China - Yunnan - Tibet General Information
Yunnan is the southernmost, centrally-situated (east to west) province of China, bordering Tibet to the northwest, Myanmar to the west, Laos to the south, Vietnam to the southeast, and Guizhou Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to the east. It is also the 5th largest of China's 23 provinces (not counting the 5 autonomous regions and the 4 municipalities, but counting Taiwan) measured in terms of area, and the 11th largest by population. Yunnan is mountainous throughout (it has over 600 rivers, 180 of which figure significantly, itself a testimony to the province's mountainous character), most especially in the north, with older, more time-worn mountains, interspersed with fertile valleys, that cover the karst landscape of the eastern part of the province, which is a high limestone plateau, while the western part of the province is characterized by younger mountains with tall, sharp peaks, separated by deep ravines and narrow gorges, including Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world. The mountains of the northeast are snow-capped year round, with glaciers at higher altitudes while virgin forests, interspersed with lakes and hot springs, predominate at lower altitudes. One of China's major ski resorts, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Ski Resort, is located here, while only about 600 km (370 mi) farther south, near Yunnan's, and China's, border with Myanmar and Laos, and thus bordering on the Tropic of Cancer, lies the tropical rainforest, Xishuangbanna, home to China's last remaining herds of wild Asian elephants, the endangered (and protected) Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkey, and home to numerous rare and beautiful plants, some endangered (and thus protected by the state).