5. THERE’S A RICH CULTURAL MIX – Yunnan’s population is made up of people from at least 26 different cultural backgrounds, practising religions including Han Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. You’ll observe the customs and beliefs of the Hani, Naxi and Mosuo people, who have preserved their own religious practices for hundreds of years. On certain days, you’ll hear traditional songs echo across the mountains and villages, with the province’s spiritual diversity reflected in the grand shrines to a variety of local deities.
6. IT HAS A NUMBER OF PRECIOUS WORLD HERITAGE SITES – China has 48 Unesco World Heritage Sites in total, five of which are in Yunnan Province. Highlights include the popular tourist destination of the Old Town of Lijiang, noted for its perfectly preserved 800-year-old architecture adapted to straddle the hilly layout of the province. Also, the Honghe Hani Rice Terraces on the bank of the Red River demand a glimpse, offering as scene as perfect as stepping into an elaborate landscape painting. Here you can sample red rice noodles, made from produce harvested from the surrounding paddy fields.
7. THE LOCAL CUISINE – Sweet, hot flavours and fresh, delicious ingredients are characteristic of Yunnan’s native dishes. Taste the wild mushrooms that grow in Canshan Mountain, sample fresh shrimp from Erhai Lake or opt for the homemade dairy products of Dengchaun. In Dali, where fisheries and livestock support regional trade, expect hearty recipes involving fish and pork. Travel southwest of Yunnan and the cooking style is closer to that of Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand – fragrant, with just a touch of spice.
8. YOU CAN GET BACK IN TOUCH WITH THE GREAT OUTDOORS – With so many inspirational destinations, you’re bound to find somewhere to ignite your passion for nature. Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La in the northwest have been enduringly popular with visitors to the region, while the serene riverside views in Wenshan and the southeast are ideal for peace and tranquillity. But if you’re in search of a setting that has retained its raw beauty, the allure of Xishuangbanna and its tropical rainforests will prove impossible to resist.