重要的是，他们庆祝各种各样丰富多彩的节日。其中最著名的有彝族火把节、白族三月集市、傣族泼水节、景颇族宗教节、傈僳族刀杆节等。
If I continue to reproduce here the plagiarised stuff, the beauty of Andrew’s effort will be suppressed, but I had to bring to you something about the place and its people, so as to know and tell you too as to where on the globe does Yunnan exist.
The following text and pictures are by Andrew - I have only changed a word here and there
A Travelogue of My 3rd Yunnan Adventure
Part One: The hardest stuff is all about taking the first step..
There is a widespread saying among Chinese travelers, you are either in Lijiang or en route to Lijiang. Without denying, the south-westernmost province of Yunnan where Lijiang is located makes herself most prominent across China when compared with cultural diversity and imposing landforms. From subtropical forests with unbearable humidity to sacred Tibetan mountains towering over 6km above sea-level, Yunnan definitely owns almost everything you could image.
I have been to Yunnan in 2010 as a sophomore and in 2013 after college. Hiking in Tiger-leaping gorge, trekking around Lugu Lake, cycling on the Shangri-La grassland, all those memories have been constantly emerging in my dreams with nostalgic themes. This time as an opportunity occurred, I quivered with excitement and I bought the flight ticket only 2 hours later and hurriedly packed my 55-Litre backpack. Off I stepped, like a trotting doe or a young bouncy maiden brimming with dreams and got in a taxi. Anxious and excited, I felt as if I was flying on the airport-bound expressway at 100mph. The thrill matched like the one I have often felt when going home for spring festival reunion.
It was 1 A.M. in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan when we landed.
It was not until 3 O’clock in the morning when I took the shuttle bus to the railway station with some sort of disappointment of missing a ride on the new airport metro. It was a smooth ride, all brand-new elevated expressways and flyovers compelled me to believe that I was still in Shanghai.