(South of the Mountains) on the southern border of southwest
China takes its name from its location to the south of
the Yunling Mountains. It has an area exceeding 390,000
square kilometers and a population of 31.74 million, of
which 12.5 per cent live in the cities and the rest in
the rural areas. Also a multi-national province, it is
inhabited by about 10 million people, or one-third of
the province's total, from the minority nationalities
including the Yis, Bais, Hanis, Zhuangs, Dais, Miaos,
Lisus, Huis, Lahus, Vas, Naxis, Yaos, Tibetans, Jingpos,
Blangs, Achangs, Nus, Pumis, Jinos, Benglongs, Mongolians
Ancient Town of
Dali -- 'Switzerland of the Orient'
Jinghong -- 'Green Diamond on the Crown of Plants Kingdom'
Kunming -- City of Perpetual Spring
on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau is contiguous to the Qinghai-Tibet
Plateau in the northwest. It is high in the northwest
and low in the southeast with very great difference in
altitude between the two parts. Topographically, it is
divided into the eastern and western sections, l) The
Eastern Yunnan Plateau east of the line frown the Yuanjiang
and Lishe rivers to Xiaguan, Jianchuan and Lijiang is
part of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, its landform being
similar to that of Guizhou. In this limestone plateau,
karst topography is present over wide areas with spectacular
pinnacles, caverns and subterranean streams, the best-known
being the "Stone Forest" at Lunan. The numerous
intermontane basins are ideal for farming. Yuanmou was
the home of the Yuanmou Man who lived 1.7 million years
ago and whose fossils were found in recent years. 2) The
Western Yunnan Valleyland, part of the Hengduan range,
consists of many intermontane valleys ranged vertically
from north to south, and, from west to east, of the Gaoligong,
Nushan and Yunling ranges. Rising 1,000-5,000 meters above
sea level, the area with its precipitous terrain has narrow
plains. With its complicated geological structure, Yunnan
is frequently visited by earthquakes. Among its many hot
springs, those in Tengchong are the best-known.
Jinsha River, the upper section of the Yangtze River,
and the Nanpan River, the upper section of the Zhujiang
River, are the largest rivers in Yunnan that flow within
Chinese borders. The main rivers in western Yunnan that
flow out of China are the Lancang, Nujiang and Yuanjiang.
The sections of these rivers in China contain dangerous
rapids and shoals. Yunnan has many fault lakes, the largest
being Dianchi and Erhai, both freshwater lakes. The province
ranks third in China in hydroelectric power resources.
with its complicated terrain has a varied climate. It
is divided, from north to south, into three climatic zones
-- temperate, sub-tropical and tropical, distributed,
from low to high terrain, over four regions- the low,
hot river valleys ba zi (small upland plains), mountain
areas, and frigid highlands, forming a peculiar "three-dimensional"
climate. Yunnan's climate is characterized by small seasonal
change in temperature, great difference in daytime temperature,
and distinct contrast between dry and wet seasons. Its
mean annual temperature increases from 7ºC in the
northwest to 22ºC or more in the Yuanjiang River
valley. It has abundant rainfall and a mean annual precipitation
of 750-1,750 mm. The rainfall in the wet season of May
to October accounts for 83 per cent of the annual precipitation.
The 886 km-long first-level national railway from Nanning
to Kunming links Yunnan with Guizhou Province and Guangxi
Zhuang Autonomous Region. Second-level railways include
those from Guangtong to Dali, and from Kunyang to Yuxinan.
Second-level national highways stretch 958 km, third-level
highways, 7,571 km and fourth-level highways, 52,248 km.
The province has formed a network of communication lines
radiating from Kunming to Sichuan and Guizhou provinces
and Guangxi and Tibet autonomous regions, and further
on to Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.
In 1995, the province put an investment of 171 million
yuan to add another 807 km of navigation lines. It built
2 wharfs with an annual handling capacity of 300,000-400,000
tons each and 4 wharfs with an annual handling capacity
of 100,000 tons each. The annual volume of goods transported
was 2 million tons and that of passengers transported,
The province has 19 domestic air routes from Kunming to
Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Haikou, Chongqing,
Shenyang, Harbin, Wuhan, Xian, Lanzhou, Hangzhou, Xiamen,
Nanning, Shenzhen, Guiyang, Changsha and Guilin; three
provincial air routes from Kunming to Jinghong, Mangshi
and Simao; and four international air routess from Kunming
to Bangkok, Yangon, Vientiane and Hong Kong.
The Wujiaba Airport in Kunming is a national first-class
airport and Xishuangbanna, Mangshi and Simao airports
are second-class terminals.