China shouldn’t just be known for its raging economic development, ancient civilisation dating back thousands of years and it’s fiery and flavourful foods. For those clients looking for a little more, away from the big cities, southern rural China offers an enchanting cultural adventure, where local life remains unchanged over the centuries. Yunnan, South of the Tibetan Plateau, is the most diverse province in China, and home to an extraordinary mix of ethnic minorities, cultures, incredible landscapes and a thriving artisanal culture, which I was fortunate enough to experience on my recent trip. With so much on offer, for couples and families alike, this region would be unmissable in any first trip to China.
Yunnan is a province like no other, totally capable of captivating our clients with its majestic scenery, particularly for those looking for a countryside experience and to be immersed in rural China’s culture. Our adventure began with meandering up the mountain roads 11,000ft above sea level to the Wenhai Valley, lying in the foothills of Jade Dragon Mountain. It was here where we had the most surreal experience encountering the living history and traditions of the nomadic Yi people, who have been settled here since the 1950s. We were also lucky enough to be blessed for safe travels by the village shaman and spiritual leader in an intimate ceremony at his home. With just a scattering of village houses, surrounded by endless green pastures and mountain peaks, we felt extremely privileged to have found a fascinating village with no other tourists in sight; a feat which I once thought would be impossible in modern day China.