Kunming, China / Mar. 10th China’s Southwestern Yunnan Province launched a global social media photo campaign on Instagram in February with the theme of “Wild Yunnan Through the Lens”, encouraging international travelers to share photos of their beautiful memories when they journeyed in Yunnan.
The global photography competition will last till the end of March, people can post photos of their Yunnan trip with the hashtag #WildYunnanThroughtheLens on Instagram to join the competition. The winners will be announced on March 31st. The top prize will be a Yunnan travel fund of RMB 8,000.
The competition has received hundreds of Instagram posts. We found two special participants and here are their stories with Yunnan.
Kyle Obermann - Recording China’s Incredible Natural Sights with his Camera
Kyle Obermann, who describes himself as a conservation photographer and writer, strives to document the evolution of China’s nature reserves, national parks, and the stories of the grassroots environmental groups. His photos for this Yunnan campaign got the most likes and comments on Instagram among all participants currently.
Winning a scholarship at Peking University, one of China’s top universities, Kyle came to Beijing in 2014 at the age of 22. With a strong focus on environmental policy and also a big lover of hiking and other outdoor activities, he started reading the Chinese National Geography magazine and found so many incredible photos of China, which he had never imagined existed.
So he started his journey across China, with his camera at hand, documenting these amazing places and the people who are protecting them. He shared his photos on social media and won global attention.
Having traveled so many places in China, Kyle finds Yunnan in southwest China somewhere very special to him.
“Yunnan is a dream place for living”, says Kyle with a big smile, “Yunnan is such a diverse and cool place. It has so many different landscapes, and is blessed with very dynamic ecosystems with great biodiversity.”
“Depending on where you are, like near the border to Laos, Xishuangbanna is a famous tourism destination known for its magical rainforest landscape and unique ethnic customs; To the eastern part of Yunnan, neighboring Guizhou and Guangxi Provinces, every spring, the entire county transforms into an ocean of canola flowers; Heading to the province’s western part, the city of Tengchong is well known for its active volcanic and geothermal activities, so try your hand at hiking the Gaoligong Mountains or simply relax in a hot spring; Northwest Yunnan is a gorgeous blend of soaring mountains, pristine lakes, and deep gorges and valleys.”
“My favorite place in Yunnan is Gaoligong Mountain National Nature Reserve”, Kyle says, “Gaoligong is a beautiful mountain range with incredible forests. But the thing that makes it most special for me is because I worked there for a couple of years, documenting the Gibbons. And later the Skywalker Gibbons, that were discovered by the Chinese scientists in 2017.” The incredible species is named after Luke Skywalker of the Star Wars movie series as the scientist who discovered this is a big Star Wars fan. “They are beautiful but vulnerable, less than 150 of them living in China.
“I would say Yunnan is an outdoors paradise”, says Kyle. “We can go to the tropical rainforests and then climb up to the glacier 5,000 meters above the sea level.” Yunnan boasts world-famous mountains, lakes, forests, grasslands, and Karst landscape like nowhere else. The diverse natural environment makes Yunnan a world-class destination for many outdoor activities.
Brian Linden - Mayor of “Dalifornia” by the Erhai
“A Chicago man and a San Francisco lady have lived here for 16 years and still feel that everything here is beautiful. I hope everyone has the opportunity to experience the beauty and friendliness of this place!” Brian Linden, or Lin Deng founder of The Linden Centre introduce Xizhou of the famous Dali, the place where he calls home.
Why Xizhou? “My family and I traveled all across China on the green trains and we finally voted unanimously to settle down in Xizhou.” Brian, who has worked in over 75 countries before “returning” to China in 2004 with his whole family to preserve and redevelop a Chinese nationally protected structure, now known as The Linden Centre, with a wonderful Chinese name “Xi-Lin-Yuan”.
“I named it by myself. Xi means Xizhou, the place we chose to settle down; "Lin" is my Chinese family name “Lin”, and "Yuan" is our vision of Linden Centre that this place is where the beauty of nature and humanities gathered.”
A stay at a Linden Centre hotel is an immersive experience into the lively communities of China’s countryside. Linden’s mission is to promote a more genuine form of experiential and cultural tourism, and “ensure that our neighbors can socially and financially benefit from the guests’ visits”.
“They are very interested in our local experience projects, because they have come to a strange country to travel, and what they hope most is to be close to the locals, experience the most authentic local culture. They all bring a copy of the local Bai ethnic group’s tie-dyeing souvenirs made with their own hands when they return home or learn to cook the authentic Bai yellow stewed chicken for their family.”The Linden Centre is committed to building a cultural exchange learning center for travelers.
"I like Yunnan very much. It has a natural "internationalization" gene, just like people always say that Dali is "Dali-fornia". The geographical location of Yunan and the mixture of diverse cultures make it naturally inclusive. I believe that in the future, Yunnan will become a hub for international travelers to China, making it an important international cultural exchange center in Southwest China." Brain adds.