Province is the continuation of the Tibetan plateau and occupies
an area of 394,000sqkm, similar in size to the US State of
California. With the Himalayas dominating the north, and the
equatorial tropics warming the southern areas, the area's
geographical features are diverse and spectacular.
Yunnan shares a western border with Myanmar
and a southern border with Laos and Vietnam. Two geographically
different regions are divided by the Ai-lao Mountains: a limestone
plateau to the east, and a mountainous area with several peaks
above 5,000 metres, to the west. The highest point is the
6,740-metre Kagebo Peak on the Yunnan-Tibet border.
The torrential rivers are too swift for
navigation, but have huge largely untapped hydroelectric potential.
The elevation of the eastern plateau varies from 2,130 metres
at its western end, to 1,370 metres on the Kweichow border,
where intermountain basins and broad fertile valleys facilitate
than 40 freshwater lakes, the highest number in Southwest
China, lie in geological faults on the plateau. Larger lakes
include Dianchi, Erhai, Fuxian, Yangzonghai and Lagu. About
30 percent of the land area is forested, and is home to a
large variety of flora and fauna.