I’ve been slowly proceeding into Southern China over the last month. I spent some time in the Yunnan Province, the capital of which is Kunming. China is definitely starting to get more cultural here, and nature is starting to become a bigger attraction than skyscrapers. That being said, where the Chinese can build a cable car, they will!
This photo represents a small variety of the animals you can buy at the Flowers and Birds market in Kunming. Honestly, I’m not entirely comfortable with the place… I don’t think you should be able to buy baby crocodiles and the like. Nonetheless, that’s what travelling is about – you need to take the good with the bad.
Miniature tortoises (turtles?) for sale at the Flowers and Birds market. There are literally thousands of these for sale here! These fellas can’t be bigger than the base of a beer bottle.
The ‘flowers’ part of the Flowers and Birds market in Kunming.
Incense being burnt at the Yuantong Temple in Kunming. This is a great temple to visit as it’s still an active temple and not completely over-run with tourists. I get the feeling things are still very traditional here.
A lady lighting candles at the Yuantong Temple.
The ‘moat’ surrounding the Yuantong temple is brimming with tortoises enjoying the sun.
The benefits of a zoom lens! I was fascinated with these 2 ladies enjoying lunch and a fat chat.
Yuantong Temple – the water really is this green. I don’t really want to know why, but judging by the air pollution in China, it’s probably radioactive!
The Stone Forest in Shilin, Yunnan Province. It’s the main tourist attraction in these parts but I was left disappointed. Firstly, it’s extortionately expensive, and secondly, it is completely oversold, in my opinion. Yes, karst rock formations such as these are impressive, but still, 200 Yuan to see them?
The Stone Forest.
This photo was taken in a small town maybe 20kms outside Dali, called Xizhou. I can imagine that this town would have been really cool back in the day, but now I feel it exits solely for tourists.
I walked what felt like a thousand kilometres to Erhai Lake near Dali. The benefit of doing this was I was able to see some small farms, such as this one being looked after by this chap.
Farming near Erhai Lake. Cool umbrella to deal with the sun, which may I add is HOT here. It’s like getting a tan from a toaster!
Local fishermen at Erhai Lake
The traditional food in these parts – flat bread stuffed with meat and baked in a wood-fired oven of sorts. Cool process to watch.
There is a hike one can do near Dali in the Cangshan Mountains. Well, a quasi-hike at least. You can hike up to the Cloud Path (a cool, albeit unmarked path uphill – local tourists aren’t a fan of hiking which means you’ll have the trail to yourself). The Cloud Path is really just an 11km long paved path through the mountain to a cable car station. It’s a beautiful walk but certainly not a traditional hike!
A bridge I encountered on the Cloud Path in the Cangshan Mountains.
Next stop was Lijiang. This photo was taken at the Black Dragon Pool.
The reason for my stop in Lijiang was to do the Tiger Leaping Gorge trek. It’s a 2 day hike through the Jade Dragon Snow Mountains. It’s a great hike which is challenging in parts. Great way to meet new friends and enjoy a part of China which isn’t over-run with people. Sadly, I foresee a cable car being constructed here soon…
More of the Tiger Leaping Gorge trek.
The Jade Dragon Snow Mountains.
There is a railway being constructed here sadly – I fear that the beauty of this place may be short-lived!
A part of the trail.
Sunset over the Jade Dragon Snow Mountains. This view is from our overnight accommodation at a ‘lodge’ called Halfway House – I’d certainly recommend it!