East Asia

China, Yunnan

Yunnan Province which literally means “South of the Clouds” due to its location just south of the Tibetan Plateau—is home to verdant low-lying valleys, spectacular white-capped mountains, rustic towns and villages, and a lively mix of ethnic minority communities. Dali and Lijiang are two of our favorite destinations in this province and they are great to visit all year round. Within driving distance of these two small cities alone, you can partake in customs by a myriad of ethnic minority groups, including the Bai, Yi, and Naxi people, and experience some of the most diverse ecology and terrain in China.No other place in China gets as diverse as Yunnan, both in its splendid palette of landscapes and its exceptional mix of minority communities. Here, 25 of China’s 55 minority groups find sanctuary, their traditions shielded from the world by the towering Himalayas. Discover them yourself with these unforgettable experiences that offer a window into the daily lives of China’s colorful South-West.The Bai people are indigenous to Dali and the surrounding villages tucked between the Cang Mountain and Erhai Lake. Bai people honor guests with the ‘Three Cup Tea’ ceremony, which is often performed at marriages and festivals. Strict etiquette is followed through the 18 procedures of the tea ceremony. The host prepares three different beverages and offers them to the guests. The first is a bitter tea that symbolizes the hard times in life. The second, a sweet beverage, shows how happiness triumphs difficulty. The third is a fragrant tea that calls upon the drinker to reflect on the vicissitudes of life.