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.
Optional tour: 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.
DAY 14: WEISHAN – NUODENG 1800 m alt.
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.
DAY 15: NUODENG – SHAXI 2200 m alt.
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.
DAY 16: SHAXI
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.
DAY 17: SHAXI – SHANGRI-LA 3300 m alt.
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.
Optional tour: 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.
DAY 19: SHANGRI-LA – TIGER LEAPING GORGE 1800 m alt
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.
DAY 20: TIGER LEAPING GORGE – WUMU 2200 m alt
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).
DAY 21: WUMU – BAOSHAN – WUMU
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.
DAY 22: WUMU – LIJIANG 2400 m alt
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.
The rates below are indicative, and they may vary slightly depending on the season or hotel availability.
Price per person based on
With driver + An English-speaking guide
2 485 $
3 807 $
1 831 $
2 479 $
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
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.
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.
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