Top destinations on the new high-speed rail in Yunnan Province
Cui Xingyu

Last week, we recommended five must-visit attractions on Hangzhou-Huangshan High-speed Railway. This time, we've identified sights to see on the new high-speed train running through southwest China's Yunnan Province. 

Starting from the province's capital Kunming, the bullet train passes through Chuxiong and Dali, before arriving at Lijiang, a UNESCO Heritage Site. 

It takes about three hours to complete the whole journey – a trip that used to take nine hours.

With ticket prices ranging from 197 to 220 yuan (about 29 to 32 U.S. dollars) for a second-class seat, you can easily enjoy an authentic sightseeing tour along the railway route. Here we recommend the top destinations when you get off the following railway stations. 

Kunming Railway Station

Kunming, one of the most popular tourist attractions in southwest China, is dubbed the “City of Eternal Spring” due to its pleasant and mild climate throughout the year.  

The Dianchi Lake Scenic Area is a must-visit spot, located in the southwest part of the city. Its symbolic resort, Dianchi Lake, is the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan Province and the sixth largest one in China, covering about 300 square kilometers.

Dianchi Lake in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province. /VCG Photo

Dianchi Lake in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province. /VCG Photo

An aerial view of Dianchi Lake in Kunming. /VCG Photo

An aerial view of Dianchi Lake in Kunming. /VCG Photo

Seagulls over Dianchi Lake in Kunming. /VCG Photo

Seagulls over Dianchi Lake in Kunming. /VCG Photo

Apart from the natural landscapes, it is notable that Yunnan is home to the most ethnic minorities in China with 51 ethnic minorities out of China's 55. 

If you're looking to get a sense of the ethnic groups,  Yunnan Nationalities Village features architecture, customs and folk art of some of the province's diverse groups. 

A tower at Yunnan Nationalities Village, Kunming. /VCG Photo

A tower at Yunnan Nationalities Village, Kunming. /VCG Photo

Take a stroll around the village, and you will be surprised to witness various cultural activities, performances and costumes. Also you can stop at local restaurants and stores to get a taste of the local delicacies and buy pretty handicrafts.

Chuxiong Railway Station

The high-speed train makes its first stop at Chuxiong Railway Station. Winters in Chuxiong City are mild, dry and sunny. 

Built in 2004, the Yiren Ancient Town in Chuxiong is characterized by its rich local culture and old-styled architecture.

The Yiren Ancient Town in Chuxiong, Yunnan Province. /VCG Photo

The Yiren Ancient Town in Chuxiong, Yunnan Province. /VCG Photo

People in ethnic costumes line up in the alley. /VCG Photo

People in ethnic costumes line up in the alley. /VCG Photo

The Yiren Ancient Town in Chuxiong, Yunnan Province. /VCG Photo

The Yiren Ancient Town in Chuxiong, Yunnan Province. /VCG Photo

As one of the national 4A-level tourist attractions, the Yiren Ancient Town welcomed over 11 million tourists in 2017. 

Dali Railway Station

The next stop is Dali, nestled in the northwest part of Yunnan Province. The region is surrounded by mountains with Erhai Lake located at the center.

Erhai Lake is the largest highland lake next to Dianchi Lake. Erhai in Chinese means the ear-shaped sea. Its name is derived from the fact that the lake is shaped like an ear and is as large as a sea.

You can linger around Erhai Lake Park to see the shimmering water or take a tour around the surrounding islands, temples and villages.

Xiao Putuo, a tiny island in Erhai Lake, Dali. /VCG Photo

Xiao Putuo, a tiny island in Erhai Lake, Dali. /VCG Photo

The road along Erhai Lake in Dali. /VCG Photo

The road along Erhai Lake in Dali. /VCG Photo

The night view of Erhai Lake in Dali. /VCG Photo

The night view of Erhai Lake in Dali. /VCG Photo

Dali Ancient City is another popular spot for an exotic adventure in Dali. The ancient city dates back to 1382 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and has been a top historical site in China since 1982. 

A night view of the Dali Ancient City. /VCG Photo

A night view of the Dali Ancient City. /VCG Photo

An aerial view of Dali Ancient City. /VCG Photo

An aerial view of Dali Ancient City. /VCG Photo

The night view of Dali Ancient City. /VCG Photo 

The night view of Dali Ancient City. /VCG Photo 

A large number of traditional folk houses of the Bai people impart an authentic feel to the region, attracting numerous tourists from home and abroad. Visitors can wander along the cobble-paved streets in the ancient city.

Lijiang Railway Station

One of the most popular attractions is at the terminal station, Lijiang. Domestic and foreign tourists pay their visits here to get away from the busy metropolis. 

The Tiger Leaping Gorge in Lijiang, is one of the deepest gorges in the world. The gorge got its name from a legend that a tiger used a rock as its stepping stone so that it could leap from one side of the gorge to the other. From the top of the gorge you look down the steeply angled (70-90 degrees) mountain sides to the rushing Golden Sands (Jinsha) River with its 18 frothing rapids more than 200 meters (about 700 feet) belo

The Tiger Leaping Gorge in Lijiang. /VCG Photo

The Tiger Leaping Gorge in Lijiang. /VCG Photo

The waters and mountains at Tiger Leaping Gorge. /VCG Photo

The waters and mountains at Tiger Leaping Gorge. /VCG Photo

A view of Tiger Leaping Gorge in Lijiang. /VCG Photo

A view of Tiger Leaping Gorge in Lijiang. /VCG Photo

It is very popular to hike along the gorge, but keep in mind to pack light and wear slip-resistant shoes. Also bring your camera and be prepared to be astonished. 

People climb the Yulong Snow Mountain in Lijiang. /VCG Photo

People climb the Yulong Snow Mountain in Lijiang. /VCG Photo

Yulong Snow Mountain recently made the list of the most visited scenic area in Yunnan Province. The scenic area is even more popular during the winter season.

Read more: Yulong Snow Mountain - No.1 scenic spot in Yunnan, SW China.