Western Hills Forest Park

On September 5, 2011, in Parks & Gardens, Tips & Ideas, Tours, Yunnan, by Jack Li

Western Hills Forest Park is beside the Dianchi Lake in the western suburbs of Kunming about 15 km away from the city, covering an area of 889 hectares. It consists of a number of mountains increasing in altitude from the north to the south. The highest mountain is Luohan Mountain, about 2,507 metres above sea […]

Western Hills Forest Park is beside the Dianchi Lake in the western suburbs of Kunming about 15 km away from the city, covering an area of 889 hectares. It consists of a number of mountains increasing in altitude from the north to the south. The highest mountain is Luohan Mountain, about 2,507 metres above sea level and 620 metres above Dianchi Lake. The Western Hills are famous for their verdant landscape, lush vegetation, and clear mountain streams. Viewed from afar, the Western Hills look like a giant sleeping Buddha or a girl lying on her back, so there are also called “Reclining Buddha Mountains” or “Sleeping Beauty”.

From the 11th to the 20th century, a series of palaces, temples and pavilions were built in the Western Hills area. Some of them fell into ruin and were never rebuilt. By 2000, some ancient constructions, such as Huating Temple, Taihua Temple, Sanqing Taoist Temple, have survived the time hidden in the depths of the forests or on the top of cliffs. Since 1980, the government has increased its investment in the reconstruction of the Western Hills Park and the renovation of the buildings. Highways have been built upon the mountains. In 1984, a rocky mountain path was built between Longmen to Xiaoshilin Forest, which made the Xiaoshilin Forest accessible to tourists. In 1986, Taihuazhuang Service Centre was established. Now Western Hills Forest Park has become a great scenic attraction and provides comprehensive service for tourists.

From the park, Anshi Highway, Mingbo Highway, Gaohai Highway and Dianmian Road lead to the city of Kunming; from the city, there are six buses or shuttle buses for the Western Hills. You can get to Yunnan Ethnic Village by Haigeng Ropeway across Dianchi Lake. In the scenic zone there are tarred roads leading to all the scenic spots. Shuttle battery cars will take you from Taihuashanzhuang to Sanqing Taoist Temple, and Longmen Ropeway will take you from Taihuashanzhuang to Xiaoshilin Forest. There are parking lots for large-sized cars and small cars in Taihuashanzhuang. In the Western Hills Park you can choose from a number of tourist routes including the mountain-climbing route, Taihuagudao route, the roundabout route and the ropeway route. These many routes have made sight-seeing easier for tourists especially in the Sanqing Taoist Temple scenic spot.

The Western Hills Forest Park Attractions:

The Reclining Buddha Mountains

Longmen Grottoes

Yulan Garden

The Western Hills Forest Park Stories:

Longmen Grottoes

There is a woeful story about the sculptor of Longmen Grottoes:

At the bottom of Western Hills there lived a poor yet talented young sculptor. He could turn an ordinary rock into a lively work of art. The sculptures he made, such as lions, dragons and birds, seemed to be alive; and the flowers and grass seemed to be giving off a fragrant scent. A girl in the village appreciated his work and they soon fell in love. Love had given him many inspirations and he made great progress in his skills.

One day a local lord took the girl by force and the young lovers could not see each other anymore. The girl kept crying everyday. Her tears gathered in a pool to form Dianchi Lake. Not long afterwards she died and her body became the Western Hills. Her death was such a heavy blow to the young sculptor that he could no longer continue with the sculptures with enthusiasm as before.

When the construction of Longmen Grottoes began, the heartbroken sculptor joined the other sculptors in the project. He proposed that they build the grottoes in the highest and steepest place in the mountain. The supervisors agreed to his suggestion and he quickly set about making the sculptures. Into his work he poured all his misfortunes, his sorrows and his feelings for the girl. He wanted to keep they love alive in his sculptures so that it could last for generations.

Time ticked away, and the young sculptor had turned into an old man. The grand grotto project was finished except for the final touch—the brush in the hand of Kuixing. The sculptor started working on the tip of the brush with great concentration. Because of excitement or old age, the tip broke under his hands. He could not bear to think that the work on which he had spent all his life and feelings was faulty. Extremely frustrated, he decided that he would be with his love after death. He jumped off the cliff and drowned himself in Dianchi Lake. Several hundreds of years later, when people marvel at the exquisite Longmen Gottoes, they also witness the devotion and dedication of the sculptor.

Black Dragon Pool

On September 5, 2011, in Kunming, Nature Scenery, Waterfalls & Pools, Yunnan, by Jack Li

Black Dragon Pool is at the foot of Five Old Men Peak of Longquan Mountain in the northern countryside of Kunming City. According to the Book of Former Han·Gnas-yig, there was Black Water Temple in the northwest of Dian Lake County, Yizhou County, which means the Black Water Temple in Han Dynasty is today’s Black […]

Black Dragon Pool is at the foot of Five Old Men Peak of Longquan Mountain in the northern countryside of Kunming City. According to the Book of Former Han·Gnas-yig, there was Black Water Temple in the northwest of Dian Lake County, Yizhou County, which means the Black Water Temple in Han Dynasty is today’s Black Dragon Pool Taoist Temple. It is the first place of historic interest and scenic beauty in Yunnan Province. The water in the pool will never dry up for the dragon palace of Yuannan Black Dragon King is here, so it is named “Black Dragon Pool”.

Since Tang and Song dynasty, people in Kunming had been coming to Black Dragon Pool to pray for rain. At the beginning of Ming Dynasty, the lord of Qian Kingdom, Mu went for large-scale construction here and changed Dragon Temple into Black Dragon Palace, so the whole Dragon Spring Palace began to take shape. Later during Ming and Qing dynasty, Yunnan officer continuingly built and consummated Dragon Spring Palace. During the Republic of China (1912-1949), this place was once called Dragon Spring Park. Black Dragon Pool is honored as the “first ancient temple in Middle Yunnan Province.” At the same time, it is well-known for its “four unique treasures”, which are Tang winter sweet, Song cypress, Ming Tea and Ming Tomb.

Nowadays, the building of Black Dragon Pool is separated into two Taoist temples. The lower temple “Black Dragon Palace”, built in 1454, is a building with two yards. There is a censer in the outer court, with images of The Eight Diagrams carved on the both sides and the Plough on the side faces. There images are used by Taoism to counteract evil force. In the pool of the inner court, there is a vivid statue of Black Dragon playing with water. It is said that it is the Du Dragon King who is in charge of the cloud and rain of Yunnan. You can also see the black and yellow dragon twisting on the cylinder in the Dragon Temple and other Gods consecrated on the altar like Dragon King, Thunder and Lightening and Rain and Wind who are in charge of rain.

At the end of 2003, during the reconstruction of Black Dragon Pool Park, a pair of couplet written by Lin Zexu was hung on the pillars of Black Dragon Palace. The contents of the couplet suit the worship and atmosphere perfectly, which adds historical and cultural connotation to the park. In front of the Black Dragon Palace, there is the water mentioned in the “two trees of winter sweets and a pool of water. The two pools of water connect with each other and take the stone bridge as the boundary. On the left side, there is Muddy Water Pool, which is half a meter deep and with an area of 2600 square meters. On the right side, there is Clean Water Pool. The average depth of this pool is 7 meters while the deepest part is 11 meters. It accounts for 600 square meters and 4400 cubic meters water retention capacity. The water in the two connected pools is quite distinct from each other, forming the Pattern of Taiji of Taoism, because Clean Water Pool is deep and clean while the Muddy Water Pool is shallow and muddy. Now there are many kinds of winter sweets on the back mountain in the park. In all there are almost 90 kinds and over 6000 trees, so it is named “Dragon Pool Visiting Titoni”, which is one of the famous new sixteen sites of Kunming. Black Dragon Pool Titoni Garden is the biggest Titoni garden in China, which accounts for 427 mu (1mu=0.0667 hectares).

Temple of Magnificent Pavilion

On September 5, 2011, in Kunming, More Cities, Temples, Yunnan, by Jack Li

Temple of Magnificent Pavilion is located in the mountainside of West Mountain in Kunming, Yunnan Province. When you climb on Huating Mountain, you can see bamboo in uniform rows and pine tree shade along the passageway. In the immense forest, a pavilion decorated with china blue hides among pine and cypress, which is the door […]

Temple of Magnificent Pavilion is located in the mountainside of West Mountain in Kunming, Yunnan Province. When you climb on Huating Mountain, you can see bamboo in uniform rows and pine tree shade along the passageway. In the immense forest, a pavilion decorated with china blue hides among pine and cypress, which is the door of Temple of Magnificent Pavilion–Bell Tower. Tourists can hear sharp and clear bell tone resound in the mountain.

The name of Magnificent Pavilion can date from the Dali Kingdom. It was said that a high official Gao Zhisheng built a villa here in 1063, then his posterity Gao Xian started to call it “Magnificent Pavilion”. From then on, the pavilion became a place for Gao’s family to play in and have a banquet.

Hall building in Temple of Magnificent Pavilion are divided into two stories. The building is awe-inspiring in size and design, compact in layout; on the left are reclined Buddha and Taihua Mountaintop, on the right is Yu’an and in the front is the Dian Lake. When look as far as you can in front of the temple, you can see the surrounding mountains. When the sky is blue, the lake seems to melt into the sky. The watery blue reaching far beyond the horizon casts light on the Group Mountains and makes them look much more beautiful.

Temple of Magnificent Pavilion sits on the west and faces the east, quite different from most temples in mainland, which sit on the north and face the south. The temple covers an area of 18 mu (12,000 square meters) and appears as rectangle. It is a symmetrical and enclosed temple, which is deeply affected by Confucianism. The stereo buildings were arranged along the axis wire, such as the free life pond, Hall of Heavenly King, Eight Merits Pond, the Great Buddha’s Hall and depositary of Buddhist sutra. There are scripture hall, ancestor’s hall, abbot’s quarters, monk’s hall, visitor’s hall, bath house, and storehouse along the lateral axis. All the buildings take the Great Buddha’s Hall as the center, look like a myriad of stars surround the moon.

The Dian Lake

The Dian Lake

On September 2, 2011, in Kunming, Lakes, Must-sees, Nature Scenery, Yunnan, by Jack Li

The Dian Lake, also named Kunming Lake or Kunming Pool is a big lake in the Province ofYunnan in China. Regarded as the “Pearl on Plateau”, the Dian Lake is the center of the Kunming scenic site. The Dian Lake is in the southwest of Kunming along with West Mountain tothe west of the lake, […]

The Dian Lake, also named Kunming Lake or Kunming Pool is a big lake in the Province ofYunnan in China. Regarded as the “Pearl on Plateau”, the Dian Lake is the center of the Kunming scenic site.

The Dian Lake is in the southwest of Kunming along with West Mountain tothe west of the lake, it is also a famous travelling destination. Formed by tectonic depressionPanlongriver was created. The lake is 1886 meters, covering an area of 330 square kilometers. The average depth is 5 meters and the deepest part can reach 8 meters. The lake’s water flowing out at the southwest estuario is called Mantis Mountain. The Dian Lake is the six biggest inland fresh lake. To take precaution against flood and ensure there is water for agriculture irrigation and daily life, some dams and reservoirs have been built. In the lake you can see many kinds of beautiful fish.

The Dian Lake was one of the earliest places to be developedand it is where the tribes called “Dian” or “Dianji” lived.The general in the warring states period entered into this area and founded the Dian Country. During the Western Han Dynasty, Hanwu Emperor installed Yizhou County. In the 1276 A.D. the Yunnan Province was built and the Chiya City was changed into Kunming, which is now the capital of Yunnan Province.

The landscape of the Dian Lake is quite beautiful. The lake surface is broad with numerous sails on it. The view of the lake and mountains is gorgeous as well as charming. Surrounding the lake thereis Yunnan ethic country, Yunnan ethic museum, Hualiang Temple, Taihua Temple, Hall of Pure Trinity, Dragon Gate, Zhuzu Temple, Grand View Pavilion, Panlong Temple and Zhenghe Park and other scenic spots. There is cableway connecting the ethic country and West Mountain Park, which offers both convenient traffic and perfect place to view the Dian Lake. The Dian Lake is national level holiday resort, which accounts for 18 square kilometers, separated into ten functional areas. Now it has become increasingly tremendous and it will turn into world’s vocation resort with unique ethnic features and cultures.

The Dian Lake Attractions

Haigeng Park

Whitefish Mouth

Temple of Magnificent Pavilion

Hall of Pure Trinity,

Guanyin Mountain

The Dian Lake Story

1. The Legend of the Dian Lake

A Long time ago the Kunming area was dry land. There was a handsome hunter who left his wife and went to East Lake to get water. At the seashore, he saw an eagle that held a small red fish in its mouth. Immediately the hunter shot the eagle and saved the fish. Later it turned out the fish was the third princess of Dragon King. She fell in love with the hunter and wanted to marry him. However, the hunter missed his wife so much, so when Dragon King is out, he swallowed lot of fresh water and went back to Kunming. His wife was dead for missing him too badly and turned into the Sleeping Beauty Mountain. The hunter was sad, so he spat out the fresh water and killed the mountain. The fresh water is in the Dian Lake today.

2. Guanyin Mountain

Guanyin Mountain was originally named Shizui Mountain. It is said that at the beginning of Ming Dynasty, the farmers in theJinning County found a Guanyin bronze statue. They wanted to transfer theGuanyin statue to Jinningvia the water. However, when the ship came near the waters around the Shizui Mountain it suddenly began to rain. The ship had to wait until the wave calmed down. When the ship finally restarted, the wave appeared again. People had to put theGuanyin statue into the local temple to worship. As soon as theGuanyin Statue was installed, the waves calmed down and the sky was bright. Then people totally understood that Guanyin had chosen the mountain and was not willing to go on. Therefore, according to the will of the Guanyin, people built a Guanyin temple here. From then on, the mountain has been named Guanyin Mountain.

Delta of Yuxi

On September 1, 2011, in Historical Relics, Lakes, Nature Scenery, Yunnan, by Jack Li

As a main attraction of Yunnan province, Yuxi is next to Kunming, the provincial capital.  Yuxi is a city where has over 20 nationalities, including Han, Yi, Hui, Hani, Miao, Zhuang and more.   Tremendous differences of its elevation and temperature form a representative three-dimensional climate.  In Yuxi, there are both flatlands whose climate likes spring […]

As a main attraction of Yunnan province, Yuxi is next to Kunming, the provincial capital.  Yuxi is a city where has over 20 nationalities, including Han, Yi, Hui, Hani, Miao, Zhuang and more.   Tremendous differences of its elevation and temperature form a representative three-dimensional climate.  In Yuxi, there are both flatlands whose climate likes spring all the year round and valleys which is called as “natural greenhouse”.  Containing FuxianLake, XingyunLake and Qilu Lake the three plateau lakes make Yuxi a nice summer resort for visitors.  Up to now, Yuxi continues to have primary forest and abundant resources of wild animals.  Moreover, it is the relics of paleolith and neolith.  The intact dinosaur fossils of Yimen and Eshan are preserved there.  It is a must—see for visitors who are interested in archaeology.  Described as granary of Yunnan and a land of fish and rice, people in many prefectures of Yuxi make a living depending on agriculture.  As to the most famous specialty in Yuxi, it must be tobacco.  Many famous cigarettes’ brand such as “Hongtashan” (Red Tower Mountain), “Yuxi” and “Hongmei” (Red Plum) are produced in Yuxi where is called as the hometown of tobaccos.  Besides that, Yuxi also has good fame of “Nie’er’s Hometown” (Nie’er is the composer of Chinese National Anthem) and “Huadeng’s Hometown” (Huadeng is a kind of local opera).  At present, you will find the performances of Huadeng’s fans easily as soon as you walk into Nie’er Park, CaopiPark, Sanjiao Park or other parks in Yuxi.   Because of the great mass base, Huadeng Opera is prolonged prosperous in Yuxi.  With such many distinguishing features, even wondering in a street of Yuxi, you can experience the civil customs of local people.

Yuxi Attractions

Fuxian Lake

Yingyue Lake

Ailao Mountain

Xiu Mountain

Xingyun Lake

Yuxi Storys

Fuxian (Touch the fairy) Lake.

It is said that the Jade Emperor found a bright pearl when he overlooked the man’s world.  Inlaying among mountains, the azure and bright pearl is twinkling.  The Jade Emperor was so attracted by its beauty that he sent Xiao and Shi fairy to trace the picturesque scenery and take it back to the kingdom of

heaven.  The two fairies rode the clouds in a hurry as soon as they received the imperial edict.  Landing on the northeast of the bright pearl, they found visional scenery was just in front of them.  The pearl is a lake surrounded by many square stones in different shapes.  Some of those stones resemble bamboo shoots facing the sky; some resemble elephants playing with water; some resemble fierce tiger going downhill.  Vast lake water sometimes is smooth as a mirror; sometimes is full of roaring waves.  The two fairies were so intoxicated into the scenery that they forgot their mission.  Day after day, year after year, they stood there hand in hand.  As time ran, the two fairies changed to two peaks.  Up to now, the two peaks still stand by the lake bank.  As a result, the lake has been called as Fuxian Lake since people learnt the story.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

On September 1, 2011, in Adventure Trip, Mountain Areas, Must-sees, Tips & Ideas, Yunnan, by Jack Li

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is located in Yulong Naxi autonomous county, 15 kilometers away from Lijiang city, with the height of 5596 meters. It is a national 5A level scenic site as well as a natural reserve of Yunan Province. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is rich in travelling resources. The landscapes can be divided into […]

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is located in Yulong Naxi autonomous county, 15 kilometers away from Lijiang city, with the height of 5596 meters. It is a national 5A level scenic site as well as a natural reserve of Yunan Province. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is rich in travelling resources. The landscapes can be divided into snow area, glacier, alpine meadow, virgin forest and snow mountain.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is famous for its danger, rarity, beauty and elegance. It is magnificent as well as exquisite and changeable as the seasons and weather change. Sometimes covered by rosy cloud, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is partly hidden and partly visible; sometimes under the cloudless sky, it is sparkling and crystal-clear; sometimes partly covered by cloud, the part above cloud is bright and clear while the part under cloud is totally green; sometimes sunglow shining upon Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, it is like wearing a red yarn, extremely charming.

The difference in temperature is quite distinct between the foot of the mountain and the top. The vegetative cover reflects the difference most. The whole mountain integrates all kinds of natural landscapes of subtropical zone, temperate zone and frigid zone, which form the main landscape of the unique “The Spring Snow”. After rain or snow, the snow is exceptionally white while the pine trees are extremely green as if the white snow and green pine trees are playing hide- and – seek. The snow is green rather than white, which is extraordinarily tremendous, therefore comes the famous saying “Green Snow and Peculiar Mountain”.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a sacred mountain in all the people of Naxi nationality and people in Lijiang. The angel of Naxi nationality “San Duo” is the avatar of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, so nowadays the grand “San Duo Festival” is held once a year in Lijiang. During Tang Dynasty, the lord of Nanzhao once conferred the title “Northern Mountain” upon Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and now in Baisha Village, we can also find the temple of “Northern Mountain”, which is still deep and quiet and the Buddha statue in it is shining. There are a lot of pilgrims on the way. During Yuan Dynasty, when Kublai Khan (the fifth emperor of Yuan Dynasty) came to Lijiang, he gave the title “Holy Snow Northern Mountain”. Relying on its attractive landscape, mysterious stories and a virgin mountain which has not been conquered by people, numerous people have a deep longing for Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Attractions

Spruce Meadow

Kala Patter

Gan Haizi Meadow

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Story

1. Legend of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain are twin brothers. They depend on each other for survival and support their life by washing gold by Jinsha River. One day from the North came a vicious devil, which forcibly occupy Jinsha River and did not allow people to wash gold. Jade Dragon and Haba got furious and fight with the devil. The younger brother Haba was too weak and was chopped off the head while the brother Jade Dragon fought with the devil for two days and three nights, breaking 13 swords and finally drove the devil away. From then on, the younger brother Haba turned into the headless Haba Snow Mountain while the brother Jade Dragon, to protect another attack of the devil, held the 13 swords high all day and night and changed into 13 snow mountains. Jade Dragon is regarded as the external symbol of Naxi nationality while the legendary Jade Dragon hero is the symbol the spirit of Naxi nationality. That is why the angel of Naxi nationality “San Duo” is the avatar of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

2. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Jinsha River, Nujiang River, Lantsang River, Jade Dragon Mountain and Haba Mountain are brothers and sisters. The three sisters had grown up and went out to choose husbands. Their parents were worried and angry and let Jade Dragon and Haba to catch up with their sisters. Jade Dragon with 13 swords and Haba with 12 bows and arrows, they cut corner and came to Lijiang. They took turns to scout and agreed on that whoever released the three sisters would be chopped of the head. When Haba watched for and Jade Dragon slept, Jinsha River came. She walked slightly so that to sidestep his brothers and then suddenly she sang a beautiful song. The song was so beautiful that Haba was addicted in it and fell asleep. She kept singing until she passed her two brothers. When Jade Dragon woke up and saw the scene, he was angry and sad. He was angry because Jinsha River had left. He was sad because Haba would be chopped off head. He could not violate their agreement, so he chopped off the Haba’s head slowly and cried loudly. His tears turned into black and white water while the 12 bows and arrows turned into the 24 twists on the both banks of Hutiao Gorge. Haba’s head fell into the river and turned to the Hutiao Stone.

Wild Elephant Valley

On August 30, 2011, in Activities, China Attractions, Nature Scenery, Yunnan, by Jack Li

The Wild Elephant Valley is located in the north of Mengyang Town, Jinghong City (Xishuangbanna). The wild elephants moved about most often in this area, which gives the name Wild Elephant Valley. The virgin forests here are the home of wild elephants. They often come here bathing, seeking for food or playing in the water. […]

The Wild Elephant Valley is located in the north of Mengyang Town, Jinghong City (Xishuangbanna). The wild elephants moved about most often in this area, which gives the name Wild Elephant Valley. The virgin forests here are the home of wild elephants. They often come here bathing, seeking for food or playing in the water. China has long been an elephant producing country. However, with the enlargement of the human inhabitant area and gradual changes of the natural environment, there are only about 300 Asian elephants living in the virgin forests of Xishuangbanna. Here naturally becomes the best place for wild elephants to stay and live. In 1990, the government began to set up a forest park and open to visitors in 1996, with viewing the wild elephants and the tropical rain forests as the theme of the park. The houses for watching wild elephants are all built uniquely on the trees, so visitors can watch the elephants closely, and the visitors are quite interested in this kind of buildings. When watching the elephants, you can stay next to the various birds, and meanwhile the pleasure of enjoying the butterfly garden, 2 wonderful elephant shows everyday will all give you a lasting memory about your trip to Xishuangbanna. The wild Chinese elephants live in the equatorial forest of Xishuangbanna of Yunnan Province. Wild Elephants Valley is the place in Xishuangbanna where wild elephants move about most often and frequently. Convenient in traffic, distinctive in equatorial forest landscape and easy to see wild elephants, it has become the popular tourist site in Xishuangbanna. Here also holds the first elephant training school. The tamed ones can bow and nod to give the visitors a warm welcome. Visitors can have a fun ride on the elephants’ backs or trunks. Even a massage by those huge but amicable animals!

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Shangri-La

On August 30, 2011, in Mountain Areas, Tibet, Yunnan, by Jack Li

Shangri-La’ is from Tibetan Language. It means ‘the moon and the sun of heart’. In the novel The Lost Horizon, written by American novelist James·Hilton, it described that ‘the first place, the sun shining on, is Jiantang in the Orient; the fairyland in the world is Shangri-La, near the Naizi River’. Countless people’s hearts are […]

Shangri-La’ is from Tibetan Language. It means ‘the moon and the sun of heart’. In the novel The Lost Horizon, written by American novelist James·Hilton, it described that ‘the first place, the sun shining on, is Jiantang in the Orient; the fairyland in the world is Shangri-La, near the Naizi River’. Countless people’s hearts are yearning for the wonderful land. It is the synonym of Utopia and fairyland.

Shangri-La is honored with the title of ‘the Garden of High Mountain’, ‘Kingdom of Plants and Animals’ and ‘Non-ferrous Metal Kingdom’. Start from Dali and drive northwards 315 kilometers along the Yunnan-Tibet highway, and then reach the center town in Shangri-La County (Zhongdian), the capital of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It is 659 kilometers far from Kunming and takes 50 minutes by plane. The total number of the attractions in Shangri-La is 24. It is rich in natural sceneries and cultural sceneries. It is one of the eight national tourism hotlines.

Shangri-La is situated in the southeast of the Tibet Plateau and the northern end of the southern part of Hengduan Mountains which is the central region of Three Parallel Rivers. Shangri-La is a unique multi-function scenic spot which combined snow mountains, canyon, grasslands, mountain lakes, primitive forest and ethnic customs as a whole. There are many snow mountains in Shangri-La scenic spot, the highest hill—Kawakarpo is in it. Just in the Shangri-La County, the number of snow mountains over 4,000 meters is 470. Gorges in the area are deep and dangerous. The famous ones are Tiger Leaping Gorge of Jinsha River and the Gorge of Lantsang River. The vast mountain grasslands, luxuriant primitive forest and mountain lakes make the natural sceneries of Diqing appear more magical and beautiful. In Shangri-La lives Tibetan, Lisu, Han, Naxi, Yi, Bai, Hui and so on, about 13 ethnic groups. They have a united and harmonious relationship. They keep their ethnic customs and have formed their own special culture.

Shangri-La Attractions

Bita Sea

Napa Sea

Benzilan

Gedan Songzanlin Temple

Shangri-La Story

1.   the culture of Shangri-La

About 1,000 years ago, there is a record about the word ‘Shangri-La’ in relevant Tibetan materials. While since the publication of the novel The Lost Horizon, the word became a symbol of eternal, peace and quiet. The most authoritative dictionary, Dictionary of British Writer, created the word ‘Xanadu’, according to the novel. Afterwards Hollywood studios bought the copyright and made a movie of The Lost Horizon. Therefore Shangri-La quickly swept the world and everyone knows it. The song of ‘This is the beautiful Shangri-La’ is sung all around the world. And then the Hong Kong entrepreneur, Guo Family, bought the word Shangri-La and used it as the name of hotel. Since then Shangri-La became a symbol of the best hotel brand in the world. That also proved the significant humanities meaning of The Lost Horizon. From then on the word Shangri-La became the symbol of ‘the Garden of Eden’, ‘Xanadu’, and ‘Utopia’.

2.   The legend of Shangri-La

The story is that about 60 years ago, some British came to a strange place by accident. It belonged to Tibetan area and was surrounded by snow mountains. And under the bottom of gorge has gold. In this isolated place, the local people had a warm welcome for them. In there, time seems meaningless. They felt that they were at the core of the mysterious oriental culture. With deeper understanding, they known time really stopped running there. People in there were amazing longevity. They met with the spirit leader of the area in a Lama Temple. The leader was a living Buddha. Under the influence of the living Buddha, they were impressed by the oriental culture. They felt they touched the all new side of the world which is surprising and formidable. People lived happily in the gorge, and quietly enjoyed the gift of the sun and snow mountains. They were dismissive of gold. The Lama Temple leaded the gorge, forming Shangri-La society. The main residents of Shangri-La were Tibetan. Although their beliefs and customs were different, they got along with each other and loved each other. They were united and happy.

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Xishuangbanna

On August 29, 2011, in China Attractions, Cool Places, Must-sees, Nature Scenery, Yunnan, by Jack Li

Situated in the Dai Autonomous Prefecture, the southernmost area of Yunnan Province, Xishuangbanna is a “hot land with no winters”. Known as a kingdom of flora and fauna, a green kingdom and a kingdom of south drugs, it is the largest and best preserved tropical rain forest in the world. Xishuangbanna, which means twelve thousand […]

Situated in the Dai Autonomous Prefecture, the southernmost area of Yunnan Province, Xishuangbanna is a “hot land with no winters”. Known as a kingdom of flora and fauna, a green kingdom and a kingdom of south drugs, it is the largest and best preserved tropical rain forest in the world.

Xishuangbanna, which means twelve thousand pieces of land in Chinese, is the home for Dai people. Far back to over 1000 years ago, the ancestors of Dai people left numerous Dai characters on pattra leaves and cotton paper including more than 550 long poems. The Dai folk dances with very high artistic level have distinctive ethnic features and a unique aesthetic taste, such as the very popular pavane and Xiangjiaogu Dance. The well-known tourism attractions in Xishuangbanna are as follows: a 900-year-old banyan with twisted roots and gnarled branches; Wild Elephant Valley, the only valley in China that holds wild elephants; the Olive Dam with unique characteristics of minority in tropical area; small towns along the Daluo River situated at the Burma-China border; the Chunhuan Park (once the imperial garden of the Thai king); China’s largest botanical garden—Tropical Botanical Garden, and Mandian Fall, etc. Over 20,000 kinds of plants within the bound of Xishuangbanna, of which over 5,000 are tropical plants, more than 10,000 kinds are edible, 50 or more types of wild fruits and over 40 sorts of fast-growing precious timber trees. Many plants here serve as valuable medicines with special use. There are not only a huge number of various plants here but also a great many of animals living in this thick forest, including beautiful peacocks, Silver Pheasants, hornbills. Sometimes you can even see wild elephants walking in the street, sometimes antelopes, deer and hares are running under your nose, which rarely happens elsewhere. Just enjoy yourself with these cute animals and the beautiful scenery in this wonderland—Xishuangbanna!

Xishuangbanna Attractions:

Xishuangbanna Primitive Forest Park

Olive Dam

National Customs Park

Wild Elephant Valley 

Xishuangbanna Stories:

1.   Why you can’t fondle a little monk’s head

Rules of the Theravada Buddhism in Xishuangbanna hold it that men must live a religious life away from the family for a period of time. Only when you meet difficulties in life, you can learn to overcome or conquer them, thus you can gain a higher social status when you grow up. All boys aged 7 to 8 should go to a Buddhist temple and live there for some time and people call them little monks. The little monks need to learn to take care of themselves in their daily life, offer their labor and study Buddhist scriptures. Two to three years later they can resume secular life, only then men can be allowed to get married. A man without the life experience in the Buddhist temple will be looked down upon and regarded as a stranger of a savage. When a man is practicing Buddhism in the temple, he is not allowed to talk to or fool around with women. People cannot fondle a little monk’s head, which goes exactly the other way of what Han people’s customs. People, especially women who have touched the head of a little monk will become his enemy because all his previous Buddhism practice has been ruined by that very touch and he will start anew. Visitors should keep this in mind when they go the Buddhist temple.

2.   The Water-Sprinkling Festival of the Dai People

A folk story goes like this, once upon a time, the place where Dai people dwelled suffered a great disaster. There is no rain in summer, no wind in spring, no sunshine in autumn but a whole lot of rainfall in winter. Seeing what happened to the people, a man called Payawan decided to go to the Heaven to figure out the reason. Yingda Tira, the king in the Heaven conducted an investigation after hearing Payawan’s report and found out that it was Pengmadian Dallas, the god in charge of wind, thunder, lightning, rain, sun and clouds, that deliberately cause the disaster with his supernatural power. In order to punish this evil god, Yingda Tira disguised himself as a handsome young man. He went to Pengmadian Dallas’ home to visit his seven daughters who were not allowed to leave their home for quite a long time. These girls all fell in love with him at first sight, then Yingda Tira told them all that their father had done to the people on the earth. These seven kind-hearted girls felt very angry and ashamed and agreed unanimously to capture their father to save the world. They tried to find out the secret way of claim their father’s life by acting like father’s spoiled kids. In the end, Pengmadian Dallas told them the only thing that can kill him is his own hair. Knowing this, the girls made their father drunk and cut down some of his hair to make a bow. They managed to cut the demon’s head off by using the bow, however, the head was still with evil force, when it was dropped on the ground, it began to burn like a fireball. They picked the head up and held it in their arms, then the fire disappeared. In order to get rid of the evil fire, the seven girls had to hold it all the time. They took turns once a year to hold it and splash water on each other to wash off the bloodstain and get rid of the awful smell. Gradually it became a tradition for the Dai people to hold the Water-Sprinkling Festival.

Stone Forest Travel Tips

On August 26, 2011, in Must-sees, Nature Scenery, Travel Info, Yunnan, by Jack Li

When play in the Stone Forest scenic spot, you should put on low heel shoes such as rubber shoes, cloth shoes and travel shoes, never try high-heeled leather shoes. There is amazing scenery in every part of Stone Forest scenic spot, but tourists should remember not to go sightseeing while walking in case of accidents. […]

When play in the Stone Forest scenic spot, you should put on low heel shoes such as rubber shoes, cloth shoes and travel shoes, never try high-heeled leather shoes. There is amazing scenery in every part of Stone Forest scenic spot, but tourists should remember not to go sightseeing while walking in case of accidents. Taking a photograph in Stone Forest is quite different form shooting in a park. In any park, both the photographer and people who are taken pictures can step back freely to adjust the best angle. Many scenic spots are probably steep precipices and cliffs, so tourists must turn round to see space at the back. Tourists who take the group tour can buy the group travel insurance while self-service tourists can voluntarily buy short-term travel accident insurance, which is sold by insurance companies or throuth the internet.

Best time to visit Stone Forest

The most important characteristic of the climate in Stone Forest is “there is on severe cold in winter or intense heat in summer and each season seems spring”. Therefore, it is appropriate to visit Stone Forest all the year round.

Matters need attention in Stone Forest

Tourists can rent private cars and gharries in the parking lot of Stone Forest. It takes 150-170 yuan a day to rent a minibue that can take four people while takes 60 yuan to rent a gharry; if there are more people travel together; you may consider rent midibus that can take 15 people and 300 yuan per day. It will take longer time if you go to Stone Forest by dollar vent in Kunming. Besides, the vehicle owners often ask you to buy the return ticket, so if you plan to stay a night in Stone Forest, you’d better tell them in advance. If tourists choose to take a bus to Stone Forest at 10:30 am, you will pass by Yiliang, where you can buy the famous Yiliang Roast Duck.

Stone Forest Tickets

Adults: 175 yuan

Children: 100 yuan

How to get to Stone Forest

  1. Tourists to Stone Forest can take the scheduled bus at Kunming East Passenger Station (25 yuan for a single trip). It takes about two hours and arrives at Stone Forest before the midday, and then you can play to your heart’s content.
  2. There are special line travel buses in Kunming, which takes 30 yuan. You can also take the bus to Luliang County and Luoping County, and then get off at Stone Forest (Ticket: 10 yuan).
  3. Tourists can take the special travel line bus besides Jinhua Restaurant in Beijing Road of Kunming, which takes 30 yuan. The departure time of the bus is 8-11am, which extends one hour in holidays.
  4. Kuntie Passenger Transport Company has opened up travel special train to Stone Forest and Luliang. In order to bring convenience to passengers, the company set up the green channel specially, the tourists can but tickets after getting on the bus at evey bus stop.
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