Yunnan (云南)

10:48 PM

China is famous with its long and fascinating history, but very few people aware of its magnificent beauty of nature. I have had the opportunity to live in China for 4 years, and as a graduation gift back in 2015 I could pick one place to travel around China. I originally planned to go to Yili (伊犁) but somehow I changed my mind and picked  Yunnan (云南instead. And it was also a great decision! 

Yunnan (云南is probably the most diverse province in all China, located in the southwest region in China, bounded by the Tibet Autonomous Region, bordering with Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Vietnam. It has both extraordinary mix of cultures, peoples and breathtaking landscapes. There are three major cities to visit Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La that offers its unique atmosphere and culture.

  1. Dali (大理)
    One of the most peaceful place I've ever been to. Recommended by my lecturer to stay at the hotel near Erhai Lake (

    Erhai Lake's view from my hotel's balcony

  2. Lijiang (丽江)
    There are 2 Old Towns located in Lijiang, one is the famous Lijiang Old Town (丽江古城) always packed with visitors from all around the country and globes. Because it's always full of people and tourist, I didn't really feel like an old town at all. It has McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Starbucks etc that's why I prefer the other one, Shuhe Ancient Town (束河古城). Shuhe Ancient Town is a smaller compared to Lijiang Old Town but offers more "traditional" atmosphere. If you're seeking a quite afternoon leisure, Shuhe is definitely a place to visit. 
Shuhe Ancient Town

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Blue Moon Valley

  1. Shangri-La (香格里拉)
    The highlight of this trip, the border to Tibet. In Tibetan, Shangri-La means "the sun and the moon in heart", an ideal home only found in Heaven. As a Chinese saying goes, "The earliest sunrise is seen in Shangri-La; and the most unique place is also there". Shangri-La is suitable for those who seek a beautiful landscape.

Songzanlin Monastery

Potatso National Park

Travelling in China can be tough for some people, and I've been getting a lot of stories about bad experiences my relatives had. I am very aware that China is probably not on everyone's top destination lists, mainly due to the language barrier and all the hygiene issues. But as someone who had been living in China for quite some time, I think I could bear it all since I have adapted to the culture (quite) well and I also speak the language (a little tho)

Here are the few things you might want to know before travelling to China:

1. Toilets without doors 
I’ve heard that you could still find stalls without doors in China, but never experienced it myself until I went to Yunnan. It was during our journey to Shangri-La, we had to take 15 mins stop. When I went inside the toilet, I saw one stall had no door, thought that the door was broken so I went to another stall and found there was no door either. When I started looking around and tadaaaaaaa! Every stall has no door and I saw one middle aged women was in the “deep” you know …. I couldn’t bear it and went outside. 

2. Standing train ticket does exist!
In China it is possible to purchase a standing-only train ticket. When I took an overnight train from Kunming to Dali, instead of taking the sleeping one, we took the hard-seat one. And it was the longest 7 hours in my life I swear. Me and my friend couldn’t go anywhere since we were afraid that somebody’s gonna take our seat while we were away. Getting it back? No way, once they had the seat, they won’t give it away even though they had standing only ticket (well that’s how it works in China). Sitting straight for 7 hours while hugging our luggage, afraid of thieves or pickpockets, thinking about how we protect our belongings. I even witnessed somebody climbing up to the place where we put our luggage up (idk what to call) to sleep there. AMAZING! 

3. Spitting everywhere
It’s just like a nation’s habit. I’m used to it, BUT that doesn’t mean that I also do the same thing, but what can you do? With people spitting in front of your eyes every single damn day, are you gonna tell them one by one? Hell no. One of my friends used to live in Harbin, the northern part of China where the summer’s average temperature will be around 15 degrees and -40 degrees in winter. He told me that when people spit on the floor, it will directly turn to ice during winter. Owkay and bye.

Regardless of many "unbelievable" things, I’m glad I could experience this all. Despite so many “habits” we couldn’t bear to see, it’s hard not to fall in love with China.

"When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable." 
– Clifton Fadiman

The one who is trapped in the office for quite some time,

Shirley Wijaya 

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  1. Aaaa love this post! ❤

    Nyesel banget deh 4 tahun di China nggak sempet traveling, at least pernah ke Beijing sih, katanya nggak ke China kalo nggak ke Great Wall ��

    香格里拉 definitely a beautiful place. The Potatso scenery was just breathtaking!


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