Step into 'Shangri-la'

Step into 'Shangri-la'

Some have called Yunnan the "Shangri-la of China" for its beautiful and natural scenery; and its capital city Kunming, the "City of Eternal Spring", for its pleasant climate which allows flowers to bloom all year long.

Both labels truly encapsulate the essence of this province which has a sizeable Muslim population.

With a rich history that spans over 2,400 years, Kunming was part of the Silk Road gateway that facilitated trade with Tibet, Myanmar and India. Today, it is a thoroughly modern city with impressive skyscrapers and wide palm-lined roads.

Amid the modernity, though, the picturesque beauty of Kunming still captivates. Tens of thousands of visitors visit the city every day, making Yunnan a top tourist destination in south-west China.

Kunming's popularity as a vacation destination could partly be attributed to its relatively mild climate. Afternoon day-time temperatures in December and January are similar to spring-time temperatures while winters are short, sunny and dry. During summer (June to August), the weather is pleasantly cool.

If sightseeing is your top priority, the Shilin or Stone Forest - located in Shilin Yi Autonomous County - is a must-visit. It contains peculiar stone peaks and stalagmites.

Visitors who wander through the various paths and structures in Shilin will chance upon many tall rocks that resemble petrified trees, thus creating the illusion of a stone forest.

Another noteworthy location is the Jiaozi snow-capped mountain. The unique thing about the mountain is that its landscape changes colour with each season - green in spring, blue in the summer, golden in the autumn and silver in the winter.

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