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Rural Yunnan Tour - 15 Days

Destination: Yunnan
Duration: Fifteen Day
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Transportation: Vehicle & Flight
Best Travel Time:All Year
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This fascinating journey provides a comprehensive insight view of one of the most diverse regions of South-East Asia! Explore the tropical and fertile South of the Yunnan Province as well as the Tibetan Highlands around Zhongdian in the very northern part of this amazing province.

The famous terraced rice fields of Yuanyang are about 2 hours south of Jianshui and consists of about 12,000 hectares of terraces which have been cut into the sides of mountains are thousands of years by Hani farmers. This is an extremely picturesque area and is a photographer*s paradise with vistas of rice terraces, the Red River, villages and Hani and Yi people dressed in their traditional costumes.

The overnight stay in the romantic atmosphere of a 150 year old Bai house in Shaxi is as well of a highlight as the magnificent cable car ride up the flanks of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. An early morning stroll through the cobble stone lanes and alleys of the UNESCO protected old town of Lijiang and the 3 days trekking thought one of the deepest gorges in the world is an especially rewarding and fascinating experience!

Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$4100/persons 4100USD/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).
In Jianshui we visit the recently renovated Confucius Temple „Wen Miao※. The "Wen Miao" in Jianshui is the third largest Confucius Temple in China and construction started around 1285. There is a small lake (※the sea of knowledge§) within the compound which, during the early summer months, is full of beautiful, blooming Lotus flowers. We also visit the ※Eastgate§ from the late Ming Dynasty.


We drive to the traditional Zhuang-Village of Tuanshan with its unique and well preserved Qing Style architecture. On the way you also visit the "Twin Dragon Bridge", an ancient stone bridge from the Qing Dynasty.
After that you drive 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 reach Xinjie in the late afternoon. Overnight in Xinjie.


We leave the Hotel early (around 6 am) to witness a magnificent sunrise over the rice terraces. The best time to visit the Yuanyang (Xinjiezhen) rice terraces is during the harvest in late September and October or during the winter month, when the terraces are filled with water, which transforms the area into a colourful fairyland for photographers, as every pond reflects the sunlight in a different colour. 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 costumes. In the afternoon we make a hike (about 2.5 hours) through the magnificent rice terraces of Yuanyang to a nearby Hani village. Overnight accommodation is in Xinjie.


Drive through magnificent, ever changing landscape and experience some of the most spectacular rice terraces of the region. There are countless photo opportunities along the way. This area is home to the Yi and Hani ethnic minorities. The Yuanyang Rice Terraces have been carved out of the Ailao Mountains over hundreds of years by Hani farmers living in the area. Lunch in Luchun before continuing towards Jiangcheng. Overnight in Jiangcheng.


We drive in Southwestern direction, parallel to the border to Laos via route 218 towards Menglun in Xishuangbanna. At some places the border to Laos is just a stone's throw away. This area is one of China's mayor tea growing areas. The tea from the area is called Pu'er Tea, which is getting more and more popular among Western tea connoisseurs. In Menglun we visit the magnificent Menglun Tropical Garden which situated on the shores of the Luosuo River and spreads over 900 hectares. The park has been founded in 1959 and today more than 8000 species of plants can be found within the Garden. Continue drive north along the Mekong to Jinghong where we arrive in the late afternoon.


Today we drive to the west of Jinghong towards Menghai. You drive through one of Chinas major tea growing areas. You visit a local tea factory where you learn more about the local tea production. This area is famous for its quality Pu'er Tea, Depending on the day of the week we visit one of the local markets in the area where Members of ethnic minorities like Dai, Hani or Jino from their nearby villages are gathering.Continue to Jingzhen where we pay a visit at the over 700 years old Octagonal Pagoda and have a look inside the nearby Buddhist Monastery. Drive back to Jinghong. Overnight in Jinghong.


Day 7:   JINGHONG - DALI  (B) (Flight time 45 Min)
Flight to Dali and transfer to Dali Old Town.
Dali Old Town 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 town was overrun by the Mongols about 400 years later.
We take the cable car to the Zhonghe Monastery that is located half way up Cangshan Mountain. From there a well maintained walkway follows along the Eastern slope of the mountain for 11km and offers spectacular views over the Dali valley and the Erhai Lake below. The walk takes about 2 hrs. Take cable car down where our driver will take us back to Dali.


Day 8:   DALI - SHAXI (B)
In the morning, before the big influx of Chinese tour groups we visit the recently renovated 3 Pagodas of the San Ta Si Monastery from the 9th century.

A drive through beautiful landscape takes us us to the Bai village of Shaxi. Shaxi was formerly an important pivotal stop on the Tea and Horse trail from Yunnan to Tibet. The village has been renovated with the assistance of the Swiss Government. We visit nearby 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  or take the car back to Shaxi. Overnight accommodation is at a wooden Bai House with a 150 year old history in Shaxi.


Day 9:   SHAXI 每 QIAOTOU 每 NUOYU VILLAGE (Trekking) (B)
We drive through ever changing landscape to Qiaotou, located at the entrance of the Tiger Leaping Gorge and the starting point for our Trek. The trek through the Tiger Leaping Gorge is as follows:

Walking: Qiaotou 每 Nuoyu Village: Walking time 2 hours/6.5km
The path climbs steadily while it follows the hillside in a north-eastern direction into the gorge. There are already some spectacular views of the Yangtze River below. After a two hours walk we arrive at the Nuoyu Village where we stay for the night. There is some time to relax, enjoy the well earned beer or to explore the village and its surroundings.  Accommodation is at the Naxi Family Guesthouse, a very simple guesthouse which is run by a nice and friendly Family.


Day 10:   NUOYU VILLAGE 每 BENDIWAN VILLAGE (trekking)  (B)
After breakfast we head out to face the ※28 bends§, the steepest and toughest part of the trek. From the top one has spectacular view of the Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) and the ※5 Fingers§ of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. From there the path is mostly flat or downhill along the hill for another hour until we reach the "Tea Horse Guesthouse" where we have a good lunch.

Continue walking for another 2 hours until Bendiwan Village. This last part of the trek offers exceptional views. We stay overnight at the ※Halfway Guesthouse§ which has a nice balcony with great views of the Tiger Leaping Gorge! The right place to put your feet up, relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery! (total walking time about 5 hrs)


We leave the Bendiwan Village, from where the path is mostly downhill towards Walnut Grove. The walk offers some last views of the valley below. (walking time about 2 hrs).  At Tina's Guesthouse our driver is waiting for us. We drive in the shadow of the Haba Mountain Range through stunning scenery towards the impressive Baishuitai (White Water Terraces) where we arrive around lunch time. 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 before heading for lunch at the nearby Baidi village. In the afternoon the road winds its way up onto the Eastern Tibetan Plateau before continuing through magnificent landscape towards Zhongdian. Overnight in Zhongdian.


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".
We visit Ganden Sumtseling Gompa, a 300 year old impressive Tibetan Monastery.  Destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, the Ganden Sumpseling Gompa is now again one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in the area. After that visit the picturesque old town of Zhongdian. 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. Overnight in Zhongdian.


The road to Lijiang offers spectacular views of the Yangtze valley. Along the way we visit Shigu village, to see the Yangtze's famous "First Bend" where the Yangtze River makes an abrupt 180 degree turn and flows for several kilometres, parallel to itself towards the north again. We take a stroll through Shigu village before continuing our trip to Lijiang.


In the morning we make an excursion the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, located about 30km north of Lijiang. A ride in the modern and reportedly Asia's highest cable car brings you up to 4'506 meters above sea level from where one enjoys breathtaking views over the glacier and the surrounding mountains. During the summer month you can take a stroll along the wooden walkway. By cable car we return back down. We take a 2.5 hours hike in the shadow of the Jade Dragon Mountain through Pine tree forests and beautiful Mounatin scenery. From there drive by car to the village of Yuhu, a romantic village where the Austrian-American Botanist Joseph Rock used to live from 1922 to 1949. Continue to the wonderful "Black Dragon Pool" Park, from where, weather permitting, one has a spectacular view of the "Jade Dragon Snow Mountain".  In the evening time for an optional visit to a traditional Dongba-Music concert.


You can depart Lijiang either by train to Kunming or other major cities in China by plane.


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