Amiwa Trek website English version
Yunnan seen from above is a Yunnan of mountain peaks and passes, deep valleys and wide open spaces that all become invisible once we find ourselves in the heart of the land...

Yunnan: Where Asia Meets
North of the Indochina peninsula, south of the historic boundaries of Tibet and east of Myanmar, Yunnan Province is the hub for exchanges both cultural and commercial (including various trafficking) between coastal China, the world of the Tibetans, southeast Asia and India. The Southern Silk Road, a trade route specialised in tea and horses (茶马古道), once wound through this province in various directions.

The Three Parallel Rivers Protected Areas of Yunnan
In 2003, UNESCO classified the upper reaches of the Yangtze, Mekong and Salween rivers as a world heritage site in order to protect both their beauty and their biodiversity. A 1.7 million hectare national park was created across the region, extending over eight protected areas: the GaoLiGongShan mountains, BaiMang MeiLi XueShan, LaoWoShan, YunLing, LaoJunShan, HaBa XueShan, and HongShan.
This temperate zone is considered the epicentre of China’s biodiversity and one of the most biodiversity-rich places on earth. UNESCO speaks of dizzying gorges;the frozen peaksof the MeiLi, the BaiMa and the HaBa with their spectacular panoramas; the remarkable MingYongQia glacier;andexceptional landscapes like the alpine karst (the "moon rock" above the NuJiang gorge) or the moulded "tortoiseshell" erosion of alpine DanXia.

More information is available from the UNESCO site here.
A map of the region is available from here.

Dali’s ErHai Lake
At an altitude of 1972 metres, Erhai Lake (named for its ear-like shape) spans 40 kilometres north to south and nearly 8 kilometres east to west; it is the second largest high-altitude lake in China after Lake Dian, which neighbours the Yunnan capital of KunMing. The northern part of the lake is ideal for bike rides between the fishing and farming villages in the area. We do not recommend attempting a full tour of the lake (116 km) as its southern section (near XiaGuan) is quite urban and industrial.
The neighbouring mountains (such as JiZu Mountain) merit a detour and Amiwa organises treks to take you there. More tourist-centred visits can be had on the lake’s various islands: JinSuo Island, XiaoPuTuo Island, GuanYinGe Island, and NanZhao FengQing Island. Sailing across the lake is also possible, but be prepared for a hefty fee if your negotiations fail...
The lake is famous for its fishing, especially with the aid of cormorants, and the fish you will find in Dali’s restaurants are always ready for your fork (or your chopsticks)...

Tiger Leaping Gorge and the Prefectures of LiJiang and DiQing
Located between LiJiang and ZhongDian, two of Yunnan’s cities, and at the border of two different counties, Tiger Leaping Gorge is approximately fifteen kilometres long and surrounded by the Jade Dragon mountain (5596m) and the HaBa (5396m); it is usually considered in three different sections, the second of which, at only 30 metres wide and with a rock at its centre, is the passageway through which the Tiger would have leapt, lending his name to the Gorge.
The hiking path that runs alongside the upper sides of the Gorge (between 1900 and 2700 metres, a change in altitude of nearly 1000 metres) is as stunning as it is touristed.

The classic trek is eastbound from the town of QiaoTou (tollbooth at the entrance to the Gorge) toward the village of Walnut Garden (also known as ‘Walnut Grove’ – this is where the Tibet Guesthouse is located). You can walk all the way to DaJu (thereby crossing the Yangtze), from where you can catch a bus to LiJiang, ZhongDian or BaiShuiTai, or you can trek on farther. It is also possible to hike the Gorge in the other direction, to the west, from DaJu or Walnut Garden toward QiaoTou.
Feel free to contact us if you need further information on this trek, including an altitude profile with a calculation of altitude changes.

The Celestial Garden of XiShuangBanNa 西双版纳
The XiShuangBanNa Dai Autonomous Prefecture (capital: JingHong) is one of the first stops for travellers and hikers who have come up the Indochina peninsula toward Yunnan. This region, known as the region of "twelve thousand rice fields", is home to the Dai and Hani nationalities. It is a tropical haven for diverse wildlife, including, among others, China’s last Asiatic elephants, gibbons, tigers, leopards, boa constrictors and more than 500 species of mammals and 5000 species of plants...
This region also brings together the six major mountains (六大茶山) in which Pu’er tea is grown; the tea is highly prized in the region.

Human Impact: Deforestation, Poaching and Hydroelectricity
Yunnan is the second most forested region in China but, sadly, its forests are the largest targets for deforestation: forest cover in the region declined from 55% in the early 1950s to approximately 30% in the 1970s, and down to 23% today. (Sources: and Conservation International.)
Only 8% of Yunnan’s forests are still in the pristine conditions of their original state and forest regeneration initiatives have been primarily carried out with single species, including some species that are not native to the region, such as the Japanese Black Pine.
Considered one of the reservoirs of medicinal plants and animals important to the materia medica of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yunnan Province faces the constant dual threats of gathering and poaching that imperil the region’s already endangered species (monkeys, snakes, geckos, deer, bears, etc.).
And, finally, the construction of hydroelectric dams is damaging (and even completing destroying) the natural cycles of the rivers and their dependent ecosystems. This wide-ranging problem does not stop at the border and neighbouring countries like Laos and Cambodia are already suffering the consequences.

For informational purposes, here is a non-exhaustive list of Yunnan’s nature preserves: AiLaoShan, GaoLiGongShan, DaShanBao (nesting place for the black-necked crane), DaWeiShan, JinPing, HuangLianShan, WenShan, WuLiangShan, XiShuangBanNa, the valley of the NaBan river (XiShuangBanNa), CangShan and ErHai Lake, BaiMa, HaBa XueShan (home to the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey), NanGunHe, the Three Rivers, YaoShan, YongDe DaXueShan, and the list goes on...

Higherland Inn, trek, Dali, Yunnan, Chine