China's Southwest by Damien Harper

By Damien Harper

Notice China's SouthwestFollow your shadow floating over limestone peaks on a Guangxi ballooning voyage.Hike Tiger jumping Gorge to the snowcapped mountaintops of Haba Shan through the Jinsha River.Savour the Yin and Yang of highly spiced, scorching or soaked-in-soy Southwest delicacies.Get stuck up within the dancing on the vivid Miao Lusheng Festival.In This GuideFive intrepid authors, 220 days of in-country examine, 157 bus rides and one rotting yak's head.Includes alluring new locations now not lined in the other English-language guidebook.Chapters devoted to gateway towns (Beijing, Honk Kong and Shanghai), minority cultures and experience actions.

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Com). The company takes teams into karst caves around Lèyè County and Fèngshān County in Guǎngxī province. CLIMATE CYCLING China’s Southwest has some of the land’s best year-round climate. That said, you want to pick and choose carefully if arriving in the off season. The blistering winter of Běijīng may be a glacial world away from a December trip to Xīshuāngbǎnnà, but at altitude in western Sìchuān or northern Yúnnán, things can get dangerously cold. See p467 for further climate information. Summers in the Southwest are also extremely hot, and although altitude can make things more pleasant, spring and autumn trips are recommended.

Fish also plays an important role during New Year celebrations as the word for fish, yú, sounds similar to the word for abundance. Many poor families who can rarely afford meat during the year will save up to serve meat at New Year to symbolise prosperity.

It’s also home to the Three Gorges Dam (p458) and the controversial Yangzi Dam Project (p284). Its watershed of almost 2 million sq km – 20% of China’s land mass – supports 400 million people. Below the mountains lies the Sìchuān Basin, known as the Red Basin due to its purple sandstone and shale deposits. This fertile plain averages only 500m in altitude and supports over 100 million people. South of this is the limestone Yúnnán–Guìzhōu Plateau, which takes in eastern Yúnnán, Guìzhōu and western Guǎngxī.

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