Yunnan's third largest lake is also one of its cleanest and when the weather is clear it is one of the most pleasant places you can visit. No motorized boats are allowed to ply Fuxian's blue waters, save for patrol boats helping tourist paddlers who occasionally need to be towed back to shore. The area surrounding the lake is home to terraced fields, caves, meadows and forests.
Whether you've been to Fuxian or plan on going, you most likely haven't seen it from the air. Luckily, Spring City transplant Mike Fougere has given GoKunming some of his best photos taken while flying above the lake earlier this year.
Fougere is the owner of Paraglide Yunnan, which offers wind-powered flights above some of Yunnan's more spectacular scenic areas. His company also provides 4x4 trips, caving and hiking expeditions and will soon have sailboats available for charter on Fuxian Lake.
Paragliding — called huaxiangsan (滑翔伞) in Chinese — is still gaining a foothold in China, and Fougere has been introducing the sport to Yunnan, one flight at a time, since 2006.
Tandem flights usually last around two hours and can cover 50 kilometers depending on weather conditions. The above picture was taken while flying over the Sunshine Coast Hotel.
Looking northeast over the mountains toward Fuxian Lake. Only from a bird's eye view such as this do the contours of the land become clear.
The area around Fuxian contains a surprising amount of forest, especially on mountain slopes. The surrounding hills are terraced into fields and large scale industry is a relatively new arrival.
A closer view of one of the lake's small inlets. Much of Fuxian's shoreline remains undeveloped for tourism, although in certain spots resorts are being built quickly in anticipation of a further tourism boom.
Paragliding requires fairly calm weather. Winds under 20 kilometers per hour are necessary and relatively clear skies with no chance of rain are ideal.
Amongst the green of the forests Yunnan's characteristic red earth is evident. Although not ideal for farming, iron-rich land near such a large body of water still provides reasonably fertile land.
Fougere's tandem flights soar between 3,100 and 3,900 meters above sea level. Heights such as those are certainly lofty enough to take in the gorgeous views on hand at one of Kunming's most accessible weekend getaways.
Editor's note: If you are interested in paragliding, Mike Fougere's contact information is available here.
Images: Mike Fougere© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.