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wonders of Yunnan

Population and Characteristics

Text: M.E Cavanaugh (U.S.A)

Material from China Tourism Magazine Bimonthly
by National Tourism Administration of China


Yunnan has 26 nationalities (minorities) out of a total of 56 nationalities in all of China. Visiting there is very much like visiting 26 different nations. Yunnan's nationalities are very different from each other (including appearance in many cases), just as the French are different from the British (but more so). They get along with each other very well, but generally keep their customs very distance.So far as I know, no other place on earth has as much diversity in such a small area. This makes it great for tourism, as there is always a brand new experience "just down the road".

Dali is a historically and culturally famous city in China. It lies in the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. The Bai are noted in Yunnan for their friendliness, honesty, cleanliness, industriousness, and their beautiful costumes. The Bai houses remind one of a spanish villa, with a courtyard and much tile construction (though they often use wood, also). They are also noted for their sensitivity to nature, going to lengths to preserve and protect their environment. They grow a special tree for firewood so they needn't disturb the old growth. They are courteous, and famous for both their acceptance of others and their retention of their own culture. The local population of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture is about 3,133,000, which for such a large area is a sparse population. The fifteenth day of the third lunar month brings the "Third Month Street Fair" in Dali, which lasts about a week. This fair is famous in China for its festivities, as are the "love pouch" throwing ceremonies, the beautiful river walk, and the lovely People's Park with singing birds and beautiful landscaping, and the "Old Town" with its massive walls and beautiful and intriguing "Foreigner's Street". A really strange thing about the Bai is that, they never developed a unique written language. They use Chinese characters.

Li Jiang is home to the Naxis. The Naxis, in their appearance, homes, and even clothing often resemble the Inca of Peru (high cheekbones, dark faces, etc.) They have one of the oldest of all civilizations, reaching back about 10,000 years, and have never had a war.

a Kongba man

a Kongba man in Li Jiang

head ornaments of Hani Nationality

head ornaments of Hani Nationality

national costumes of Tibetans in Zhongdian

national costumes of Tibetans in Zhongdian

huge ear-ring of Yi nationality

huge ear-ring of Yi nationality


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