Ailao Mountains  
 
Ailao Mountain Ecology Tourism Zone lies in the middle section of Ailao Mountains and at the border of Xinping County and Zhenyuan County. It is 110 kilometers away from downtown of Xinping County.

AiLao Mountain National Natural ReserveAilao Mountain Ecology Tourism Zone lies in the middle section of Ailao Mountains and at the border of Xinping County and Zhenyuan County. It is 110 kilometers away from downtown of Xinping County. It was listed as the provincial nature reserve in 1981 and the national nature reserve in 1983. It is the closest national nature reserve to Kunming. It is the zone with the greatest varieties of plants and animals and has the best-preserved plant community of the areas in the same latitude. It was selected as the observation post of forest ecosystem and international migrant birds reserve by United Nations. It is an ideal place for ecological tourism, science research and exploitation, and ethnic culture experience. At the moment, it has developed several tourist destinations such as Shimen Valley, Ancient Tea-Horse Road, and Jinshanyakou Primitive Forest.

Ailao Mountain is a branch of Mount Yun. It is formed during the Quaternary Himalaya Mountain Building Period. When the ground rises, and the river sinks, the disparity in height becomes prominent. This is how the deep cut topographic feature forms today. The Ailao Mountain leans from northwest to the southeast from inner Sajiang River. On the west side of the river, the Ailao Mountain and Sajiang River are in parallel. Here mountain and river are intertwined.

The mountains are tall while the vales are deep. Dadi Rock, the main peak of Ailao Mountain, stands on the border between Zheshi Village and Zhenliu Town with a height of 31,659 meters above the sea level. The side mountain Daxueguo is surrounded by clouds and mist. With a variety of species and distributions of plants (including numerous famous and precious ancient ones), Daxueguo is of high value in scientific research of climate and geobiology. And it is the central part of the natural reserve, as well as an important base of observation and research of Chinese and foreign scientists.

The famous Damaoer Mountain and Xiaomaoer Mountain are tall and of various shapes.The river bank is an ideal place for cereals growing and tropical commercial crops growing for the its many outfans and rock formations. The east area of the river is the dissected topography on the verge of southern highland in Yunnan, good for the growing of Yunnan Pine and subtropical fruits. Visitors can enjoy the sun bath in the lakefront of Fuxian Lake.

Ailao Mountain, located in the transitional area of the north and south of the subtropics, is an important boundary of climate in the east and west of Yunnan Province. At present, ití»s the only well-preserved extensive evergreen broad-leaved forest of the same latitude in the world, approved as national level nature protection area. Due to the special and advantageous natural conditions, Ailao Mountain has become both an enormous gene bank of natural biological resources and a í░natural museumí▒ and specimen gardení▒ of Yunnan Province which is celebrated as the kingdom of animals and plants. Furthermore, Ailao Mountain can be used as an integrated experimental base for scholars to make scientific research and expedition to a variety of the natural sciences. Meanwhile, ití»s a marvelous place for people who are interested in expedition, adventure, photography and returning to nature. The main peak of the magnificent Ailao Mountain, with an altitude of 3137.6 meters, is located in Zhenyuan County. It towers up into the clouds like a grand pyramid, which is inspiring and splendid. In the whole area of Ailao Mountain, terraced fields can be seen everywhere. Seen from some distance away, Ailao terrace looks very beautiful and picturesque

How to get there

It takes 75 minutes from Kunming to Yuxi (90 km by superhighway). Traveling from Yuxi to Xinping, travelers should first go to Da Kai Men (a town in Xinping) by the superhighway of 60 km. Then there is another 30 km journey from Da Kai Men to Xingping County seat on second class highway. The total journey is 90 kilometers, taking about 2 hours. After arriving at Xinping County Seat, travelers can go to their own destination they want to (the scenic spots in the Ailao Mountain is scattered) at Xinping Bus Station. There are buses to all the scenic spots there.

Tips
Ailao Natural Reserve is still under development. The road on the way is not well constructed yet, and is still in the poor condition


Related books

List of Seed Plants in Ailao Mts. of Yunnan Province, China
Ferns in Ailaoshan Mountain