An-Ciel-Yunnan-1-150x15016 days | Kunming, Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Benzilan, Shangri-La, Shaxi, Dali, Puzhehei, Yuanyang, Jianshui, and Shilin

Tour Highlights:

  • Explore the most beautiful places of Yunnan in one trip
  • Admire the diversity of Yunnan landscapes
  • Feel the unique and various minority folk customs of Yunnan
  • Comfortable hotels away from the hustle and bustle
  • Taste varied and delicious local foods

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.

DAY 1: FLIGHT TO KUNMING     1900 m alt.

  • Flight to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, located in southwestern China.

  • Upon arrival in Kunming, you’re met at the airport by your driver, and transfer to your city hotel by private car.
  • You can take a stroll to Green Lake Park, which is close to your hotel. It is the most well-known garden with a history of 300 years.
  • Visit the Yuantong Buddhist Temple.

  • Transfer to Kunming Train Station and take the high-speed train to Lijiang.
  • Arrive in Lijiang, you will be met by your new driver.
  • Stroll in Baisha Village and Yuhu Village.

  • Stroll around the charming old town of Lijiang.
  • Visit the Zhongyi Market and the Black Dragon Pool Park.
  • Visit the Residence of the Mu family.
  • Optional tour: you can visit the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (2hrs).
  • Transfer to the Tiger Leaping Gorge (100 km, 2hrs/2h30), check in at your hotel.

  • Visit the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
  • Then transfer to Benzilan (3h30/4hrs).
  • On the road, take a short stroll in Tibetan villages around Napa Lake.
  • Arrive at Benzilan, check-in at a local hostel.
DAY 6:   BENZILAN – SHANGRI-LA   3300 m alt.

  • Visit the Tharpaling Lamaist Monastery, the only Lamaist monastery in Yunnan composed of nuns.
  • Drive to Shangri-La (1h30/2hrs).
  • On the way, visit the Dongzhulin Monastery.
  • Stop for the magnificent view of the Golden Sand River (Upper Yangtze River).

  • Optional tour: Visit the Baiji Monastery this morning.
  • Visit the Songzanlin Monastery, which is the most important lamasery in Yunnan.
  • Visit the Ringha Temple, or Monastery of the Buddha of the Five Wisdom, which is one of the main Tibetan monasteries in Yunnan.
  • Optional tour: Meet your guide at Ringha Village where you will hike for 4 hours to Shangri-La town through forests and Tibetan villages.
  • Stroll in the old town of Shangri-La. 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.
DAY 8: ​SHANGRI-LA – SHAXI   2000 m alt.

  • Drive to Shaxi (4hrs).
  • On the road, you would discover the old town of Jianchuan, little known by tourists, but praised as the wood carving paradise.
  • Stroll through Shaxi Village, a former major trade center on the Ancient Tea and Horse Road.
  • Free bike ride to discover the Shaxi countryside.
DAY 9: SHAXI DALI   2000 m alt.

  • Explore the Shibaoshan Caves on foot.
  • Then drive to Dali (2hrs).
  • On the road, stroll in Zhoucheng Village and visit the batik workshop.
  • Free stroll in the old town of Dali.

  • Drive to Xizhou Village (30 minutes), visit the lively morning market.
  • Head to Cangshan Mountain, where you can visit a tea plantation, to learn how to make tea: pick, roll, bake.
  • Discover the splendid Three Pagodas Temple, which is the religion center of Dali.
  • Optional tour: You can take a short bike ride from Caicun Village along Erhai Lake and enjoy an amazing view of the countryside and the lake.

  • Drive to Dali Train Station (45 minutes) and take the high-speed train to Puzhehei.
  • A pleasant boat trip to discover lakes, caves, karst peaks, ethnic minority settlements, and the generally unspoiled ecological environment after arriving in Puzhehei.
DAY 12: PUZHEHEI – YUANYANG   1900 m alt.  

  • Excursion to Green Dragon Mountain in the morning, you will have a panoramic view of the region.
  • Drive to Yuanyang (6hrs). You can enjoy the landscapes of rice terraces on the mountainous road.
  • Glowing sunset over the rice fields at the “Bada” viewpoint.
DAY 13: YUANYANG                

  • Watch the impressive sunrise over the rice fields in the village of Duoyishu.
  • Visit the local ethnic minority market.
  • Hike through beautiful rice terraces and small villages.
  • Discovery of several viewpoints on the rice fields: Qingkou, Dayutang, Quanfuzhuang, etc.
DAY 14: YUANYANG – JIANSHUI   1300 m alt.

  • Visit authentic villages of the Hani such as Azheke.
  • Drive to Jianshui (168km/3h30).
  • Stroll in the Zhu Family Garden, built at the end of the 19th century by wealthy merchants.
  • Go on an excursion to the magnificent Confucian Temple which is the largest in China after that of Qufu.

  • Drive to Shilin (3h30) and visit the Stone Forest.
  • Then drive to Kunming Airport (1h30) for your return flight.

  • Arrive home with precious memories in mind.

Source: https://www.cielyunnan.com/circuits-yunnan-deux-semaines-et-plus/merveilles-du-yunnan/

The rates below are indicative, and they may vary slightly depending on the season or hotel availability. 
Price per person based on With driver With driver + An English-speaking guide
2 persons 1 661 $ 2 413 $
4 persons 1 188 $ 1 588 $
6 persons 1 043 $ 1 321 $

Price includes

  • The hotels are mentioned in the itinerary (includes breakfast).
  • Transfers by private vehicle with the driver during the whole journey. 
  • 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 its 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 high-speed train tickets: Kunming/Lijiang, Dali/Puzhehei (second class).
  • 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 directly on site.50% reductions sometimes for travelers over 60, free possible for those over 70.
  • Tips for guides and drivers (It is recommended of 160 RMB / day in total for the driver guide).
  • Accident, repatriation and health insurance.
  • The visa fees.

Warm Tips:

  • 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.

Hotels offered

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 Hotel Sliver Chest Boutique
Lijiang Bivou Hotel Zinc Journey Arro Khampa Hotel Songtsam Linka Hotel
Tiger Leaping Gorge Jade Snow Inn Jade Snow Inn Jade Snow Inn
Benzilan Tulu Lodge LUX* Tea Horse Road Benzilan Songtsam Benzilan Hôtel
Shangri-La Karma Cafe Guesthouse Zinc journey Arro Khampa Songtsam  Lvgu Hotel
Shaxi Shaxi Aoding Courtyard Hotel Shaxi Aoding Courtyard Hotel Shaxi Wuliu Inn
Dali Yanyuan Mountain Retreat Sky Valley Heritage Linden Centre Hotel
Puzhehei Maison Matthis Maison Matthis Maison Matthis
Yuanyang Havre de Paix Duoyiwan Huawowo Inn (No. 2 Courtyard) Twelve Manor Terraces
Jianshui Xiu Ju Xian Ting Guesthouse Hanlinyuan Boutique Hotel Tingziyun Resort
Supplement/Per                    / 205 $ 490 $

If you have more days for your trip, it’s possible to add/choose the extensions/excursions associated with this trip.

  • Luoping, the sea of canola (+ 1~2 days): 228 kilometers east of Kunming, Luoping is located on the border of Yunnan and Guizhou. Luoping’s immense expanse of flowering rapeseed fields is arguably the most extraordinary artificial “sea” in the world. During the rapeseed flowering, which always takes place in February and March, the “sea of ​​rapeseed flowers” ​​in Luoping offers a superb panorama.
  • The authentic Nuodeng Village in Yunlong (+ 1 day): Located 180 km from Dali, on the Ancient Tea and Horse Road leading to Tibet and Burma, Nuodeng is a small village perched on the hillside and accessible only on foot. You have the opportunity to visit one of the oldest salt wells in the region. The steep streets of this village lead to the imposing temple of Confucius and his monastery located at the top of the village, which enjoy a superb view of the valley.
  • 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.
  • Lugu Lake (+ 1~2 days): Located north of Lijiang on the border with Sichuan, Lugu Lake is the second deepest lake 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 ride horses around the lake or row the canoes along the water to the three islands of the lake.

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 information about the climate and weather of Yunnan.


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