Experience the culture, sights, local flavors, ancient towns, remote villages and breathtaking outdoors, all in this 13 days private South China tour. Start the tour from Hong Kong, with a highlight trip to travel through its past to present, then tour Guilin to Yangshuo by cruise, taking in breathtaking views of Li River and karst scenery. Continue the Journey to Yunnan, discovering its culturally rich iconic destinations – Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and ShangriLa.

This dynamic itinerary of South China can be tailored just for you, and you will travel with all expert guides.

Top Things to Do:

  • Discover the cultural and scenic delights of Hong Kong on a guided tour.
  • Cruise Li River and bike Yangshuo, being embraced by picturesque scenery and idyllic countryside.
  • Stand in awe before the karst pinnacles and spires of UNESCO Shilin Global Geopark.
  • Explore Dali Old Town, admiring traditional Bai architectures, pagoda complex, and cruising Erhai Lake at sunset.
  • Soak up Naxi culture and sights of Lijiang, touring Tiger Leaping Gorge, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and ancient villages.
  • Journey through the pure and divine land of ShangriLa, visiting Ganden Sumtseling Monastery and a pottery village.
  • Travel Style: private tour, classic, culture, nature, train tour

    Best Time to Travel: All year round

    Destinations: Hong Kong, Guilin, Yangshuo, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, ShangriLa


    Meals: No Meals

    Upon arriving at Hong Kong airport, be met and welcomed by your private guide of Yunnan Discovery and transferred with a private vehicle to your hotel. After setting in, you may hang out and enjoy the atmosphere of Hong Kong’s bustling streets.

    Meals: Breakfast

    Take a private guided tour of Hong Kong Island for the must-sees. Firstly enjoy one-way Peak Tram to get to Victoria Peak, the highest of Hong Kong Island, where you can overlook the Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong’s stunning urban landscape.

    Later tour Aberdeen on a sampan. It is famous for being a floating fishing village with many floating seafood restaurants. End the tour with a visit to Repulse Bay, with Hong Kong’s most beautiful sea beach hailed as “the oriental Hawaii”, or Stanley Market, lined with a wide spectrum of local crafts and souvenir shops selling antiques, Chinese paintings, postcards, clothes, etc.

    For the rest of the day, you can explore Hong Kong’s bustling shopping streets and taste the many flavors of Hong Kong which mixes both the Chinese and Western cuisines.

    Meals: Breakfast

    Enjoy a transfer service with a private vehicle to Hong Kong West Kowloon Railway Station and ride a high speed train barreling to Guilin (3h19min).

    Upon on arrival, pick up and transfer to the foot of Folded Brocade Hill (Diecai Hill). Enjoy an easy mountain walk to the summit (about 20 minutes) for an amazing panorama of Guilin City – the silky Li River divides the city into two parts, surrounded by limestone peaks extending as far as your eye can reach. When the night comes, you may enjoy walking around the central lakes and the pedestrian streets to try some local snacks.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Today, cruise Li River – part of UNESCO-listed South China Karst – from Guilin to Yangshuo. Have you ever seen a Chinese landscape painting before? A Li River cruise makes you feel you are cruising on the painting. Surrounding you are dramatic karst peaks connecting with rural farmlands and pristine villages.

    Land in Yangshuo. Enjoy a walk on the fascinating West Street to cross the Yangshuo town center. This ancient street is now full of shops and cafes, of a laidback atmosphere.

    Do you always dream of returning to countryside life? Today you have the fulfillment. It is your decision to ride a bicycle or a private vehicle along country roads and riverside paths to slide deep into Yangshuo countryside with a beautiful and tranquil setting. Bike/drive through traditional villages and drop by a local family living in original mud-brick houses. The villagers will share with you the local lifestyle and traditional way of farming.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    This morning, you will have an understanding of Chinese martial arts (Kung Fu) by taking a Tai Chi boxing lesson in Yangshuo. Tai Chi is an important school of martial arts, blending traditional Chinese philosophy. Follow your master to practice those soft moves to exercise your body, calm your mind, and get to know the essence of Kung Fu.

    Check out from hotel, and transfer to visit Reed Flute Cave in Guilin. It is a natural Karst cave full of shinning stalactites and stalagmites. You will see them in diverse sizes, shapes and modelings. Some are like animals, some are tables, curtains, waterfalls, and even “skyscrapers”. With fantastic lighting effects, Feed Flute Cave is really a magical cave palace.

    Then take high speed train from Guilin to Kunming (4h14min).

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Today drive to visit Yunnan Stone Forest Geological Park (UNESCO) in Shilin County. It is a typical example of karst geological and geomorphic relics on Earth and the origin of the word "stone forest". Here you can view the oldest, most diverse and complex limestone formations, including pinnacles, peaks, caves, stalactites, natural bridges, waterfalls… in an area of 500 km2.

    Drive back to downtown Kunming. Free at leisure for the rest of the day.

    Things to do in Kunming at Night:

    Dynamic Yunnan (optional) – It is a fabulous music and dance show, blending the local folk songs and original dances with modern technology and extraordinary light effects. Most of the performers are local ethnic villagers of Yunnan.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Depart Kunming, and take the bullet train to Dali - travel further off the beaten path. Upon arrival, pick up and transfer to your hotel.

    Have a guided walking tour of Dali Old Town. Once the political and cultural center of Yunnan, it is one of top places to visit when planning a Yunnan tour, with glorious history, splendid culture and long-standing ethnic Bai traditions.

    Drive out of Dali Old town and admire Chengsheng Temple and its Three Pagodas, dating to the 9th Century. They are the iconic structures of Dali and an ancient Buddhist shrine. It is said that several monarchs of Nanzhao Kingdom seek Dharma as a monk in this temple.

    End the day with a relaxing boat cruise on Erhai Lake. Take in the beautiful, serene views of the lake and also the Cangshan Mountain afar. Enjoy a shore excursion to Tianjing Pavilion on a peninsular.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Delve deep into Bai culture and traditions on a tour of Xizhou Old Town, where you can see a notable set of Bai dwellings, exquisitely designed, carefully built, and well protected. You will be also led to a local traditional wet market – the best place to experience a local way of living, and see the Bai people dressed in traditional costumes.

    Drive about 2.5 hours from Dali to Lijiang, the lovely home of Naxi people. Have a guided walking tour of Lijiang Old Town, one of the two UNESCO-protected ancient towns in China. View traditional Naxi dwellings and architectures built along the slabstone paths and relax with a cheerful ambiance.

    Then get in Lijiang’s iconic landmark – the park of Black Dragon Pool, where there is a Dongba Museum. Try yourself to take a perfect photo with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain reflected on the pool.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Get in Lijiang Naxi people’s holy mountain – Jade Dragon Snow Mountain – to take in breathtaking views and watch world’s highest open-air show. Ride cable car to Spruce Meadow, the ideal “Third Kingdom of Jade Dragon” according to Naxi Dongba classics. Then visit the Blue Moon Valley where the White Water River is located. The terraced river flow quietly and create fabulous falls. Later enjoy the Impression Lijiang Show, with great music and dance performed by normal villagers. By watching the show, you can understand better Naxi culture and their pure and deep love for their home and nature.

    Drive to Yuhu Village, a hidden remote hamlet, where the mud-stone houses are kept and the traditional village life continues. Visit the former residence of Dr. Joseph Rock, an American adventure and honored as “the Father of Naxi Dongba Culture”, who used to live in Yuhu Village for 27 years.Afterwards, come to Baisha Ancient Town, the cradle of Naxi. View its ancient layout and architectures, and witness the traditional Naxi craft arts. Pay a visit to Baisha Murals, the greatest artistic accomplishment of Naxi, blending religions, Dongba culture and Han painting.

    Meals: Breakfast

    Today there are not planned site visits. Therefore you can relax at hotel, spend carefree hours at a café, bask in warm sunshine and have a brisk stroll of Lijiang Old Town by yourself.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Continue the tour from Lijiang to ShangriLa. En route, Get into Shigu Town, with a significant military strategy location in ancient times, and vital to the transportation between Yunnan and Tibet. Besides, it is the best place to view the First Bend of Yangtze River. The mighty Yangtze traverses the mountains and valleys of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau from east to north, but it is stopped here, forming a huge V-shape.

    Then enjoy the breathtaking views of Tiger Leaping Gorge – the deepest and most beautiful gorge in China. The mountains soar up to the sky, while the Jinsha River roars on the deep bottom. Hikers also list Tiger Leaping Gorge one of the 10 best treks in the world.

    Arrive ShangriLa, a remote, isolated land at the foot of Himalayas that allows you to escape to the fresh mountain air.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    In the morning, have a spiritual tour of Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, the biggest and most famous Tibetan Buddhist temple in Yunnan, also known as “Yunnan’s Potala Palace”. Marvel at Samstanling Monastery’s beautiful architecture and get to know its history and culture.

    Thereafter, come to the 1300-year-old Dukezong Ancient Town. Also known as the Moonlight City, it was built based on the myth of Shambhala, the heavenly realm of Buddhism. Get to the top of Guishan Hill, where you see world’s largest prayer wheel, as high as 21m, and also view ShangriLa from a higher altitude.

    Then appreciate traditional Chinese pottery art at Nixi Tangdui Village. Here the locals manually craft black pottery for over 1000 years. Get the chance to the witness the making process of black pottery at a workshop.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Hopefully you have had an unforgettable journey through South China with wonderful culture experiences and sightseeing trips. You will be transferred to the airport by private vehicle with private guide and driver – end of your 13 days South China itinerary. Yunnan Discovery service ends.

    What's included

    • One-on-one travel counseling service with fully tailor-made itinerary
    • Private English-speaking guide, native-born or with years of local life experience
    • Reservations of domestic flights and trains as listed on your itinerary
    • Private driver, with comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle
    • Entry tickets to all attractions on your itinerary
    • Private transfers to airport/hotels/attractions
    • Handpicked accommodations to meet your needs, with daily breakfast
    • Lunch and dinner arranged at local restaurants, for taste of China
    • International flight tickets or train tickets
    • China Visa (but we can send you the invitation letter to help you apply China visa)
    • Tips for guides, escort, drives, bellman
    • Personal expenses

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