yunnan3A tour to Yunnan province including Kunming, the provincial capital, and Dali, Lijiang & Shangrila.

Route: Kunming, Stone Forest, Dali, Lijiang and Shangrila




check16 Inclusive:

• 7 nights in hotel
• Air-conditioned coach all the way
• English, Thai or Chinese speaking guide
• Entrance fees and cable car and train fares
• Two-way airfare Kunming-Dali, Shangrila-Kunming and airport taxes of Dali & Shangrila
• Government taxes in Yunnan


• Tips to guide and driver
• China visa fee
• Meals as stated in the itinerary
• Drinks at meals other than what is served at table
• Use of mini bar, laundry, phone calls in hotels and expenses of a personal nature


Day 1: Kunming - Arrival (Dinner)

Arrive in Kunming airport or jetty, meet and transfer to hotel. Kunming has a freshness of air to delight anyone, and wherever the eye roves there is something natural and wondrous to see. The old buildings with character are largely gone to be replaced by ugly concrete blocks; but small enclaves of old Kunming still exist in the interesting alleyways. On the way to our hotel for check in you will see sights of the modernizing city of 3.5 million Yunnanese including Yunnanese Muslims and Buddhists, and ethnic groups found nowhere else in the world. Free to amuse yourself until 6.30pm when we gather for dinner at the New Canton restaurant for your introduction to Yunnanese cuisine. Overnight in hotel, Kunming.

Day 2: Kunming - Stone Forest (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Breakfast at the hotel. A full-day excursion to the Stone Forest, one of China's most remarkable natural phenomena, located 98km southeast of Kunming, a short scenic drive of one-and-a-half hours. It consists of 80 hectares of innumerable fanciful-formed limestone cliffs and peaks created by wind and water erosion some 270 million years ago. Marine fossils found here indicate that it was once under the sea. The Stone Forest area (Shilin) is home to the Sani minority group, a branch of the Yi tribe reputed for their diligence, valour, wisdom, exquisite embroidery, melodious songs and graceful dances. They put on a nightly performance showing their cultural activities. If you are into Chinese herbal medicine a stop is made at Bao Shu Tang where you can buy the famous China herbal medical products. The demonstration is interesting, but the sales pressure is strong. If you are not interested, we go straight to the Stone Forest. Lunch at Ashima Great Hotel. After lunch we enter the Stone Forest National Park for sightseeing. At about 4pm we drive one-and-a-half hours back to Kunming to the Colorful Yunnan restaurant for the Yunnan Cultural show with dinner of Yunnan rice noodle and pot-steamed chicken. The evening ends only after the Luyu Tea performance where you can learn a lot about and taste the famous teas of Yunnan; but again the sales pitch will come at the end of this educational session. So ask to skip it if tea is not your cup-of-tea.
Overnight in hotel, Kunming.

Day 3: Kunming - Dali (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Morning call is at 8am and breakfast follows. Transfer to airport for the morning flight to Dali. Upon arrival, be met and transferred to hotel for check-in. Go to Cangshan mountain for sightseeing. We will use the two-way cable car to go up the mountain. Today we have the chance to be really in contact with one of Yunnan's minority peoples at the Zhoucheng Bai nationality village. To top it up we will have an authentic lunch of the Bai nationality favourite food – fish from the Erhai Lake and beancurd done in one of several ways. For more cultural education of the Bai people we will catch a tea-show in Xizhou, another Bai nationality village. Here there is a popular Three Pagoda Temple (actually a cluster of temples, shrine-halls and pavilions) that locals worship at. Afternoon tour of the ancient town of Dali on foot and by car/van. Dinner time at 7pm. Then we return to our hotel. Overnight in hotel, Dali.

Day 4: Dali - Lijiang (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Morning call at 8am and breakfast before leaving the hotel to go to Lijiang, a drive of 3.5 hours through lovely scenery and ethnic minority villages. Lunch in a restaurant. Upon arrival in Lijiang, check into hotel before dashing into the old town for sightseeing. This lovely old town is a gem of northwest Yunnan and high in popularity among visitors. It is a world heritage site criss-crossed by canals of rushing waters, quaint bridges and a labyrinth of narrow granite streets. The focal point of interest is the Market Square full of old Naxi women and some old men in their traditional dress around mid-morning. Old Lijiang town has a majority population of Naxi (descendants of the Tibetan Qiang tribe), traditional houses of wood surrounded by a profusion of flowers and decorative plants, cobbled streets and gushing canals between them and criss-crossing one another, spanned by stone and wooden bridges, combined with a gracious people and wonderful scenery to make it a tourist destination not to be missed. In the afternoon, tour the Black Dragon Pool Park and visit the famous Dongba Research Institute to learn something about Naxi shamanism culture and see the real ancient Naxi script. Later in the afternoon, go on a guided tour of Unesco's "Ancient City of Lijiang" for about 2 hours and be fascinated by this world heritage site. In a recent earthquake when the new buildings in Lijiang new town collapsed all those in the old town remained standing. Join the Naxi old men and women in the Market Square for their folk dancing, and witness how local groups entertain one another in song repartee. Dinner in a restaurant. Overnight in hotel, Lijiang.

Day 5: Lijiang (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Breakfast at the hotel. At 9am we depart from our hotel to drive one-hour to Yulong (Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain National Park. A two-way cable car goes to Love-Suicide Hill (where horses can be hired to ride up to Dragon Spruce Meadow, but we won't go there). Our cable car will take us all the way to Glacier Park farther up the mountain range – the highest chair-lift in Asia. We are more than 4,000 metres into the sky. The old and unfit need oxygen bottles to help them up to the peak. The views of glaciers at such close quarters are mesmerizing. Snowy peaks glitter in the sun before our eyes. A ski-resort is in the making here. At White-water River we will stop for 30 minutes to take in the scene before going to lunch at the Snow Mountain Villa. At 1.30pm we proceed to Jade Peak Lhama Monastery for an encounter with Tibetan monks and talk to them through your guide or if you speak Tibetan or Chinese then directly. At Baisha village we make a photo-stop. Naxi dinner with Chinese classical music show will keep us entertained at Huangshan village. For those people who have not have enough of Naxi music and show they can pay US$15 to see the "Splendid Lijiang Show" at Li-shui-jin-sha. The others are free to walk in the Unesco-adopted "Ancient City" - a better proposition. You are free to wander where you will, and you should, before you return to your hotel. Overnight in hotel, Lijiang.

Day 6: Lijiang - Shangrila (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning departure by road through fantastic scenery to Zhongdian, recently renamed "Shangrila". After an hour's drive we arrive at the small town of Shigu at the first bend of the Yangtze River. Here we will stop for half-an-hour to admire the beauty of the river-and-rapids and ponder on the great significance of this little place. If not for a hill of rocks (Cloud Hill) blocking the southward flowing Yangtze River thereby diverting it north and eastwards, the Yangtze would not be flowing through the heartland of China - with disastrous consequences to Chinese civilization. Proceed to Stone-Drum village to see how the rural Yunnanese live. Tour the awesome Tiger Leaping Gorge, a deep-sided ravine twisting with the furious rush of frothing water to form a spectacular scene of sheer beauty and power. A two-hour drive takes us to Shangrila, the fabled land that captured the imagination of millions who read and heard about the book "The Lost Horizon" written by James Hilton in 1933. Dinner of western food in Shangrila. Overnight in hotel, Shangrila.

Day 7: Shangrila (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Morning call at 8am and followed by breakfast at the hotel. The fabled "Shangri La" of James Hilton's is said to be Deqin prefecture in the northwest of Yunnan next to the Tibetan border in the mountain range of snow-capped peaks. The perfect pyramid-shape of Mt Kawa Karpo (6,740m) sitting on top of a beautiful valley of very red earth is Hilton's Mt Karakul on top of a blood red valley that was Shangri La. The name "Shangri La" crops up everywhere in Zhongdian and other counties to the confusion of travellers. Deqin county is called "Shangri La"; so also is the town of Zhongdian renamed "Shangri La". Restaurants and even grocery stores latch on to the name Shangrila. Like the name "Angkor" in Siem Reap (Cambodia) the eye-catching and mind-boggling name appears everywhere. So also is the grandeur everywhere in Zhongdian-Shangri La. Sightseeing of the Ganden Songzanlin Monastery where the frescoes completed in the 15th century depicting Taoist, Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist themes are reputedly of the highest order. Lunch in a local restaurant and have a short rest at the hotel. Napahai Lake is reserved for the afternoon's sightseeing. We will visit a local market and a Tibetan Buddhism Book pavilion. Tonight's dinner will be at our hotel. Be entertained tonight by participating in a visit to a Tibetan family and enjoy its cultural activities - one of which is to pre-order a small roasted black yak to share among friends for dinner there. Return to your hotel filled with wonderment at this Tibetan "hada". Overnight in hotel, Shangrila.

Day 8: Shangrila - Kunming Airport (Breakfast/Lunch)

Breakfast at the hotel before proceeding to the airport for the flight to Kunming. In an hour we arrive at Kunming airport and be taken to the Western Hills on the western side of Lake Dian for sightseeing. We go up to the mountain top by cable car and see the Dragon Gate grottoes, sculptures and pavilions gouged into the cliff-face by a Taoist monk in the late eighteenth century and have a bird's eye view of Lake Dian. Visit the Taoist Sanqing Temple (actually a group of temples, shrines and pavilions which was a country villa of a Yuan prince) before taking the mini-train back to our waiting coach. On the way to the airport, we stop at Huating Temple for a 30-minute visit. It was the most important temple of the ancient Nanzhou kingdom displaying fine statues, stupas and superbly designed gardens. Then have a leisurely lunch of pot-steamed chicken and Yunnan wild mushrooms while your pre-check in is arranged for you. Proceed to Kunming airport to board your departure flight.

End of Programme