Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Let's travel to Yunnan!

你好! (Ni Hao) ‘Hello’ in Mandarin Chinese. Today, we are traveling to the far southwest of the People’s Republic of China, Yunnan Province 云南 (which literally means "South of the Clouds"). Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, enjoys great fame among tourists not only because the region features a consistently warm climate, but also thanks to its wonderful vistas and landscapes. Among the most dramatic of these attractions is the Stone Forest(石林Shilin), known since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) as the 'First Wonder of the World.'

The Stone Forest is in Lunan Yi Nationality Autonomous County, which is about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Kunming and requires only a three-hour drive. It covers an area of 400 square kilometers (96,000 acres) and includes both large and small stone forests, as well as many other scenic spots. An old local saying says that 'If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time.' Truly, the Stone Forest is one of the most important attractions of Yunnan.

On 18th September 1981, China post issued a set of 5 stamps featuring the gorgeous Stone Forest. These stamps were titled Fog, Fall, Lake, Colorful Clouds and Stars respectively.

I have visited the Stone Forest in summer 2007 and it was a great experience. Here are a few photos to share with you.

Our next stop is the Ancient Town of Lijiang (丽江古城), located in Lijiang City, Yunan, China. It is found in Dayan Town, a largely Naxi settlement first built during the Southern Song Dynasty some eight centuries ago. In 1997, the UNESCO put Lijiang on a list of the world major cultural heritages. With Sifang Street at the core, the entire city spreads out in all direction, and is crisscrossed by a labyrinth of flagged streets and alleyways. Most of the dwellings, scattered at the foot of a mountain or by the rivers which flow through every nook and corner of the city, are brick-and-tile structures with carved doors and painted windows. Traffic across the river is facilitated by a large number of tiny stone bridges. The entire city is evocative of a town south of the Yangtze River.

In 2002, China post issued a set of stamps to commemorate this beautiful ancient town. These stamps depict Sifang Street (80fen), A clear stream in the Ancient City (80fen) and Folk house of Naxi Nationality (280fen).

I will end our tour here by sharing with you some photos from my visit to this ancient town. See you again! 再见!
A young girl performing street acrobatics

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