In the 13th century the armies of the great Mongolian emperor, Kublhai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, conquered Yunnan. It was the home to the exiled rebels and dissidents of the Chinese Empire along with a whole host of ethnic minorities whose culture and traditions still mirror those of the neighboring South East Asian ethnic groups. It was for good reason that this area was known as, the Wild West of China.

The reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) saw huge population transfers of ethnically Han Chinese to Yunnan. As a result, there was a lot of cultural exchange as well as tension. What resulted years later was a colorful mix of cultures yielding an amazing melting pot of ethnic diversity. To this day Yunnan is the one of the most culturally varied regions in China with 25 non-Han Chinese ethnic minority groups. Within Yunnan, there is a wide variety of climates as well as topography: from the seemingly out of place tropical forests of the South (one of the only tropical forests outside of the Tropics), to the Eastern corner of the Himalayas in the North.


(Chinese: manman, English: slowly)

One of the most common daily life sayings in Chinese. When Chinese people wish you to enjoy your meal, they would say “eat slowly!” When they wish you to study well, they say “study slowly!” When you leave their place, they say “walk slowly!” The saying may offer the Chinese traditional perception of the way to study and master any art or activity. It’s a way which should involve awareness, persistence without a rush to get immediate results.

Seeing and tasting China through your eyes and feelings has so greatly increased our understanding of China and its culture.
Gila B.A.