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Yunnan Cycling & Trekking Tour - 12 Days

Destination: Yunnan
Duration: Twelve Day
Tour Code:
Transportation: Vehicle & Train
Best Travel Time:All Year
Price From
US$2700/persons
 
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THE SPRING CITY KUNMING
Due to its all year round pleasant, spring like climate Kunming was nicknamed ※The Spring City§.
Together with your tour guide you get to know Kunming from an angle most other travelers don*t. From the lovely Green Lake Park we cycle at a leisurely pace  through the compound of the one of Chinas oldest Universities to the bustling Yuantong temple, the most important Buddhist temples of Kunming. We take a break at a traditional Kunming tea house and explore what is left of the Kunming Bird and Flower market.


TRAVEL BY NIGHT TRAIN FROM KUNMING TO LIJIANG / SHUHE
The so called ※Stone Forest§, an 80ha area of limestone pillars, is one of the major tourist attractions of the Yunnan Province. You escape the crowds by taking a 2 hrs walk through the complex maze of narrow paths and stairways that lead through this natural wonderland.
From Kunming you travel to Lijiang by night train. The overnight train ride from Kunming to Lijiang is a god opportunity to get in touch with the real local life. There are several night train services from Kunming to Lijiang and it takes about 10 hours for the entire journey. The famous Lijiang Old Town not only inspires with its maze of cobblestone alleys, canals of melted snow and quaint tumbledown wooden architecture but also with its phenomenal backdrop with the snow capped peaks of the Jade Dragon Mountain.


CYCLING AROUND SHUHE OLD TOWN
Located about 9km north of Lijiang, the laid back, sleepy Naxi village of Shuhe is a good place to use as a base for a couple of days in order to explore the cultural and natural treasures in the area around Shuhe. The village of Shuhe was once an important trading post on the ※Tea & Horse Road§ for tea on the way from Southern Yunnan to Tibet. With the impressive backdrop of the Jade Dragon Mountain you take a cycling tour to Yufeng Monastery, Yuhu (Joseph Rock) village and Baisha, the former capital of the Naxi Kingdom.
Of course you will also pay a visit to the UNESCO protected Lijiang old town.


TIGER LEAPING GORGE TREKKING (2 DAYS) AND ZHONGDIAN (SHANGRI LA)
The hike along a scenic trail high above the Tiger Leaping Gorge along the Eastern slope of the Haba Mountain offers some of the finest views in Yunnan and ranks amongst the most scenic trekking tours you can undertake in China. Wedged between the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the East and the Haba Mountain Range in the West, the impressive Tiger Leaping Gorge is reputedly the world*s deepest canyon. (Note that the 2 day trekking through the Tiger Leaping Gorge requires a basic amount of fitness).

Continue your journey north onto the Tibetan Plateau to Zhongdian (Shangri La). Colorful prayer flags, grazing Yak herds and Buddhist monasteries are constant reminders that we are now travelling on Tibetan soil. You visit the Shangri La Songtsam Buddhist Monastery and we take a walking tour around the Pudacuo National Park, one of the oldest National Parks in China.

 

TRAVEL VIA NIXI TO LIMING TURTLE BACK MOUNTAIN
From Zhongdian (Shangri La) your travel via Nixi down into the Yangtze Valley. You follow the mighty Yangtze River all the way to Liming.
Located within the UNESCO protected Three Parallel Rivers National Park in the north-western Part of the Yunnan Province, Liming/Laojun Shan offers some of the most spectacular red/purple sandstone formations in China. Hike up Mt. Qiangui (Turtle Back Mountain), where millions of years of erosion left behind a magnificent landscape resembling a tortoise shell, hence the name Liming Turtle Back Mountain.


FROM LIMING TRAVEL ALONG THE YANGTZE RIVER TO OLD TOWN SHAXI
From Liming you continue the journey past the Yangtze First Bend towards Shaxi. The rustic village of Shaxi (Sideng) was formerly an important pivotal stop on the Tea and Horse trail from Yunnan to Tibet. It lost its importance after the Ming Dynasty and for over 400 years Shaxi lead a secluded existence until 2001, when Shaxi was nominated as an endangered site by the World Monument Watch List and was renovated with the assistance of the Swiss Government. The overnight stay at Shaxi in a traditional, rustic lodge right at the former market place is definitely one of the highlight of this tour.


THE BAI PEOPLE OF DALI  AND TRAVEL TO WEISHAN OLD TOWN, HIKING WEIBAOSHANNestled beside the blue waters of Erhai Lake, along a green valley that shadows a range of marble mountains, Dali offers countless fascinating possibilities for exploring and getting to know the local Bai culture. Dali is the homeland of the Bai people, one of the largest and most prosperous minority group in Yunnan. The Bai are well known for their handicrafts.
From the Bai ethnic nationality you continue the journey south to Weishan. The beautiful and well preserved Weishan old town was once an important and wealthy trading town during the Nanzhao Kingdom throughout the 8th and 9th century. The area around Weishan is also regarded as the birthplace of Xinulou, the first emperor and founder of the Nanzhao Kingdom.


You hike around Shibaoshan, located a few kilometers south of Weishan. Shibaoshan boast a number of interesting temples from different Dynasties. Hiking through the pine tree forests of Shibaoshan, away from the big crowds is a rewarding experience indeed.


The many hikes and the various bicycle tours enable you to get to know the Yunnan Province from a different angle. You deliberately do not simple rush from site to site but take your time cycling or hiking along hidden paths or walkways and, by doing that, get much more profound inside views of the Yunnan Province in South-West China. Travel the Yunnan province with us the active way!

Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$2700/persons 2700USD/Person

Day 1:   KUNMING NIGHT TRAIN TO LIJIANG (D)
This rather easy tour takes you first the Green Lake Park (Cui Hu), a popular gathering point for the local population, to see the locals engaged in their morning workouts, practice Tai Chi, show off their birds and enjoy social dancing. You relax in a local tea house and observe the locals playing Ma Jiang, cards or practicing Tai Ji. You ride through the beautiful campus of the Yunnan University to the Tang Dynasty Buddhist Temple Yuan Tong Si, the biggest Buddhist temple in Kunming. On your way back you stop at what is left of the bird and flower market, visit the former city gates ※Jin Ma Bi Ji§ and the East-West Pagodas from the 9th century. The rest of the afternoon at your disposal.
Dinner at a local restaurant. In the evening you board the night train to Lijiang.

 

Day 2:   LIJIANG/SHUHE (B)
Pick up at the Lijiang train station and transfer to Lijiang.
You take a stroll through the apparently countless narrow lanes and canals crisscrossing the picturesque old town and learn more about the secrets of the mystic Naxi culture. Lijiang was listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1992. Youclimb Lion Hill and enjoy a panoramic look over the roof tops of the old town of Lijiang.Visit the wonderful "Black Dragon Pool" Park, from where, weather permitting, one has a spectacular view of the "Jade Dragon Snow Mountain".


After that you head for Shuhe. For those who find Lijiang too much of a tourist place, Shuhe might be just the right place to visit. Located a 10 minutes drive north of Lijiang, this laid back, sleepy Naxi village is a good place to hang out for an afternoon. Shuhe was once an important trading post on the ※Tea and Horse Road§ for tea on the way from Southern Yunnan to Tibet. An idyllic river runs through the middle of the cobble stoned village, and many of the old buildings where carefully renovated and turned into tastefully decorated restaurants, bars or guesthouses.

 

Day 3:   LIJIANG/SHUHE CYCLING TOUR (B)
In the morning there is time to explore Shuhe on your own. By our rental bicycles we ride to Baisha (5km). The Baisha village used to be the capital of the once powerful Naxi Kingdom.

You visit the Liuli temple with beautiful wall paintings from the late Ming Dynasty, which, miraculously, survived the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. Continue riding to the Yufeng Monastery which is famous for its over 800 year old Camellia Tree. You cycle through the magnificent countryside of the Lijiang valley past Jade Water village to Yuhu, a romantic village where the Austrian-American Botanist Joseph Rock used to live from 1922 to 1949. His house has been transformed to a small museum about the live and work of Joseph Rock. Head back to Shuhe. (today's entrance fees and bike rental to be paid extra on spot). (Total cycling distance about 30km, mostly flat with a short incline, rather easy)

 

Day 4:   LIJIANG/SHUHE 每 QIAOTOU 每 TREKKING TIGER LEAPING GORGE (B)
By taxi you head for the Lijiang bus station. Scenic drive by public bus from Lijiang to Qiaotou. Qiaotou is located at the entrance of the Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) and is the starting point for your two-day trek through the Tiger Leaping Gorge as follows:

WALK: QIAOTOU 每 TEA HORSE GUESTHOUSE
You walk from Qiaotou to Yacha village. The walking time is about 6 to 7 hours. The path first climbs steadily while it follows the hillside in a north-eastern direction into the gorge. The further you walk into the gorge, the more impressive the landscape gets. After two hours you reach Nuoyu Village where we stop for lunch at the Naxi Family Guesthouse.
After that you face the ※28 bends§, the steepest and toughest part of the trek. From the top one has spectacular view of the Tiger Leaping Gorge and the ※5 Fingers§ of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. From here the path is mostly downhill for another hour until you reach Yacha Village where you stay for the night at a simple guesthouse.

 

Day 5:   TREKKING: YACHA VILLAGE 每 BENDIWAN 每 WALNUT GROVE 每 DRIVE TO ZHONGDIAN
Breakfast at own expense. Todays walking time is about 6 hours and probably the most scenic part of the trek. This second part of the Trail offers once again spectacular views of the Yangtze valley below and the surroundings. After about 4 hours you reach Bendiwan Village where you have your well earned lunch break. After that, continue for another two hours downhill to Walnut Grove where our drive will be waiting for us.
From the Tiger Leaping Gorge it is a scenic drive up to the Tibetan Plateau Zhongdian to 3'300m above sea level.

 

Day 6:   ZHONGDIAN (SHANGRI LA) 每 PUDACUO NATIONALPARK (B)
Zhongdian is situated amongst a stunning landscape on the eastern Tibetan plateau at about 3200 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".

In the morning drive out to the Pudacuo National Park, which is located about 20km to the north-east of Zhongdian. This beautiful National Park covers an area of 300km2 and includes the two crystal clear lakes of Bita and Shudu. Located at 3'500 Metres above sea level, Pudacuo is regarded as the first region in China to actually achieve the status of ※National Park of China§. Drive back to Zhongdian. The afternoon is at leisure. From the hotel you can walk to the nearby Ganden Sumtseling Gompa, a 300 year old impressive Tibetan Monastery. From a historical point of view the Ganden Sumtseling Gompa is very significant to the region because it was inaugurated personally in the 17th century by the 5th Dalai Lama. Destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, the Ganden Sumtseling Gompa is now again one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in the area. Overnight accommodation in Zhongdian.

 

Day 7:   ZHONGDIAN 每 LIMING (B)
In the morning drive through the amazing landscape of northern Yunnan first to Nixi before the road winds down a steep slope into the impressive Yangtze valley. Here the Yangtze River is still called the Jin Sha Jian (Golden Sand River). You follow the River in a southern direction towards Tacheng. From Tacheng you follow the Yangtze River downstream for 90km to Liming.
The village of Liming is the gateway for the magnificent Laojun Shan National Park. Located within the UNESCO protected Three Parallel Rivers National Park in the north-western Part of the Yunnan Province, Laojun Shan offers some of the most spectacular red/purple sandstone formations in China. A 2 hours walk brings you to the top (many stairs) of Mount Qian Gui, where millions of years of erosion left behind a magnificent landscape resembling a tortoise shell. On a clear day, Mount Qiangui also offers spectacular views of the surrounding red cliffs and the Huang Mountains in the distance. Overnight accommodation takes place in a simple but clean hotel in Liming.

 

Day 8:   LIMING 每 SHAXI (B)
Continue yur journey along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. Here the Yangtze River is still called the Jin Sha Jiang (Golden Sand River). With 6400km the Yangtze River is the 3rd longest river in the world. You follow the River towards the Yangtze's famous "First Bend", where the Yangtze River makes an abrupt 180 degree turn and flows for several kilometers, parallel to itself towards the north again.

Continue to Shaxi. The traditional Bai village of Shaxi is located about 120 km southwest of Lijiang in the stunning surroundings of the Shaxi Valley. Shaxi was formerly an important pivotal stop on the Tea and Horse trail from Yunnan to Tibet. The village has been renovated and is preserved with the assistance of the Swiss government. Lunch along the way. Upon arrival in Shaxi check-in at the Hotel/Guesthouse and walking tour around the picturesque old town. Overnight accommodation is at a traditional wooden Bai House with a 150 year old history!

 

Day 9:   SHAXI 每 SHIBAOSHAN 每 DALI (B)
In the morning you pay a visit to the Shibao Mountain. The impressive rock carvings of Shibao Mountain are over 1300 years old and are testimony of the spread of Mahayana Buddhism in the region. You can either walk back to Shaxi (1.5 hrs) or take the car back down into the valley.
Drive south towards Dali. 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. The rest of the afternoon is at your own disposal for the exploration of the picturesque old town of Dali.

 

Day 10:   DALI (B)
Choose your activity of the day:
(Entrance fees, cable cars and/or bicycle rentals can be paid directly on spot and are not included in the program).

Cycling tour to Xizhou (approx. 40km flat). After renting our bicycles youfirst cycle along rice and vegetable plantations to the Erhai Lake. You follow more or less the shore line of the lake in a northern direction to Xizhou. The Village of Xizhou is famous for its well preserved Bai-style architecture. Xizhous fortunes were originally made in the tea trade. Wealthy tea merchants built their residences here during the Ming period. You can have lunch in Xizhou and cycle back to Dali in the afternoon.(a certain fitness is required for this tour. Costs are around USD 10 for bicycle rental).


Visit the 3 Pagodas of the San Ta Si Monastery (Chongsheng Temple) from the 9th century. The Chongsheng Temple with its characteristic three Pagodas (San Ta Si) is located about 3km north-east of Dali old town. The Monastery was built in the 9th Century, when Dali was the capital of the once powerful and influential Nanzhao Kingdom. During the Nanzhao Kingdom the Chongsheng Temple was a significant religious centre for the fast expanding Buddhism in the region. (Price for entrance fee about USD 20.--)


You can take the cable car to the Zhonghe Monastery, which 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). On the other side ou use another cable car to get back down to the valley. (Price about USD 25 for entrance fee and cable cars)

 

Day 11:   DALI 每 WEISHAN (B)
The charming town of Weishan was an important and wealthy trading town during the powerful Nanzhao Kingdom throughout the 8th and 9th century. With the downfall of the Nanzhao Kingdom, Weishan lost its importance. It came into the spotlight again when it became an important military outpost for the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

After lunch you make an excursion to Weibao Shan. The mountains of Weibao Shan are considered as one of the 14 sacred Taoist Mountains in China.  It is said that it was here that Xinulou got the inspiration from the Gods for the foundation of the powerful Nanzhao Kingdom. Visit Wencheng Temple which was recently renovated and is now home to an interesting exhibition about the Nanzhao Kingdom and its various Kings. You take a 2 hours walk through beautiful Pine forests and explore some more temples along the way.

 

Day 12:   WEISHAN 每 XIAGUAN/DALI AIRPORT
Drive north to Xiaguan (1hr). Transfer to the airport or the train station for the continuation of your trip.


 

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