Northwestern Yunnan is in China. It consists of Diqing Prefecture (Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture), and Lijiang Prefecture.
- Lijiang — capital of Lijiang Prefecture, a traditional city and UNESCO world heritage site.
- Benzilan — halfway between Shangrila and Deqin, stopping point for "first bend" in Jinsha River
- Deqin — the capital of Diqing Prefecture
- Shangrila — aka Zhongdian, traditional Tibetan city on the Tea Horse Trail
- Weixi — Rustic town downstream of Yubeng on the Mekong valley
- Xidang — Starting point for trekking into Yubeng
- Yubeng — mythical village deep inside the mountains
Northwestern Yunnan is where the subtropical meets the alpine. Three rivers — the Nujiang (Salween), Lancang (Mekong) and Jinshan (Yangtze) — flow in parallel, separated by snow capped mountains. Culturally the region is a transition zone between the Sinic civilization to the east, Tibetan to the west and numerous minorities to the south. Historically, here lies the Tea Horse Road, a trans-Himalayan trade network between the tea planters of Puer and the horse herders of Tibet. Narrow paths carved into the cliff faces hanging precariously above the raging river are all that the horse caravans had to go on. Winding through villages across vistas, these ancient footpaths provide endless trekking opportunities.