Top 10 Yunnan Ethnic Ancient Towns & Villages

Located in the plateau, Yunnan boasts the breath-taking scenery and unparalleled ancient towns & villages, and splendid local ethnic cultures. Human settlements could be found in many flatlands hidden in pleasant environments, which have gradually grown into those beautiful towns. Due to the lack of transportation and later development, many ancient towns there, fortunately, get well preserved, plus the wonderful views and harmonious living environment among local people, attracting endless people to escape there for a break from the busy city life.

China Joy Tour picked out the top 10 ancient towns or villages to provide you an angle to catch a glimpse of Yunnan’s ethnic villages. Let’s have a look now!

No. 1 Shuhe Ancient Town

Shuhe Ancient Town has so many titles: one of the earliest settlements of old Naxi people, the best-preserved important town on the Ancient Tea Horse Road, the living specimen that shows Naxi minority’s transition from farming civilization to the commercial civilization, the paragon of the opening-up to the outside world and the forming of the Horse Caravan’s activities. It’s an important part of Lijiang Ancient Town which is listed on the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.

No. 2 Xizhou Ancient Town of Dali

Xizhou is about 34km away from Dali Ancient Town with history more than 1,000 years. It connects Erhai Lake at the east end and lies against Cangshan Mountain at the west end. Strolling on the peaceful streets here, your eyes will be dazzled by the well-preserved local dwellings in Bai Minority’s features, Xizhou Baba (a famous local food), Tie-dyeing activities, and even the local’s daily life.

No. 3 Shuanglang Ancient Town of Dali

Shuanglang is the first town to appreciate the scenery of Erhai Lake and Cangshan Mountain. With less commercial erosion here, Shuanglang Ancient Town still keeps the local folk culture and customs. Sitting on the bench at Erhai Lake, soaking yourself into the gentle sunset, listening to the cozy music from the beautiful bars, nothing could be as enjoyable as this!

No. 4 Dayan Ancient Town

Dayan Ancient Town, also famed as “Lijiang Ancient City”, is listed on the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO and AAAAA National Scenic Area in China, also rated as one of “Six Most Beautiful Ancient Towns & Villages in China”. It’s especially popular among young peoples with 2 loud titles: the Capital of Affair Encounter and Modern Utopia. Special bars, love songs, various musical instruments, young girls, and boys in beautiful dresses could be seen everywhere in Dayan Ancient Town.

No. 5 Shaxi Ancient Town

Shaxi is a time-honored town with history traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period, about 2,400 years ago. The famous ancient Tea Horse Road had taken Shazi as one of the important stations. It seems to be forgotten today that fewer tourists visit here to allow the ancient town, fortunately, keeps its original folk cultures. Surprises about the cultural discovery happen everywhere if you have time to explore Shaxi deeply.

No. 6 Baisha Ancient Town

Baisha Ancient Town is one of the important cradles of Naxi Minority. You can stroll around to explore the original Naxi culture and enjoy the cozy time in the peaceful old town by sitting at the street stroll to have a cup of tea. And when you look up, you can see the majestic Yulong Snow Mountain.

No. 7 Shigu Ancient Town

Shigu Ancient Town locates at about 28km away from the west of the Lijiang Ancient Town where Jinsha River and Chongjiang River meet, and the famous the First Bend of the Yangtze River lies. It has been always a important strategic place in the past, therefore we can discover many historic relics here.

No. 8 Dukezong Ancient Town

Dukezong Ancient Town is the largest and best-preserved Tibetan population in China and also a very important station along the Ancient Tea Horse Road. Besides, walking up to the top of Guishan Hill to appreciate the typical Tibetan style view—Prayer Wheel. From there, you will have a bird-view of Shangri-La county and Duzekong Ancient Town.

No. 9 Heshun Ancient Town

Located about 3km away from the west of Tengchong City, Heshun is probably the ancient town closest to the borderline in China. Heshun earns its fame mainly because of the long history as a home town of overseas Chinese. There are about 1,300 families, 6,000 people living in the old dwelling houses featured in Ming and Qing’s architectural styles. From the ancient buildings to old paper-making activities, yummy local foods, and winding rivers, you will be totally immersive in a life-time escape here.

No. 10 Guandu Ancient Town

As we knew, each city of Yunnan has its ancient town, like the Ancient Town of Dali, Dayan Ancient Town of Lijiang, and Guandu Ancient Town of Kunming. Guandu Ancient Town is one of the cradles of ancient Dian culture (Yunnan culture) where the historic relics and ancient buildings could be seen everywhere. Enter the town from its south gate and then start your exploration to Guandu in the leisure walking and stopping…

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