Archive for the ‘Kunming Travel’ Category

Yunnan Ethnic Village

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
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Yunnan Ethnic Village Captures the Very Essence of China

Among all places of interest in China, one that stands out immediately is the Yunnan Ethnic Village near Kunming. This is a special place which sprawls over a huge area and houses a number of ethnic minorities of the country. If one wants to witness the nuances in the cultures of different Chinese ethnicities, this is the place to be. Here people live according to their traditional lifestyle in small villages that have been created for them in the premises. It is a perfect exhibition of the diverse Chinese culture. 

What to Expect While Visiting the Yunnan Ethnic Village

Yunnan Ethnic Village is a theme park that has been set up barely 5 miles away from the capital city of Yunnan Province in China. This theme park is different in its pursuit, as it is dedicated to the celebration of the lifestyle of ethnic minorities of China. The question is what makes this place so special?

To begin with, this “Village” establishes a new standard of depicting the culture of a country. This kind of theme park is rarely found in other parts of the world. If there is a perfect destination for students learning Mandarin in China, then this is it. The objective of the Chinese language programs have been devised to give an overview of the Chinese culture and lifestyle. This is why elements like learning martial arts, calligraphy and traditional Chinese cooking are incorporated along with language classes. However the additional “on-job learning” comes from traveling to offbeat destinations and places which have been preserved. There are many places in the country which still bear the looks and lifestyle of the past and the Chinese authorities have taken care to ensure that they remain so. This helps students and people attending gap year programs to get to know about the past as well as the present of the country.

But what sets the Yunnan Ethnic Village apart from the rest of these destinations is its unique ability to showcase lifestyle and traditions of multiple ethnic groups in one place. Students interested in knowing China more closely, can get to see at least 26 minority groups of the country residing in one place. This village has been established next to the Dianchi Lake. Spanning over an area of 133.3 acres, it is divided into a number of “sub-villages”. Each of these villages is home to one ethnic minority group. The lifestyle, the houses and all traditions of these minority groups have been preserved here. Each of these groups follows and practices its traditional lifestyle.

Visitors are usually given a tour of the village so that they can experience and understand firsthand the lifestyle and culture of each of these groups. It must be pointed out that Yunnan is the home to 26 out of 52 ethnic minorities, and hence this village becomes an important destination for comprehensive cultural understanding. People don their ethnic dresses and costumes and a visitor can also wear these costumes if he or she so wishes. Additionally, there are dramatized dance performances which tell stories and mark the festive occasions of each of these minorities. One can see the celebrations of the Torch Festival by the Bai community, the Water Splashing Festival of the Dai people and even the Knife Ladder Climbing of the Lisu people. The cultural diversity seen in this village is impressive and the whole experience is rewarding at many levels.  One must visit this unique “museum of ethnicities” while on China tour.  

26 out of China’s 52 ethnic minorities in Yunnan Ethnic Village

26 out of 52 ethnic minorities in Yunnan Ethnic Village

Bai Ethnic Village is the largest sub-village in Yunnan Ethnic Village

Dali Three Pagodas in Bai Ethnic Village in Yunnan Ethnic Village

Yi Ethnic Village in Yunnan Ethnic Village

Yi Ethnic Village in Yunnan Ethnic Village

White Pagoda in Dai Ethnic Village  in Yunnan Ethnic Village

White Pagoda in Dai Ethnic Village in Yunnan Ethnic Village


Pumi Minority Village in Yunnan Ethnic Village

Pumi Minority Village in Yunnan Ethnic Village

Wa Ethnic Village in Yunnan Ethnic Village

Wa Ethnic Village in Yunnan Ethnic Village

The Bamboo Temple in Kunming

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
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Bamboo Temple is an Invaluable Part of China’s Glorious Past

Templeshave been the symbols of history acrossSoutheast Asia. With these religious places holding importance among the people of the community, history has been preserved along with them through centuries. TheBambooTempleinChinais one of the most important temples inYunnanProvince. It has a history of over 1000 years and it boasts of some of the most fabulous artwork from the eras gone by. If one wishes to learn about the culture, this is a great place to start.

Origin of Bamboo Temple

One of the most important and prominent features of China travel is the presence of temples in the country.Temples have historically been places of importance inSoutheast Asia. In the past, many civilizations arose that predominantly followed Buddhism in many forms and hence temples became a part of Chinese life. Also a lot of Chinese people believe in worshipping their ancestors and there are temples made for them too.

Though today the economic development has paved way for modern life in lieu of the traditional one, yet Chinese people have ensured that their traditions remain preserved. As a result, many temples which were built centuries ago have become a part of the national heritage. These temples today stand with the same glory as they stood when they were built.

When students go to Chinafor Chinese language programs or gap year jobs, they try to understand the neo-oriental culture which was hidden from the world for centuries. One of the best ways to do this is to study the historic temples.Temples have been respectable places where people donated riches and valuables. These valuables, especially gold and silver never left the temples. Therefore they serve as a storage house of chronicles of the past, and one can learn about people who visited the temple, in the form of folklore or artifacts that were donated. Also the way the temples are constructed gives them their unique identity.

Anyone who travels to Yunnanfor learning Chinese or for volunteering will have the opportunity to see temples of many varieties and forms. One of the most prominent among these is the Qiongzhu Temple which is popularly known as the Bamboo Temple. Lying on the Yu’an Mountain, northwest of Kunming, this temple has a history of over 1000 years. What is seen today is not what was first built in the 9th Century AD. Since then the temple has been burnt to the ground numerous times and another one has been built in its place. The current structure has been standing since 1912.

In reference to the construction of the original temple, legend says that this area did not have a lot of vegetation. A long time back, two warrior princes were hunting a rhinoceros which disappeared in front of their eyes. When they looked for it, they came across monks who also vanished after leaving their sticks stuck in the ground. Soon that place was filled with bamboo plants. The brothers were mystified by the whole act and built the temple in the honor of the monks.

Architects from across the world come to visit theBambooTemple. The temple houses clay sculptures of 500 Buddhist Arahats. These were built between 1875 and 1909 during the reign of Qing emperor Guangxu. Each of these sculptures is 1 meter tall and the distinctness of features of each of these Arahats is breathtaking. Every single one of them is in a different pose adding a lot of versatility.

The Bamboo Temple is mainly composed of the Temple Gate, the  Mahavira Hall and the  Huayan Pavilion. 

The Bamboo Temple Gate 

The Bamboo Temple Gate

The Mahavira Hall (Da Xiong Bao Dian) houses the 500 Human-sized Arahats 

The Mahavira Hall (Da Xiong Bao Dian) houses the 500 Human-sized Arahats


Three Arahats of the 500 human-sized arahats inside the Mahavira Hall


Three arahats of the 500 human-zised arahats inside the Mahavira Hall



Huayan Pavilion, a Qing Dynasty Style architecture

Huayan Pavilion inside the Bamboo Temple in Kunming

Weishan Offers an Unforgettable Slice of China’s Beauty

Friday, April 27th, 2012
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When one visits China, the travel itinerary includes Weishan in almost all the cases. This is because Weishan County boasts of some of the most beautiful places in the country. The Weibo Mountains have been called the “Quietest Mountains in China”. The county also has some important seats of Daoism. Student travels include visiting some extremely beautiful spots. The county holds historical, religious and spiritual importance.  

Places to Visit in Weishan

Weishan County in China boasts of some of the most scenic spots in the country. Nestled in the Weibo Mountains, there are many places which are mesmerizing to say the least. It is not a surprise that study abroad programs based in Yunnan and also elsewhere in the country make it a point to take students to this area during the weekend travels. These gap year program trips are not only fun but educational as well.  

These mountains have been the summer abode of various kings. Weibao Mountain is a holy Daoist mountain. The full name of the mountain is Weibaoshan Mountain and it is considered to be “The quietest mountain in China”. The county has been responsible for cradling one of the most well-known kings of the country; Xinluo was born here and grew up to be the ruler of the legendary Nanzhao Kingdom.  

This region is the hub of natural beauty and spirituality. It is easy to see why those who learn Chinese in China want to visit this place. There is Wenchan Hall in the mountains which is dedicated to a former regional Daosit ruler. It has been designed in accordance with the Daoist geomantic principles. It is in this hall that one gets to see the “Mural of Dancing”. This is the only ancient Daoist mural that is found in Yunnan Province.  

There are almost twenty two temples in these mountains. Therefore, summer programs for high school students could easily be busy for at least two days touring just the temples. The Qingxia Temple is a famous temple which is dedicated to the highest of the Daoist Gods. It is more popularly known as the Laojun temple and has been designed grandly. The interiors are stately and pristine. There is a considerable amount of walking involved to visit different sites because these mountains have remained untouched to maintain their sanctity.

 On the way to these mountains, East Lotus Village lies in the path. This village still bears the looks of a place that must have been there centuries ago. Small streets, traditional buildings and people cooking food the traditional way are all commonplace here, a part of the day to day life. If one wants to experience the religious fervor, then the best time to visit these mountains is between the 1st and the 15th of the second month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Daoist pilgrims flock here for the temple fair. 

It is known to everybody that China is not only the place for learning Mandarin. It has expansive beautiful places which have become popular among students and visitors alike.