Things to do & places to visit in Yunnan, China

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Yunnan #10 destination in China 2023. The average rating score is 4.30 based on 29.8k traveler reviews, of 830 attractions. Timezone: Asia/Chongqing, current date and time: Monday, April 15, 2024, 4:08.

Yunnan Weather Statistics view more »

General weather summary in April

77°F - 51°F
Temperature Highs - Lows
Mildly cool and breezy
Feels like
Chance of rain
88.0 millimeters
15.9 mph
Wind speed
Daylight length
6:47 AM
7:30 PM
Cloud cover
What to wear

Top things to do (24)

Top destinations in Yunnan 87

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Top places to visit (30 attractions) view more »

  1. 5.0 Yubeng Village (110 reviews)
    - 2 night stay including a hike to the Sacred Waterfall
    Monday: 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM Historic Sites • Points of Interest & Landmarks
    Yubeng Village image
    Did this as part of a food tour with Lost Plate, and it was amazing. Jeeps are the only way in and we stayed at Yubeng Upper Village. Cloud and snow covered the next morning, we set off on a 16km roundtrip hike with our group to the Sacred Waterfall. It was slightly below 0 but with warm clothes, temperatures weren't a problem. Hike was great and there's also plenty of birds to see along the way. Prayer flags everywhere make for great photo ops! The morning of our departure, we finally saw the sky and the peaks of the surrounding mountains, truly awe-inspiring. See more..
  2. 4.5 Old Town of Lijiang - China (5.097 reviews)
    - The best old town I visited to date
    Spent 2-3 hours Points of Interest & Landmarks • Historic Walking Areas
    Old Town of Lijiang - China image
    I visited a few old towns in China, but this one has to be my favorite one to date. During my time in Lijiang, I didn't even bother going to the city because the old town was so much fun not to mention that the food was incredible. While morning are very quiet as shops open rather late, the evenings were far from boring. The bar street sure made for some nice evenings while the afternoons allowed me and my friend to visit more of Old Town while trying out different food (such as tofu ice cream (don't judge until you try it)), Chinese wraps and of course the flowers cake. As for dinner, the ribs hot pot is fantastic! I shouldn't forget to mention that the buildings are beautiful, and I strongly recommend you check the small alleys as you might be surprised by what you may see. See more..
  3. 4.5 Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) (1.199 reviews)
    - Must do
    Monday: 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM Canyons
    Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) image
    A place most expats in China have probably been to at some point. A truly breathtaking spot which is actually quite easily accessible. This is a hike with astonishing nature, gorgeous views and amazing scenery. It's not a particularly challenging hike either and the route is usually split over two days to make it even easier. The stay over point is aptly named 'Halfway'. If you're lucky and the sky is clear you can get amazing night sky views. Lots of animals roam around here. And the sweeping hills are awe inspiring. Before you start hiking you can check out the raging river if wish but expect tons of people. Bring cash as there's a chance you'll lose your phone signal. And a waterproof coat as the weather can turn quickly See more..
  4. 4.5 Yunnan Stone Forest Geological Park (1.125 reviews)
    - Wonders of nature
    Monday: 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM Spent 2-3 hours Points of Interest & Landmarks • Geologic Formations
    Yunnan Stone Forest Geological Park image
    This forest of stone, formed by erosion over millions of years, is comprised of many stone peaks, pillars and stalagmites rising abruptly from the ground and extending as far as the eye can see. See more..
  5. 4.5 Lugu Lake (889 reviews)
    - go before its all built up
    Monday: 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM Historic Sites • Bodies of Water
    Lugu Lake image
    great scenery and in these covid times very few tourists. The natural beauty does not disappoint. The human impact is significant - as ever ugly construction every corner - often cheapest possible then left to ruin. Natural vegetation ruined, standard plants then used to replace them. Its sickening this is happening in 2022. There is an airport now nearby See more..
  6. 4.5 Lijiang Impressions Show (710 reviews)
    - What a moving show of the tribal cultures!
    Monday: 9:00 AM - 12:00 AM Theaters
    Lijiang Impressions Show image
    Of all my travels in many different countries and having seen innumerable shows indoors and outdoors, this show ranks as one of the very best! The setting is against the splendidly stunning Jade Dragon Snow Mountains-- the performers represent the many different minority tribes of Yunnan, China. The choreography, the written descriptions/explanations, and the very touching music are all part of making this outdoor show exceptional! What's even more moving is in between the lines of what this show means: how the Chinese culture respects the indiginous tribes and includes them along with the mass population in every day living--- from job employments to displaying their cultures in shows and education. This performance is named "Impressions of Lijiang", which says a lot about the Chinese mind-set. Lijiang, as many visitors attest to it, is beautiful in itself with many aspects of ancient cultures and a rich history, besides the indigenous ones. Any great shows can be choreographed to be proudly named "Impressions of Lijiang". However, the city of Lijiang and the government chose the theme of this show to highlight the many tribal cultures in Yunnan. There are more than 26 tribes in Yunnan through the thousand years and they are still thriving, with their livelihood fused into the main Han culture. We don't even have any shows in the USA that fully pay respect to our Native American cultures here, let alone a show being fully sponsored by the Government. This show was choreographed by China's world-famous director Zhang YiMou who was commissioned by China to design 3 spectacular shows in the whole country thus far: one in Hangzhou, one in Guilin and this one in Yunnan. It is absolutely a MUST SEE for all to experience the beauty, dignity and the sentiments of the many tribes in this performance--- the poetically powerful speech by each of the tribes at the end of this spectacle would move you to tears! See more..
  7. 4.5 Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain (694 reviews)
    - Love this mountain
    Monday: 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM Mountains • Historic Walking Areas
    Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain image
    Also known as Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the snowcapped Yulong Mountain is a sanctuary for rare animals and plants. See more..
  8. 4.5 Sumtsaling Monastery (684 reviews)
    - A must see in Shangri-la
    Monday: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM Religious Sites
    Sumtsaling Monastery image
    The biggest monastery in Shangri-La. See more..
  9. 4.5 Chongsheng Three Pagodas (516 reviews)
    - Take shuttle all the way up and then walk down
    Historic Sites • Ancient Ruins • Architectural Buildings • Observation Decks & Towers
    Chongsheng Three Pagodas image
    Impressive architecture with the mountains as backdrop. Not just the three pagodas but temples and the grounds as such are beautifully kept. The lake reflection spot with three pagodas in the background is worth stopping for but make sure you spend enough time exploring the rest! See more..
  10. 4.5 Potatso National Park (491 reviews)
    - Chinese National Park
    Monday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM National Parks
    Potatso National Park image
    Not for you if you want to really hike and explore off the beaten path. We are also spoiled by US National Parks but Potatso is made for a nice change from the many temples and old town we saw on our Yunnan trip. You are taken to the inside of the part by bus, then we went on a walk by the lake, later took a boat across another lake and walked some more. But they give you more of a general overview. Landscape is nice and I saw and photographed some interesting birds. Most guided tours same as ours have this in their itinerary and it took us half a day to do it. See more..
  11. 4.5 Mufu Palace (454 reviews)
    - very well preserved, a joy to visit
    Monday: 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM Historic Sites • Points of Interest & Landmarks
    Mufu Palace image
    Mufu palace lies on the side of the hill holding Lion Rock. The location is very scenic with much vegetation and stone work. The main entrance is from the ancient city southern center where you can get tickets and guides. We entered in the back while coming down from Lion Rock and skipped the guides and front entrance crowds. This place is really wonderful to visit - so many people agree that you will find large crowds during the normal tourist seasons. As much as I liked it though I would recommend that you see it with a guide as we missed much history without one. See more..
  12. 4.5 Kunming Dragon Gate (375 reviews)
    - Dragon gate Kunming
    Monday: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM Points of Interest & Landmarks
    Kunming Dragon Gate image
    We took a bus followed by chairlifts up to the TOP of the hill, then walk our way down . This is the easier way to see the site. The steps were painstakingly chiselled out along the cliffs by a Taoist priest and his followers in the Qing dynasty over 90+ years, can be slippery on a rainy day. The view was good. See more..
  13. 4.5 Cangshan Mountain (333 reviews)
    - Marvelous scenery
    Monday: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM Mountains
    Cangshan Mountain image
    An approximately 50 kilometre in length by 20 kilometre in width, 19-peak mountain range, also known as Diancang Mountain, with the highest peak being Malong at 4,122 metres. There is cable car service to the top. During our visit, many of the peaks where above the lower level of clouds. See more..
  14. 4.5 Yunnan Shaxi Ancient Town (291 reviews)
    - Perfect place for Chinese New Year
    Historic Sites • Historic Walking Areas • Scenic Walking Areas
    Yunnan Shaxi Ancient Town image
    We were here for Chinese New Year eve and the atmosphere was lovely, with lots of people on the streets setting off firecrackers, children playing and fireworks. I've been to many ancient towns in China, and this was one of my favourites. There are some really quaint bars, restaurants and souvenir shops, and lovely mountain views. Would recommend staying a night here, as the atmosphere in the evening is excellent. There are plenty of hotels/hostels inside the town. Entry is free. The village is located in between Lijiang and Dali. You may wish to combine with a trip to Shibaoshan (石宝山), just 14km away. Name in Chinese: 沙溪古镇 See more..
  15. 4.5 Blue Moon Valley (281 reviews)
    - A hike in nature
    Spent < 1 hour Bodies of Water • Mountains • Scenic Walking Areas
    Blue Moon Valley image
    We took a bus from Lijiang Ancient City for 15 RMB and it took us to the foot of the mountain. Then we took the bus from there up to the Blue Moon Valley. The place was breath-taking. The colour of the water was amazingly stunning. We did not go up the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as we heard that there was no snow at this time of the year. The Blue Moon Lake was already worth the trip. As it was rainy season, we had brought along our raincoat. It rained and stopped, rained and stopped. We walked around the lake, walking on the jungle side was a very interesting experience. Because of the wet weather, different species of flora and fungi could be spotted along the way. See more..
  16. 4.5 Yulong Snow Mountain and Glacier Park (278 reviews)
    - Awesomely spectacular views
    State Parks • Forests • Ski & Snowboard Areas
    Yulong Snow Mountain and Glacier Park image
    We did not see any snow on our September visit, but we went up to the lowers level of clouds, and as we ascended, it became colder. See more..
  17. 4.5 Yuantong Temple (254 reviews)
    - Nice and peaceful scenery
    Monday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Historic Sites • Religious Sites
    Yuantong Temple image
    A 1200 years old temple. Unlike most temples in China, which are built on the ascendant, visitors enter the temple from above and descend along a sloping path, downhill along the central axis, In the mid-way, the "Yuantong Wonderful Realm (圓通勝景坊)" is a majestic archway built by General Wu Sangui (吳三桂) in 1669. Don't miss the exquisite stone carving on the pillars At the center of the temple area, there is a fish pool with the Octagon Pavilion in the middle. Pavilion, three-holes stone bridges, and the green pool creates a beautiful scene. There are numerous scenic spots in the temple. However, I have a special preference on the roof of the side chambers. The wave-like roof edges (due to old age), the reflections, and the green water add radiance and beauty to each other. Amazing! See more..
  18. 4.5 Yuanyang Rice Terraces (225 reviews)
    - great place to visit during Covid - few tourists but difficult to get to

    Yuanyang Rice Terraces image
    the bus loads of people that you would normally expect there (and you can see on the view point platforms that they facilitate busloads) were not there, hence we had a very quiet and extremely great holiday in true nature in Yuanyang rice terraces. quite difficult to get to at the moment(december 2020) , but manageable. we took train from Kunming to Jianshui - 10:30 bus to Xinjie and another minibus to our hotel. arrived in the early afternoon. See more..
  19. 4.5 Meili Snow Mountain (207 reviews)
    - Meili Yubeng village 60kms tour
    Monday: 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM Spent More than 3 hours Mountains • Hiking Trails
    Meili Snow Mountain image
    Also known as the Prince Snow Mountain, it is famous for its main and yet unconquered peak, Kagebo Peak. See more..
  20. 4.5 Kunming West Hill (Xishan Forest Park) (203 reviews)
    - Highly recommend, beautiful
    Monday: 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM Mountains • Parks
    Kunming West Hill (Xishan Forest Park) image
    Great place. Took a taxi, and then they have you purchase tickets for the the cable car or bus. We took a bus to the first section, then where everyone else went on the cable car we preferred to walk up and then back down. It will take half a day if you take transport, slightly more if you decide to walk instead. There are many shops and rest spots if you decide to eat there. When we went there were many tour groups, but it's normal for a tourist spot. As a note, to go to Dragon Gate you have to go down narrow passages within the rock and on the edge of the mountain- it is perfectly safe and there is a fantastic view of Dianchi Lake, but if you are scared of/uncomfortable in small spaces, you can skip Dragon Gate and explore other scenic spots instead. Highly recommend! See more..
  21. 4.5 World Heritage Park, Lijiang (199 reviews)
    - Beautiful architecture
    Monday: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Bodies of Water • Mountains • Points of Interest & Landmarks • Parks
    World Heritage Park, Lijiang image
    Great place to explore and get lost in, akin to Venice in terms of narrow streets and car-free environment. Some things to definitely enjoy - 1. Canals - these run throughout the town, go through the back streets (follow the canal path along Qiyi Street) to see more and avoid the crowds. You may bump into locals there whom are very friendly. 2. Roofscape - very interesting and best viewed from Hizi Mount / Lion Hill (the hill to the west of the town with the temple at the top). 3. Courtyards - most houses / inns in the old town have internal courtyards which you can peek into and maybe enter (but ask first if you're not sure). The northern part of town around Yuhe Square can be mobbed in the evenings and is very touristy, complete with McD's, KFC, Pizza Hut et all, so best avoid if you're not into these things. Would be good if the Lijiang authorities clamp down on the bars and clubs pumping loud music. See more..
  22. 4.5 Xizhou Town (178 reviews)
    - Start with morning market and then explore old town
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    Xizhou Town image
    The bustling morning market was a highlight, and old town was nice and not busy when we checked it out afterwards. It made for a nice change from the much more crowded old town of Dali and Lijiang and highly recommend to include the market and this little gem in your itinerary. It was part of our guided Yunnan tour and glad we did it. See more..
  23. 4.5 Dongchuan Red Land (167 reviews)
    - Perfect for photography
    Monday: 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM Nature & Wildlife Areas • Geologic Formations
    Dongchuan Red Land image
    Stayed overnight at Red land at Kunming Jindong Hotel in Hongtudi Village near Huashitou Village in the heart of the redlands. Hotel arranged a car and driver from mid afternoon till sunset and an hour before sunrise till mod morning for RMB 260. Visited 8 different locations with fantasic views - some good in morning some in afternoon. Beautiful landscape. Limited number of direct public busses from Kunming otherwise need to travel via Dongchuan Town. See more..
  24. 4.5 Lijiang Spruce Plain (151 reviews)
    - Magnificent
    Nature & Wildlife Areas
    Lijiang Spruce Plain image
    Magnificent place to visit. An easy level at 3200m so walking through the meadow is easy. It was a dream came true for my dad and was an incredible experience for us both. See more..
  25. 4.5 Xishuangbanna Tropical Nature reserve (148 reviews)
    - A garden of grand variations
    Monday: 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM Nature & Wildlife Areas • Parks
    Xishuangbanna Tropical Nature reserve image
    This is one of the most wonderful botanical gardens I've seen in China, much less the world, and I've seen a number of extraordinary gardens. You do need to be aware that it is about an hour outside of town and you may not be able to get a DiDi to it. Other ride sharing apps, tour buses, and a very inexpensive public bus can get you there. I suggest you pay for the electric carts if you can because there are 23.5 km of trails. Barring that, make sure you explore all the Chinese Academy of Science's gardens. Flowers, fruits, and vines are amazing. Then do as much of the rain forest as you can. It is a different world. See more..
  26. 4.5 Shudu Lake (143 reviews)
    - Shuodu Lake in Pudacuo National Park
    Bodies of Water
    Shudu Lake image
    One of the lakes in Pudacuo National Park (the first national park in China). I was there mid of October 2012, and the views are fabulous!! Blue skies, white clouds, great sunshine and beautiful autumn colors. There are eco-buses to take you around the park, and the first stop in the park is Shuodu Lake. You can opt to walk around the lake on a wooden walkway (easy and won't get lost), total distance is 3.3km with lots of photo taking opportunities or continue to the next stop via eco-bus but you will miss lots of scenery. I have spent about 2 hours plus to finish the walk because I stop a lot for photos taking otherwise I think the walk can be done in 1 to 2 hours. I practically have the place by myself when I was there. Didn't encounter tour groups, occasionally bump into individual travelers, having said that all walk at different pace so no issue of crowdness. Will post some pictures here when I have time. See more..
  27. 4.5 Birang Grand Canyon (141 reviews)
    - To enjoy Shangri La surroundings
    Monday: 7:00 AM - 6:30 PM Canyons
    Birang Grand Canyon image
    We spent 2 full days in Shangri La. A local tourist guide Tsiering (Tony) who spoke good english showed us monateries, countryside and told us about the Tibetan culture. He was friendly, interesting and very helpful and will be looking after you if you call him up. He can be reached at [email protected] or at the Rockside hotel in the old town. There are a lot of things to do in Shangri La, including a beautiful walk at Shudu Lake, enjoy it! See more..
  28. 4.5 Mt.Cangshan and Erhai Lake Scenic Resort (125 reviews)
    - Fantastic!
    Monday: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM Bodies of Water • Mountains • Nature & Wildlife Areas
    Mt.Cangshan and Erhai Lake Scenic Resort image
    There are three cableways up the mountain - Gantong (goes half way), Ximatan (the longest one), and Zhonghe (as of today, only available for people who work there). The mountain is amazing, it offers great views and some nice walks. The hiking is easy as the most work is done by the cableway. On top of the ximatan cableway it gets very cold, but you can rent a coat (how smart is that?). Unfortunately as of now the hike from Gantong cableway to zhonghe one is not available, as you have to take the same way down as you took up, which is a pity, because the trail is really awesome there. See more..
  29. 4.5 Jiuxiang Scenic Region (119 reviews)
    - Jiuxiang Cave
    Monday: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM Points of Interest & Landmarks • Caverns & Caves
    Jiuxiang Scenic Region image
    I'll start this be saying that this should be combined with a trip to Shilin Stone Forest. Make it two days and spend the night in a local town/city so that you don't have to rush either location. With out a doubt the best cave that I have been in for sightseeing. Starts with a boat ride (paddle) up what I think is the beginning of the Yangtze River. (The English written sign was not easlily read or understood). A short trip up the small gorge in a boat with about 10 other tourists and one paddler. From here you walk down the gorge and for the next couple of hours you walk in and out of and through many different caverns. The walk ends with a cable car ride back to near the main entrance. If you stay in Yiliang I suggest trying to arrange for a local to take you on the local bus that runs from Yiliang to Jiuxiang, fantastic trip. The bus stops about 1 km from the entrance and the stop is not clearly marked so a local is a great help. Well worth the walk. See more..
  30. 4.0 Shuhe Ancient Town (1.163 reviews)
    - Great way to spend an afternoon
    Monday: 7:30 AM - 7:00 PM Historic Sites
    Shuhe Ancient Town image
    Shuhe is a small village a couple miles to the north of Lijiang, in Yunnan province. It has similar old architecture as Lijiang with similar places to buy Naxi woven cloth and products from local artisans. A major advantage over Lijiang is that it is relatively unknown so the streets are much less crowded and food and lodging is cheaper. In addition to woven goods, there are stores selling wood carvings, Naxi style pottery and silver filigree jewelry. There was an elderly artist whose paintings were all done with the edge of his thumb producing quite astonishing images. See more..
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