Far from the ocean, but it's home to dozens of plateau lakes; and higher than most other regions of China, but it is called "a kingdom of plants". This is Yunnan, the place where you unveil mysteries.
Yunnan, as a province of China, is too big to be explored. But days deserve to be spent admiring and appreciating a big variety of flowers and plants, in either botanical gardens, or watery towns, or florist shops, or flower markets.
Kunming is, of course, the first stop you have your greatest experience for flowers. The county of Chenggong is rarely known to travellers, but its Dounan Flower Market enjoys a worldwide fame. Most of the flowers on sale in the city of Kunming are wholesaled from Dounan where the market begins as early as 04:00 am, and, as a local saying goes, “many flowers such carnations are priced by bundle”.
Bundles of locally farmed flowers are brought to the market in the early morning.
A visit to the Dounan market must be arranged as early as possible, because different flowers "show up" in different times in specific stalls: rose, carnation, bird of paradise, baby’s breath, lily, daisy, forget-me-not, calla, orchid, and Eustoma grandiflorum, just name a few.
All the flowers traded here are freshly cut and brought by local farmers-who grow in their lands no crop other than flowers. Promenading around the market, and finding out what is growing in green houses one by one, you will also find there are many trade firms dealing in "by-products": bonsai, pottery/porcelain jars, seeds, fertilisers and even transportation and package.
Back in the downtown of Kunming, there are also several flower markets to go, such as Chajie Flower Market near the Museum of Kunming City, Jiameng Flower Market near the International Convention and Exhibition Centre of Kunming, Jingxing Free Market near the Provincial Museum, and Shibo Free Market near the Kunming 1999' Expo Garden. You can also make a special point to visit the Green Lake Park (entry fee: free) and Daguan Park (entry fee: 20 yuan/person), where the fragrance of lotus flowers smells refreshing in summer days.
In Dongchuan District of Kunming, which is normally known for the Red Earth, the summer scene is rustic but quite pastoral. Being called "Red Earth" mainly attributes to the colour of the soil and the sunlight. Now, it has given way to overgrowing potatoes and buckwheat, bringing forth pleasing sceneries.
30 km west of Kunming, Tanglangchuan River of An’ning city lures people with canola flowers in spring and sunflowers (helianthus) in summer. A road tour northwestward passes by An’ning city-where you can enjoy a Japanese-style Spa bath in Jinfang Forest Hotspring and visit the centuries-old Caoxi Buddhist Temple.
A suitable travel route is Kunming-An’ning-Lufeng (World Dinosaur Valley)-Chuxiong (Yi Ancient Town)-Xiangyun (Yunnanyi Village)-Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-La.
Maybe it is not a good idea to visit Xishuangbanna in summer, partly because it is in the hot tropical area of Yunnan. However, for the sake of flowers and plants, it is the most ideal place. With insufficient flora expertise, we'd like to leave you to the Tropical Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The month-long Face Painting festival of the Yi people is due on 18 July in Puzhehei, and people swarm in to cool down in the “watery town”. Puzhehei is merely a Sani ethnic village known for the Karst peaks and thousands of acres of lotuses. Boating and water fighting among lotus fields is what you may like to do here. Nicknamed "Lesser Guilin", it is a place where you can inhale mint-like tangy lotus fragrance and can taste lotus seeds.
2021 Zhongguancun Forum opens in Beijing