GoKunming's parent company, CloudBridge — Media by Design, has begun to create videos exploring what we think of as one of China's most beautiful places, Yunnan province. Our first effort is a five-and-a-half minute mini-documentary shot in Lijiang Prefecture entitled Life in China's Forgotten Kingdom (唤醒被遗忘的国度).
In the film, we interview eight expatriates from around the world who have chosen to make their lives in Lijiang Prefecture. They are guesthouse owners, resort managers, academic researchers, outdoor enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. The interviewees are spread around the prefecture and offer their thoughts on what life has to offer in northwest Yunnan.
Some have made homes in the old town of Dayan (大研古城), which after a devastating 1996 earthquake rose from the ashes to become a UNESCO World Heritage site. Others live further afield near places like Lugu Lake (泸沽湖), Laojunshan National Park (老君山国家公园) and the first bend in the Yangtze River.
The interviews in Life in China's Forgotten Kingdom paint a picture of a place waiting to be discovered. Although Lijiang Old Town has become a household name across China, it and its Naxi minority residents remain a relative unknown for tourists coming to China from abroad. And yet the prefecture is not simply dominated by one main tourist city or a dominant ethnic group. Instead, it is a microcosm of Yunnan province as a whole — home to rich indigenous cultures living in and among some of the most spectacular and open scenery in China.
Our conversations in the documentary are based on the basic question, "Why Lijiang?". The answers differ greatly, as do the people giving their own personal answers. They include Reuben Greenbank, a rock climbing enthusiast and owner of Stone Drum House outside the town of Shigu (石鼓), and Hwee Ling, co-founder of The Bivou in Shuhe (束河), a boutique hotel that offers customized tours. We also speak with Nigel Fisher, general manager of Banyan Tree Lijiang and Ricardo Echenique, general manager at the Ne Tsang Inn, Lijiang.
Outside of the hospitality industry, we talked with Lukas Madrzynski, who researches the ecotourism sector in the great Lijiang area, tour guide Adam Meckel, CloudBridge CEO Yereth Jansen, and Stefania Renda, a PhD student at the University of Venice who is writing her dissertation on the Mosuo people (摩梭).
The release of Life in China's Forgotten Kingdom follows close behind the premier of our first documentary, Living Threads • Revitalizing Indigenous Embroidery in Rural China. If you would like to keep up with all of the videos CloudBridge is currently producing, as well as learn about when new releases are scheduled for release, check out or Destination China Facebook page and our Destination China YouTube channel.