7-Day of Yunnan Sightseeing Tour
Day 1: Dali- Cangshan Mountain (L, D)
Visit one of the local markets (if market day). Then drive out to Cangshan Mountain. Ride the cable car up to Zhonghe Temple and have a late lunch at the Higherland Inn. Then spend the afternoon walking along the Cloud Pass enjoying incredible views over Erhai Lake and Dali city. Come down the mountain in the late afternoon. Overnight in Dali.
Day 2: Erhai Lake- local Bai villages (L, D)
Visit the Bai villages around Erhai Lake including Zhoucheng and Xizhou where you will sample the Bai people’s famous “3 course” tea. Then after lunch take a 2 hour boat cruise on Erhai Lake visiting Golden Shuttle Island, a summer resort for the royal family of the Nanzhao kingdom. Overnight in Dali.
Day 3: Dali-Lijiang (L)
Travel from Dali to Lijiang. After settling into your guesthouse in the old town, take a bike ride out to Shuhe or Baisha Naxi Villages, both recognised as World Cultural Heritage sights for their 1000 year long histories. These villages were the first settlements of the Naxi ancestors when they crossed over the Jinsha River and came down Jade Dragon Snow Mountain into the Lijiang Basin. Soak up the old world charm of their streets, alleyways and market squares. That night, enjoy dinner by the canals of Lijiang Old Town.
Day 4: Lijiang-Tiger Leaping Gorge-Haba Village (L, D)
Drive to Tiger Leaping Gorge (2 hours) via the First Bend of Yangtze River. Take a short hike through the Gorge, being dwarfed by the peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain on one side and Haba Snow Mountain on the other. Drive on to Haba Village for overnight stay.
Day 5: Haba-White Water Terraces- Zhongdian (B, L, D)
Visit the Yi and Muslim villages near Haba. Then drive to the White Water Terraces, a series of spectacular terraced pools formed from minerals deposited by spring water. Have an hour’s walk around the pools, then continue drivingto Zhongdian (3.5 hours) or “Shangri-la” as it was officially named by the Chinese government in 2001. Have a walk around Zhongdian old town, and see the gigantic prayer wheel on the hill. That night see the local Tibetans kick up their heels in the town square. Overnight in Zhongdian.
Day 6: Songzanlin Monastery- Shangbala Nature Reserve (L, D)
Enjoy a dawn visit to the Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhism monastery in Yunnan province. It was built over 320 years ago on a site chosen by divination by the 5th Dalai Lama, and is now home to over 700 monks and lamas. Have a late breakfast, then journey out to Shangbala Nature Reserve where you will spend the rest of the day enjoying the Tibetan countryside- having lunch with a local family and hiking/horseriding through Tibetan grasslands and yak pastures.
Day 7: Zhongdian- Lijiang (L)
In the morning visit the Zhongdian market to see the Khampa Tibetans in their traditional ethnic dress buying and selling their local wares: everything from yak cheese to noodle soup to black clay cookware. Then visit the newly opened Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Museum, which explains the history and culture of the region’s Tibetan minorities. Drive back to Lijiang (4 hours).