Yunnan Province, China

The province of Yunnan derives its name from the word meaning “south of the Yunling Mountains”. The capital of the province of Yunnan is Kunming.

Yunnan: A Look at the Past

Erhai Lake in Yunnan ProvinceIn the late 19th century, the Panthay Rebellion took place at Yunnan. The local Muslims rebelled against the Qing authorities. This was in retaliation to the discriminatory procedures adopted by the Qing authorities against the local Muslims. The Rebellion was completely suppressed and more than one million Muslims were killed. Those who survived fled to Burma where they founded various Chinese Muslim communities in the northern regions. Many other survivors escaped to Central Asia, mostly to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and are known in this region as the Dungan people. Sadly, most of the Yunnan Muslim culture has been destroyed and very few of the original Yunnan Muslims are still present in the region.

Geography of Yunnan

Yunnan Lugu LakeThe Tropic of Cancer runs through the southern part of Yunnan, which is the most southwestern province of the territory of China. The province of Yunnan covers an area of 394,000 square km which is 4.1% of the total area of the nation. A fraction of the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau is made up by the northern parts of the Yunnan province. On the eastern border of the province lie the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guizhou Province. On the northern border of the Yunnan province is the Sichuan Province. The Tibet Autonomous Region lies on the northwestern border of the Yunnan province. Yunnan also shares a border of 4,060 km with Burma in the west, Laos in the south, and Vietnam in the southeast.

In the northern region, the highest point is the Kawagebo Peak which is situated in the Deqin County on the Diqing Plateau. It is 6,740 meters high. The lowest point is at the Honghe River Valley which is located in the Hekou County at a height of 76.4 meters.

Lijiang, Lincang, Pu’er, Qujing, Baoshan, Kunming, Yuxi and Zhaotong are the main cities of the province of Yunnan.

Economy of Yunnan

In comparison to the other provinces of China, the province of Yunnan presents a somewhat bleaker picture as it is relatively underdeveloped and has the most number of poverty stricken counties. The nominal GDP of Yunnan in 2007 was 472.2 billion Yuan. The annual growth rate is 12.3%. The per capita GDP was recorded to be 10,496 Yuan. In China, the province of Yunnan is one of the most prominent and significant production bases of lead, zinc, aluminum, tin and copper. The refined tin of the Yunxi brand is one of the essential goods in Gejiu. It is registered on the London Nonferrous Metal Exchange.

Connectivity: Airports within Yunnan Province

Mountains of Yunnan ProvinceThe Wujiaba Airport in Kunming boasts of superior airport facilities and travel options. The province of Yunnan boasts of twenty domestic air routes. These routes include travel from Kunming to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Haikou, Chongqing, Shenyang, Harbin, Wuhan, Xi’an, Lanzhou, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Nanning, Shenzhen, Guiyang, Changsha, Guilin, Lhasa and Hong Kong. There are also eight provincial air routes from Kunming to Jinghong, Mangshi, Lijiang, Dali, Zhongdian, Zhaotong, Baoshan and Simao. Apart from these, there is also the possibility of international travel, with nine international air routes which allow for travel from Kunming to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Yangon, Singapore, Seoul, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur and Vientiane.

Connectivity: Railways in Yunnan

In the initial days Yunnan was connect to the port of Haiphong in Vietnam and not to other regions of China. This was done through the means of a railway of French Engineering in the year of 1910. it was after fifty more years that the province of Yunnan came to be connected to other parts of China through the railways. This happened with the establishment and completion of the Chengdu-Kunming line. After some years, a railway line which connected Kunming to Guiyang was also constructed. In the recent years, two more railway lines have been built. The southern railway line connects Yunnan to Nanning while the north eastern line connects Yunnan to Sichuan. Now there is also an extension of the railway line which links the region of Kunming to Dali. The stretch of this railway line near the region of Lijiang is in the process of completion and will be ready soon. There are plans of renovating and reconstructing the original railway line that ran all the way to Vietnam. In 2006 an announcement was made regarding another grand plan which aims at connecting Dali to Ruili. Talks are also being held regarding extending the railway line from Kunming all the way to Singapore. The plan also hopes to connect the regions to other South East Asian countries as well and will be inaugurated in 2017.

The region of Kunming has now become a transportation centre, with the additional efforts that have gone into improving the railways and the roadways of the region. The Burmese Road allows for transportation to Myanmar while a significant railroad connects Kunming to Hanoi, in Vietnam.

Yunnan Province: Places to Visit

The mild climate, beautiful landscapes and colorful, vibrant ethnicity of the region add to the charm of the Yunnan province, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in China. The majority of people visiting the Yunnan province are Chinese tourists. However, in the recent years, there has been a rapid rise in the number of trips being organized to Yunnan by various foreign travel agencies. The number of mainland tourists is truly overwhelming, with an astounding 2.75 million native Chinese people visiting the Yunnan province October last during the National Holiday. The trend of eco friendly tourism on a controlled scale is also slowly developing. The tourism revenue for 2004 amounted to 37 billion RMB and this accounted for 12.6% of the total provincial GDP. Also, the fact that the capital city of Yunnan, Kunming, hosts the China International Travel Mart every two years indicates the growing value of the tourism industry in Yunnan. While touring in Yunnan it is a must to visit Dali, which is the historic centre of the Nanzhao and Dali kingdoms, Jinghong which is the centre and regional capital of the Xishuangbanna Dai minority autonomous prefecture and also Lijiang, which is a Naxi minority city and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. It is also a must to visit the Shangri-La County. The Shangri-La County is a cultural and ethnic Tibetan township and county. It is located high up in the north western mountains of Yunnan. Another place that tourist are advised to visit is the Stone Forest which is a series of karst outcrops to the east of Kunming. The Hani minority settlement of Yuanyang with its vast rice terraces also makes for interesting viewing.

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