Home to the headwaters of the Yangtze, Mekong, and Salween rivers, Yunnan Province is among the southernmost regions of China, and contains some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the country.
The following destinations are excellent entry points for travelers interested in tapping into Yunnan.
1). Shilin Stone Forest
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the South China Karst in 2007, the Stone Forest is a stunning geological phenomenon featuring large, dark limestone karst formations that were formed into peculiar shapes and forms beneath the sea hundreds of millions of years ago. It’s an understandably popular destination, and wandering off into less populated areas is highly recommended.
2). Tiger Leaping Gorge
In 2007, plans to dam and flood the Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) were abandoned, preserving this historic and beautiful mountainous gorge for future visitors. The best way to explore the area is to hike from Qiaotou at one end of the gorge to Daju at the other. It’s possible to make journey in a single day, but visitors who’d prefer to take it easy can avail themselves of the many guesthouses scattered about the route, making it possible to break up the hike over several days.
3). Sanchahe Nature Reserve
Spending the night in a treetop nest in the 900-acre Sanchahe Nature Reserve is not for the luxury tourist, but if you’re willing to brave Spartan conditions, the rewards can be enormous. In fact, the scale can be positively elephantine. A local population of wild elephants often wanders about directly beneath the lodgings. Patient visitors can sit aloft and wait in hope of a close encounter, or attend specially orchestrated elephant shows.