Yunnan province lies in southwest China, bordering Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Vietnam, between 97°32' and 106°12'E and 21°08' and 29°15'N.The foothills of the Qinghia-Tibet Plateau extend over almost the whole of the province in the form of terraced plateaus 2000-3000m (6600- 9900ft above sea-level which gradually reduce in height towards the east and southeast. In the northwest the average altitude is 5000m/16,500ft; the highest peak is 6740m/22,120ft. The upper reaches of the Changjiang (Yangtse), Lancangjiang (Mekong), Nuijang (Nushan/ Salween), Yuanjiang and Xijiang rivers have carved out deep valleys through the mountains.The differences in topography and altitude within the province have produced varying climatic zones. While extremely raw and cold weather predominates in the north, the climate south of the Tropic of Cancer is dry and hot. The valleys and lake regions, especially the capital Kunming and its surroundings, on the other hand, enjoy a very mild climate all the year round. Temperatures average 22°C (72°F) in July and 9°C (48°F) in January, and annual rainfall is 1000mm/40 in.About a third of the population of Yunnan belong to national minorities, including the Yi, Bai, Naxi, Hani and Dai. Approximately a half of China's various nationalities live here.Yunnan, which was originally inhabited solely by non-Han peoples, found itself under Chinese dominance in the Qin and Han periods (221 BC-AD 220), but nevertheless remained substantially independent. The Mongolian Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) then absorbed the region. Separatist movements led to much unrest. In the early 20th C the French and British tried to expand their empires here. After 1949 the government imposed obligatory industrialization programs.Because of the rich natural deposits found here mining plays a major part in the economy. The main deposits are tin, followed by copper, coal, iron and phosphorus. 6 per cent of the total area is fertile agricultural land, growing mainly rice but also maize, wheat, yams, coffee, sugar-beet and tobacco.Places to visit in addition to the provincial capital of Kunming, the towns of Dali and Jinghong in the Autonomous Region of Xishuangbanna are also worth a visit.
Lijiang Old Town
Lijiang has the best preserved ancient town in China - the Old Town has been listed in by UNESCO since 1997. It maintains the local lifestyle with its historic buildings and cultural heritage.The earliest recorded history of Lijiang has been traced back to the Warring States Period (476 BC-221 BC) with the economy reaching a peak during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).