Chinese Language Blog

All About Yunnan Posted by on Mar 19, 2018 in Culture

One of the most fascinating places to explore in China is without a doubt Yunnan province (云南省 – yún nán shěng). With stunning landscapes, distinct culture, and delicious cuisine, you could easily dedicate an entire China trip just to the land “South of the Clouds.” I was fortunate enough to live and travel in Yunnan for a whole year. My adventures in Yunnan have been the source of some great posts and videos here on the blog over the years. I’m going to share them with you in two different posts. This first one will give you a good introduction into Yunnan along with some reasons why you should visit.

Better Know a Province

Amazing Yunnan.

A part of my ongoing series to introduce every region in China, this post gives you lots of useful information about Yunnan. You’ll learn about the history, geography, culture and more of this amazing corner of China. If you’d like to learn more about other regions of China, just search for “Better Know a…” and you’ll find the others.

The 18 Oddities of Yunnan

Huge water pipers – a Yunnan classic.

Yunnan is one of the most interesting places in China, and nowhere is that more evident than in the list of the 18 oddities of Yunnan (云南十八怪 – yún nán shí bā guài). My personal favorite is: “Grannies climb mountains faster than monkeys” (老太爬山比猴快 – lǎo tài pá shān bǐ hóu kuài). Read this post to get the whole list. It should be noted that the list differs depending on who you ask, but I tried to find the most common ones to include in this post.

Yunnan Cuisine

Yunnan Cuisine

Just a little sampling.

In addition to amazing places like Dali and the Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan is also home to some pretty delicious cuisine. From the crossing the bridge rice noodles to the yummy old grandma’s potatoes, they’re cooking up lots of good stuff here. Take a closer look at Yunnan cuisine in this short video. Warning – it may leave your mouth watering!

Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles

Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles

Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles

The most famous dish from Yunnan is without a doubt the “Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles” (过桥米线 – guò qiáo mǐ xiàn). You can find them just about anywhere in China, but the best are definitely found in Yunnan. There’s a really interesting legend about how this noodle dish got its name. You’ll just have to read the post to find out!

20 Reasons to Visit Yunnan

The Old Town of Lijiang as seen from above.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In that case, this post will give you 20,000 reasons to head to Yunnan! I’ll leave it up to you to come up with that many words, but in the interest of keeping things short and sweet I present pictures and 20 reasons to visit Yunnan.


Those posts and videos will give you a good idea of what Yunnan province is all about. Having lived in China for 6 years and traveled to more than half of the provinces in the country, I can say that Yunnan is hands down my favorite. There’s just something magical about the place, the people, the culture, the landscapes. If not for getting accepted into the Darmasiswa program to study Indonesian in Bali, I definitely would have stayed in Kunming for another couple of years and used it as a base to further explore Yunnan. Although I was only there for a year, I did manage to have some pretty amazing travel experiences. In the next post, I’ll share a travel guide to Yunnan with you, full of detailed posts and great videos about some of the best places to visit there. From an itinerary on what to do with 72 hours in Kunming, to my time getting soaked at the Water Splashing Festival, to celebrating Chinese New Year in a mountainous village, there was never a dull moment in Yunnan.

Tags: , , , , ,
Keep learning Chinese with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.

Leave a comment: