The Gao Xin school sent us on a week long trip to Yunnan Province. Below is a brief summary of our adventures.
The first stop in our journey was the city of Kunming. Here we visited Green Lake Park and ate a local speciality called “bridge over rice noodles”. We also learned about the different Chinese minority groups who live in the area from our local guide.
The following day we drove several hours outside of Kunming to visit the Stone Forest. It was formed over thousands of years as the rain fell and washed away the softer rock leaving the harder parts of the rock sticking into the air.
Then, we took an overnight train to Dali (the train arrived at 4 am, I guess that’s overnight?). Even with the early start and heavy rain, the group had a great day. We spent the morning walking around the town and the afternoon visiting Chengsheng temple. The last photo shows the first of seven temples. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any photos within the Buddhist temples.
The following morning we were on the move again to visit another town, Lijiang. In Lijiang we visited two vastly different places. The first was a beautiful park with a large lake, Black Dragon Park. It is believed that within the lake lives a guardian dragon that was responsible for the clear blue of the water.
In the afternoon we visited the Dayan old town that was filled with lots of little streets full of shops and restaurants. It an easy place to get lost, luckily it is also a beautiful place to walk around.
The following day we were on the bus again heading to Shangri-la. Along the way we stopped at Tiger Leaping Gorge. The name comes from a legend that a tiger jumped across the gorge when a hunter was in pursuit.
Once we got to Shangri-la we visited a Buddhist temple. It took all 10 of us to spin the giant prayer wheel the customary three times. You may notice the Tibetan prayer flags in the photo below. Shangri-la is around 38% Tibetan minority and very near the Tibet boarder.
The following day in Shangri-la we got to visit the Sontsan Monastery. While we have visited a lot of temples during our time in China this was the first Monastery. It only houses around two-hundred monks which is considered small in comparison to some that host an overwhelming two-thousand. We got to learn a lot about Buddhism from our local Tibetan guide. One thing we learned is Chinese temples are painted brightly on the outside and the inside in more plain. Tibetan temples are plain on the outside (except the gold roofs) and painted colorfully on the inside. Sadly, we couldn’t take photos inside.
We had a wonderful time in the mountains, the small towns and the country side. While we were sad to leave we were happy to back with out families in Xi’an.