1. Jiondun Spring Natural Park
It’s challenging to imagine a more beautiful place than this. Once a thriving village nestled at the confluence of the Yangtze River and the Yai River, Jiondun was completely ruined by water pollution. Now, it’s one of the last remaining wild springs in Yunnan, in between Zhangjiajie National Park and Tarim Nature Reserve. Among the village’s charms are many examples of traditional folk architecture, 1,700 different indigenous species of trees, and ancient architectural remnants of Chinese traditions.
2. Yao Town
Yes, Yao Town really exists. Named after the American jazz musician Chet Baker, this sea of indigenous yellow-and-white tile roofs and weathered, cloth-covered walls is a neighborhood that has transformed itself into something of a rowdy, marijuana-smoking-chic district in the rapidly gentrifying coastal city of Kunming. Their calligraphic script and beautifully restored, traditional houses are a welcome respite from the futuristic towers and billboards the city of Kunming is gradually becoming.
3. Jiangxi Western Grasslands
Elite architecture, outstanding scenery, and iconic activities make the Western Grasslands region of the Qinghai, Yunnan, and Tibetan Autonomous regions of China a coveted destination in its own right. There are spectacular terraced hillsides filled with exploding mustard grass, rare crinoids, high Himalayan waterfalls, and towering, isolated limestone towers. Each year more than 400,000 orangutans, tigers, and gibbons gather to bask in the rare green, warm weather.
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