China’s Yunnan Province sits at the bottom center of the country, bordering Burma, Laos and Vietnam. It’s an area known for jade and silver production, Pu-erh tea and graduated terrace steps, a technique used by farmers to cultivate mountainous terrain. I recently took a bus journey from Kunming, its capital and largest city, to Dali and Lijiang, two cities known for their historic cultural centers. The trip took about eight hours by road, though we made some stops along the way.
Kunming was intimidating at first, a heavily industrialized city full of dust and traffic. But after spending some time exploring, it was quite exciting. It’s an international city, attracting people from around the world. Kunming also features the fourth largest airport in China, an airport only a few months old, with a control tower straight out of a sci-fi flick.
Dali, on the other hand, was more pastoral and serene. I immediately loved the white houses with beautiful designs painted on their façades. Both the Old Town of Dali and the district tailoring to foreigners were both fun to stroll through.
Lijiang was by far my favorite city. The historic center is a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our stay also coincided with COART, an international artists festival drawing in people from around the world. Wandering the stone streets of Shu Hu Ancient City became a daily pastime, dodging horses and snapping photos of the many wandering dogs. All this set to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the background made for many scenic moments.
Here are some photos from the road. Expect more in-depth posts to come on these great cities in China.