Places to stay
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China is home to more than 56 minority groups, over half of which can be found in the South West of the country within the provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou.
During a trip to Yunnan you will find cormorants still being used to catch fish on Erhai Lake, trading communities living in bamboo houses in the sub-tropical regions along the Burmese border, volcanoes in the west and excellent walking in the mountains, where you can get a true taste of the diverse range of flora and fauna on offer.
Yunnan is home to the towns of Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled beneath the Jade Dragons Mountains with a wonderfully atmospheric old town and Dali with its lakeside location. The province stretches to the borders with Tibet and as one journeys beyond the famed Tiger Leaping Gorge towards the town of Zhongdian it is possible to get a real feel of Tibetan life at the 300-year-old Tibetan Monastery of Ganden Sumtseling Gompa which is still home to around 600 monks.
Guizhou is well known for its hospitable people and enjoys more folk festivals than any other province in China – the colourful clothing, traditions and individual cultures, which are particularly prominent at festival times, are still an unexpected sight in China. The unusual and varied scenery of Guizhou includes striking karst formations, rolling mountains, terraced fields, limestone caves, verdant forests and Asia’s biggest waterfall.
A visit to the province of Sichuan in the South West is also the place to see China’s most iconic animal, the Panda at the Giant Panda breeding research centre in Chengdu or for the more adventurous you could trek into the mountains to search for these elusive creatures in their natural habitat.
Explore the soaring mountains and Tibetan culture of North West Yunnan, from the charming city of Lijiang to the Buddhist Monasteries of Shangri La.
Trek the dramatic Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Journey to Shangri La for a glimpse into Tibetan culture.
Take a traditional yak butter tea with a Tibetan family.
Spend a night in a traditional courtyard hotel in the sleepy village of Shaxi, home to ancient stone bridges a traditional wooden theatre and a local Friday market.
Travel between a group of five intimate and hospitable lodges, nestled in the dramatic landscapes of remote north western Yunnan, close to villages populated by minority tribes.
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