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Yunnan Travel Guide

Yunnan Overview

As an important border province of southwestern in China, Yunnan borders Burma, Vietnam, and Laos. It has long been reputed as 'Colored Clouds in the South.' It has an average altitude of 2,000 meters and a temperate tropical plateau monsoon climate. It boasts imposing natural scenery, such as snowcapped mountains, glaciers, lakes, hot springs, plateaus, virgin forests, and tropical rainforests. In addition, it abounds in biological resources and enjoys such good reputations as the Kingdoms of Plants and the Realm of Animals, which has greatly benefited in the development of ecological tourism.

Yunnan is known as one of the birthplaces of human beings, and the remains of the Yuanmu Man found in the province date back 1.7 million years. Furthermore, countless places of historic interest are scattered around the province. Yunnan is inhabited by such 26 ethnic groups as the Han, Dai, Bai, Yi, and Hani, making it the province with the most nationalities in China. Each ethnic minority has its unique, colorful customs. A famous tourist province in China, Yunnan has now two World Heritage sites, namely the Lijiang Ancient Town and the Three Parallel Rivers.

Yunnan Facts

Chinese Name: 云南

Location: Yunnan is the most southwestern province in China

Provincial capital: Kunming

Area: 394,100 square kilometers

Famous Cities: Kunming, Lijiang, Dali, Shangri-la

Yunnan Geography

Yunnan is the most southwestern province in China, with the Tropic of Cancer running through its southern part. The province has an area of 394,000 square km, 4.1% of the nation's total. The northern part of the province forms part of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. The province borders Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guizhou Province in the east, Sichuan Province in the north, and Tibet Autonomous Region in the northwest. It shares a border of 4,060 km with Burma in the west, Laos in the south, and Vietnam in the southeast.

Yunnan Climate & Weather

Yunnan has the subtropical monsoon climate with large daily temperature difference and clear dry and wet seasons.

The average temperature, in the hottest month (July) is 19 ℃ ~ 22 ℃, in the coldest month (January) is 6 ℃ ~ 8 ℃. On the same day, it is cool in the morning and evening, but hot in noon, especially in winter and spring, daily temperature difference can reach 12 ℃ ~ 20 ℃.

In most parts of Yunan, the annual precipitation is in 1000 millimeter above. 85% of it concentrates upon the rainy season from May to October. April and November are the dry seasons.

Tips for Yunnan Weather

Best season to visit Yunnan:
The best time to travel in Yunnan is in spring and autumn, especially March to April, and September to November. In spring (March to May), Yunnan has the large daily temperature difference changing from 12 to 20 ℃. The month of May is likely to be the rainiest month. Summer (June to August) in Yunnan will not be very hot and winter in Yunnan is never too cold. Autumn is the harvest season of most fruits and flowers. Tourists can get a lot during their trips.

Clothes for travelling:
August in Yunnan is generally rainy season, you’d better wear thin coat. If you want to go to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Lijiang, you should take thicker cotton-padded clothes.

Go to Yunnan in March, travelers need to wear cotton jersey and a thicker coat, cotton trousers and over-trousers.

Lijiang has a large temperature difference between morning and evening, it is generally to put on your thick coat or eiderdown outerwear in the morning and evening.

Avoid Peak Holidays:
It is not a good idea to travel in China during Chinese holidays when huge numbers of Chinese people are travelling around. The busiest three national holidays in China are Chinese Spring Festival (usually in late Jan or early Feb.), International Labor Day (May 01 to 03) and National Day (Oct 01-07).. Spring Festival is an especially crowded time to travel. The advantage of being in China at this time is that you will get the opportunity to experience "first hand" the significance of these celebrations in Chinese culture.

Other Tips:
The sunshine in Yunnan is too strong during the day that you’d better take your sunscreen and sunglasses. Also you should drink more water, eat more fruit, and prevent dehydration.

In winter and spring, Kunming has large daily temperature difference, so travelers need to take coats and sweaters.

Best Time for Yunnan Travel

The best time to travel in Yunnanis in spring and autumn, especially March to April, and September to November. In spring (March to May), Yunnan has the large daily temperature difference changing from 12 to 20 ℃. The month of May is likely to be the rainiest month. Summer (June to August) in Yunnan will not be very hot and winter in Yunnan is never too cold. Autumn is the harvest season of most fruits and flowers. Tourists can get a lot during their trips.

One can find a lot of Yunnan ethnic celebrations during these times in addition to many fruits and blossoms within this period of time. Because of this, visiting within this time will take you the most enjoyment and delight.

Yunnan Transportation


By the end of 2012, there are 12 Yunnan operating civil transport airports, one regional hub airport (Kunming Changshui international airport) and 11 feeder airports (Zhaotong, Lijiang, Xishuangbanna, Tengchong, Dali, Baoshan, Mangshi, Shangri-la, Pu-erh, Linncang, Wenshan), the airport density up to 0.3 per sq km. Yunnan air routes 319, 275 domestic routes, 38 international routes and 6 regional routes in 118 navigable cities. Among them, 89 domestic cities, 26 international cities, 3 regional cities. In Yunnan aviation market of domestic and foreign airlines, there are 37 international airlines and 15 regional airlines, 4 bases airlines. Yunnan civil aviation transport landing sorties are 276500, passenger throughput of 31.9211 million passengers, total cargo throughput of 282600 tons.


More than 100 years ago, the first railway of Yunnan was built, Yunnan-Vietnam railway, and it was the China's first international railway. Due to the complexity of Yunnan terrain, geological conditions are adverse, since the founding of the new China, Yunnan railway development is slow. Up to 2010, the Yunnan province railway mileages are about 2229 km, accounts for only 4% of the national railway mileage.


By the end of 2012, the total highway mileages are 219400 kilometers in Yunnan province. Among them, the expressway mileage of 2943 kilometers, secondary highway mileage of 10136 kilometers, the rural road mileage of 181400 kilometers; 94% of the villages and towns in Yunnan unobstructed, 98% of administrative villages can be accessed, 36% of administrative villages unobstructed.

"Seven ways out of the province" are from Kunming to Panzhihua (Sichuan passageway), from Kunming to Fushui (Sichuan and Chongqing passageway), from Kunming to Xuanwei Puli (Guizhou passageway), from Kunming to Fuyuan scenic spot (Guizhou passageway), from Kunming to Luoping (Guizhou, Guangzi passageway), from Kunming to Luocunkou (Guangxi, Guangdong passageway), from Kunming to Deqin border river (Tibet passageway).

"Four exits" namely: China-Vetnam (Kunming to Hanoi), China-Laos-Thailand (Kunming to Bangkok), China-Myanmar (Kunming to Ruili to Kyaukpyu) and through Myanmar to South Asia (Kunming through Myitkyina to Leiduo) highway tunnel.
Lugu Lake, Lijiang, Yunan
(Lugu Lake, Lijiang, Yunan)


The capital city of Yunnan——Kunming, now has four metro lines in operation, which are line 1,2,3 and 6.

Metro line 1 was the first line that Kunming had. It started to build in 2008 and opened to public operation in May 20th, 2013. It runs from the south upwards to the downtown area connecting Kunming South Railway Station and Kunming Railway Station.

Metro line 2 started to build in 2008 and opened to public operation in Apr 28th, 2014. It runs from the north downwards to the downtown area, starting from the North Bus Center Station going through the North Railway Station and meeting Metro Line 1 at the Inner Exchange Huancheng Nanlu Station(环城南路) .

Metro line 3 opened to public operation in August 29th 2017. It runs from east to west, starting from the East Bus Center Station in the East and ends in Xishan park in the west crossing Metro line 2 at Inner Exchange Station (东风广场) Dongfeng Square.

Metro line 6 runs from northeast to southwest starting at Kunming Changshui International airport from northeast and meets Metro line 3 at East Bus Center. Tourists arrive at Kunming airport may use Metro line 6 changing to Metro line 3 to get to downtown area of Kunming.

Yunnan Festival

Huashan Festival (Miao minority), is in the third day in lunar calendar, at the edge of Mengzi, men and women will sing in antiphonal, and dance Lusheng dance, and climb flower pole.

March Fair (Bai minority), is one of Dali’s biggest events, which dates back to the eighth century. It is in the March 15 to 21 in lunar calendar, which is a material and cultural exchange such as local products.

Munao Zongge (Jingpo minority), is in the day of the first lunar month 15th to 16th in Longchuan Mangshi city. Munao Zongge is the Jingpo language transliteration, meaning musical event or everyone dancing together. Munao Zongge is a traditional festival used to drive the evil and to reward good luck with love and celebrate the harvest, is also the most solemn festival of Jingpo people.
Raosanling (Bai minority), is in the lunar April 13 to 15 in Dali, which is a festival of religious sacrificial activities, outing, and singing.