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  HOME > Sight>Yunnan Tourist Attractions
     


Stone Forest


The Stone Forest lies about 80 miles to the southeast of Kunming. A geological phenomenon, the Stone Forest was a vast expanse of sea during the Paleozoic era!!some 270 million years ago. Later, the movement of tectonic plates altered the earths crust, causing the sea to recede and its limestone bottom to appear, thereby forming land.  Due to the constant seeping of  rain through the cracks in the limestone, some of the stone formation dissolved and the fissures broadened, producing a group of great sculptures of different shapes, all molded by nature.

In the midst of the forest, there is a huge rock screen on which two words!!Stone Forest!!are engraved in official script (in a calligraphic style typical of the Han Dynasty, 206 B.C.-220 A.D.). Among the scenic sights is the "Sword Peak Pond" with jadeite-colored water so clear that one can see the bottom of the pond. Other astonishing sights include "Figure of Ashima," "Shi Ba Xiang Song" (its name originating in the Chinese love story, "Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai"), and "Lotus Peak."

The splendor of the Stone Forest is enhanced by the local customs of the native Sani people (who are part of the Yi minority). Sani people are industrious and hospitable!!and unconstrained. Sani women are expert at spinning, weaving, and embroidering. They like to wear rainbow-colored headgear and bright-colored dresses. The young people especially are very good singers and dancers. Every day at sunset, under the moonlight, boys and girls gather at the village platform. While the boys play the three-stringed plucked instruments, the girls clap their hands and dance the strong-rhythmed traditional "AXi (Ah-shi) Dance in the Moon" with great enthusiasm. If you happen to witness the event, you will be invited to join in the festivity.

Note that every lunar year, on June 24th, the Sani people celebrate their national festival!!the Torch Festival. On that day, the entire Stone Forest is permeated with a celebratory atmosphere. There are traditional performances of wrestling and bull-fighting. Finally, when the land is enveloped in the curtain of night, the young men (holding torches in their hands) run after the young women to propose marriage in the light of colored lanterns.

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Lake Dian


Known also as Kunming lake, Lake Dian is located at the foot of the Western Hills south-west of Kunming city in Yunnan Province. Being a bright and smooth highland lake, its reputed as "A Pearl on the Yungui Plateau".

The picturesque lake, dotted with sails, appears green and boundless and shining with ripples. Along its 150 kilometers long winding bank, lies numerous scenic spots and historical sites such as the Grand View Pavilion, West Garden, the Lake Embankment.

The Grand View Pavilion:- Located at the lakes northern bank, it was built in the 29th year of Kangxi Reign in the Qing Dynasty (1690 AD). Its an exquisite structure with upturned roof-corners and eaves. Looking to the south, one has a fascinating view of the spectacular Lake Dian, and the graceful and full shape of the distant "Sleeping Beauty Mountain" shrouded in white clouds. The lake is surrounded by lush growth of trees and plants, with peony in full bloom in spring, and chrysanthemum blossoms found all over the place in autumn. The golden calligraphy of the Grand View Pavilion in bold Chinese characters sparkles brilliantly.

Western Hills Scenic Area:- Located at the west bank of the lake, its a large forest park with hills and ridges rising one upon another, and covered with old tall trees. The park is endowed with dense natural forests, murmuring streams, luxuriantly green bamboos, and crisscross with ancient paths. Scenic spots and historical sites are over hill and dale. The area from Sanqing Tower to Longmen is a place of concentration of the most spectacular scenic spots and architecture, and therefore reputed as "No.1 Scenery in middle Yunnan".

Hill of Goddess of Mercy:- The temple of Goddess of Mercy perches on the Hill at the lakes west bank, with a beak-shaped portion of the hill extending into the lake water. The temple is confronted by perilous cliffs covered with lush woods. A seven-storey brick pagoda stands on the hill top which commands a birds eye view of the Lake Dian, the mountain ranges along the Lake, the vast expanse of fertile land, and the smoke belching from the chimneys of fishermens homes.


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Lijiang

Lijiang is a beautiful shining jewel on the Northwest Yunnan Plateau neighboring the southeast side of the Tibetan Plateau which is considered to be the "Roof of the World" . It is impressive because of its scenery and lush vegetation. 

Lijiang boasts of breath-taking wonderful sights such as Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and its modern maritime glacier, the only one of its kind in the southern end of the Northern Hemisphere; Tiger Leaping Gorge; the world - famous grand canyon; Lugu Lake, the cultural cradle of the "Matriarchy" of the Yongning Mosuo people in Ninglang. 

Lijiang Town is officially called "Dayan Town"-- "Dayan" literally means a "great inkstab", a graphic description of the towns location on a piece of rich flatland fed by a river and surrounded by green mountains. There is no other town in China like Dayan which incorporates the folkways of so many people and the architectural styles of both north and south China.

The people of Naxi, while developing their land of snow-clad mountains and turbulent rivers since ancient times, have to their credit the "Dong Ba Culture" seen as one of the world wonders, a culture all-embracing while unique.

All these natural sceneries and these cultural treasures of the minority peoples have been continuously drawing tourists from all over the world and have recently vote Lijiang as one of the favorite destinations in China.


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Dali Ancient City

Dali Ancient City is 13 kilometers (8.1 miles) away from Xiaguan in Dali City, Yunnan Province and is one of the Three Ancients (Ancient Cities, Ancient Pagodas and Ancient Steles) of the Dali Scenic Spot. It can be dated back to the year 1382 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and has been among the top listed historical cities of China since 1982. With Erhai Lake to the east, and Cangshan Mountain to the west, its grand city wall, traditional Bai ethnic minority folk houses and marvelous scenery have been attracting many visitors.
According to literature, Dali Ancient City was a gateway to the Silk Road in Southwest China, and also served as a seat of government and a major military barracks for Yunnan Province in ancient times. It enjoyed magnificent scale, with a wall length of 6 kilometers (3.73 miles), a height of 7.5 meters (24.6 feet) and a thickness of 6 meters (19.7 feet). There were four city gates facing west, east, north and south, upon which sat a gate tower. Four further towers were also placed at the four corners of the city wall. As it underwent many phases of prosperity as well as decline, only the city base remains till today. We can explore the mystery belonging to that period of history, especially through witnessing some parts of the city wall, the North City Wall Tower and the South City Wall Tower which were restored in 1982. The city layout was uniform, with five main streets from south to north and eight main streets from east to west, while marketplaces were neatly arranged within the city, which has remained unchanged to this date.
The traditional Bai ethnic minority folk houses give the city distinctive feel, unlike any other Chinese city. A typical house is characterized by 3 rooms and a wall screening and 4 joints and 5 courtyards. 3 rooms and a wall screening means that every house has a principle room and two wing-rooms and facing the principle room stands the wall screening. When the sun shines on the wall screening in the afternoon, the sunlight is reflected back to the courtyard, thus illuminating the whole area. 4 joints and 5 courtyards means houses are built with four sides; and four courtyards in the joining parts of the houses corners and one big courtyard in the center makes five courtyards. The decoration is another construction feature of the folk residences, paying great attention to the gate tower, the eaves and corners. The windows, doors and the wall screening are adorned with Jianchuan woodcarvings, colored patterns, marbles and wash drawings. The delicacy, freshness and elegance of their construction may be called first-class among folk residences in Southwest China.
When people walk along the cobble-paved streets in the ancient city, a sense of primitive simplicity and elegance will be invoked. Besides the Bai ethnic minority traditional folk houses, the houses all with grey-green roof tiles, peculiar workshops, temples, schools and churches with an antique flavor are scattered. Traditional artworks made of marble, such as pencil vases, striped screens, and a variety of woven handicrafts made of fine straw are laid chockablock on both sides of the street to be appreciated and purchased. The newlyCopened Foreigner Street is also a must-see, providing snacks with the traditional flavors of the Bai ethnic community, as well as the famous Three-course Tea ceremony for receiving guests that includes bitter tea, sweet tea and final tea.

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Shangri-La

In the year 1893, James Hilton described an eternally peaceful and quiet place among mountains in the East!! "Shangri-La" in one of his novels for the first time. In the novel "Lost Horizon", an English diplomat Conway and his brother Gorge scattered the English citizens and helped them leave the dangerous region. On their way home,  their plane was  hijacked and fell down into the mountain in the Tibetan region. Some lucky survivors were taken to Shangri-la where Conway found lots of fantastic things in such a state founded nearly 200 years ago, in which the local people lived up to more than one hundred years old and lived peacefully and harmoniously with the other people, animals and everything here. The place was called "Shangri-La" by the local folks.

James Hilton located "Shangri-La" in a mysterious valley which was surrounded by snowcapped mountains; near where there were snow-clad peaks, blue lakes, broad grassy marshlands, and lamaseries, Buddhist nunneries, mosques, Catholic Church, the human beings and the nature were in perfect harmony, several religions and varies of nationalities exited at the same time; the temples looked splendid in green and golden; though people contacted the outer world by caravan for a long time, many foreign experts and scholars had come here to investigate and remained much relics´´

Obviously, that is not only a beautiful scenery, but also a kind of artistic conception.

With the novel and the film coming out, Shangri-La became very famous in western countries. Later, a Chinese named Guo Huonian used the name of this place and set up "Shangri-La" Hotel Group which has become one of the most successful hotel group in the world.

At the same time, people didnt give up looking for the legendary Shangri-La. Up to the end of this century, they finally have found!!

After inspecting and proving on many aspects, people found that Diqing Prefecture, the only Tibetan region in Yunnan, China, has striking similarity with whats described in the tale regarding either on natural scenery or peoples way of living. Therefore, the name of "Diqing〓┌Shangri-La" spreads worldwide.

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Xishuangbanna

Xishuangbanna is the southernmost prefecture of Yunnan Province. The prefecture is nicknamed " Aerial Garden " for its luxuriant and multi-layered primitive woods and tropical rain forests, which are teeming with animals and plants.  

Renowned as a huge natural zoo, Xishuangbannas rain forest and monsoon jungles provide a habitat for nearly 1000 species of animals. Within thick and boundless forests wild elephants and wild oxen ramble about, with peacocks in their pride, gibbons at play, and hornbills whispering.

Thirteen species of wild life enjoy state protection, including loris, the gibbons, the red-necked cranes, the brown-neck horn-bills, and the green peacocks, which to the Dai people are a symbol of peace, happiness and good fortune and whose graceful postures can put professional dancers to shame. The region has 5,000 kinds of plants or about one-sixth of the total in China. This has earned it the renown and sobriquet " The moonstone on the Crown of the Kingdom of Plants ".

Among these are such fascinating ones as the " color-changing flower " whose colors change three times daily and the "dancing herb " whose leaves rotate gently. Then there is " mysterious fruit " which reverse tastes, turning sour to sweet.

Species of trees that go back a million years are still propagating themselves. The " King of Tea Trees ," which authorities say is at least 800 years old, continues to sprout, adding extraordinary splendor to the homeland of the famous Puer tea. In Xishuangbanna, there is a saying: "Even a single tree can make a forest and an old stalk can blossom and beat fruit ."

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