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Yunnan Small Group Tour - 12 Days

Destination: Kunming,Jianshui,Yuanyang,Dali,ZHongdian,Lijiang
Duration: Twelve Day
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Transportation: Vehicle
Best Travel Time:All Year
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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. The first part of the journey takes us to the fascinating terraced rice fields of Yuanyang. Carved out of the Ailao Mountains over several centuries by the local Hani and Yi Ethnic Groups the Yuanyang Rice Terraces are amongst the most impressive of its kind in South-West China.

We travel along the legendary and long forgotten ¡°Tea and Horse Road¡±. This long forgotten trade route stretched across more than 4,000 kilometers mainly in Southwest China's Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Along the unpaved and often rugged road, tea, salt and sugar flowed into Tibet, while horses, cows, furs, musk and other local products came out. The ancient commercial passage, first appeared during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and lasted until the 1960s when Tibetan highways were constructed.

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

Day 1:   Kunming Arrival
Arrival in Kunming. Pick up at the airport and tranfser to your hotel. Remaining program depends on your arrival time.


Day 2:   Kunming - Jianshui (B) 
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  ¡°East gate¡± and we also pay a visit to former residence of the once wealthy an influential Zhu family.


Day 3   Jianshui - Yuanyang Rice Terraces (B)
Drive to the traditional Zhuang-Village of Tuanshan with its well preserved architecture. On the way we stop at the "Twin Dragon Bridge", an ancient stone bridge from the Qing Dynasty. We leave Jianshui towards the Swallow's Cavern, a magnificent cave that has been dug out by the Lu River.  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.


Day 4   Yuanyang Rice Terraces (B)
We leave the Hotel early to witness a magnificent sunrise over the rice terraces. (Depending on weather condition; In winter the Rice terraces are often engulfed in fog.) 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.


Day 5   Yuanyang Rice Terraces - Stone Forrest - Kunming - Dali (B)
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. Continue via the newly constructed highway towards Lunan and the nearby Stone Forest, where we arrive in the afternoon.

Visit the Stone Forest, one of Yunnan's most popular tourist attraction. 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 drive 1.5 hrs. to Kunming. In the evening we board the night train to Dali.


Day 6   Dali (B)
Early morning pick up at Dali train station.
Dali is situated on the eastern shores of the stunning Erhai Lake on the foot of the 4000m high Cang Shan mountain range.  We make a walking tour around the old town and visit the 3 Pagodas of the San Ta Si Monastery from the 9th century.

In the afternoon 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.


Day 7   Dali - Shaxi (B)
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 with the assistance of the Swiss government.

We 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.


Day 8   Shaxi - Zhongdian (B)
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.


Day 9   Zhongdian (B)
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 take a walking tour around the picturesque Old Town. Continue to 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. Time at leisure to explore the ancient town of Zhongdian on your own.


Day 10   Zhongdian - Baishiu Tai - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Lijiang(B)
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.


Day 11   Lijiang (B)
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. We take a stroll on the wooden walkway and gaze at the glaciers and the magnificent surroundings! Head back down and continue to the nearby traditional village of "Baisha", the former capital of the Naxi kingdom. Visit the Liu Li Temple, with its well preserved wall paintings from the Ming Dynasty that miraculously survived the Cultural Revolution. Visit the lovely "Black Dragon Pool" Park from where, weather permitting, one has a spectacular view of the "Jade Dragon Mountain" (Yu Long Shan). We also pay a visit to the interesting Naxi-Dongba Museum.


Day 12   Lijiang Departure (B)
Transfer to Airport or train station for individual departure.


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