Southwest China is the most exotic area of China, home to many minority ethnic groups. It has much in common with Northwest China; both areas are far less prosperous than the eastern and southern coastal regions.
Much of the terrain is quite mountainous. Tibet and Northwestern Yunnan are located on the Tibetan Plateau and have many very high mountains; including the world's highest (Mount Everest) which is located in on the Tibet/Nepalese border. Guizhou and Guangxi have smaller mountains, including the karst limestone terrain, with fantastically gum drop shaped hills, terraced rice fields, and many caves.
|Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region |
|Guizhou Province |
|Tibet Autonomous Region |
|Yunnan Province (Kunming Prefecture, Central Yunnan, Eastern Yunnan, Southeastern Yunnan, Southern Yunnan, Western Yunnan, Northwestern Yunnan)|
- Guilin Guangxi
- Kunming Yunnan
- Lhasa Tibet
- Nanning Guangxi
- Xigatse Tibet
- Lugu Lake — a lake between Sichuan and Yunnan
- Mount Kailash, known as Gang Rinpoche in Tibetan, Tibet (5,656 meters), sacred to Hindus, Jains and some Buddhists
- Two fantastic hiking areas hiking areas in Yunnan, both featuring large gorges winding between large mountains:
- Guilin and Yangshuo, the major tourist draw in Guangxi, mainly for the karst (interesting limestone mountains) scenery
This part of China is culturally very rich, with many ethnic minorities like the Zhuang, Miao, Naxi, Bai and Tibetans who speak their own languages. Nevertheless, as Mandarin is the medium of instruction in all Chinese schools, nearly all younger locals are bilingual in their ethnic language and Mandarin.
The Wikivoyage itinerary Hong Kong to Kunming overland covers travel through this region.