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Dianchi Lake

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Dianchi Lake or the "Pearl of the Plateau" is situated to the south of Kunming, as it's the largest lake in Yunnan, there are many things to do and see. West Mountain's Dragon Gate, known as "Sleeping Beauty," has cliffs bordering the western side of the lake that are perfect for hiking. On the way to the top you'll pass by both forgotten and refurbished temples, expansive vistas of the lake, gardens and the tomb of the musician Nie Er, the composer of the Chinese national anthem. There's a chairlift if you get too tired. More than a hike, this is a journey into China's history. The notable Huating Temple, dates to the 11th century and offers a quiet repose from the strains of hiking. Along the way, make sure to stop at the numerous viewpoints to soak in the beauty of the scenery: blue skies, green water with slow sailing fishing boats, the chirping of birds, and the grey peaks in the distance with the coastline dotted with fishing villages.