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Language and History Tours China

Why Yunnan Province China


We have been operating tours to China for 22 years now. Beijing, Shanghai and Xian form the classic triangle of most visited destinations. This can be both a good and bad attribute. Until recent years Beijing and Shanghai have been the most convenient place to enter China due to airline connections. Also tourism infrastructure developed in these cities more quickly than other places. Naturally there is much history, but this can be tempered by the dramatic seasonal climate variations, huge populations, crowded venues and increasing pollution.

The Yunnan region is now easily accessible by airlines and offers a counter foil to some of negatives of the ‘Big Three’.

Climate – a year round destination. Due to its famed climate the region has more than one crop production cycle per year. The only portion of this province which would have a seasonal restriction would be the high altitude area on the Tibetan Plateau, home to the Tibetan people. Due to snow travel between late November and the end of March is not recommended. The remaining areas of Yunnan can be visited year round.

Population - For China this is one of the least populated regions after Tibet proper. As a repeat traveler to China this author noticed this obvious difference. Whilst large urban areas will still seem crowded, by comparison to home, they are almost village like when compared to Shanghai! Outside of the provincal capital of Kunming other cities and towns are small, low rise and far cleaner than other areas of China.

Pollution – Lower population density means less overall pollution. The climate also helps, you can look across a valley and see the other side! Mountain tops are clear and you can see the distant shores of lakes. That omniscient haze so prevalent in other areas of China is not so obvious here!!

Ancient Nashi Music Orchestra Lijiang

History and Diversity – Yunnan has a rich ancient and modern history that matches other areas of China. Where it stands out is with its Ethnic Minority people history. The number of minority tribal groups within this area is dazzling. With this ethic variety comes variances in cuisine, clothes, music and art, all changing within comparatively short travel distances.

Tourism infrastructure – Substantial improvements have been made over the years and are continuing at a rapid rate. Your writer was staggered by some of the new freeway systems he drove on and saw being built. Whilst to some these are considered eyesores and destroy the ‘cute’ archaic way it was, to the locals this is progress and something they aspire to have. These types of infrastructure improve travel times dramatically and also increase safety, benefits that are their right. Accommodation and understanding of tourists expectations have improved as well.

Our Homestay and School Experience in Dali

Dali was chosen as it is a clean, small and well organized city, beautifully sited in a valley with majestic mountains on one side and a large lake on the other. There is the ancient walled central city area and then the more modern surrounding suburbs. The city is easy to get around and the feeling of ‘safe’ is very evident. After seven months of protracted ‘Red Tape’ our local partner has managed to secure all the necessary, chops (stamps), signed papers and official approval notices to allow Australian students organized by us to partake in classes at certain local ‘middle schools’ in Dali. These schools are considered the more elite for this city. In addition, families from the said schools will home host our Australian students. This is a ‘first’ for this city and region, so you will be assured a very ‘fresh’ experience. While there is no expectation Australian schools would be welcome to organize a sister school relationship.

 

3 Pagodas Dali

Attending local school

What better way to really engage and absorb contemporary Chinese culture and language. The students will be provided with Chinese language classes to suit their level. Their Australian teachers can also be involved with this process. The students will go to school with the child from the host family who attends the school. Naturally the host families will probably have a student who is also learning English so there will be an amount of, two way language assistance. This opportunity will really benefit the students as it provides language and cultural immersion in a structured environment not found in other tours. This should give long lasting improvments to the students language skills.

Tours

We have presented some sample tours. Naturally we can customize all tours, something we are we well know for. We can combine Beijing with Yunnan, or you can spend all the time in Yunnan. You could take out the homestay and school attendance, but this is a very unique feature. Visiting Shangri La would be an additional highlight if time allows you to do this. Shangri La is on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau at 3,300 meters. The dominant culture is Tibetan, although this is not within the delicate borders of the Tibet Autonomous zone, which means no extra permits are required. The central Monastery rivals the Patola Palace of Lhasa and I have been told that you see more inside this monastery than you would at Lhasa. The contrast presented to students visiting Yunnan is already rich. Adding Shangri La and its Tibetan people offers a chance denied many who travel to China.

Songsdam Monastery Shangrila

Tour A Tour B Tour C
Beijing Kunmimg Dali Lijiang Kunming
14 nights
Beijing Kunming Dali Lijiang Shangri La Kunming
15 nights
Kunming Dali Lijiang Shangri La Kunming
13 nights