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South China: The provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan
Text and photos: Eckart Winkler, Bad Nauheim, http://www.eckart-winkler.de
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...on the road - Travel reports and more
Travel reports
Travel blog
Common and touristic Information about China


Chengdu, capital of Sichuan - Leshan Big Buddha - Naxi minority in Lijiang - Dali - Kunming, capital of Yunnan - World famous stone forest - Fascinating karst landscape at Yangshuo and Li River

Travel data
Date of the journeyJuni 1999
Duration10 days
Report online since25.11.2019

In addition to the Chinese Wall and Heaven Palace, China offers other attractions worth seeing. Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province scores points with its Panda research station. Another highlight is the Stone Forest Shilin, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007. For each entry, however, a visa for China is required, which must be requested in good time before departure.

Chengdu Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan
After all, the 10 million city has preserved a small part of its former old town. Here are the little wooden houses with a shop to the front and the living area in the back. Almost every day there is a huge market where you can buy everything your heart desires, especially food, of course. Chengdu is also known for its pandas. Most beautiful, of course, in the Panda Breeding Station. Here the animals can be observed in their natural environment. Since the station is located quite far out of the city, many will only make it to the zoo. There are also some of the funny four-legged friends there. Culinary specialty in Chengdu is the "hot pot", a kind of fondue. In different spicy cooking sauces you can cook your skewers, a pleasure also popular with the locals!
Wenshu Monastery Worship service in Chengdu Wenshu Monastery.
There are 100 million Buddhists in China, more than in any other country in the world. The Wenshu Monastery is open to visitors even when worship is taking place. Interesting to see how the faithful, monks and lay people mixed, run countless times in the circle, all accompanied by an almost mystical music from a dull gong and other percussion instruments. In addition a monotone singing. Then they kneel down on the big round cushions, while singing and music do not tear off. Wenshu Monastery also has a recommended vegetarian restaurant as well as a tea house that is heavily frequented by locals.
Buddha of Leshan This is just the head. The Great Buddha of Leshan measures a total of 71 meters.
A day trip from Chengdu is to reach over bad roads, the ugly city of Leshan. In spite of its several hundred thousand inhabitants, it would scarcely have been listed on any map, if there were not the Great Buddha. Separated from the city by a river, it was hewn out of the rock by monks for over 90 years. The big toenail alone is 1.60 m long. A narrow staircase leads from the head to the feet and, when descending, you can see the entire figure from close up. However, the best view is from the water, boat trips are offered.
Rice terrace Rice terraces: Picturesque for the visitors, living basis for the inhabitants.
A picture that can not be missed in the provinces of Sichuan and YŁnnan. In China, the wet rice cultivation is operated. This means that the rice plants must be in the water, at least for the first few months. Since the terrain is often uneven, it has been terraced so that the water does not drain. Even the smallest patch of soil is used as acreage. For example, rice trunks are also found in road ditches. Due to the shape of the terrace, it is not possible to machine the acreage (if the money is there for that). No, everything is created and maintained by hand, an insanity work!
Naxi music Recognized minority: The Naxi in Lijiang make their own music.
There are around 55 national minorities in China. These are officially recognized by the government. They can pursue their traditional customs without fear of disadvantages. That means they are allowed to speak their own language and make their own music. The Xuan Ke orchestra from Lijiang is world famous and has toured all over the world. Anyone lucky enough to experience a concert should not miss out on this opportunity. Even if you do not like the music, the musicians make a remarkable picture that you do not forget so quickly. Because everything is really original. For the most part, the musicians are over 80 years old and in their old age they are only surpassed by their instruments.
Pupils And these are the Naxi pupils.
They are allowed to learn the Naxi language and of course do so in addition to the official Chinese language. They live in the old town of Lijiang, which is also famous, after all, World Heritage by UNESCO. Almost 100% traditional wooden houses can be found here, and of course they are listed as historical monuments. The old town is crossed by several canals, where people sometimes wash their laundry or meat and vegetables. Other countries, other manners! Also noteworthy is the area around Lijiang. So excursions are offered to see the snow-covered Jade Dragon Mountain. However, it is often cloudy and thus invisible. Spectacular also the Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges on earth.
Plastic Buddha The Chinese are on kitsch: Plastic Buddha in an amusement park.
Of course, this is only kitsch from our point of view. In any case, it is certain that a fat man is considered happy among the Chinese, for he must always have enough to eat, otherwise he would not be fat. How much more important is it that a Buddha figure is fat and therefore looks happy! The question of aesthetics certainly does not matter. At any rate, the Chinese like it, and they can be photographed row by row with this plastic copy.
Three pagodas of Dali Chongsheng Monastery in Dali: Known by the three pagodas.
They are considered landmarks of the city, and they are certainly unique. Although not as a single copy, but as an ensemble they are so well known that the Chinese have chosen them as a tourist pilgrimage site. Inside you will find tons of souvenir stalls. The town of Dali also has a pedestrian area and two intact city gates. Boat trips on the nearby Lake Erhai with stops on various islands are also popular.
Door decorations The door jewelry should keep away evil spirits.
The superstition in this region is still very common. To keep the evil spirits away from the house, the doors are covered with these posters. Showing grim guardian figures and characters with (at least for Chinese ghosts) unambiguous statements.
Kunming Dressed up for an international exhibition: the provincial capital Kunming.
An international exhibition tokk place here. With just under 4 million inhabitants, the most important roads and places have been brought to a shine. Economically, the city's Expo brings a lot, which can be observed in the busy construction activity. Tourist attractions include only the pagodas of the Eastern and Western Temples, both in the 9th century built in a typical style.
Stone forest The world famous stone forest near Kunming.
This is the real attraction of the area, just over an hour's drive south of Kunming. Originally the stone forest was the bottom of a sea, on which various rock types had deposited. As the ground slowly rose in the course of Earth's history, the sea retreated, the softer stones were washed away by wind and rain, leaving behind these bizarre rock formations.
Stone forest The stone forest is also a popular destination for the Chinese people.
There is a lot of space and above all it is quiet only if you are there at the opening time at 9 o'clock. Because from the late morning it gets really busy here. Then one busload arrives after the next, and of course everyone wants to go to the best vantage points.
moon hill Nature needed a few million years to do so: The Moon Hill near Yangshuo.
Much like the stone forest, the area around Guilin and Yangshuo originated. In contrast, the karst hills are a bit bigger and usually overgrown with lush greenery. Growth is ensured by the persistent humidity and frequent rain. This makes a trip to the moon mountain a sweat-inducing pleasure. However, anyone venturing up to the summit will be rewarded with a truly unique view. Because to the horizon you can view a sea of karst hills, as you have not imagined in your wildest dreams.
Li River Fascinating karst landscape on the Li River.
Another highlight is a boat trip in this fascinating landscape. You can book one in Guilin and Yangshuo. The whole day you go slowly through the karst hills and may not take your eye from them. Constantly views of new hills are released, and each time one believes to have an even more beautiful view. And if you do not get your memory card filled, you must be sleeping!


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