recommended Yunnan ProvinceYunnan is the highlight of China. It is a large and diverse province. You can eat several cuisines, meet people of several ethnic groups, hear several languages, and visit climactic regions from ... read morealpine to tropical. Some wise person said whatever amount of time you think you want to travel in Yunnan, double it.Stephen Bugno
I don't think you'll need a guide. Yunnan sees enough international backpackers that there will be accommodation in the places you want to go. Only if you want to go off exploring some remote region that travelers don't normally visit, then you might need a guide. Yunnan is a truly amazing place. Enjoy it there!recommended Yunnan ProvinceThe most diverse province in China, majority of the minority people are living here. The colourful costumes are very photogenic. Not only for the culture, Yunnan Province is rich with the nature. ... read moreTiger Leaping Gorge, rice terraces, Xishuangbanna (near the border of Laos)... and also Yunnan Province is probably one of the only places that you can see blue sky in China. The weather here is gorgeous!Juno Kim
One of my favourite places in China. Yunnan province is worth spending more than a month, just visiting sites around the province. Rice terraces are amazing, minority people are fascinating and nature is gorgeous.
recommended Tiger Leaping GorgeA gorgeous two or three day trek up in the mountains of Yunnan Province near Lijiang. Incredible scenery for most of the way. You'll pass mountain villages, lots of goat herds, and get to stay in a ... read moreguesthouse-with-a-view along the way. Parts of it are steep and challenging, but if you have some hiking experience and are in moderate shape, the trek should be no problem for you. Definitely worth the effort. One of China's highlights.Stephen Bugno
If you like hiking, go here. Even if you don't like hiking, go here.
recommended Jianshui CountyJianshui is a small city three hours south of Kunming. Despite its lack of tourists, there are some nice attractions here. But besides the sites,Jianshui is a pleasant Chinese city with a very ... read morefriendly population and lots of traditional architecture.Stephen Bugno
Jianshui is a nice little city with great sites that should be popular with tourists, but for some reason is off-the-beaten-track. If you're going south from Kunming, stop here on your way to Xishuangbanna.
recommended Mama Naxi's GuesthouseIf you are heading to Tiger Leaping Gorge, stay at Mama Naxi's. She's tough, interesting and very caring. She (mama Naxi) can help you organize tours. The communal style dinner at Mama's is good too. ... read more
recommended DaliMy favorite town in China. Long popular with foreign travelers, Dali is now attracting busloads of Chinese tourists. The old city is still enjoyable and nice to use as a base to go hiking in the ... read morenearby mountains or cycling down by the lake, or to visit the various market towns nearby. Plenty of reasonably priced food and accommodation here.Stephen Bugno
I love Dali and there is plenty of things to do around the town (lake, mountains, market villages)recommended DaliOne of the most pleasant and livable Chinese city - at least for international travelers. It is backpacker friendly, and you'll see a lot of international travelers and expats. Mountain vista is ... read moregorgeous. Cycling to Erhai lake is highly recommended. Also, there's a local market in Shaping, which is about an hour bus ride away from Dali. Yunnan province is one of the only places in China where you can see blue sky. Enjoy!Juno Kim
It is quite international place for a Chinese town. If you like exploring nature, cycing to Erhai lake. It's a gorgeous place. Bike rental is very cheap.
recommended JinghongLocated in the very south of China, Jing Hong is the capital of Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan. There are lots of buses connecting Jing Hong and Kunming, but it is more of a transit town for ... read moredomestic and international travelers passing between China and Laos than a destination. But more than just a stop over, Jing Hong is possibly one of the most international traveler friendly towns in all of China. Most of the cafes in town offer English menus, it is easy to get wifi signals (which is not common in China), and there are many tour packages available. It is also a very walk-able city. The most popular thing to do here is visiting minority villages. The best way to do it is to purchase tour packages from one of many tour operators in city. There are also lots of temples scattered around, which are quite different from temples in other parts of China. You can also rent a bike and visit rainforest.Juno Kim
Very different than other parts of China, Jinghong is the main city of Xishuanbanna. Good transportation connection to Laos and Yunnan province. Lots of international cafes and guesthouses are here to help you organize tours.
recommended LijiangThe gateway to Tiger Leaping Gorge. Lijiang was not an interesting place for me, except their architecture, because all the shops here are souvenir shops. There was no real like in this town. It is a ... read morevery popular spot for Chinese tourists as well.Juno Kim
If you want to hike Tiger Leaping Gorge, there are many guest houses in Lijiang can help you organize it.
commented on this list
All great places. What do you want to do there? Do you just want to see the place, or do something special?
In my experience, you don't need a guide, if you are not planning a special trip. Dali is a backpacker friendly place, and also Lijiang. You'll find many place that are listed in English. Xishuangbanna can be tricky, but you can book many tours in Jinghong, which is another backpacker friendly place.
commented on this list
Yes, u will need a local guide......there are a lots of tribe minority there.
If u need an english guide, suggest u book in advance !!!!
Kuming-Dali-Lijiang-Shangli-Ra (all in 1 journey up north - by road) - u can view this journey on my page.....
At Lijiang - stay at the guest house in the Ancient City (Gu Cheng) - also make sure they have porter to help you carry ur luggage.....cause this this is where no cars allow.....the place is damn clean. Food / Bar / Shopping - everything is within the walking distance till wee hours.......and it is very safe
If you want to go to Xishuangbanna ( i believe it at the south near to Mymmar) - yet to go there...