Destinations – ‘Places we visit’
Beijing, capital of the People’s Republic of China, is the nation’s political, economic, cultural, educational and international trade and communication centre. With more than 3000 years of history, Beijing is steeped in an ancient aura, which is manifested by the abundance of historical places of interest, such as The Great Wall, The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square (the largest city square in the world). There is also a feel of vibrant modernity, which is encapsulated by some of the architectural marvels, such as the Water Cube and Bird’s Nest stadium.
Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, is known as ‘the City of Eternal Spring’ for its pleasant climate (an average temperature of 15.3 degrees Celsius) and flowers blooming all year round. With a history of more than 2,400 years, Kunming was the gateway to the celebrated Silk Road that facilitated trade with Tibet,Sichuan, Myanmar and India. Kunming is the most popular tourist destination in south-west China, mainly due to the fascinating attractions, such as The Stone Forest, Yunnan Minorities Village, West Hill and Diachi Lake.
Dali City, is located in the northwest of Yunnan and is home to the awe-inspiring Erhai Lake, Cangshan mountains and the Three Pagodas. Here you will find 25 ethnic minorities, which have created a unique cultural heritage amidst the area’s picturesque surroundings. Dali Old Town is widely considered to be a backpackers paradise with it’s quaint little streets, littered with coffee shops, hostels, restaurants and shops.
Lijiang, a popular destination in Yunnan and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage List special preservation area due to its dramatic scenery which has produced ‘an urban landscape of outstanding quality’. It is considered a fairyland blessed with fresh air, clear streams, breathtaking snow mountains (e.g. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain) and an undisturbed landscape. The deepest gorge in the world, Tiger Leaping Gorge, can also be found here.
Shangri-La has been associated with the mystique of a place which could not possibly exist here on Earth.Entrenched in Tibetan customs, Shangri-La means the “sun and moon in heart”, an ideal home only found in heaven. There the lofty and continuous snow-capped mountains, endless grasslands, steep and grand gorges, azure lakes and the bucolic villages always leave a deep impression on visitors.
Xishuangbanna, is located in the south of Yunnan and is considered a tropical paradise, containing China’s only tropical rainforest. It is rich in natural resources with a myriad of rare plants and animals, including the protected Yunnan golden monkey. Places of interest include Wild Elephant Valley, the Tropical Botanical Gardens and the Dai Minority Village.