Highlights

Travel to Yunnan China in 15 days and experience a far-from-the-world vibe. You'll start with a classic Kunming to Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La tour, and then venture to tropical Xishuangbanna in South Yunnan. Finally, reach Pu'er and rarely-seen ancient tea farms to enjoy the aroma of tea and tea culture.

The local guides of Yunnan Discovery will make sure you enjoy every moment of your Yunnan tour, and lead you to the unique ancient towns, mysterious hillside hideaways, gorgeous nature, tropical landscape and 'tea museums'.

Top Things to Do:

  • Visit Stone Forest of 270 million years old, unique and fascinating to travelers.
  • Escape to Dali Ancient Town and enjoy a relaxing break by Er'hai Lake cruise.
  • Explore the historical alleyways and dwellings in Shaxi, where local life is long lost to modernity.
  • Enjoy a vacation in Lijiang Old Town where retains quaint but busy, whilst the fantastic show of Impression Lijiang is staged on Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
  • Be amazed at the Tiger Leaping Gorge and stay in Shangri-La, standing aloof from the world.
  • Travel from Xishuangbanna to Pu'er, for tropical getaway and a dedicated tea tour experience.
  • Travel Style: private tour, original, classic, culture, tea tour

    Best Time to Travel: All year round

    Destinations: Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La, Xishuangbanna, Pu'er

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    Day

    Meals Included: No meals

    Welcome to Yunnan! On arrival at Kunming Changshui International Airport, meet your private guide and driver and transfer to your hotel in the Kunming city center. The rest of the day is your own exploration in Kunming, e.g. take a look of the city marks and have a walk through the pedestrian streets or beautiful parks. You will soon acclimatize yourself to local spring-like weather, pleasant and balmy. It sounds a good start for your Yunnan tour.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

    Today you are taking a private trip to Stone Forest, the highlight of Kunming and one of the must-see attractions in Yunnan. It takes about 1.5 hours to get to Stone Forest, 90km southeast of downtown Kunming.

    For decades, travelers throughout the world have been drawn to spectacular Stone Forest, which in fact has been standing for millions of years, and honorably listed as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage and a world geological park.

    When walking through Stone Forest Geological Park (for about 2.5 hours), you will be amazed at the exotic rock formations of the uncanny workmanship of nature. There are jagged peaks, karst caves, waterfalls, underground rivers and other things to see in Stone Forest. Afterwards, transfer back to Kunming.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

    Your Kunming tour guide will pick you up from your hotel in the morning and transfer to Kunming South Railway Station. Ride a bullet train to Dali. On arrival, meet your private Dali guide and driver, drive directly to Dali Ancient Town.

    Transfer to visit the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple, 1.5km northwest of Dali Old Town and 1.5km away from the foot of Cangshan Mountain. It was a royal temple of Ancient Dali Kingdom and built in the 9th Century. There were nine emperors in history who chose to be monks and did Buddhist practice in Chongsheng temple. No wonder it has become a symbol of Dali.

    Back to the old town of Dali, you are encouraged (own arrangement) to take a leisure walk through the age-old streets, lined with typical Bai style architecture complex converted to shops, restaurants, tea houses, cafes… You will also find enticing galleries and traditional artisan's workshops.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

    In the morning, have an exhilarating hour on Erhai Lake with a cruise trip, which is the best way to enjoy the tranquility and picturesque nature of Dali. Sit back on a small fishing boat (available for 20 people in all) and gently passing by shoals, islets, villages... Chance is offered to get to Jinsuo Island, used to be a summer retreat for the emperors of Dali Kingdom.

    Then your guide will lead you to a traditional wet market at Xizhou Town. For city residents from the West, it is messy, noisy and a bit dirty, but full of surprises. The vendors (many in traditional costumes) are busy working behind the fruit, vegetable and meat stalls, while the costumers come and go…

    Also you will visit Xizhou Ancient Town, where local Bai people have been living for over one thousand years and created splendid culture, showcased in costumes, cuisines, folklores and its unique artistic residential architectures.

    After lunch at a local restaurant in Xizhou Town, transfer to Shaxi Ancient Town in Jianchuan Prefecture. Being more than 2400 years old, Shaxi offers a journey through time. The well-preserved architectures, murals and historical sites in Shaxi Ancient Town unveil the Buddhist art and prosperous Dali (Nanzhao) Kingdom centuries ago.

    In 2001, the Sideng Market Area of Shaxi was entered into the List of the World's 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monument Fund (WMF), together with the Great Wall.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

    In Shaxi, you are most likely to have a cosy night by sleeping like a baby and in the morning wake up refreshed. Get ready for a hiking trip to exercise the body. Hike from Shaxi to Shibaoshan for about 3 hours. Along the road, you will see paddy farms, vegetable fields, primitive villages, rolling mountains afar and clear blue sky above (during sunny day).

    Get to Shibao Mountain (Precious Stone Mountain) which is of typical Danxia Landform and features oddly-shaped hills and stones, looking like bell, sword, lion, elephant…

    Visit Baoxiang Temple on Shibaoshan, known as the "Hanging Temple" in Yunnan, and also the exquisite over 1000-year-old grottoes at Shizhong Temple. The Jianchuan Shizhongshan Grottoes are art treasures of Dali Nanzhao Kingdom, and important historical relics to study Bai people's culture and folklores.

    After lunch, drive for 2 hours to get to Lijiang. Its historical area is known as the best ancient town in China and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage in 2012. Have a walking tour of Lijiang Ancient Town, a maze of crooked lanes leading to all directions and crisscrossed by a network of tiny streams. When the night falls, enjoy yourself the fascinating night life in Lijiang Ancient Town.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

    This morning a visit will be made to the beautiful Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (made of 12 peaks at 4000+ meters), a holy mountain for Naxi people. Its main peak, at 5596 meters, remained unconquered. The mountain features glacial landscape, alpine meadows, primeval forest, etc.

    Drive to Ganhaizi Scenic Area (at 3050m) of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Right here, at the world's highest live-action stage, you will watch the awesome Impression Lijiang Show. The connections, between Naxi people and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, between Naxi people and Lijiang Ancient Town, between Naxi people and nature, are the themes of Impression Lijiang.

    Afterwards, take Jade Dragon Snow Mountain cable car to get to Spruce Meadow (at 3240m), a large alpine meadow surrounded by primitive forest. Walk around for incredible views.

    In the afternoon, visit Yuhu Village, relatively less visited by tourists, hence a more traditional Naxi lifestyle goes on here. Dr. Joseph Rock, a renowned US naturalist and adventurer used to live in Yuhu Village as a hermit for 27 years. Have a walk to the peaceful Yuhu Lake and grassland giving off sweet fragrance. Continue the trip and visit Baisha Ancient Village, full of history and cultural sites, including Baisha Murals dating back over 500 hundred years, important treasures of Buddhist art and mural art.

    Before transfer back to Lijiang Ancient Town, visit Black Dragon Pool. Its water nurtures people in the old town. The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, together with the ancient pavilions and a five-hole arch bridge, is reflected on the crystal clear water.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

    Take a road trip from Lijiang to Shangri-La. Visit Shigu Town(Stone Drum Town)and Tiger Leaping Gorge en route. Shigu Town was a strategic place in history, and today a peaceful quaint village hidden in mountains. From Shugu Town, you'll have a close look at the first bend of Yangtze River, part of Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The view is amazing!

    Head for Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the must-visit places in Yunnan and world famous for its steepness and dangerous beauty. The winding (trekking) paths hidden among trees and hills lead to a pristine world. Every year, numerous travelers and adventurers are attracted to Tiger Leaping Gorge, and challenge one of the world's most classic hiking trails.

    After lunch, drive towards northwest and get to Zhongdian (Shangri-La) on the Tibetan Plateau, a place of mysteries and purity.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

    Today, we have a fascinating full day tour of Shangri-La (at 3459 meters), known as the "mini-Tibet". Most of the residents in Shangri-La are Tibetans, who believe in Tibetan Buddhist and live a very different life from the rest of the world.

    Transfer to visit Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, a magnificent palace built against a hillside. Hailed as the "Mini Potala Palace", Sumtseling Monastery has far-reaching influence in the Tibetan region. It is also a treasure house of Tibetan Buddhist art. Look afar, you will see holy Shika Snow Mountain stand majestically and safeguard this pure land.

    Come to Dukezong Ancient Town, or another romantic name City of Moonlight. Legend has that it was built exactly according to the ideal land of Shambhala in sutra. Historically, it was an important town of Ancient Tea Horse Road. Walking on the rugged cobbled paths, you will feel peaceful and relaxed.

    After lunch in a local restaurant in Dukezong Ancient Town, proceed to Nixi (Tanwei) Pottery Village, embraced by four sacred mountains in Shangri-La. The village produces black pottery, with traditional pottery manufacturing techniques that have been passed down for more than 1000 years. See what the potteries are made by artisans on site.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    This morning you will be transferred to the Shangri-La Airport for your onward flight to Xishuangbanna (you need to transfer at Kunming Changshui International Airport). Upon arrival in Jinghong, meet your local guide of Xishuangbanna and transfer to the hotel to check in. You are now in an ideal and magical land (this is exactly what Xishuangbanna means)!

    Transfer to visit Manting Park, tracing back 1300 years and used to be a royal garden of the Dai kings. This natural village style park is a great place to experience Buddhist culture, as well as the folklores and royal culture of Dai. Visit Zongfo Temple covering 3000 sq m, located right next to Manting Park. It is the most important Buddhist Temple in Jinghong, and the center of Jinghong's Buddhist activities.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

    Pick up from hotel and transfer from downtown Jinghong to Menglun Town, Mengla and have a tour of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTNG). It is the largest tropical botanical garden in China that features the widest range of plants, including many rare species. Have a relaxing time surrounded by beautiful tropical flowers, plants and rainforest.

    Thereafter drive back to Jinghong, visit Ganlanba (literally Olive Dam, at 530m) en route, the lowest and hotest place in Xishuangbanna. There are over 80 Dai ethnic minority villages in Ganlanba, where villagers have been living in a traditonal life of farming and planting fruits. Walk around to discover many quaint wooden dwellings and holy Buddhist temples, and also enjoy coolness under the towering trees. Furthermore, your guide will lead you to the interesting traditional markets of Dai people.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Pick up from hotel and drive from Jinghong to Menghai, west of Xishuangbanna and bordering Burma. A land of abundance in Yunnan, Menghai is also the hometown of the famous "pu'er tea" and one of the earliest tea producing areas in China.

    Hike on Nannuo Mountain to visit an 800-year-old tea tree in the forest. The teas on Nannuo Mountain, excellent in quality, have been sold to many Southeast Asian counties (via Ancient Tea Horse Road in the past).

    Visit a tea factory on Nannuo Mountain. Get a rare chance to join the farmers to pick tea trees during the tea season (normally between March and October), see how the teas are made and sip authentic pu'er tea of different sorts.

    30 Aini ethnic villages are nestled on the slopes of Nannuo Mountain. Visit a local Aini family and chat with the friendly hosts over a cup of home-grown Pu'er tea. (Aini is a branch of the Hani ethnic minority in Yunnan province. Their people also settle down in Laos.)

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    After breakfast, transfer to Manzhao Village in Menghun Town, known as the paper-making village in Xishuangbanna. See local Dai people make paper with tree barks in a traditional way. It takes about 10 procedures to make a piece of perfect paper. The handmade paper was originally used for Buddhist activities, and now is mostly used for tea packing.

    Travel furter to Jingmai Mountain at the junction of Xishuangbanna, Pu'er City and Burma. It is another place in Yunnan that produces large quantities of pu'er tea, and praised as the "World Tea Culture Museum". Visit the 2000-hectare ancient tea tree plantation on the mountain, which is the best preserved and oldest cultivated ancient tea plantation in the world.

    Walk through the rolling tea fields, to observe the green natural world and breathe in fresh air. Stay at Jingmai Mountain for a tranquil and pleasant night.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    In the morning, see more of the ancient tea trees on Jingmai Mountain. And visit traditional villages hidden in the valley. The local villagers of Dai, Hani, Wa and Han have been living peacefully on the mountain for centuries and created the endless tea farms what you see today.

    Leave Jingmai behind and drive to Lancang Lahu Autonomous County (so named because of being east of Lancang River). En route visit a traditional Lahu village, where local Lahu people love and are very good at music and dancing.

    Enjoy a speciality lunch at a local Luhu family, and taste tea foods cooked in a traditional clay pot. You will also be impressed by their beautiful singing and unique ethnic customs. Continue driving and move to Pu'er City, a settlement for 14 ethnic minorities and enjoys a reputation of "World Tea Source".

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

    In the morning, transfer to visit Laiyanghe Natural Preserve, where there are 196 families of 1,722 species of plants, including 22 conservative plants, and over 200 species of birds and animals. Venture into the dense virgin forest to appreciate the serenity and beauty of nature.

    Head for Pu'er Tea Culture Park. Immerse yourself in the subtle fragrance of tea. Pu'er city was once an important post on the "Ancient Tea Horse Road". And you may already known that It is now one of the most important producing areas of the famous pu'er tea and one of the largest tea producing areas in China. The Tea Culture Park is a great place for you to visit the tea trees, taste teas, and get to know the history and culture of pu'er tea.

    After lunch, take an afternoon flight fro Pu'er to Kunming. Transfer to hotel to check in.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

    Free at leisure in the morning. Your guide and driver will escort you to the airport. Your 15 days Yunnan tour ends. Fly back home and welcome to Yunnan again!

    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 Yunnan
    • 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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