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Train trip from Guilin to Yunnan
Guilin, Zhaoxing, Guiyang, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-la are all famous tourist destinations in southwest of China. These picturesque places offer abundant natural and cultural scenic spots and home to many minority ethnic groups. Take a train ride winding through the mountains to enjoy view of karst limestone terrain and terraced rice fields. Step into the villages and discover the rich, distinctive folk customs and cultures of the different minority groups.
There are daily flights to Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL) from major mainland cities and from Hong Kong, Bangkok (not regular), Kuala Lumpur, Osaka and Seoul.
Three train stations serve the city – Guilin North Railway Station 桂林北火车站, Guilin Railway Station (桂林火车站), Guilin West Railway Station (桂林西火车站). High-speed trains dominates its connection with major domestic cities - Guilin to Nanning 2 hours, Guilin to Liuzhou 1 hour, Guilin to Beijing 10 hours, Guilin to Guangzhou 3 hours, Guilin to Shenzhen 3.5 hours.
High speed railway between these two cities has not opened up yet. Serving on this routes are slow trains named after K, T and Z, taking 9 to 10 hours. Facilities onboard are almost the same and your choices can depend on the availability, preference on daytime train or overnight train.
High speed railway in Yunnan area has not opened up yet. Trains serving Kunming, Dali, Lijiang are all K trains. Currently there are only one station in Kunming – Kunming Railway Station (昆明火车站), and one in Dali – Dali Railway Station (大理火车站) which is 20 km away from the Ancient Dali City. Taxi ride or private car rental is necessary.
Flights also available between Kunming and Dali, costing almost 8 times than train.
The train line has not extended to Shangri-la yet. A country road and flight connect this beautiful place with the outside of world through Lijiang, Kunming and Lhasa. Road journey is the only option from Lijiang to Shangri-la, taking 3 hours for the 175km.
Travel Ideas in Guilin, Sanjiang, Zhaoxing, Guiyang, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-la
What to see in Guilin
Guilin has long been renowned for its scenery of karst topography and is one of China's best-known tourist destinations. The city center is surrounded by two rivers and four lakes, making it very picturesque. There are also many scenic places within a short distance to the city including Longji Rice Terraces Fields, Li River, Yangshuo countryside beauty etc.
1. Arrival in Guilin. 2. Full day visit of Guilin city including Reed Flute Cave, Elephant Trunk Hill, Fubo Hill, Cruise on Two Rivers and Four Lakes. 3. A day Li River Cruise (or Bamboo Rafting) to Yangshuo and visit of Yangshuo countryside. 4. Take morning train from Guilin to Sanjiang.
What to see in Sanjiang
Located in north Guangxi, Sanjiang is name after the three rivers in the county, bordering Hunan and Guizhou. Sanjiang is mainly inhabited by Dong people. It is a very good place to relax and to take in unique Dong culture, Drum buildings, Wind and Rain bridges, picturesque landscapes.
1. Arrive Sanjiang by train and stay overnight there. Visit Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge and the old town in the afternoon. 2. Take morning train to Zhaoxing.
What to see in Zhaoxing
Zhaoxing (肇兴) is a very pretty town home to Dong minority people. It's full of old wooden buildings, wind and rain bridges, and drum towers, and surrounded by beautiful scenery. The opening of Guangzhou- Guizhou high-speed railway brings great convenience to reach this mountainous area.
1. Train from Sanjiang to Congjiang takes only 30 minutes. When arrive at Congjiang station, take a taxi or van rent from ETripChina to Zhaoxing. Afternoon visit of Zhaoxing Town. 2. You can spend the morning hours for a side trip to Tang'an village, some 7 km from Zhaoxing Town. Then board afternoon train from Zhaoxing to Guiyang.
What to see in Guiyang
Guiyang is the capital of Guizhou Province, an area inhabited by 48 ethnic groups. Guiyang is an introduction to the history, culture and natural splendor of Guizhou and China's southwest and also the gateway to step into the minority villages.
1. Arrive Guiyang city two hours later. A leisure afternoon time in the city, or short walk at Qianling Park, good place to have close touch of local people. 2. One day trip to Huangguoshu Waterfall. Take overnight train to Kunming.
What to see in Kunming
Kunming is known as the "City of Eternal Spring", due to its temperate climate. The city has big charm for domestic visitors as well. Most visited attractions includes the Stone Forest, Dianchi Lake, flower market and some local parks. Kunming also serves as a hub from which to explore Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-la, Xishuang banna, Jianshui, Yuanyang in Yunnan Province.
1. Arrive in morning by overnight train. Enjoy the city essential including West Hill, Flower Market and Yuantong Temple. 2. A side trip to Stone Forest, 90 km from Kunming city. Take evening train to Dali.
What to see in Dali
Dali has a long and glorious history. The most notable cultural relics in the town are the ancient city and Three Pagodas. The town is very scenic with Erhai Lake in the front, dotted with Bai villages and Cangshan Mountain as backdrop.
1. Arrive Dali in morning by overnight train. For the rest the day, visit Erhai Park, Bai Village, Three Pagoda and Ancient Town. Stay overnight in the town. 2. Take morning train or bus from Dali to Lijiang.
What to see in Lijiang
Lijiang is the best preserved old town with ethnic features in China. The snow-capped mountain, stunning gorges view of Tiger Leaping Gorge add charm to this place. Must see attractions include Lijiang Ancient Town, Suhe town, Jade Dragon Mountain, Black Dragon Pool and Tiger Leaping Gorge. Spend 2-3 days there to enjoy the ethnic customs and great landscape.
1. Arrive in Lijiang, enjoy a leisure afternoon in Lijiang ancient town and Suhe Town. 2. A day with highlights of Jade Dragon Mountain, Baisha Village and Black Dragon Park. 3. Drive from Lijiang to Shangri-la, visit Tiger Leaping Gorge enroute.
What to see in Shangri-la
Shangri-la has distinctive Tibetan customs and stunning natural beauty. In a short distance for the city, you can visit Songzanlin Monaster, Pudacuo National Park and old city. It is also a paradise for hiking.
1. Arrive in Shangri-la in the late afternoon. Check in. 2. Full day visit of Somsam Monastery, Pudacuo National Park. 3. Continue your trip to Tibet by flight, or other domestic cities by connecting flight at Kunming.
1. Bring along camera for this picturesque tour. 2. Southwest of China is home to many ethnic groups including Dong minority villages in Sanjiang and Zhaoxing, Miao minority Villages in Tang'an, Bai minority village in Dali, Naxi minority in Lijiang and Tibetan village in Shangri-la. They all have distinctive customs and traditions. Learn some basic do's and don'ts before getting to this area. 3. Mentally prepare that no luxury hotels in Sanjiang, Zhaoxing, and few in Guilin, Guiyang, Kunming, Dali and Lijiang.