Highlights

Simply get away from the hassle and bustle of modern city and escape to Southwest China’s remote ancient villages – the truly peaceful hideaways on Earth. Unlike any other China tour, this private village tour of Yunnan Discovery makes sure you explore ancient Chinese culture, experience genuine village life of China and various ethnic traditional custom, sock up the quaint atmosphere and find magical serenity – all in those well-hidden but breathtaking villages.

Top Things to Do:

  • Take 15 days Southwest China village tour to explore the mystical ethnic minority area and get a real insight into the soul of these places.
  • Cruise Li River to soak in the surreal karst scenery, then visit the countryside with an ancient village in Yangshuo.
  • Walk Longji Rice Terraces stretching on big mountains, cultivated by Zhuang and Yao people, and visit their hillside villages with stilted buildings.
  • Ramble Zhaoxing Dong villages to admire spectacular Dong architectures including the Wind and Rain Bridge, Dong drum towers and timber dwellings.
  • Venture to the little-known Miao villages hidden in mountainous Guizhou, where the thousand year-old traditions retained, appreciating their embroidery costumes, music and Miao architectures.
  • See tribal villagers in Dali and Lijiang old towns practice their centuries-old crafts of tie-dying and embroidery, learning their skills with lessons.
  • Enjoy the beauty of traditional Chinese garden, bridge and Confucius temple complex in JIanshui Old Town and Tuanshan Village.
  • Travel Style: original, private tour, culture, ethnic, adventure, photography

    Best Time to Travel: all year round

    Destinations: Guilin, Zhaoxing, Rongjiang, Kaili, Guiyang, Lijiang, Dali, Kunming, Jianshui

    Day

    Meals: No Meals

    Fly into Guilin and arrive at Guilin Liangjiang International Airport. Your private local guide of Yunnan Discovery has been waiting outside the customs to greet you. Transfer to your hotel - check in and relax. Alternatively, explore Guilin on your own to walk around the central lakes where the Sun and Moon Twin Pagodas and Elephant Trunk Hill are located.

    >> Is Hong Kong the entry city of your Southwest China Village tour? If so, you are encouraged to travel from Hong to Guilin by high speed train, with duration of only 3h19m.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Embark on a cruise down Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo. Delight in breath-taking views of Karst scenery along Li River, which is part of South China Karst World Heritage. From the cruise, you can see distant villages, farmlands and country roads. There’s also chance to observe cormorant fishing on Li River.

    Disembark in the wharf of Yangshuo. Roam through the West Street and meet your driver for a drive to the deep heart of Yangshuo countryside (away from the tourists). Discover the ancient bridges like 800-year-old Yulong Bridge and visit the 16th-century Jiuxian Village located beside the picturesque Yulong River. The Qing Dynasty grey brick mansions and mud brick farm houses of enticingly historical setting currently remind intact. And your guide can lead you to visit a local family and chat with the friendly villagers.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Drive for about 3½ hours from Yangshuo to Longji Rice Terraces, where the hundreds year-old terraced fields stretch for an area of 66 square kilometers (25 sq. mi.) on the vast mountain slops, looking like “a huge dragon’s backbones”. Walk up to the observation platforms for the best views.

    Then your guide will lead you to visit Longji Ancient Zhuang Village. The local Zhuang people spent hundreds of years to build Longji Rice Terraces and their beautiful hillside village. Here you can see one of China’s largest wooden stilted building groups and their traditional way of living and farming.

    >> Desire to experience more of local village life and taste local specialty foods? We can arrange you the hands-on activity to make bamboo-tube-rice at local family.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    After breakfast, leave Longji and head for Chengyang in Sanjiang (1½ hours driving). Admire Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge (Yongji Bridge) – the best example of wooden architecture of Dong nationality, and known as one of the four great ancient bridges in the world. Also explore the nearby Dong villages of Chengyang, to experience traditional customs and more Dong dwellings and structures.

    Continue your tour to Zhaoxing Dong Village (1½ hours driving). The biggest Dong village in Guizhou Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, Zhaoxing is also a crucial cultural center of Dong to protect the indigenous people and one of most beautiful villages in China. Admire Zhaoxing’s spectacular drum towers and other Dong architectural complex including bridges, water wheel, theaters and riverside dwelling houses.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Hike about 2 to 3 hours (with time of photography), through picturesque scenery, to Tang’an Village, inhibited by about 800 Dong people. It was built 700 years ago and still retains its original look as a remote idyllic world – the fields are reclaimed against the mountainside, also creating the incredible scene of terraced fields, and the stilted dwellings are nestled in the hills and fields.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Drive for about 1h½ hours to get to Basha Miao Village hidden in the verdant forest. Known as the last gunmen tribe in the world, Basha’s villagers still retain the tradition of wearing firearms. You can also see the ancient customs like shaving hair with a sickle and worshiping the ancient trees.

    Basha Miao people’s attire is unique. Basha women’s costumes are embroidered with beautiful patterns and match with shining silver necklaces and bracelets. Basha men keep a very special ancient hair style, similar to Japanese samurai’s, which symbolize the woods in the forest. And their hand-made deep-blue-colored cotton garment and trousers symbolize the tree barks.

    After the visit of Baisha, continue your trip to Rongjiang (2 hours’ driving).

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Depart Rongjiang for Kaili, the autonomous prefecture center of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture (about 2½ hours’ driving). Head for Langde & Paika Miao Villages in Leishan County.

    Langde Miao Village is habited by about 100 Miao families. Admire Langde’s ancient building complexes including diaojiaolou dwellings, rain and wind bridges, and Lusheng Chang. There’s chance to see and join in the traditional Miao dance with lusheng music. Then visit Paika Village, the famous production area of lusheng – a popular traditional musical instrument among Miao, Yao and Dong people. Nearly 1/5 of the local families make lusheng for a living. Observe the process of how lusheng is made.

    Stay overnight in Kaili

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Drive from Kaili to Guiyang, where you will catch the flight to Lijiang - the sanctuary for Naxi people for generations.

    Experience the wonderful night life of Lijiang Old Town (Dayan) on your own. It is one of the two UNESCO-protected ancient towns in China. As the capital city of ancient Lijiang, Dayan was carefully and exquisitely constructed along the streams. The local Naxi buildings combine the traditional Chinese architecture styles and absorb the unique skills of Tibetan and Bai architectures.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Today take the chance to explore more of Lijiang’s Naxi minority culture and also its breathtaking landscapes. Drive to Ganhaizi Scenic Area of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain where you can enjoy the Impression Lijiang - the highest open-air show on earth. Local normal Naxi people dance and participate in this fantastic show. You will be impressed by Naxi people’s love for their holy snow mountain, their respect for the mother nature and their legendary stories. Then take Spruce Meadow cable car up to a serene meadow surrounded by verdant forests.

    Later ramble the peaceful Yuhu Village, where the Naxi people still live in the original stone-wall dwellings and retain a traditional way of lifestyle. Come at the former residence of Dr Joseph Rock who used to live here for 27 years to research Lijiang and the Naxi culture.

    Then visit the ancient Naxi kingdom – Baisha Old Town to discover Lijiang’s original chieftain system and Dongba Culture. Admire the 14th to 17th-century Baisha Murals and Naxi people’s traditional embroidery skill at an institute. And even take a Naxi silk embroidery class.

    Pay a visit to the Black Dragon Pool before driving back Dayan.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    This morning drive for 2 hours to Shaxi Old Town in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. You can see a lot of ancient bridges over the rivers along the way. Centuries of years ago, the Tea-horse Trading Route prospered Shaxi, but today it is a humble, forgotten city.

    Have a guided walking tour of Shaxi Ancient Town to discover its old streets and beautiful architectures – it is like a journey through time. The well-preserved Xingjiao temple, ancient Shaxi Theater, murals and other historical sites in Shaxi Ancient Town unveil the prosperous Dali (Nanzhao) Kingdom centuries ago. The Sideng Street is one of the endangered sites listed by the World Monuments Fund.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    After breakfast, drive through villages and farmlands to Shibaoshan Mountain, a treasure trove of Yunnan grotto art. Shibaoshan itself is a magical land with a concentration of Danxia red sandstone formations. Besides, it is praised as the “Dunhuang in Southwest China” because of the ancient grottoes and the cliffside Buddhist statues.

    Visit the 800-year-old Baoxiang Temple, constructed surprisingly on a steep rocky cliff, thus known as the ‘Hanging Temple’ in Yunnan. And appreciate the well-preserved carved grottoes of Shizhongshan. They are some of the best examples of Chinese Buddhist grottoes art and precious cultural relics of Bai nationalities.

    Make your way to the old town of Dali (2 hours’ driving). The soul and heartland of Bai people, it is once the political, economic and cultural center of ancient Yunnan. Stroll around the old town for relaxation.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Have a visit of Chongheng Temple with its three pagodas, which was the royal temple of ancient Dali kingdom, and an iconic structure in the Cangshan Mountain - Erhai Lake Scenic Area. These thousand years-old pagodas are really magnificent, and the finest examples of China’s pagoda architectures.

    Then drive to Xizhou Old Town, where you can see the Ming and Qing Dynasty traditional Bai dwellings and courtyards, with richly beautiful ornaments - the carved crossbeams, painted rafters and screen walls… your guide will also lead you to visit a traditional wet market of Xizhou.

    Visit the natural Zhoucheng Village. Here the customs of the Bai nationality are still very well retained, thus the village is hailed as a living fossil of Bai folk customs. Enjoy Bai nationality’s unique tea ceremony – the Three-course Tea at a local family. Zhoucheng is also the hometown of Bai tie-dye. Join in a tie-dye lesson to witness firsthand how locals still do tie-dye with home facilities and learn the skills to make your own tie-dye cloth.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Continue your China Village tour and take a bullet train from Dali to Kunming. Pick up and drive for about 3 hours to Jianshui Old Town, stretching to the Old Stone Age. There are over 50 ancient building complexes, making the old town a museum of ancient Chinese architectures.

    Have a walking tour Jianshui Old Town, visiting Changyang City Gate, the second biggest Confucius Temple in China built in Qing Dynasty, and Family Zhu's Garden, a traditional Chinese garden featuring exquisite design, beautiful wood carvings, and fits perfectly into the tranquil surroundings.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Explore Tuanshan Village, one of the most beautiful and culturally rich villages in China and retains its 19th-century original layout. It was inscribed on the list of "100 Protected Memorial Architectural Heritages" by the World Cultural Heritage Fund. Family Zhang's Garden is the finest architecture example in Tuanshan Village, and the second largest traditional garden in Jianshui, of very high artistic value. The whole complex suggests a gracious style of living.

    Appreciate the beautiful Double Dragon (Shuanglong) Bridge, another masterpiece of ancient Chinese bridge, 148.26m long and with 17 arches.

    Drive for about 3 hours to arrive Shilin County, where the Stone Forest is located.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    This morning visit the UNESCO-protected Stone Forest Scenic Area. It is a majestic geological park and one of the oldest natural heritages on Earth, being part of South China Karst. Take in the sweep of Karst topography evolution history when walking through the enormous forest of rocky pinnacles.

    Then be transferred by your private Yunnan Discovery guide and driver to the airport of Kunming, and board your departure international flight. Your 15 days Southwest China village tour 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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