HIGHLIGHTS OF YUNNAN
24 days | Kunming, Shilin, Jianshui, Puzhehei, Yuanyang, Xishuangbanna, Dali, Weishan, Nuodeng, Shangri-La, Lijiang, Wumu and Baoshan
- The most beautiful places and the varied scenery of Yunnan
- Xishuangbanna is renowned for the richness of its tropical biodiversity which shelters the last semi-wild elephants of China
- Puzhehei, “Little Guilin” of Yunnan
- The most beautiful villages of North Yunnan: Weishan, Nuodeng, Baoshan, and Wumu
- Start your trip at a lower altitude to adapt to the plateau
- Meet Yunnan minority people
- Comfortable hotels away from the hustle and bustle
Discover the festivals and colorful markets of minorities
In the bustling and lively markets of the villages, you will meet ethnic people who wear their traditional costumes and jewelry. They sell agricultural products, fabrics, and handicrafts.
We also recommend that you attend a festival during your journey. It will be an opportunity to meet minorities who wear traditional costumes. You will see superb shows or religious ceremonies.
The itinerary is designed according to the festivals and the markets. The order of visits will be adjusted according to the dates of festivals and the markets. You can check the chart for more information about the festivals and markets.
- Flight to Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, located in southwestern China.
- Upon arrival in Kunming, you will be met at the airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel by private car.
- You can take a stroll to Green Lake Park, which is located near your hotel.
- Visit the Yuantong Buddhist Temple.
- Kunming specialty: The Cross bridge rice noodles.
- Drive to Shilin, and visit the Stone Forest, which is famous for its karst formations and was listed in the Natural Heritage.
- Drive to Jianshui(3h30).
- On arrival, visit the Chaoyang Tower which dates back to the Ming Dynasty. It is the symbol of Jianshui County.
- Transfer to Tuanshan Village and visit its traditional architecture that dates back to the Qing Dynasty.
- On the way, stops to visit the Double Dragon Bridge.
- Stroll in Zhu Family Garden, built in the late nineteenth century by wealthy traders.
- Discover the magnificent Confucian Temple which is the largest in China after that of Qufu.
- Discover the local Tofu workshop near the west gate.
- Drive to Puzhehei(4hrs/4h30) and enjoy its charming scenery comparable to Guilin’s landscape.
- A pleasant boat trip to discover lakes, caves, karst peaks, ethnic minority settlements, and the generally unspoiled ecological environment.
- Stroll in the alleys of the villages surrounded by the lotus (blooming from mid-June to the end of August).
- Climb to top of Green Dragon Mountain, you will have a panoramic view of the region.
- Road trip to Yuanyang (5h30).
- You can see the Rice Terraces on the road.
- Watch the splendid sunset at Bada Viewpoint if weather permits.
- Watch the majestic sunrise over the rice terraces at your hotel.
- Explore a lively ethnic market.
- Hike through rice terraces and small villages.
- Visit several well-known scenic views along the rice terraces: Malizhai, Quanfuzhuang, Laoyingzui, etc.
- Visit another lively market of ethnic minorities.
- Drive to Pu’er(5h30), where Pu’er tea is named after it. It is a well-known tea-producing area in Yunnan, and an important stopover on the Ancient Tea and Horse Road.
- Stop at the Bixi Village. Then, visit Yingpan Mountain, covered with ten thousand hectares of tea plantations.
- Discover the plantations and the Pu’er tea museum and taste the local famous tea.
- Drive to Menglun(2h30/3hrs).
- Visit the largest botanical garden in Asia.
- Drive to Jinghong (1h30/2hrs) along the Mekong River.
- Take a short visit to Ganlanba Village(1h30) and its park of Dai ethnic group.
- Explore a night market by the Mekong River.
- Drive to Menghai (1h30/2hrs).
- Explore the morning market in Menghai, you will find some tropical fruits.
- Visit the Jingzhen Pagoda, and a village specializing in the production of paper that uses the traditional process.
- Stroll in Nannuoshan, one of the 8 mountains famous for its production of Pu’er tea. Stroll among the tea trees, walk through the Dai villages of Mailun and the Aini hamlet of Maipo Laozhai.
- Return to Jinghong (1h30/2hrs).
- Transfer to Jinghong airport and take the flight to Dali.
- Arrive in Dali, take a leisure stroll through Dali Old Town, be sure to visit the Catholic Church, built by the local ethnic group of Dali.
- Free day in the peaceful Xizhou Village. You will be able to visit the colorful morning market, then a bike ride along the Erhai Lake (bikes available at your hotel).
- Discover Zhoucheng (30 minutes), a village known for the production of batik.
- Visit the splendid Three Pagodas Temple, which is the cultural symbol of Dali.
The cooking class in Dali includes: a visit to a local market to learn about local products. Then you will go to a Bai family to learn how to cook typical Chinese and Yunnan dishes. You can taste the dishes you cooked.
- Drive to Weishan (2hrs), a preserved town from the Ming Dynasty where the Bai, Yi, and Hui ethnic groups coexist.
- Stroll in the old town of Weishan to discover the wooden houses, small stalls, and the museum with unique artifacts.
- Discover Weibaoshan Mountain, which is one of the thirteen sacred Taoist mountains of China.
- Drive to Nuodeng Village in the Yunlong Valley (4hrs).
- On the road, visit the Muslim village of Donglianhua, with its small museum and mosque.
- Explore Nuodeng, a small village has known prosperity thanks to the salt trade between the 18th and the beginning of the 20th century. Along the slate-paved alleys, you will find mud brick houses with richly decorated doors. The buildings dates back to Ming and Qing dynasties.
- Transfer to Shaxi (5hrs). Drive along the Bijiang River, a tributary of the Mekong, you can appreciate the architectural diversity of the different bridges: suspension bridge, pavilion bridge, wind and rain bridge.
- Visit the Shaxi morning market (only on Friday).
- Explore the Shibaoshan Grottoes on foot.
- Walk down the hills by a small path towards Shadengqing Valley if you want (1h30/2hrs), or you can return by car.
- Stroll in Shaxi Village, a former major trade center on the Ancient Tea and Horse Road.
- Drive to Shangri-La (4h30/5hrs).
- Stroll in Jianchuan Old Town, little known to by tourists, but praised as the wood carving paradise.
- Stroll in the old town of Shangri-La, where is regarded as the moonlight city by the native and also the largest Tibetan residential area.
- Participate in the spontaneous Tibetan dances in the evening with the locals in the old town square.
- Discover the Baiji Temple.
- Visit a lively Tibetan local market.
- Visit Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Yunnan.
- Experience the flavors of Tibetan cuisine in a Tibetan family.
- Stroll around Napa Lake.
About 3-4 hours’ hiking in the Tibetan countryside from Shangri-La to Ringha village and visit a Tibetan family. Discover the peaceful Ringha Monastery, one of the 5 most important Tibetan monasteries in Yunnan. Experience the principles of harmonious coexistence between local people and nature.
- Departure by the mountainous road to Qiaotou(2h30/3hrs).
- Discovery of the Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is one of the deepest canyons in the world.
- Short drive to the village of Walnut.
- Transfer to the wharf of the Yangtze River, cross the Yangtze River by ferry to Daju Village.
- Then along the mountainous road to Wumu Village (3hrs).
- Transfer by road to Baoshan Village (1h30).
- Visit the fortified village of Baoshan. It was constructed at the beginning of the Mongolian Kingdom, is praised as the most charming and oldest Naxi village in North of Lijiang and settled on a mountainside overlooking the Yangtze River.
- Return to Wumu by private car.
For people who like hiking, you can go down from Wumu Village to the Yangtze River (2/3hrs), then take a boat (300-400 per boat) up the river (30/50 minutes). After this short boat trip, you walk up to Baoshan Village through terraced fields. You must be accompanied by a local guide to finishing the hiking trails.
- Departure to Lijiang by crossing the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (3h30/4hrs). It is a National Geopark with the highest peaks exceeding 5,500 meters above sea level.
- Take the cable car to explore the mountain and visit the valley of the Blue Moon.
- Discovery of the Yuhu Village.
- Stroll in the Baisha Village and Shuhe Village.
- Stroll in the old town of Lijiang.
- Visit Black Dragon Pool Park. It is a model of Chinese gardens and gives you a superb view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
- Transfer by vehicle to Lijiang Station and take the high-speed train to Kunming (3hrs).
- Transfer to Kunming Airport and take the return flight.
- Arrive home with good memories in mind.
|Price per person based on||With driver||With driver + An English-speaking guide|
|2 persons||2 485 $||3 807 $|
|4 persons||1 831 $||2 479 $|
|6 persons||1 649 $||2 073 $|
- The hotels are mentioned in the itinerary (includes breakfast).
- Transfers by private vehicle with the driver during the whole journey. For the group without a guide, if necessary, the driver will also act as a guide.
- Accompaniment by an English-speaking guide from the 3rd day (if this option has been chosen).
- For the group without a guide, a smartphone will be given on your arrival. You will always be in touch with our 24-hour service. We are going to offer you restaurants with their locations, you can also try cashless payment anywhere in China (we are using less and less cash in China for payment).
- Accommodation and meals for your guides and drivers.
- The ferry on the Yangtze River between Daju and the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
- Plane tickets: Jinghong/Dali (economy class, including tax).
- The high-speed train ticket: Lijiang/Kunming (second class).
- 1 lunch and 2 specialty dinners on days 02, 14, and 18.
- One bottle of mineral water per day per person.
The price does not include
- International flights.
- Lunches and dinners.
- Entrance tickets for tours and activities, to be paid for directly on site. 50% reductions sometimes for travelers over 60, free possible for those over 70.
- Tips for guides and drivers (It is recommended 160 RMB / day in total for the driver guide).
- Accident, repatriation, and health insurance.
- The visa fees.
- You can also check out our organized small group tours here
- To facilitate your stay, we suggest that you change your quotes on arrival and departure at the current exchange rate. The formalities to be completed in Chinese banks are particularly tedious.
For each city, we have recommended two or three hotels for you to choose from below. The first hotel listed has been pre-selected by Ciel Yunnan.
|Kunming||Home Inn Plus Cuihu||Moon and Chalice Boutique||Sliver Chest Hotel|
|Jianshui||Lin An Inn||Hanlinyuan Boutique Hotel / Xiu Ju Xian Ting Guesthouse||Tingziyun Resort|
|Puzhehei||Maison Matthis||Maison Matthis||Maison Matthi|
|Yuanyang||Havre de Paix DuoYiWan||Twelve Manor Terraces||Yuanshe Azheke Hotel|
|Pu’er||Marvelous Land Hotel||New Century SPA and Resort Pu’er||New Century SPA and Resort Pu’er|
|Jinghong||Shawanli Boutique Inn||Empark Grand Hotel Jinghong||Yourantai Hotel|
|Dali||Ji Yi Si Guest House||Yanyuan Mountain Retreat||Linden Centre|
|Weishan||Weishan Laoguan Inn||Weishan Laoguan Inn||Weishan Laoguan Inn|
|Nuodeng||Nuodeng Fujia Liufang Inn||Nuodeng Fujia Liufang Inn||Nuodeng Fujia Liufang Inn|
|Shaxi||Aoding Courtyard Hotel||Shaxi Wuliu Inn||Sunyata Hotel Shaxi|
|Shangrila||Karma Cafe Guesthouse||Zinc Journey Arro Khampa||Songtsam Lvgu Hotel|
|Tiger Leaping Gorge||Jade Snow Inn||Jade Snow Inn||Jade Snow Inn|
|Lijiang||Bivou Hotel||Zinc Journey Arro Khampa Hotel||Songtsam Linka Hotel|
|Supplement/Per||/||281 $||614 $|
If you have more days for your trip, it’s possible to add/choose the extensions/excursions associated with this trip.
- Trekking in the Tiger Leaping Gorge (+ 1~3 days): Discovery of the Gorge on foot, accessible to those who are used to walking.
- Lugu Lake (+ 1~2 days): Located north of Lijiang on the border with Sichuan, Lugu Lake is the second deepest body of water in Yunnan with its average depth of 40m. It stretches over an area of 48km² and its crystal clear deep blue waters bordered by coniferous forests offer a sumptuous landscape. Travelers can take a horseback ride around the lake or take advantage of the canoes for a ride along the water providing access to the three islands of the lake.
When to go?
You can travel to Yunnan throughout the year. But the best seasons to do this tour are in spring (between April and early June) and autumn (between September and early November) when temperatures are mild. Summers are pleasant with moderate temperatures but the monsoon brings its share of rain from July to early September and can always hold some surprises. However, this will not pose a problem for this cultural circuit.
It is cold in Shangri-La in winter between December and March. Temperatures rise to 10 degrees during the day, then drop to below zero at night. Warm clothes are therefore essential.
Yuanyang: The best season to visit the rice fields of Yuanyang is spring (between mid-February and April). At that time, the rice terraces of Yuanyang were waterlogged for rice cultivation and formed thousands of mirrors that reflected light from the sky.
For more information on the climate and weather of Yunnan
Other Recommended 2 or 3 Weeks Tours in China
Wonders of Yunnan
16 days | Best seller
A travel plan for travelers who want to explore the most attractive landscapes of Yunnan in one trip.
Deep Exploration of Yunnan (with Deqin & Tacheng)
17 days | Meili Snow Mountain
A journey from Kunming to Shangri-La via Lijiang with small detours in intimate Yunnan. Magical natural sites and meeting of minorities on the borders of Tibet.
Yunnan and Tibet Tour
17 days | Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La, Lhasa, and Shigatse
A travel plan includes the most stunning places of northern Yunnan and the religious and cultural highlights of mysterious Tibet.