Yunnan, the South of Colorful Clouds, is the most southwestern province in China. It borders Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guizhou in the east, Sichuan in the north, Tibet Autonomous Region in the northwest. Besides, Yunnan shares a borders of 4060 kilometers with Burma in the west, Laos in the south and Vietnam in the southeast.
No matter you want to dig in-depth into the stunning sites within colorful Yunnan or travel outside to Tibet, Sichuan, Guizhou and Guangxi, you can fulfill your dream today.
Traveling to Yunnan is a dream to many travelers. In this ethnic kingdom, travelers can explore in Lijiang - a Naxi minority city which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997; Shangri-La, an ethic Tibetan township with Lost Horizon scenery; Dali – Bai ethnic group inhabited as well as a historic center of the Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms; Yuanyang, a Hani minority settlement with vast rice-terraced mountains; Kunming – the capital of Yunnan also being the gateway to Stone Forest and Dongchuan Red Land...Check the travel guide of each destination now!
Yunnan is the most diverse province in all China, both in its extraordinary mix of ethnic groups and in the splendor of its landscapes. From snow mountains and emerald lakes, from magical red land to superlative rice terraces, from stone forest to karst caves, from Tibetan monastery to holy pagodas, you have got so many to explore. Below are the top visited tourist spot, you can take a look at their detailed travel before you decide where to go. For more attraction information, please go and see Top 20 Attractions in Yunnan.
Listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lijiang Old Town is ancient town for Naxi ethnic group. It is one of the four best-preserved ancient cities in China.
Formed 270 million years ago, Stone Forest is the oldest karst landform in China. The whole scenic spot is made of stone forest, karst caves, waterfalls, underground rivers, etc.
Dali Old Town is a historic town with rich culture and Bai ethnic characters. Wander leisurely to explore city gates, old towers, old streets, temples, museums, shops and bars...
It is the symbol of Dali located at the foot of Cangshan Mountain. It was first built in the time of Nanzhao Kingdom and Dali Kingdom in 9th and 10th century.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest gorges in the world, making it a world-famous hiking destination. It consists of Upper, Middle and Lower Gorge.
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, known as the Littile Potala Palace, is the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Yunnan.
Pudacuo National Park is the first national park in China with the most breathtaking natural view. It consists of Shudu Lake, Bita Lake and Militang Pasture.
Reputed as the God’s Palette, rich in dreamy colors, Dongchuan Red Land is less than a scenic spot, but more a paradise for photographer…
Duoyishu Rice Terraces is the best site to watch SUNRISE shine down over the 400-hectare rice paddies, shoot sea of clouds and enjoy harmonious Hani folk life.
The 950-hectare rice terraces is like the ladders to the heaven with over 3700 levels, rising up from 800 meters to 2000 meters. It’s the best spot for spectacular sunset.
Cangshan Mountain is with nineteen peaks and eighteen streams. Enjoy breathtaking view at the top of the mountain and along amazing Jade Cloud Road.
Erhai Lake (Ear-shaped Sea), reputed as "Pearl of Plateau", is the second largest highland lake of Yunnan. Cruising and cycling are recommended way to enjoy Erhai Lake scenery.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is the southernmost mountain in China and famous for its chaming sightseeing, excellent Impression Lijiang show, Dongba culture, etc.
Lugu Lake, located between Yunnan Province and Sichuan Province, is the mysterious land for Mosuo people. Diverse experience and fun are waiting for you in the “Kingdom of Women”.
It’s a forest park sitting next to the beautiful Dian Lake, and historical sites spread among the green forest. This is a great place for relaxing and hiking.
As the jade of Kunming, Green Lake has very fancy sceneries. Diverse summer lotus flowers and black-headed gulls in winter are really worth appreciating.
Yunnan has an average elevation at 1980 meters and the highest point in the north is Kawagebo Peak in Deqin County on the Diqi Plateau and the lowest is in the Red River Valley in Hekou County with an elevation of 76.4 meters. Because of the complex terrain and geomorphology, the climate of Yunnan is very complex, including tropical monsoon climate, subtropical monsoon climate, temperate climate and plateau climate. It has mild to warm winters and tempered summers. The average temperature in summer is around 19~22℃ and the average temperature in winter is 6~8℃. The rainy season in Yunnan falls from June to August that you should take rainproof when travel in Yunnan during the period.
Best Places to Visit in Spring: Dongchuan Red Land, Stone Forest, Dali Old Town, Cangshan Mountain, Luoping Rape Flowers;
Best Places to Visit in Summer: Lugu Lake, Lijiang Ancient City, Erhai Lake;
Best Places to Visit in Autumn: Pudacuo National Park, Dongchuan Red Land, Songzanlin Monastery;
Best Places to Visit in Winter: Yuanyang Rice Terraces, Kunming Green Lake.
Learn more about Yunnan Weather & Seasons >>
Get to Yunnan
Yunnan Province at the southwest China could be easily get to and off by flights and high speed trains from major tourist destinations and transportation hubs in China.
Among all the 14 airports in Yunnan region, Kunming Changshui Airport, Lijiang Sanyi Airport and Dali Huangcaoba Airport are your top good choices for landing in Yunnan from other destinations. The most frequently and largest is Kunming Airport, which has direct flights from Beijing (3.5-4 hrs), Shanghai (about 3.5 hrs), Xian (2-2.5 hrs), Hong Kong (2.5-3 hrs), Chengdu (1.5-2 hrs), Lhasa (about 2.5 hrs), Guangzhou (about 2.5 hrs), Hangzhou (3-3.5 hrs), Chongqing (about 1.5 hrs), Guilin (about 1.5 hrs), Zhangjiajie (about 1.5 hrs), etc. and international cities like Singapore (4 hrs), Bangkok (2-3 hrs), Phuket Island (2.5-3 hrs), Kuala Lumpur (3.5-4 hrs), Seoul (about 5 hrs), Taipei (about 3.5hrs), etc. And the short way between those airports and the downtown areas would take you about 1 hour by a car. Furthermore, if you are getting in Yunnan by landing in Shangri-La, you could fly from Chengdu, Chongqing, Lhasa, etc. with a short flight of less than 2 hours. Only for about 15 mins’ taxi time, you could get to the downtown area to start your exploration of this mysterious wonderland.
So far, Kunming has high speed trains connecting to other provinces in China. You could depart from Chengdu (about 6.5 hrs), Chongqing (about 5 hrs), Guilin (about 5 hours), Guiyang (2-2.5 hrs), Guangzhou (about 6.5 hrs), etc. to Kunming South Station.
Transfer within Yunnan
Direct flights are available between Kunming and Dali, Kunming and Shangri-La. Besides, to transfer between Kunming, Lijiang, and Dali, normal trains and long distance buses are the top chosen good ways. However, to Shangri-La, you could now only take a coach from Kunming, Dali, or Lijiang, which would take 4-6 hours. If you want to get to Yuanyang, the distance coach is a better choice. >> Check more information of Yunnan Transportation.
We have collected some useful Sichuan maps including Yunnan Province Map, Yunnan Tourist Maps and so on to help you have a better understanding about Yunnan and plan a Yunnan tour easily. For more maps, please check 2019 Overall and Detailed Yunnan Maps.
Chinese Name: 云南
Chinese Pinyin: yún nán
English IPA: /'ju:n'næn/
Population: 47.14 million
Ethnic Minorities: Yi, Bai, Naxi, Tibetan, Hani...
Language: Mandarin, Yi, Bai, Naxi, Tibetan & Other Ethnic Languages
Climate: Subtropical Monsoon Climate, Tropical Monsoon Climate
Area: 394000 Square Kilometers
Rivers: Jinsha River, Lancang River, Nu River, Honghe River
Lakes: Dianchi Lake, Erhai Lake, Lashi Lake, Lugu Lake, Napa Lake
Mountains: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Haba Snow Mountain, Cangshan Mountain, Meili Snow Mountain
Highest Point: Meili Snow Mountain (6740m)
Time Zone: (UTC+8)
Yunnan is an earthly paradise which is worth visiting for many days. Usually, travelers would spend 4~11 days visiting the popular destinations, such as Kunming, Lijiang, Shangri-La, Dali as well as Yuanyang and Jianshui. If you have 4~5 days, you can choose your favored two destinations for one go, like Lijiang-Shangri-La tour, Kunming Lijiang tour, etc. If you have about 6 days, you can add three destinations into your travel list, like Lijiang Shangri-La Kunming tour, Kumming Dali Lijiang tour, etc. If you have about 8 days, you can put the four hot destinations – Kunming Dali Lijiang Shangri-La in one trip. If you want to cover all the highlights of Yunnan, arrange 10 days or longer will be great for the in-depth exploration. >> Read More about How to Plan a Yunnan Tour
Kunming / Dongchuan / Kunming
Lijiang / Shangri-La
Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming
Kunming / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming
Kunming / Dali / Lijiang
Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La
Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La
Kunming / Dongchuan / Kunming / Stone Forest / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La
Kunming / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La