A few years back some colleagues and I took a journey along the ancient silk-road and stumbled upon a gem named Lijiang in Yunnan Province, which so happened to be the most important southwest Chinese city. We arrived in the province to be greeted by the scorching midday sun. Eventually we made our way to our hotel fashioned after a 10th century Inn.
We spent the remainder of the day meandering our way around the old town, looking for unique shops along the canals, traversing rice fields, warding off irate shopkeepers, and taking in the scenery.
The next day was spent in search of mythic dragons at Chongsheng Temple in Dali but we later found out that three pagodas were built to deter them. The natives did not skimp on the detail either as these massive pagodas were built-in the 10th century.
That afternoon we took a trek into an old part of Dali to peruse the marketplace followed by a boat tour that took us to a number of islands made unique by their temples and monuments. One even had the largest statue of its kind in the world.
During the evening we strolled around the Yunnan countryside. The Chinese are very meticulous when it comes to there farming because rice fields are truly an amazing sight to behold.
We were told to venture around Lijiang at night and we were not disappointed. From traditional Chinese lanterns to nadir lit paths, the town was bustling with energy. Locals drank until the last drop and tourists partied the night away. I was surprised that such a traditional town during the day could have such a vibrant and classy nightlife.
The final day was rainy but that didn’t stop us. We spent it horseback riding through local villages and taking in an evening dance show. Western Yunnan province did not disappoint and there is still so much more to see. Kunming and its rock forest look amazing and Shangri-la County apparently has some spectacular views. All in all, I recommend visiting Yunnan province. It gives you the taste of something old with a breath of modernism—a mixture that only the Chinese could conjure.