Pockmarked with treacherous terrain ranging from snow-capped mountains to sloping valleys and dark ravines, the Yunnan Province in China provides a challenge for the average explorer. Nestled in the northwest sector of Yunnan is the Three Parallel Rivers National Park – an ideal vacation spot if you’re seeking panoramic landscapes and teeming rivers during your travels.
Stretching up to 40, 000km² and wedged in between the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain – a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage area – in Yunnan and Mount Luoji in Sichuan, the Three Parallel Rivers National Park is not a place to be missed during your vacation in China. Not for the faint-hearted, the park earned its named based on three rivers: the Nu, Jinsha and Lancang – that nearly converge and form the three great rivers of China – the Salween, Mekong and Yangtze respectively. The three great rivers never actually meet up, but they run parallel to each other for 100 miles before diverging into distinguishable seas. Due to the presence of these rivers, fishing and agriculture has become the rice bowl for the local Chinese folk residing in the Yunnan Province.
If you’re keen on exploring the Three Parallel Rivers National Park, the best time to travel would be during either spring (from March to May) or autumn (from September to late October). Summers are generally blazing hot and winters are brutally frigid, so it would be best for you to plan your vacation according to the milder seasons. The easiest way to get to Yunnan would be via the Myanmar or Laos border, but bear in mind that these places require a visa for entry. You can also take a flight to Beijing and work your way to Yunnan, but this might be time-consuming. Hotels are available in the nearby villages of Dali and Lijang, should you need a place to stay. But summer is generally the peak season for tourists, and securing a room can be difficult during this time.
Once you’ve entered the Three Parallel Rivers National Park, be sure to swing by the Tiger Leaping Gorge during your trek. Notable due to its length of 16km, the Tiger Leaping Gorge is the world’s deepest gorge and is located in northern Yunnan. Tours to the gorge can also be booked from operators in Lijang and Shangri-La. Once you’ve had your fill of the sunlight-starved ravines, pay a visit to the three great rivers of China for a rejuvenating encounter with nature’s fingertips. Travel to the nearby villages for a taste of Chinese culture and delicacies firsthand, and check into the Walnut Garden if you’re exhausted. Either way, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable vacation in the wilds of China.