8 Days Classic Tour of Yunnan
Day 1: Kunming
You'll begin your journey to diverse and captivating Yunnan Province from the capital city, Kunming. Upon your arrival at the Kunming International Airport, meet your local guide who'll bring you to the hotel by private vehicle. If you have time, take a leisurely stroll along the Green Lake, a charming area of tea houses and small boutiques selling handicrafts and beautiful local paintings. If you have enough time, you can visit the interesting Kunming City Museum (9:30—17:00), where you can get informed about Kunming’s history and specifically on its role in the past decades (WWII).
Option for the evening: if you like you can visit the Dynamic Yunnan Show in Kunming's Art Theatre – an original ethnic dance musical. It was directed by Yang Liping and has been an outstanding gain to the Chinese stages in recent years. Primitive, unsophisticated folk dances and a fresh artistic concept converge in the program, giving audiences a unique "Yunnan Impression." The show starts at 20:00h and lasts for 1.5 hours. It is highly recommended by Wonders Of Yunnan Traveland tripadvisor. For people interested in minority culture, this is a must-see and not to be missed when in Kunming!
Day 2: Kunming - Stone Forest - Dali
Your guide picks you up from your hotel lobby in the morning at 9am. First, we will drive you to Stone Forest (about 90 km, 1.5 hours, mostly highway), and enjoy a local Yunnan lunch before we enter the scenic area. According to an old saying it is a pity not visiting the Stone Forest while you are in Kunming. After lunch, we will have a full afternoon to visit this wonderful landscape. Enjoy the beautiful views of the sight and spend about 2-3 hours in the park.
Afterwards you are driven back to Kunming and dropped off at Kunming train station from where the overnight train is leaving to Dali.
Day 3: Dali
Upon your arrival in the early morning, your local Dali tour guide and driver meet you at the train station and take you to have breakfast first. We enjoy the beautiful view from the outside of the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Monasteryafterwards which are the symbols of Dali. Check into your comfortable hotel and take a rest. After having enjoyed a traditional Dali lunch we will visit Dali Old Town, climb the City Wall and stroll through the souvenir roads which are very famous in Dali. You are free to explore the lively Dali street culture, shop for souvenirs or whatever you are up to.
Travelers visit Dali Old Town for its traditional architecture, minority cultures (mostly Bai but also with many Yi and Hui nationalities) and simply to relax.
Day 4: Dali - Lijiang
Today, we take you to the morning market of Xizhou Town to experience traditional local life. We will visit Bai-style traditional architectural courtyards, taste the typical fragrant Three-Course Tea and explore the Bai's distinctive culture. Xizhou is 19 kilometers north of Dali Old town and lies between Erhai Lake and the Cangshan Mountain Range. It is famous for Bai culture with its old and well-preserved folk houses. But it's not only a historically famous city but also a typical commercial center of Bai Ethnic Nationality. The Bai minority are very present at Xizhou. With a more mixed population and cosmopolitan background, it is considered a must for travelers. Here, you can enjoy lovely local clothes, decorative architectures and wonderful handicrafts.
Afterwards we are going on a cruise on close Erhai Lake to Jinsuo Island – a local fishing village. Enjoy the green Cangshan Mountain Range and the Three Pagodas from far as well as lots of birds flying over the lake.
After lunch, get driven to Lijiang (about 170 km, 2.5 hours, mostly highway), check in your hotel and enjoy your free and easy evening in Lijiang.
Day 5: Lijiang
The next morning starts with a visit at the Black Dragon Pool and Dongba Museum to explore the rich Naxi minority culture. Then we'll visit to the Jade Lake Village (Yuhu Village): from here, you will enjoy a fantastic view over the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. We visit the museum dedicated to the life of Joseph Rock, an explorer and biologist who lived in the area in the early 20th century.
We then have the opportunity to join a 2-hour guided horse trek leading you along the mountain slopes. The trek passes ancient Naxi deer farms, the ruins of Jujian Temple, the King Ranch of the Naxi, ancient tree populations, stone inscriptions and many other nice and interesting places. We meet our driver again afterwards and get driven back to the hotel.
Day 6: Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Shangri-La
Today after breakfast, we'll drive about 60 km to the First Bend of the Yangtze River, which is close to Shigu and can be marveled at before we head further north to the Tiger Leaping Gorge with an imposing gorge scenery (about 88 km, 1.5 hours, partly highway, partly country roads). It's one of the deepest gorges in the world with 34 rapids. The gorge measures 16 km long and a steep 3900m from the waters of Jinsha River to the snow-capped mountain tops of Haba Snow Mountain to the north-west and Yulong (or Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain to the south-east. The inhabitants of the gorge are primarily the indigenous Naxi people, who live in a handful of small hamlets. The Tiger Leaping Gorge is another top attraction of Yunnan!
Later in the afternoon the tour proceeds to Shangri-La (102 km, 2.5 hours), the former Zhongdian which is well-known as the paradise destination for every traveler. Upon arrival in Shangri-La, you will have entered the Tibetan cultural area and a landscape of barley fields and yaks scattered in the valleys.
Day 7: Shangri-La
After the breakfast we go to see the Ganden Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan. Then we’ll visit a local family and get close to the real life of Tibetans.
After lunch we have a closer look at Baiji Temple which is very close to west of the Dukezong Ancient town, from where a great view over the city can be enjoyed.
We then invite you to a relaxed break in Shangri-La’s High Mountain Resort to enjoy a cup of coffee, facing beautifulNapa Lake and enjoy great views into the local nature. Spend a free and easy evening around Dukezong Ancient Town.
Day 8: Shangri-La (Departure)
Have breakfast in your hotel. Your driver is already waiting for you to take you wherever in town you need to be brought to this morning (Shangri-La Airport, bus terminal, etc.). This tour comes to an end and we’d be happy welcoming you in Yunnan again!
Attractions Visited in This Tour
- Kunming City Museum
- Stone Forest
- The Three Pagodas of Dali
- Erhai Lake
- Dali old town
- Xizhou Old town
- Black dragon pool
- Tiger leaping gorge
- Napa Lake Nature Reserve Area