Photograph the beautiful red land of Dongchuan.
Lose yourself at the magnificent terraces fields at Yuanyang.
Follow the footprints of ancient Tea-horse road – Dali, Jianchuan, Lijiang and Shangri-la.
Cycle along the lakeshore of Erhai and absorb the beautiful landscape.
Discover the heritage site of ancient Lijiang town.
Hug the snow-caped Jade Dragon Mountain and mighty Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Admire the Tibetan Buddhist culture and art in Shangri-la
Best travel season
Spring Summer Autumn Winter
Upon arrival in Kunming, we meet and transfer you to hotel and check-in. Have a leisure evening on your own.
A day dedicated to visit the Dongchuan Red Land, located 250 northeast of Kunming city. One-way road journey takes us around 2.5 hours. The red earth of Dongchuan, also called the Luoxiagou Valley, is known for the immense red earth developed due to high iron and other mineral content. Colors of the land varied in different seasons as the plants growing. When coming to the best season, the miles and miles of terraces fields looks like a natural woven carpet with part green, yellow, orange, red, purple and so many colors. It is truly rewarded to tour this natural wonder of Yunnan. Come and see it with your own eyes.
Today we drive 2.5 hours southwards to Jianshui, a bordering city with rich history and culture. Jianshui once was important point of the south silk road, a rich city, and political center of South Yunnan. Thus large number of historical buildings were constructed and well-maintained through generations.
The Confucius Temple is the third largest Confucius Temple in China, only second to those in Qufu and Beijing. This 700-year temple has beautiful palaces and pavilions.
The Zhu Family Residence was built during the Qing Dynasty by a Zhu family. It is one of the best preserved in all that of southern Yunnan. It is a 2-hectare property and has 214 rooms. You can see beautiful gardens and beautiful houses.
From May 1, 2015, a special train sightseeing journey was opened to visitors to visit Tuanshan village, via the Double Dragons Bridge and the Xiangshui Bridge. The journey is 20km and taking two hours. The one-metre narrow-track railway has been restored from an aged construction which was part of the railway line between China and Vietnam, built by the French government in 1903. It keeps the memory of China, Vietnam and France, it is also an important vestige for 1-meter railway. This railway connected the ancient villages, bridges and architectures along the way, with mixture of French style.
After breakfast, we take road journey towards Yuanyang, home to Hani people. The Hani villages sit high on the hilltop. The gigantic terraces fields they created cascade down from surrounding hillside with very beautiful curves. It has been one of the top destinations for landscape photography whether avid photographers or even amateurs. The sunrise and sunset are highlight moments when the colored clouds reflected from the water-filled field. You can also have some interesting shoots if taking walk from top to down and watch locals working on the lands. We stay overnight right at the Yuanyang and have chances to absorb in views at different hours of the day.
Tips: From December to May, the rice paddies are water filled. The fields turn to green as the young rice plants growing up from May to August; Then changes to golden hues when the harvest arrives at September. The landscape changes throughout the year but always bring you the surprise whenever you come.
Train & Car
Wake up early today to enjoy sunrise at Duoyishu, one of the best point to photograph the morning scene. Do not miss it if weather permits.
After breakfast, we drive back to Kunming. En route, visit the Stone Forest at 80km south of Kunming. It is the largest stone forest in China. It is known for limestone rocks with beautiful shapes. You can photograph pretty rocks.
Transfer to the station for train to Dali. On arrival,pick up and transfer you to the hotel.
Dali is a very scenic town with many interesting things to see. The Bai village of Xizhou live on Bai ethnic groups. It is a well-preserved Bai village of Dali. It shows their traditional white house. Through the visit we can learn more about the authentic local life and their tradition.
The three pagodas of Dali are very pretty 1000-year aged structures. They are built in tripartite formation. With a reflection in the lake and Cangshan Mountain as backdrop, the park is very picturesque.
Lake Erhai is the most beautiful lake in the area, covering 250 square km. We will enjoy cycling parts of the 120km lakeshore, passing by fields, villages and fishing piers.
We back to the Ancient Dali Town, wandering around the street and may stop at shops and bars to relax.
On our way from Dali to Lijiang, we will stop for a visit of Shibaoshan Mountain. It is a beautiful mountain with many historic temples, caves and beautiful sculptures.
On arrival at Lijiang, enjoy leisurely walk in this laid-back town. The old Lijiang City is well-preserved and listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1997. It has beautiful wooden houses of the Naxi ethnic group, small streams flowing in the city. Steps up along the stone paved street, we get to Lion Hill which is an integral part of Lijiang ancient town. Standing on the highest point, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the old town. As far as eye can reach are the rooftops of the old architectures.
Night view of the town is charming with locals dancing at the square, and the lightening town looks like a palace.
After breakfast we firstly drive about 35 minutes to the Jade Dragon Mountain known as Yulong Snow Mountain. The scenery is absolutely beautiful when taking cable car up to the mountain. You have chances to hug the glacier whenever you come.
On the way back to Lijiang town, visit Baisha village which once was the economic and political center of Lijiang and important town of the ancient tea-horse road. Now it still remains 55 Baisha murals, paintings in fine brushwork. The village is also very tranquil without many visitors to come and the Naxi traditional hand-made embroidery can be seen everywhere.
Then spend some time at the the Black Dragon Pool, a park known for its limpid water and picturesque scenery with Jade Dragon Mountain as backdrop.
Today, we head to our next destination - Shangri-la. It is usually the last stop for a 6-12 days Yunnan trip. The road journey takes some 3.5 hours and no other means of transport between these two cities up to now. The country road winds through valleys, high mountains, grasslands and finally upwards to the plateau where the city of Shangri-la sits.
On the way, we will stop for photos at several points if weather permits. An overlook of the first bend of Yangtze River is very impressive. And the must-see sight en route is Tiger Leaping Gorge. The beautiful snow-caped Jade Dragon Mountain and Mount Haba shadow this gorge from Lijiang and Shangrila side separately, making it one of the deepest gorges in the world. There is a platform for visitors to see the rushing water make its way through the narrow gorge here with deafening voices of water as it slaps the big stones in the river and high cliff walls.
Arrive Shangri-la in the late afternoon. Take a good rest to get used to its altitude at 3,450m.
The name of Shangri-la derives from “Shambala” in local language and is known to the world as the spread of the book “Lost Horizon” written by James Hilton. The city is surrounded by beautiful lakes, grassland and mountains. Pudacuo Park we visit today will fulfill our dream for the beautiful landscape.
As home to Tibetan people, it is absolutely the right place to breathe in all Tibetan Culture. We can’t miss the big sight of Songzanlin Monastery which is the largest and most famous Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Yunnan. It is also known as the "Little Potala" because of its architectural similarity.
Airport transfer depending on your flight time.
Tips: many people extend the tour to Tibet from Shangrila. Regular flight is available each day and the road journey to Tibet from is tough but very rewarded. Travel advisors will give more details if interested in.
1. All sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary.
2. Inter-city transport: high-speed train from Kunming to Dali.
3. Ground transfers with air-conditioned vehicle (car, minibus or coach depending on the size of your group).
4. 9 Lunches at local restaurants with a cup of soft drink per meal.
5. 10 nights hotel accommodations with breakfast (based on double occupancy).
6. Local English-speaking guide accompany you throughout each city.
7. Accident insurance during your travel.
1. Chinese visa.
2. Flight to Kunming and from Shangri-la.
3. Tips to driver and tour guide.
4. Personal expenses.
Hotels recommended list are based on our own experience and feedback of former groups. But we can always customize according to your interest and budget.
1. Kunming: Ytel Premium (Kunming Nanping Pedestrian Street Jinma Bijifang) 3*, Kunming Hotel 4*, Grand Park Hotel 5*(or similar)
2. Yuanyang: Timeless Hostel YuanyangYunti2*, Yunti Hotel (shengcun village) 3*, Oness Resort Yuanyang Terrace4* (or similar)
3. Jianshui: Lin An Inn Jianshui 2*, Jianshui Xiu Ju Xian Ting Guesthouse 4*, Resort Tingziyun5*(or similar)
4. Dali: E-outfitting Hotel 3*, Landscape Hotel 4*, Gurong Hotel 5*(or similar)
5. Lijiang: Liwang Hotel3*, House Boss LIJIANG RESORT HOTEL 4*, Glden Path Hospitality5*(or similar)
6. Shangri-la: Le Fu Ge Dan Hotel 3*, The 5th Meteorite Tiankui Hotel4*, The 5th Meteorite · Light-year Hotel 5*(or similar)
15 days before commencement of services: 100% refund.
7 to 14 days before commencement of services: charge 10% of the tour price.
2 to 6 days before commencement of services: charge 50% of the tour price.
Within 2 days of commencement of services or no-show travelers: charge 100% of the tour price.
After the trip has commenced, we are unable to refund any amount for unused services due to your willingness, early departure, late arrival, or missed days on tours.
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