Yunnan Geography

Yunnan Geography



Yunnan Province is located in the southeast of Tibet, in the south of Sichuan, in the southwest of Guizhou, and in the west of Guangxi. It borders with the northwest of Vietnam, the north of Laos, and the northeast of Burma.

The average altitude is 1980 m, reflecting its mountainous aspect. In the north, peaks exceed 5000 m, while the valley of the red river, in the south, tops out at sea level.

Yunnan has landscapes and geography of great diversity, separated from the arid plateaus of Tibet in the north by the Hong-La pass (4,220 m) to the tropical forests of Xishuangbanna and including the mountain range of the mountains of Cangshan. A predominantly agricultural province with very fertile land (the “red soil” of Yunnan) and a generally mild climate, Yunnan exports a very wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

Its capital, Kunming, is located in a basin about 2000 m above sea level surrounded by rice terraces. It is nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring”, in particular, because of the lake which regulates its temperature. It’s Yunnan’s only metropolis – it has over 3 million people. The other cities are less densely populated.

The most important four rivers in Southeast Asia flow through Yunnan:

The Yangtze River(长江): the third largest river in the world.

Source: originated from Tanggula Mountain on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at an altitude of 5, 500 meters. It flows into the East China Sea from the east of Shanghai, with a total length of 6, 387 km (1st river in Asia and 3rd in the world).

The Mekong (Lancang jiang, 澜沧江): 4th Asian river

Called in the Tai “Mae Khong”, which means” Mother of all rivers”. In China, it is called the Lancang River, meaning “turbulent river”.

Source: originated in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province. At a length of 4, 425 km, the Mekong River flows through China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and flows into the South China Sea in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


The Salween (Nujiang, 怒江)

Source: originated from the Tanggula Mountain on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and the total length is 3, 240 km. After flowing into Myanmar, Nujiang was renamed the Salween River, and finally into the Andaman Sea in the Indian Ocean.

The Red River (红河)

Source: with the length of 1,280 km, the Red River originated from Yunnan Dali, and enter the South China Sea via Beibu Gulf.

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Recommended Tours in Yunnan

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4 days | Kunming, Shilin, Jianshui and Yuanyang
A short trip including the most beautiful and majestic rice terraces of China and lively ethnic markets.

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A travel plan for travelers who want to explore the most attractive landscapes of Yunnan in one trip.

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6 days | Jinghong, and Jingmai
As a locality of the Dai minority, the rice terraces, tea gardens, primitive forests, and valleys compose the marvelous landscapes of Xishuangbanna.