In Yunnan life comes in a plethora of cultures. Surely, Yunnan Province is a special case for Chinese millionaires. And so is it for everybody else. Where else in China life comes in such a plethora of cultures? Out of China's fifty-five officially recognised ethnic minorities, twenty-five can be found in Yunnan, giving the province additional cultural value in terms of colourful festivals, unique customs, versatile clothing styles and the cuisine which will surely take your taste buds into paradise of peculiar flavors. It would be wise to start exploring Yunnan in the capital city of Kunming. One of the good destinations to continue could be the Old Town of Lijiang founded by the Naxi people. In 1997, this “Venice of the East” was claimed the UNESCO World Heritage site. That may be why so many travelers prefer to have the Shangri-la travel despite of fatigue.
Yunnan is noted for a very high level of ethnic diversity. It has the second highest number of ethnic groups among the provinces and autonomous regions in China, after Xinjiang (which has forty-seven ethnic groups). Among the country's 56 recognised ethnic groups, twenty-five are found in Yunnan. Some 38% of the province's population are members of minorities, including the Yi, Bai, Hani, Tai, Dai, Miao, Lisu, Hui, Lahu, Va, Nakhi, Yao, Tibetan, Jingpo, Blang, Pumi, Nu, Achang, Jinuo, Mongolian, Derung, Manchu, Sui, and Buyei. Several other groups are represented, but they live neither in compact settlements nor do they reach the required threshold of five thousand to be awarded the official status of being present in the province. Some groups, such as the Mosuo, who are officially recognised as part of the Naxi, have in the past claimed official status as a national minority, and are now recognised with the status of Mosuo people. To experience the ethnic culture of Yunan, upon the request of clients, many China tour agencies have arranged different kinds of cultural activities for visitors.
Ethnic groups are widely distributed in the province. Some twenty-five minorities live in compact communities, each of which has a population of more than five thousand. Ten ethnic minorities living in border areas and river valleys include the Hui, Manchu, Bai, Naxi, Mongolian, Zhuang, Dai, Achang, Buyei and Shui, with a combined population of 4.5 million; those in low mountainous areas are the Hani, Yao, Lahu, Va, Jingpo, Blang and Jino, with a combined population of 5 million; and those in high mountainous areas are Miao, Lisu, Tibetan, Pumi and Drung, with a total population of four million.
An oft-repeated proverb tells the story of three brothers who were born speaking different languages: Tibetan, Naxi, and Bai. Each settled in different areas of Yunnan and Tibet, respectively, the high area, the middle area, and the low area.
For adventure-lovers, Silk Road travel would be their first option for China travel, while for the culture-lovers, a visit to Yunnan do has what they need.
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