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Southwest China Yunnan Tour - 12 Days

Destination: Yunnan
Duration: Twelve Day
Tour Code:
Transportation: Vehicle
Best Travel Time:All Year
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Tours of the same category:

Yunnan Tour Itinerary Route: Kunming 每 Jianshui 每 YuanYang Rice Terraces 每 Stone Forest of Lunan 每 Dali 每 Shaxi 每 Zhongdian 每 Baishui Tai 每 Tiger Leaping Gorge - Lijiang

The Yunnan province is without doubt one of the most diverse and abundant Provinces of China. Yunnan is located in the South-West of the country, and covers an area of 394*000 km2, which is slightly bigger than the size of Germany. This fascinating tour takes travelers through spectacular scenery and offers an opportunity to see and meet some of China best known minorities, the Bai, Naxi, Tibetans, Yi and Miao. The famous terraced rice fields of Yuanyang are about 2 hours south of Jianshui and consist of about 12,000 hectares of terraces which have been cut into the sides of mountains are thousands of years by Hani farmers. In Shangri-La we get a glimpse of the Tibetan culture, and we travel across one of the deepest canyons in the world! The lovely traditional village of Shaxi and the not much visited terraces at Baishuitai are just some of the many highlights of this tour. It is the presence of minorities along with the wonderful lands they occupy that makes traveling through the Yunnan Province such a richly rewarding experience.

Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$2600/persons 2600USD/Person


Drive to Jianshui. On the way stop a Xingmeng, a village inhabited by a Mongol minority left behind by Khengis Khans army over 700 years ago. Continue to Tonghai where we visit Mount Xiushan with an array of traditional Temples and Pavilions in various styles of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism some of which are from the late Jin Dynasty (265-420). Upon arrival in Jianshui visit the recently renovated Confucius Temple „Wen Miao※. Continue to the ※Westgate§ and we also pay a visit to former residence of the once wealthy an influential Zhu family.



Drive to the traditional Zhuang-Village of Tuanshan with its unique and well preserved architecture. On the way you also visit the "Twin Dragon Bridge", an ancient stone bridge from the Qing Dynasty. After lunch we leave Jianshui towards the Swallow's Cavern, a magnificent cave that has been dug out by the Lu River. The Lu River still runs through the lower part of the cavern. During spring and summer hundreds of thousands of Swallows can be seen flying around inside and outside the cave. Continue through magnificent scenery towards Xinjie, the gateway to the stunning and spectacular rice terraces of Yuanyang. The Yuanyang rice terraces have been carved out of the Ailao Mountains over hundreds of years by Hani farmers living in the area.



We leave the Hotel early (around 6 am) to witness a magnificent sunrise over the rice terraces. (Depending on weather condition; In winter the Rice terraces are often engulfed in fog. After that if possible we will visit one of the bustling weekly local markets in the area where we can observe the local people from various ethnic groups (Hani, Yi, Zhuang, some Miao) doing their weekly shopping. Many of them still wear their traditional costumesIn the afternoon we make a hike (about 2.5 hours) through the magnificent rice terraces of Yuanyang to a nearby Hani village.



After breakfast we leave Xinjie and the Yuanyang Rice Terraces and drive north towards Mile. The fertile land and the mild climate make this part of the Yunnan province ideal for cultivating tobacco. Apart from the cigarette production, Mile is also well known for its many hot springs. Continue via the newly constructed highway through an ever changing landscape towards Lunan and the nearby Stone Forest of Lunan, where we arrive in the afternoon. Late afternoon we visit the Stone Forest. At this time of the day we have the park almost for ourselves. Years of rain and erosion left behind a bizarre and impressive landscape of limestone pillars which, with a little imagination, indeed resemble a Forrest. We have a walk through the maze of paths and walkways leading through this natural wonderland. Continue 1.5 hrs. to Kunming. Transfer to the trainstation and board the night train to Dali. Overnight at the train.


DAY 5: DALI (no meals)

Early morning pick up at Dali train station. Head to our hotel for breakfast. Dali is situated on the eastern shores of the stunning Erhai Lake on the foot of the 4000m high Cang Shan mountain range. During the 9th century Dali served as capital of the once powerful Nanzhao and later the Dali Kingdoms, before the historical town was overrun by the Mongols about 400 years later. We visit the recently renovated 3 Pagodas of the San Ta Si Monastery from the 9th century. In the afternoon we take the cable car to the Zhonghe Monastery that is located half way up Cangshan Mountain. From there a well maintained walkway called the "Jade-Belt-Path" follows along the Eastern slope of the mountain for 11km and offers spectacular views over the Dali valley and the Erhai Lake below. (Note: The Jade-Belt-Path has a total length of 11km. You can walk the entire way and then take the cable car back down on the other end, or you can just walk as far as you like and then turn back. Overnight accommodation is in Dali.



In the morning drive by private car through an ever changing landscape towards Shaxi. Shaxi was formerly an important pivotal stop on the Tea and Horse trail from Yunnan to Tibet. The village has been renovated under an award winning project by the Technical School of Switzerland. In the afternoon the car will take you to the Shibao Mountain. The impressive rock carvings of Shibaoshan are over 1300 years old and are testimony of the spread of Mahayana Buddhism from Tibet in the region. You can either walk back to Shaxi (2 hrs) or take the car back to the hotel.



Drive through magnificent landscape towards Zhongdian. Half way we take a left turn and continue to Shigu village, to see the famous "First Bend", where the Yangtze River is making an abrupt 180 degree turn and flows for several kilometers, parallel to itself towards the north again. The road back to Zhongdian offers some spectacular views over the Yangtze Valley and the surrounding mountain scenery. Lunch in Qiaotou before heading for Zhongdian. We reach Zhongdian in the early evening.



Zhongdian is situated amongst a stunning landscape on the eastern Tibetan plateau at about 3300 meters above sea level. It recently changed its name and is now called "Shangri-La", after the Shangri-La that the British writer James Hilton described in his Novel "The Lost Horizon". We visit Ganden Sumtseling Gompa, a 300 year old impressive Tibetan Monastery which was inaugurated personally in the 17th century by the 5th Dalai Lama. Destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, the Ganden Sumpseling Gompa is now again one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in the area. We climb Turtle Hill and spin the giant prayer wheel three times for a good karma. Time at leisure to explore the ancient town of Zhongdian on your own.



We leave Zhongdian and the eastern Tibetan Plateau and drive through a magnificent landscape towards the impressive Baishuitai (White Water Terraces). The natural Limestone-stepped terraces where formed over a period of 250'000 years by the water that is constantly flowing over the terraces. We take a short walk around the terraces. In the afternoon we drive in the shadow of the Haba Mountain Range through stunning scenery to the Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hu Tiao Xia), where the Yangtze waters are squeezed through a narrow, at some places only 15 meter wide gorge. The overnight accommodation is in a simple guesthouse in the middle of the gorge.



Drive through the Tiger Leaping Gorge to Qiaotou. Lunch. Continue to Lijiang. Check in at the hotel.


In the morning we take the cable car up the flanks of Jade dragon Snow Mountain to an altitude of over 4'500 metres above sea level. The highest of the 13 peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain reaches 5'596 metres. It has first been climbed only in 1963 by a group of Chinese mountain climbers. The first section of the cable car brings us to the ※Love-Suicide-Hill and from there you continue by Asia's highest cable car up to 4'506 metres! On a clear day the views from up here are spectacular! We take a stroll on the wooden walkway and gaze at the glaciers and the magnificent surroundings! By cable car we head down to the valley and continue to the nearby traditional village of "Baisha", the former capital of the Naxi kingdom. Visit the Liu Li Temple, with its beautiful, well preserved wall paintings from the Ming Dynasty that miraculously survived the Cultural Revolution. After luncH we visit the lovely "Black Dragon Pool" Park from where, weather permitting, one has a spectacular view of the 5'596 Meter high "Jade Dragon Mountain" (Yu Long Shan). At this time of the day the light is ideal for taking pictures of the Black Dragon Pool and the mountain in the background. We also pay a visit to the interesting Naxi-Dongba Museum.



Transfer to Airport or train station for individual departure.


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