David Leffman "The Rough Guide to Southwest China"
Inside its modern cities you'll find lively restaurants and teahouses, busy streets and trendy bars. Further afield are historic old towns and trade roads, once trodden by merchants, Communist guerillas, third-century warriors, and European plant-hunters. Limestone peaks, caves, waterfalls, and the world's largest sinkholes compete for your attention alongside rare monkeys, birds, and - of course - pandas. Half of China's fifty-six recognized ethnic groups live in the region, too, including Tibetans, Miao, Dong, Yi, Bai, and Dai, enlivening the countryside with wooden villages, monastery towns, extreme rice terracing, exquisite textiles, and exuberant festivals. Visitors can join pilgrims circuiting lamaseries, get a close-up view of monumental Buddhist sculptures, and climb holy mountains.