Your longing to return to a primitive world with true life experience with ethnic minority tribes will be answered – check our 7 days Yunnan minority culture tour. Escape to pristine mountainous villages in Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, where many of the China's ethnic minority groups live. Your local tour guide is quite familiar with the locations and local people, and knows where to discover and dig authentic traditions and customs.

To meet your individual plans, the tour itinerary can be tailored around you. So call to schedule a bespoke minority culture tour in Yunnan.

Top things to do:

  • 7 days Kunming to Yuanyang & Jinping ethnic minority discovery to glimpse the culture and life of Miao, Hani, Yi and other nationalities;
  • Wonder at Yuanyang Rice Terraces stretching beyond the mountains and rivers;
  • Your guide will lead to you the authentic local markets, where various tribes gather together, and speak their own languages, wear their unique outfits and purchase foods and goods;
  • Meet with friendly local tribal villagers, who’ll share with you their stories, culture and customs;
  • Experience a quiet life of the remaining corners of a bygone world, with clean atmosphere and closeness to nature.
  • Travel Style: private tour, ethnic culture, off the beaten track

    Best Time to Travel: All year round

    Destinations: Kunming, Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Yuanyang


    Meals Included: No Meals

    Ni hao, welcome to Yunnan in Southwest China, the kingdom of ethnic minorities! Your local guide of Yunnan Discovery has been waiting for you at the Kunming Changshui International Airport and will give you a warm welcome. Transfer to your hotel in downtown Kunming and start your Yunnan minority culture exploration with a visit to Yunnan Nationalities Village (if time permits).

    The epitome of Yunnan minority culture, the village consists of Yunnan Nationalities Museum and 25 small villages inhabited by Dai, Bai, Yi, Naxi, Wa, Tibet, Sole Dragon, Miao, Zhuang and other major ethnic minorities in Yunnan. Yunnan Nationalities Village is a nice place for people to know the different architectural styles and ethnic costumes of various nationalities, and glimpse their unique lifestyles.

    Stay overnight in Kunming.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    The mountainous Yuanyang in Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture is our destination today (5 hours driving in all). The minority groups of Hani, Yi, Dai, Miao, Yao and Zhuang have been living in Yuanyang for generations. Stop by Red River (Honehe) Valley and see the Red River divide Yunnan into two parts – the highlands in the north and the river valley landscape in the south. Flowing through this barren valley, Red River will finally reach Vietnam.

    The minority culturally rich Yuanyang possesses China’s most spectacular rice terraces, which have been continually cultivated by local Hani people for over 1300 years and extending over the Ailao Mountain slops and down to Honghe River banks. Watch the sun sets slowly at Laohuzui Rice Terraces Scenic Area (Mouth of Tiger), the core area of the Honghe Hani Rice Terraces when it was listed as UNESCO World Heritage site and a national wetlands park. Enjoy this remarkable cultural landscape, take photos, and also watch the locals working hardly on the fields. They show much respect for the lands and get what they desire from the lands.

    Stay overnight in Yuanyang.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    This morning we’ll discover more of the Yuanyang Rice Terraces with visits to the 650-hectare Douyishu Rice Terraces distributed on the slopes between 25 to 50 degrees, and the 950-hectare Bada Rice Terraces with 3700 terraces stretching all the way to the top of a mountain, 2,000mabove sea level. Both Duoyishu and Bada are ideal for sightseeing and good places to catch a shot of the sea of clouds over terraced fields - if you happen to bring with cameras in a good weather.

    Transfer to primitive Shengcun Village, mainly inhabited by Hani people. It is the best place to learn Hani folk culture, history and traditions. And visit Jingkou Hani Ethnic Village (artificial) to see Hani people’s “mushroom house” – a unique dwelling house made of earth walls, wooden structure and thatched roof. If you prefer, meet and chat with local Hani people to know about the local way of living.

    If traveling in Yuanyang’s Shengcun Village at a market day, your guide will lead you to “gan ji” (meaning go to the market). Local Hani and Yi people, dressed in their beautiful and colorful ethnic costumes with headdress gather together to sell and/or buy various goods – home-planted vegetables, clothes, shoes, meat, articles of daily use… It is somewhat a grand meeting for locals, given that they live in an isolated mountainous area.

    If you don’t travel on a market day, you can still go visit the wet market in Xinjie Town, with similar market environment but smaller size.Later, drive to Jinping Miao, Yao, and Dai Autonomous County. In addition to Miao, Yao and Dai nationalities, Hani, Yi, Zhuang, Lahu and Blang nationalities also live in Jinping.

    Stay overnight in Jinping.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Enjoy a full day exploring Chinese minority groups’ commodity market or more likely the farmer’s market. Jinping Sunday Market Day is supposed to be the biggest in China, with authentic life experiences. It has to be a Sunday, when it will reach its peak – ethnic minority people including Miao, Yao, Dai, Hani, Yi, Zhuang, Lahu and Blang, again dressed in their traditional clothes gather in Jinping Market with or looking for in-season produce and locally farmed foods.

    It is a rarely good opportunity to stay closely with various nationalities in China and glimpse their living conditions. Besides, be prepared to be dazzled by their colorful, exaggerated outfits, with bold, beautiful or eccentric designs. For example, the Red top-hat Yao – the women have their heads shaved (or have very short hair) after getting married, cover their heads with red cloth and wear fancy, or in your opinion, odd silver ornaments.

    Stay overnight in Jinping.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Continue the journey by driving about 4.5 hours towards the north, through villages, farmlands, rivers and hills, and reach Luxi County, another minority culture center in Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture. Visit Chengzi Ancient Village in Luxi, featuring unique village landscape blending both Han and Yi cultural and architectural characteristics.

    This natural village is constructed against a hillside and has been inhabited by Yi people for over 500 years. They call their traditional vernacular dwelling the Tu Zhang Fang (clay method houses) – the extant 1000 wood-clay, flat-top houses are connected together in rows and as a whole. Pay a visit to Ang Chieftain Mansion of Ming Dynasty that mixes Tu Zhang Fang architecture style and Han people’’s quadrangle courtyard style.

    Hit the road again. After another 1.5 hours driving, we get to Shilin Yi Autonomous County, where the Stone Forest is located.

    Stay overnight in Shilin.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

    Enjoy an exhilarating morning by touring in Stone Forest (Shilin) Geological Park (UNESCO Site). As its name suggests, you’re going to travel through a special forest made of stones. One of the four natural wonders in China, of great geoscience value, Shilin is also ideal for sightseeing, with stone pinnacles, stalagmites, karst caves, waterfalls… Trace the footprints left by 300 million years of geological change and weathering erosion.

    Then your guide will lead you to visit the Sani villages and meet Sani people. Sani is a branch of Yi, and has their own unique culture, language, traditions and customs (Sani was an individual nationality before 1950 and incorporated into Yi nationality after that). The girls are dressed in colorful embroidery costumes. And if lucky enough, you can watch local folk culture performances with singing and dancing.

    Drive back to Kunming. Hold onto your memories of various ethnic cultures and back to the modernized society.

    Stay overnight in Kunming.

    Meals Included: breakfast

    It comes to the end of your 7 days Yunnan minority culture tour. Free at leisure until your guide and driver escort you to the airport. Say goodbye and have a safe trip home. Welcome to Yunnan again to explore the other minority culture centers.

    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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