Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 21 hours 25 min ago

In Phase 0, I explored possible topic choices and narrowed them down to one final choice; the creation of a visitor's guide. I will be studying this topic during the upcoming Microcampus trip. In Phase 1, I wrote about what I already knew on the topic, and posed important questions. In Phase 3, I am writing about the background research I have done that helped me pose the important questions from Phase 1.

Background Information (from Phase 1):

In order to create an insightful and appealing guide, I will not only need to research the general area of Xizhou, but also tips on how to format my guide in order to make it the best that it can be.

Formatting of Guides- 

Lonely Planet Format (Printed Book on Cities) [1]:

A printed Lonely Planet book contains 4 sections; a "plan your trip" section, an "explore" section, an "understand" section, and a "survival guide" as well. The "plan your trip" section offers the itinerary, suggestions, transportation information, and highlights of the area. For example, in the Lonely Planet book on Tokyo, the "plan your trip" section lists the highlights of Tokyo, which include the Shinjuku nightlife and much more. This section overall lists all the attractions and places that are later on written in a more in-depth method inside the "explore" section. The "explore" section provides more insightful information on suggested places that were mentioned in the previous section. This section is split by different parts of the city, and offers the top 5 attractions/etc. in each part as well, followed by the more detailed information on previous suggestions. The next section is the "understand" section, which writes about the general culture and history of the city/region. It allows the traveler to make more sense of their surroundings and connect with it more as well. The final section, which is the "survival guide", offers maps, basic language tips, a more detailed guide for transportation, and a directory that contains miscellaneous information that a traveler may need to keep in mind during the trip (currency, holidays, hospitals, etc.). This is the overall format of a Lonely Planet book on various cities. 

Lonely Planet Format (Website on Yunnan) [7]:

The Lonely Planet website on Yunnan has 6 different sections in total. These sections include the "top experiences", the map, articles, books, activities, and finally, the "in detail" section. On the starting page, a picture of Yunnan is displayed along with its name. A brief general description of Yunnan is found a little further down the page. There is then a list of "top experiences" that can be found down the page, and this section highlights the best of Yunnan. After this section, a large map of the region is provided, and if the "launch map view'' button is clicked the highlighted sights of Yunnan are pinpointed on the map. Scrolling down further, a list of articles related to Yunnan can be found, and these provide insights and tips on the region. There is then an advertisement for the print version of the guide that provides even more information on Yunnan (the general format of the book can be found above). After this advertisement is a list of activities that travelers can choose to do, and the prices are listed along with pictures of each activity. The last section is the "in detail" section, which has a variety of information that may be useful to the traveler. It includes top recommendations, practical information on Yunnan, and more. This is the overall format of the Lonely Planet website on Yunnan. 

Yunnan in General-

Yunnan, or "the place south of the Yun ridge" (referring to the cloudy mountains), is located on the southwestern border of China [2,13]. More than half of China's minority groups live in this land of diverse biomes, making it the most diverse province in China—both geographically and culturally[7]. Of the 55 minorities in China, Yunnan is home to 51 of them [2]The capital of Yunnan is the well-known and busy city of Kunming [2,13]. Yunnan has a population of approximately 47,710,000 people (as of 2016) [14]. The province is separated into 2 distinct regions by the Ailiao mountains; to the west of these mountains is where the canyon region can be found, while the east is where the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau is located [13]. Because Yunnan is separated distinctly, the climate varies between the two regions. Yunnan overall is known to receive a lot of rainfall because of rain-bearing winds from the Pacific and Indian oceans. The rich rainfall allows plants to thrive, therefore explaining why Yunnan is home to more than half of China's different plant species. It is also home to a wide variety of animals and is one of the most diverse provinces animal and plant species-wise. Yunnan is known for agriculture, and their main crops are rice and corn. Aside from those two important crops, Yunnan is also known to grow a variety of other crops, which include sweet potatoes, sugarcane, fruits, beans, peas, and more.  The worldwide popular Pu'er tea also originates from Yunnan [13]. Yunnan is indeed a very diverse province with many places to explore, which includes the Microcampus destination of Xizhou.

Xizhou in General-

Xizhou Village (Happy Town in Chinese) [3,6,8] is located approximately 20 kilometers north of Dali Old Town [6] and situated on fertile land between the Erhai Lake [4,6,9] and the Cangshan Mountain [4]. The population of Xizhou is roughly about 32,000 people and the village itself is surrounded by rice fields [8], green mountains, and creeks [4]. The village is recognized for its rich culture and its well-preserved traditional Bai-style buildings [9]. More than 100 homes in Xizhou are certified cultural relics. The entire village is centered around the old town square- also known as Sifang Jie in Chinese, and in this square is where most of the village's shops and restaurants are found [5,8]. During the times of the Silk Road, Xizhou was home to many wealthy merchants and traders [4,6,8]. Their wealth eventually led them to build homes with elegant features, like large courtyards and pristine gateways. These traditional homes are called Bai-style houses, which is what I mentioned earlier [6]. One popular traditional food found in Xizhou is a flatbread (or "pizza"), called the Xizhou Baba. It comes in two types of flavors, either savory or sweet, with different types of toppings [6,10,11]. Some popular sightseeing attractions in Xizhou include Lake Erhai, the old town, and the Yan Family Compound  [12]. Xizhou is a pleasant village perfect for a short and sweet trip. 


Information From 3-to-5's:

Information From Local Contacts:

Answers to Previous Questions (from Phase 1):


1. Milner, Rebecca, and Simon Richmond. Tokyo. Lonely Planet, 2015.

2. "Yunnan Travel Guide." Yunnan Travel Guide: Yunnan Tour, Map, Ethnic Minority Groups,

3. Fallows, James. "Village Dreamers." The Atlantic, The Atlantic Media Company, 17 Sept. 2015,

4. Xizhou Village." Xizhou Village, China Tour Guide,

5. "Xizhou Town, Dali." Xizhou Village, Wonders of Yunnan,

6. Horton, Chris. "Getting Away: Xizhou." GoKunming, 14 Sept. 2011,

7. "Yúnnán Travel." Lonely Planet,

8. "Xizhou Bai Houses." Xizhou Bai People House around Dali, Ethnic Minority Residence,

9. Tang, Cindy. "Houses of Bai People in Xizhou." ChinaHighlights, 27 June 2017,

10. C., Evian. Background Information,

11. L., Nicole. Information from 3-to-5's,

12. Xizhou Attractions: Sightseeing for Xizhou Vacations, Tourist Sites,Yunnan Adventure Travel,

13. Kuo, Ping-chia, and Robert Lee Suettinger. "Yunnan." Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 8 Nov. 2016,

14. "Asia." Yunnan (China): Prefectural Division, Major Cities & Counties - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather and Web Information,


I was born in Canada and my family is from China. I am currently 13 years old, and in my free time, I enjoy reading, playing soccer, playing the guitar, and spending time with my friends. Before moving to the busy city of Shanghai, I lived in Canada and sunny California. SAS has been my favorite school out of the two schools I have been to before, as it offers so many intriguing experiences (like China Alive and Microcampus!) and because it has such a lovely community as well. I am part of the V group of Microcampus, and I am really looking forward to being part of the Microcampus experience!