The Protect Areas of Three Parallel Rivers (aka the Three Parallel Rivers Of Yunnan) are located in northwestern Yunnan Province, covering the three prefectures of Diqing, Nujiang, and Lijiang, including, specifically, Deqin County, Lisu Autonomous County of Weixi, Shangri-La County, Derung-Nu Autonomous County of Gongshan, Fugong County, Lushui County, Bai-Pumi Autonomous County of Lanping, and the northern part of Naxi Autonomous County of Yulong. It borders with Burma in the west, whereas neighboring with Sichuan and Tibet in the north. The site consists of 15 protected areas (in eight geographic clusters). With a total area of about 1.7 million hectares, it ranks as the vastest national scenic area in the world.
The three rivers refers to Nujiang (Salween), Lancang (Mekong) and Jinsha (the upper reach of the Yangtze River), which flow to the south side by side along the deep gullies between the three lofty mountains of Gaoligong, Nushan, and Yunling. Covering an area as wide as 3,500 square kilometers or so from 98°-- 100°30′eastern longitude to 25°30′-- 29°northern latitude, the site extends the elevation from 760m to 6740 m. Gushing southward with awing power in parallel like the Roman numeral “Ⅲ”, the three large rivers of Asia offer a singular geographical scene.
The charm lies in the unique spectacles of the alpine gullies. A bird's-eye view of it would show that the majestic Himalayas on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau rolling on from west to east is suddenly blocked by the north-south going mountains and gullies, where Lancang River, Nujiang River, and Jinsha River from Tanggula Mountains in the northwest have to make an abrupt narrow-in and squeeze themselves into the sheer-cut gullies of Hengduan Mountains, with the shortest distance between them about a dozen kilometers only, a consequence from the mountain-making by the Himalayas that distorted this part of the land into various shapes beyond imagination. In addition to these, in the areas you can also see many snowclad mountains, primitive forests covered by snow, grand valleys, dangerous shoals, glacial erosion lakes, boundless meadows dotted with beautiful flowers, rare animals, magnificent White Water Terrace, and experience the unique ethnic flavor etc.
In 1989, the area was listed as one of the key scenic sites of China, and in June of 2003 it was listed on the roll of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The Protect Areas of Three Parallel Rivers is a famous attraction around Lijiang. China Fact Tours has excellent tour packages to this beautiful scenic spot.
The famous world cultural heritage site Old Town of Lijiang boasts the cradle of the mystic Naxi civilization, which is the optimum tourist destination to experience the Yunnan local history, culture and flavor of the Chinese minorities. The old town should not be missed if you plan a Lijiang tour.