China was an afterthought for BakTrax rather than a pre-planned destination, but once we visited Yunnan we soon had this spectacular destination on the agenda for you.
So the following is in regard to Yunnan rather than China at large.
GEOGRAPHY and POPULATION:
Yunnan covers 394,000 sq Km. The countryside varies from subtropical in the south to the snow-capped Himalayan mountains in the north.
Yunnan has a population of 40 million. The vast majority are Han Chinese but it also has a large and varied minorities population. The Naxi, Dai and Bai are just three of the more well known minorities you may encounter in Yunnan.
Like all of China, Yunnan is controlled by the communist party.
Most religions are found in Yunnan today
but the vast majority follow either Taoism, Confucianism or Buddhism.
The capital of Yunnan Province is Kunming with a population of 3.8 million. It is a very safe, clean and modern city with easily accessible public transport to get you around.
Yunnan’s climate varies from warm to hot all year round in the subtropical south to cool to cold in the Himalayan north with Kunming being moderate for most of the time.
Hottest months: April/ May/ June.
Coldest months:Dec/ Jan/ Feb/ Mar.
Wettest months: June/ July/ Aug/ Sep.
Driest months: Dec/ Jan/ Feb/ March.
Chinese food is famous enough already. All we can add to that is that the servings in Yunnan are often unusually large.
One must try dish is “Across the Bridge Noodles” in Kunming.
The currency is called the REMINBI but is more commonly called YUAN or KUAI. It consists of 10 JIAO.
Although Jiao is almost valueless on its own make sure you always have a wad handy to pay entry to public toilets.
Great shopping can be found in Yunnan.
There are modern department stores for great clothing in the cities, although large sizes not so easy to find though, to arts and crafts in the rural areas.
CD’s in Dali are of particularly good quality and value.
(our opinion out of 10).
Friendly Culture: 10.
Tiger Leaping Gorge: 11.
Heritage listed Lijiang: 11
Old Dali: 11.
An extremely safe and tourist friendly region.
Pack light with one set of warm clothes. A warm coat in the coldest months also.
While toilets in your accommodation are clean western style, public toilets particularly in rural areas are a case of leave your vanity at home but make sure you pack your sense of humour. Keep a supply of both Jiao and tissues on hand at all times.
Bring a phrase book as once you leave your accommodation it is almost impossible to find an English speaker on the street. Either that or practice your charades. A fun time will be had as the locals try to assist you.