19 May 2011

Book Review: Yunnan, China South of the Clouds, by Jim Goodman, *****

Buddhist monastery in Yunnan
Synopsis

Wedged between Tibet and the exotic lands of Southeast Asia, Yunnan Province is one of the least known and most beguiling regions of China. A mountainous wonderland, it is home to 24 diverse, colorful ethnic cultures. With a name meaning ‘South of the Clouds’, Yunnan boasts sparkling blue skies, red earth, and green forests. The picturesque capital of Yunnan, Kunming — ‘the City of Eternal Spring’—lies near a serene, mile-high lake. Other natural marvels, such as the haunting Stone Forest and lush tropical Xizhuangbanna, make Yunnan a microcosm of China at its very best. With 211 color photographs.


Review

This is, by far, the most comprehensive guide on Yunnan. It deal with all aspects of culture, history, art, society, minorities, festivals, markets, etc and it is probably going to remain an invaluable resource for the intellectually motivated traveler for a long time.

The books does NOT have much in terms of where to stay and eat, logistics, practical info. But this kind of book is not meant to. I recommend the Lonely Planet Southern China for that. But by all means buy this book if you want to have one reference work to turn to for your cultural interests and curiosity. It is a bit heavy to carry around, and there is no kindle version for now, but it's worth every gram!

See my other reviews of books on China in this blog.

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