SEMI-INDEPENDENT TRAVEL IN YUNNAN
16 days丨Kunming, Jianshui, Yuanyang, Mile, Dali, Shaxi, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Shangri-La, Lijiang, and Shilin
- Experience a 100% adventure trip
- Discover Yunnan economically by local transportation
- Ensure minimum logistics to avoid wasting time on complicated bookings
- Cost-effective accommodation
- Flight to Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, located in Southwestern China.
- Upon arrival in Kunming, you will be met by your driver, and transferred to your hotel by private car.
- You can take a stroll to Green Lake Park and Yuantong Buddhist Temple.
- You will take a taxi to Kunming Train Station (30 minutes) and take the high-speed train to Jianshui (2hrs).
- Arrive at Jianshui station, you will be met by your driver, and transferred to the hotel (30 minutes).
- Freely visit the old town of Jianshui.
- Visit the second largest Confucian Temple in China.
- Stroll in the Zhu Family Garden.
- A Free day (without the car and guide).
- In the morning, you will go to the Jianshui Excursion Train Station located 30 minutes’ walk from your hotel, take the excursion train to Tuanshan Village.
- Info: The earliest excursion train starts at 9:00, arrives at Tuanshan Village at 10:50. (There are several trains in a day, if you buy a round-trip ticket, there will be the returning time on the ticket)
- During the journey, stop at the Double Dragon Bridge Station to visit the Double Dragon Bridge. The next stop is Xianghuiqiao Station, which is in the French style.
- Discover Tuanshan Village and its traditional architecture that dates back to the Qing Dynasty.
- You will return to Jianshui by excursion train. After returning to Jianshui, visit Chaoyang Tower, which is the symbol of Jianshui county.
- Meet your driver at your hotel and transfer to Jianshui Bus Station (20 minutes).
- Take a regular bus to Yuanyang (4hrs).
- Arrive at Yuanyang Station, you will be met by your new driver and transferred to your hotel (1hr).
- You can enjoy the landscapes of rice terraces on the mountainous road.
- Watch the splendid sunrise over rice terraces at Duoyishu Village.
- Meet your driver and local guide at 9:00.
- Visit the local ethnic minority market.
- Hike through the rice terraces and small typical villages.
- Discover several points of view on the rice fields: Bada, Malizhai, Quanfuzhuang, etc.
- Wait for the sunset over the rice terraces at the “Bada” viewpoint.
- Meet your driver at the guesthouse, transfer to Mile by private car (240 km, 4hrs/4h30), and take the high-speed train to Dali (3h30).
- Arrive in Dali, you will be met by your local driver, and transferred to your hotel in the old town of Dali.
- Freely stroll in the old town of Dali to discover the quaint alleys.
- Transfer to Xiaguan Bus Station by private car (30 minutes), take a bus to Jianchuan County (about 3hrs/3h30), which is little known by tourists, but praised as the wood carving paradise.
- Arrive in Jianchuan, welcome by your driver, and transfer to the hotel.
- Freely walk or bike ride in Shaxi Village.
- Discover the lively Shaxi morning market (only on Friday).
- Meet your driver and head to Shibaoshan.
- Explore the Shibaoshan Grottoes on foot.
- It’s possible to walk down by a small path towards the Shadengqing Valley (2hrs) or return by vehicle.
- Transfer to Jianchuan Bus Station by private car (1hr), take a bus to Qiaotou (2hrs).
- Arrive at Qiaotou, you will be met by your new driver, and visit the Tiger Leaping Gorge (there are 1300 stairs for a round-trip, or you can take the escalator, 70RMB for a round-trip).
- Then transfer to the Naxi Family Guesthouse (20 minutes), start your trek to the Tea & Horse Guesthouse (3hrs).
- Continue the hike to Tina’s Guesthouse, with a breathtaking view along the trip (3h30).
- Arrive at Tina’s Guesthouse, you can descend to the bank of the Yangtze River, or the Middle Gorge (round trip is 2hrs).
- You will take the bus to Shangri-La (The bus will stop at Tina’s Guesthouse at 15:30).
- Arrive at Shangri-La Bus Station, you will take a taxi to your hotel located in Shangri-La Old Town.
- A Free day in Shangri-La (without the car and guide).
- You can take a taxi (about 30 RMB one way) or a bus (1 RMB per person) to the Songzanlin Monastery. Once you paid for the ticket, you can take the monastery shuttle to explore the monastery, which is the largest lamasery in Yunnan.
- You can rent an electric bike (50 to 60 RMB per day for one bike) to ride around Napa Lake.
- Freely stroll in the Shangri-La Old Town.
- Visit the Guishan Temple and its huge prayer wheel.
- Participate in the spontaneous Tibetan dances in the evening with the locals in the old town square.
- Transfer to Shangri-La Bus Station by private car and take a bus to Lijiang(4hrs).
- Arrive in Lijiang, your driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel.
- Stroll in Baisha Village and Shuhe Village, both are typical Naxi villages.
- A Free day (without the car and private guide in Lijiang).
- Stroll in the old town of Lijiang.
- Visit the Residence of the Mu family.
- Visit the Black Dragon Pond Park. It is a model of Chinese gardens and gives you a superb view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
- Meet with your driver at the hotel, transfer to the train station, and take the high-speed train to Kunming (second class, 3hrs).
- Arrive in Kunming, you would take a taxi to your hotel.
- Drive to Shilin (1h30).
- On arrival, you will visit the Stone Forest classified as natural heritage by UNESCO. The park is touristy, and we suggest you visit the Black Stone Forest which is less touristy and less expensive.
- Then drive to Kunming Airport (1h30) for your return flight.
- Arrive home with precious memories in mind.
|Price per person based on||With only an English-speaking guide in Yuanyang on day 06|
|2 persons||1 000 $|
|4 persons||776 $|
|6 persons||706 $|
- The hotels are mentioned in the itinerary (includes breakfast).
- Private vehicles with driver transfers are mentioned in the itinerary.
- An English-speaking guide in Yuanyang on day 6.
- A smartphone will be given on your arrival. You will always be in contact with our 24-hour service. We are going to offer you restaurants with their locations, you can also try cashless payment anywhere in China (FYI, we are using less and less cash in China for payment).
- Accommodation and meals for your guides and drivers.
- Kunming/Jianshui, Mile/Dali, Lijiang/Kunming (second class)
- One bottle of mineral water per day per person.
The price does not include
- International flights.
- Lunches and dinners.
- Tips for guides and drivers.
- Entrance tickets for tours and activities, to be paid for directly on site. (Approximately 466 RMB per person, or 72 USD).
- Tips for guides and drivers (It is recommended 160 RMB / day in total for the driver and 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||Grand Park Hotel|
|Yuanyang||Jacky’s Guesthouse||Huawowo Inn (No.2 Courtyard)|
|Jianshui||Han Shu Xiang Yuan Hostel||Xiu Ju Xian Ting Guesthouse|
|Dali||E-Outfitting Boutique Hotel||Yanyuan Mountain Retreat|
|Shaxi||Shaxi Aoding Courtyard Hotel||Shaxi Wuliu Inn|
|Shangrila||E-outfitting Boutique||Karma Cafe Guesthouse|
|Lijiang||Sister Chen’s Inn||Bivou Hotel|
If you have more days for your trip, it’s possible to add/choose the extensions/excursions associated with this trip.
- Puzhehei, also known as “Little Guilin” (+ 1 day): This region is home to magnificent limestone landscapes. A pleasant boat trip to discover lakes, caves, karst peaks, ethnic minority settlements, and the generally unspoiled ecological environment after arriving in Puzhehei.
- Lugu Lake (+ 1~2 days): Located north of Lijiang on the border with Sichuan, Lugu Lake is the second deepest lake in Yunnan with an average depth of 40m. It stretches over an area of 48 km², and its crystal-clear deep blue waters bordered by coniferous forests offer a sumptuous landscape. Travelers can take a horse ride around the lake or take advantage of the canoes for a ride to the three islands of the lake.
- Wumu and Baoshan (+ 2~3 days): Built at the beginning of the Mongol Dynasty, Baoshan and Wumu are the two most beautiful villages in Yunnan. Perched on a natural promontory, these fortified Naxi villages overlook the Yangtze. The scenery on the river and the terraced fields are breathtakingly beautiful.
When to go?
You could travel to Yunnan all year round. But the best seasons for this tour are in spring (between April and early June) and in Autumn (between September and early November) when temperatures are mild. The summer is pleasant, and the climate is cool. Although it rains from July to the beginning of September, it will not be a problem for this cultural tour.
It is cold in Shangri-La in winter from December to March of the following year. The temperature is 10 degrees during the day and below zero in the evening. Warm clothes are essential.
Yuanyang: The best season to visit Yuanyang Rice Terrace is spring (from mid-February to April) when the rice terraced fields are full of water. They make up thousands of mirrors that reflect the sky.
For more Yunnan travel information, we invite you to visit our home page.
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