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Vietnam China Tour from Hanoi to Kunming - 19 Days

Destination: Vietnam China
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Journey through the classical cities and landscapes of Northern Vietnam and Southwest China. We explore the fascinating museums in the cultural heart of Hanoi and enjoy a cruise on Halong Bay before turning around to head towards the more mountainous north. From Sapa we head to Yuanyang, a stunning UNESCO area where we continue our discovery of China and its multitude of eye-opening traditions and breathtaking landscapes from The Stone Forest to Jade Dragon Mountain.
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US$4000/persons 4000USD/Person

Day 1 - Hanoi arrival
On arrival to Hanoi, your local guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to your hotel for check-in.

Day 2 - Hanoi (B,L)
This morning meet your guide at your hotel and depart on your tour after breakfast. Your first stop will be Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum (closed Mondays and Fridays), as well as his private residence from 1954 until 1969. The wooden ethnic minority style house, which was built on stilts, is surrounded by lovely peaceful gardens. In the same complex you will see the One Pillar Pagoda, founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049. This structure has become an important symbol for the people of Hanoi.                                                                                        
Your tour continues to the National Fine Arts Museum, located in colonial France's former Ministry of Information, which has an eclectic mix of contemporary Vietnamese art, religious pieces, lacquer-ware and sculptures. Your next stop will be the Temple Of Literature, Vietnam's first university.  Constructed in 1070, the gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a relaxing glimpse into Vietnam's past.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before continuing on to Hoa Lo Prison (formerly known as the ¡°Hanoi Hilton¡± during the American war). Your tour will also include the Buddhist Tran Quoc Pagoda on West Lake (one of the oldest in Vietnam) and Quan Thanh Temple (Taoist, dating from the Ly Dynasty). The last stop of the day before returning to your hotel will be the Museum of Ethnology (Close on Monday) where you observe Vietnam's diverse culture through the Museum's unique presentation of artifacts and dress used in daily life.

Overnight in Hanoi

Day 3 - Hanoi / Halong (B,L,D)
Your guide and driver will meet you at hotel for an early departure to Halong. The 3.5 hours journey takes you through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta, observe everyday life of Vietnamese Villages as you see the villagers work the local rice fields, take live pigs to market on bicycles and plough the fields with their large water buffaloes. Arrive in Halong and board a traditional sailing junk. A welcome drink will be served as the boat leaves the harbour, check in your cabin then enjoy a delightful fresh seafood lunch served wihle your cruise through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Halong Bay, giving you the opportunity to take in the stunning scenery of this UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.

After lunch, your cruise take you to the inside of magical landscape of Dinh Huong island, Ga Choi Island, Dog Island, Binh Phong mountain, Sung Sot Cave, Round over Titov Beach. Enjoy sunset on the top of the Titov mountain or you take a bamboo row boat to discover a water tunnels with many coral reefs in a scenic lagoon. Back on board Junk, enjoy dinner is served on board with fresh seafood, salads, and fruits.

Overnight on junk boat

Day 4 - Halong (B)
Early risers enjoy a morning view of Halong Bay's mountainous landscapes with a cup of fresh coffee, tea and fresh fruit. Cruise to the Bai Tho Mountain in the other beautiful Bai Tu Long Bay then your junk begins cruising back to the harbour. A buffet brunch is served before disembarking at the harbor and transfer to hotel for check in.

Overnight in Halong

Day 5 - Halong - Hanoi (B)
After enjoy breakfast at hotel, your guide and private car will meet you at hotel and take the journey back to Hanoi.

Late this afternoon, enjoy a one hour tour by cyclo, a chauffeur-pedalled tricycle, through Hanoi's Old Quarter, also known as ¡°36 streets¡±. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore, especially by cyclo, with plenty of photo opportunities all around you.

Then, attend a traditional water puppet show, a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form especially designed for depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history

Overnight in Hanoi

Day 6 - Hanoi - Lao Cai (B)
0800 depart for the hours drive to Bat Trang ceramic village which is located to the east of Hanoi along the Red River; here you can wander freely into any of the workshops or galleries inside the village. Records show that Bat Trang was an important centre for ceramic production in Vietnam and the region as far back as the 15th century. The style of the ceramics being made has changed little and the same traditional motifs are still being used.

The journey to But Thap Pagoda takes a half hour, along the way see everyday Vietnamese life, the working of the rice fields and the simple villages. It is thought that the origins of the But Thap Pagoda date back to 6th century, although much of what you will see was constructed in the 17th century. The principal attraction of the pagoda lies inside. The statue to the Avalokitesvara or Goddess of Mercy has no fewer than 11 faces, 994 arms and 994 eyes ¨C each eye resting on the palm of a hand.  If you wish and time permits visit one of the villages surrounding the pagoda.

Use day room at a hotel near Rail Station for freshen up before taking the overnight Express Train to Lao Cai.

Overnight on train

Day 7 - Option 1: Lao Cai - Sapa - Matra - Ta Phin hike - Sapa (B,L)
Met up at your hotel by Green Sapa local guide at your hotel for breakfast. The walk commences from Sapa on a trail running through the beautiful gardens and lush pine forests. You will then pass through the Black Hmong ethnic minority village of Matra, a very small village hiding way from the civilisation. The walk continues through rice paddy fields and spectacular scenery. During the day you will also be able to visit a local school. You will enjoy your lunch before arriving at the Taphin village. Here you can hear about the unmixed cultural life of Black Hmong and Red Dao minorities, 2 largest ethnic groups in the area. You can already recognise them by dressing while they are both very famous of handicraft. You will enjoy walking among local people. The trip also offers you the opportunity to visit the local houses as well as visit the local caves. You will return Sapa by car.

Overnight in Sapa

Day 7 - Option 2 : Lao Cai - Sapa - Matra - Ta Phin hike - Sapa (B,D)
Met up at your hotel by Green Sapa local guide at your hotel for breakfast. The walk commences from Sapa on a trail running through the beautiful gardens and lush pine forests. You will then pass through the Black Hmong ethnic minority village of Matra, a very small village hiding way from the civilisation. The walk continues through rice paddy fields and spectacular scenery. During the day you will also be able to visit a local school. You will enjoy your lunch before arriving at the Taphin village. Here you can hear about the unmixed cultural life of Black Hmong and Red Dao minorities, 2 largest ethnic groups in the area. You can already recognise them by dressing while they are both very famous of handicraft. You will enjoy walking among local people. The trip also offers you the opportunity to visit the local houses as well as visit the local caves. You will return Sapa by car.

Overnight in Sapa

Day 8 - Option 1: Sapa - Sa Seng - Hau Thao - overnight in ecolodge (B,L)
Pick up at the hotel at 09:00 and drive 8 km to Lao Chai to visit Mrs. Do (pronounced ¡°zuh¡±) and her family. They will, in a short interactive demonstration, teach you the process of how to spin hemp from bark into yarn, weave cloth on a loom, and dye cloth using natural, traditional methods.  Take a turn ¡°waterproofing¡± and shining the cloth using the traditional method of honeycomb ¡°stones¡± placed under flat rock manipulated by your feet.  Try your hand at each step along the way experiencing how the beautiful, traditional clothing of the H'mong are harvested, spun, and masterfully embroidered to a lavish end.

After, drive 30 minutes east of Sapa to Hang Da, the starting point for a hike to Sa Seng.  This walk is mostly downhill and takes you along a dirt road set in a narrow valley lush with greenery, a sparkling river, and in season, spectacular waterfalls.  Black H'mong homes are clustered along the way and you will see families working their fields.  In season, enjoy the opportunity to see the hemp dyeing process you've just experienced in many homes along the way.  Now you truly understand the complexity and natural rhythm of this fabric making process that produces the garments whose colors capture your eyes and provide stunning photo opportunities.  Additionally, along the way, medicinal and fragrant herbs grow freely. Your guide can tell you how these herbs are used in day-to-day Vietnamese life.  Drop to the river and enjoy a prepared picnic lunch.

Mid-afternoon, a vehicle will meet you at your journey's end to transport you back to Sa Pa. The vehicle picks you up at a point, where in 1903 the original Sa Pa market was held, until the French moved the market to today's current location.

Overnight in Topas Eco Lodge

Day 8 - Option 2: Sapa - Ethnic Market (B,L)
Have breakfast before driving to visit a local market (Ban Cam on Tuesday/ Cao Son on Wednesday/ Lung Khau Nhin on Thursday / Can Cau on Saturday/ Bac Ha on Sunday. Note: The market visit may be on your arrival day depending on the market day). Here you'll see mostly Flower Hmong however Phu La, Black Dao, Tay, Nung hill tribe groups also gather here. The market offers a variety of local products, which could not be found in others areas such as an interesting animal market where pot-bellied pigs, cows and buffalos can be seen.

Continue your tour to have a short walk a hill-tribe village. Here you'll have the opportunity to visit some local homes to understand more on the daily life of these tribes as well as their culture and traditions. Following head back to Sapa. 

Overnight in Sapa

Day 9 - Option 1: Sapa (B)
Your day today is free to explore this charming city on your own.

Overnight in Topas Eco Lodge

Day 9 - Option 2 : Sapa (B)
Your day today is free to explore this charming city on your own.

Overnight in Sapa

Day 10 - Sapa - Lao Cai - Hekou - Yuanyang (B)
You will cross the Chinese border at Hekou and head to Yuanyang (4 hours depending on the traffic) with your Chinese guide and drivers.

The Yuanyang rice terraces are without a doubt the most beautiful in China. Even UNESCO recognises the natural beauty of the rice terraces and is in the process of registering them as a World Heritage Site. Cascading down the mountainside through bamboo canals, the water transforms the mountain face into a truly wonderful vision giving the impression that the rice terraces are steps for giants leading to the mountain top. In spring (between March and April), considered by photographers as the best time to visit, the sky is reflected in the paddy fields full with water, resembling a never-ending mosaic of mirrors. In summer they turn an emerald colour and from October onwards they look like pools of honey. Other than in December and January when the fields are dry, each season offers something different but equally breath-taking.

For the more adventurous in the group you will be able to savour the local delicacy of eel, easily found in many local restaurants, and which are used in the rice production process. Just before the rice is harvested they are added to the paddy fields saturated with water to aid in this process. We will eat fairly early in the evening in preparation for a heavy day to come.

Stop at the hotel and head to Laohuzui, literally ¡°The Tiger's Mouth¡±, to enjoy the sunset. Here rice terraces continue as far as the eye can see, and the panorama is breath-taking, even dizzying for some.

Day 11 - Yuanyang (B,L,D)

According to the location of your hotel / guesthouse we will set off extremely early so as to be able to admire the sunrise at Duoyisu (that you can admire even from the hotel terrace if you take the standard option) where the rice paddies seem to melt into the valley floor.

It is recommended to wrap up warm as the early morning can be rather fresh.

Breakfast at the hotel.

From here we will visit a local market in a Hani Minority Village. The Hani, otherwise known as the Akha in Southeast Asia, number around 1.5 million and are mainly to be found in Yunnan. In spite of their modest numbers (compared with the scale of the Chinese population as a whole), they are famous for they mastery in the art of rice terrace sculpting and drainage systems. It is believed that they were the first people to implement this rice production method. Often living in rugged areas where fertile land is hard to come by, throughout the centuries the Hani have adapted their farming methods and have transformed 12,000 hectares of hillside into arable land making rice production their principal source of income. Nowadays tourism brings much money to the region, also considerably improving the local infrastructure. The Hani, also found in Xishuangbanna in the Southwest of the region, are well known for their tea culture. The market is held daily, rotating between different villages in the area.

It is mainly the Yi and the Hani who come to buy their supplies for the week ahead or who sell their produce on the market. The busy market is to be savored for its traditional hustle and bustle and its bright and vivid colors.

You'll then walk through the rice terraces starting at Duoyishu and finishing at Bada, taking around 4 to 5 hours depending on your speed. You will be able to see, without disturbing their toil, some of the local men and the buffalo working the fields while the women pick the rice.

You will be rewarded for your efforts upon your arrival in Bada from where you can enjoy the sunset. Although the view from Duoyishu and Laohuzui are more impressive, the view from Bada is special for its visceral beauty. Your view is from a less elevated vantage point, you are much closer to the terraces themselves enabling you to take in the full glory of the work of the Hani. Depending on the season you may be able to enjoy the sun sparkling on the water in the rice paddies and the crickets chirping in the trees. It's an unforgettable experience.

Day 12 - Yuanyang - Jianshui (B)
We will travel to the ancient Chinese garrison town of Jianshui, taking us back to a more traditional age (it should take between 2 and 3 hours to cover the 90km/55 miles dependant on traffic). Yunnan, much like the majority of the regions on the peripherals of China, is stuck between two worlds, a kind of time warp between central China and its bordering nations. Lots of the local members of ethnic minority groups have ¡°cousins¡± in Laos, Vietnam and Burma. Yunnan, just as in the neighboring regions of Guangxi and Guizhou, has long represented the rebellious or ¡°separatist¡± part of China, in part due to its inaccessible location far from the Empires' powerbases, and its rugged landscape. The ancient kingdoms of Nanzhou and Dali, the best known from this region's history, for a long time controlled the trade routes between Imperial China and Southeast Asia. Not until the Mongols conquered China (13th century) was the region truly integrated into the Empire, later becoming a place of refuge for members of the ruling class of the Ming Dynasty fleeing the Manchus. Jianshui was a centre for the military and politicians of the Yuan (Moongols) who sent their Hui soldiers here, going some way towards explaining the Muslim influence on and presence of the Hui in this region.

You will visit the Confucius Temple, which despite its remoteness from the heart of ¡°Classical China¡± is still considered to be one of the most beautiful in the country. It is particularly known for its green lotus pool which poetically symbolises the immense scale of knowledge¡­ Whilst there you can absorb the unique ambience of Chinese parks, filled with the elderly chatting and playing Mah-jong.

The region is equally as well known for the residences of two families built in the 19th century, The Zhang Family Estate and The Zhu Family Estate.

The Zhu Estate is located at the heart of the old town and is one of the most stunning examples of traditional housing in the entire country. An intricate labyrinth of more than 2 hectares of bamboo groves, pavilions, courtyards and bandstands, it is entirely concurrent with one's mental image of Imperial China ¨C and this at the heart of a border region! The Zhu brothers, rich merchants from Hunan province, took 30 years to complete the complex and quickly became noted celebrities in the south of Yunnan. The estate is today a hotel, but its old-worldly charm is well protected, and this tourist role will probably protect it against an uncertain future.

The Zhang Estate is located at Tuanshan, around 15km (10 miles) from Jianshui. This seemingly timeless village is an interweaving lattice of avenues that hide the stunning former residences of merchants, who made their money in the salt trade. These houses are interspersed with the more common ochre houses of the village, which are often left unoccupied. The Zhang Estate, with its square courtyards, sculpted doors and richly decorated friezes is the best example of such a house.

Before returning to Jianshui we will visit the Twin Dragon Bridge, taking its name from  the two rivers which weave dragon-like through its 17 arches. It is one of the oldest bridges in all of China, and is a wonderful piece of stonework. After this stop we will head back to the hotel.

Day 13 - Jianshui - Shilin - Kunming (altitude 1750m) - Lijiang (altitude 2500m (B,L)
Next on our itinerary will be the county of Lunan where we will discover one of the major attractions of the region and a must see, Shilin or literally The Stone Forest. The journey here will take around 3 to 4 hours, covering 275km/180 miles. Due to its proximity to Kunming, Shilin can become a bit of a tourist trap. However, only a small part of the 26,000 hectare site is crowded and it is easy to escape the hordes of package holidaymakers. We therefore will take you instead to the quieter and less frequented Black Stone Forest, which is roughly 10km away from the main site but just as impressive.

According to legend, the immortals (divine beings worshipped by Taoists) created the Black Stone Forest by cutting up mountains into a maze of rocks so that they could offer them as gifts to loved ones. This maze of ¡°stone trees¡± is therefore fascinating, but it's also easy to get lost, so it's very important that you follow your guide!

Shilin is an endless maze of rocky peaks in an intriguing array of shapes and sizes that are a result of chemical erosion of the rock over time caused by rain and wind. Depending on the weather, you will be able to enjoy a picnic lunch in the middle of the ¡°forest¡± which will not only give you the opportunity to enjoy the scenery but also to avoid the rather high prices of the restaurants on-site.

En route to the Kunming Airport (around 100km away), you will be able to see some of the old train tracks that we first met at the start of our trip. From Kunming, we will fly to Lijiang where we will end our day. You will be met at the airport by your local guide, and transferred to the hotel.

Welcome to Lijiang! This magnificent labyrinth of traditional redwood and brick houses topped with grey slate roofs, canals, stone bridges and cobbled streets in 1999 was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Small interior courtyards are furnished with flowers and bushes to which the locals tend and that give this town its beautiful, and special, aroma. It's a real paradise at the heart of Naxi culture. Originally coming from Tibet over 2000 years ago, the Naxi first lived as nomads in Sichuan before settling in Yunnan. There are around 300,000 Naxi People living in China, found mostly in Yunnan and Sichuan. They are most notable for their expertise in canal building which assures each home has running water, Lijiang being a perfect example, their literature, religion, and by their social organisation structure which is both ¡°matrilocal¡± (whereby couples move in with the wife's family) and ¡°matrilineal¡± (where succession favours females over males).

The Dongba script is the keystone of the Naxi culture, supposed to be the only pictographic writing still in use in the world, and whose shamans (we are now on the fingers of the hand) are the guarantors. The Canon Dongba is a veritable encyclopaedia of over 1000 volumes that describe the Naxi mythology and deal with cosmology and astronomical treaties.

The Naxi are split into 2 groups, including the Na (eastern branch) who live near the Lugu Lake and those society still operates based around matriarchal clans.

Day 14 - Lijiang (B)
We recommend an early rise to enjoy the peace and quiet of the early morning. Lijiang is also known as the ¡°Big Inkpot¡± due to the network of canals which flow through the village resembling an inkpot that has been knocked over. Crossing over the labyrinth of alleyways you will arrive at the ¡°Lion Hill¡± which offers you a fantastic view over the village below. At the top, there will be a chance for a quick coffee break on the terrace so you can relax after your ascent to the top.

Afterwards, we will visit the Mu Palace which is named after the Chinese Empire warlords who ruled from this magnificent residence in this region during the Mongol Dynasty (13th century). The palace is a vivid example of Ming and Qing architecture, based on the same style of architecture as the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Following the visit to the palace we will head to the edge of the old town where you will be able to enjoy the local market and get a feel for the ¡®real' Lijiang, where you will see locals still dressed in traditional clothing selling teas, vegetables, fruits and even daily tools in a very vibrant and animated atmosphere.

From here we will walk to the Black Dragon Pond Park in the north of the town which offers, on a clear day, a panoramic view of the famous Jade Dragon Mountain which you will visit the next day.

We will then head back to the vibrant heart of the old town.

Note: the pond is now dry, Yunnan Province is a victim of repeated drought in nearly two years

You will be free to enjoy the evening yourselves, wandering around the town as the night falls and red lanterns are placed outside people's homes.

Note: This day will be spent entirely on foot, and as sometimes the cobbled streets can sometimes be slightly slippery we recommend wearing sturdy shoes. The order in which we visit the sites may be modified depending on the hotel in which we stay.

Day 15 - Lijiang - Shaxi (altitude 2200 m) (B)
The trip up Jade Dragon Mountain, which stands majestically to the north of the city, will be the ¡®mountainous' stage of our stay in Lijiang. The mountain, also called Satseto in the Naxi language, takes its name from the God of War in the Dongba religion. The number of visitors to the site is rather high and so we will instead visit an area less well-known, but quieter and more rural, called the Yak Prairie. The view from here over here over the glacier is as equally as stunning as from the more popular destinations.

Optional: If you wish to climb to the highest point (5600m) at Ganzidou, please consult us for further advice.

We will eat lunch en route for Shaxi, which is 150km/90 miles southeast of the Mountain and which will take around 5 hours to reach depending on the traffic. We should arrive by the evening.

Shaxi is a traveller's oasis that used to be a major stop on the Tea-Horse Road that ran through the region, forming a major part of its heritage and history. Less well known than the Silk Road, it still remains a key trade route between the most remote areas of Xishuangbanna (in the far south of Yunnan) known for its pu'er tea, Tibet and, by extension, Nepal, Laos, Burma and India where other goods are traded. It was during the Tang dynasty (618-907), when the Tibetan interest in tea grew rapidly, that the route become famous. Tibetans would trade their horses for this typical Chinese export on a complex, high-altitude trade route on which Shaxi became one of the major stops.

Nowadays Shaxi is a subtle blend of an oasis, a kind of western cowboy town, a backpackers' haunt and a typical Chinese village that is unlike anything else in China. Ancient stables have been perfectly renovated and transformed into charming hotels, whilst traditional wooden homes have been changed into restaurants and caf¨¦s, where travellers can enjoy the relaxing ambience of the village and recharge their batteries. It's common in Shaxi to just sit on a bench all day, appreciating the peace and quiet, as village life slowly passes by.

Day 16 - Shaxi (B)
Shaxi is typically the kind of place that you ¡°relive¡± after your visit. You can enjoy a free morning here by exploring the maze of paved avenues that make up the heart of the old town, or equally by discovering the surrounding countryside that is notable for its okra earth that you also find, logically, in the houses in the village made of earth-bricks. Cross the bridge to the south and you will be in the heart of the local countryside, an ancient caravan route.

Optional: you could visit the dramatic Three Terraced Pavilion, an extremely rare building in such a remote area. Whilst there, it is worth taking the opportunity to visit the nearby Buddhist Temple.

If you are lucky, your time in Shaxi will fall on a market day. Held every Friday, the market attracts many Bai and Yi peoples, the two major ethnic groups that populate the region. They often come down from remote corners of neighbouring mountains to exchange all types of food products and day-to-day necessities.

Shortly after lunch we will take you to Shibaoshan (literally ¡®stone treasure mountain') , an impressive collection of temples, caves and stone sculptures, the most ancient of which date from the 9th century, and which detail the life of important figures from the Nanzhao kingdom (8th-9th century). You will also notice some religious effigies, such as the statue of Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, or the renowned Stone Treasure, a striking black rock that symbolises the female genitalia that many women come to touch to improve their chances of conceiving a child.

The visit will also allow you to take a walk offering spectacular views of the surrounding valley and villages. But watch out! The area is home to monkeys who like to liberate passers-by of all of their snacks.

After the walk we will return to Shaxi, where you will have a free evening.

Day 17 - Shaxi - Shuanglang (Dali) (altitude 1900m) (B,L,D)
We head off to Dali which will take around 4 to 5 hours (excluding breaks) to travel the 160km/100 mile journey. Dali is home to the Bai minority and was a stronghold of the kingdom of Nanzhao (738-902) and epicentre of the Dali Kingdom (937-1253). The region, notably the shores of the Erhai Lake (literally the Ear Shaped Lake), and the surrounding areas where bronze dating back to 1000 BC has been found, played a strategic role in Yunnan's history. The Bai (who nowadays number less than 2 million) first settled in the region more than 3000 years ago and their first dwellings surrounded the lake. Following their victory against the Tang Empire in the 8th Century, they founded the Kingdom of Nanzhao, which you will have already heard mentioned throughout your trip. The Bai are most distinguishable by their clothing - predominantly white (from which the Bai take their name, ¡°Bai¡± means white in Chinese) and by their homes, which are very particular to this region and you will be able to see example of these in Dali old town.

Optional: Dali marble is so well known and of such a high quality that, in Chinese, marble is literally translated as ¡°Dali stone¡±. It is extracted from quarries in Mount Cangshan and exported in massive quantities to other countries throughout Asia. You will have the option to visit a marble factory en route. The Chinese particularly appreciate the mountain, river and cloud like patterns which appear in marble when it is polished.

For a number of years Dali has been in the tourist spotlight and the number of visitors is growing every year. In order to avoid these crowds, therefore we have decided to stay in Shuanglang which lies on the western bank of Erhai Lake. This lakeside stay will add another theme to our trip which we haven't yet come across as extensively, water! In fact, people from Yunnan often say that their province has everything but the sea, but with the 250km2 of lake on offer here, you could even say that Yunnan even has a little interior sea.

You will stay in a famous local artist's house in the village. A number of other artists, especially from Kunming, have relocated to the village to enjoy its pleasant atmosphere including the famous choreographer Yang Liping who organises the show ¡°Dynamic Yunnan¡±.

Optional: Travel by bike around Shuanglang. You will travel along the shores of the lake, discovering the daily life of the Bai fishermen set against the background of the impressive Cangshan Mountains. The pace of life for most local people hasn't changed much in decades and you will get a real sense of the local culture that you won't be able to find in Dali. In the same way as in Yuanyang region, local markets pass through here on a daily basis. If you are lucky you will be able to shop at the Shase market which takes place on every 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th of the month.

Depending on the weather you will be able to enjoy a barbecue in the evening and enjoy some of the fresh fish caught from the lake.

Day 18 - Shuanglang - Dali - Kunming (B)
We will set off for the Three Pagodas at the Chongsheng temple, situated around 40km/25 miles away on the other side of the lake (taking around 1.5 hours to circumnavigate). The temple is a mystical emblem of the town and stands proud at the foot of the Changshan Mountains. The Pagoda of the Thousand Awakenings was built in the ninth century and designed by an engineer from Chang'an (nowadays known as Xi'an) and is characterized by its square plan, similar to that of the Wild Goose Pagoda found in the ancient imperial capital, symbolising the influence the Chinese Tang Dynasty in the region. The three pagodas were part of a vast monastic centre which unfortunately was almost completely destroyed in an earthquake. The remaining temple was restored and transformed into a museum which you have the opportunity to visit if you wish to do so. The site is particularly impressive when the sun sets behind the mountains and illuminates the ochre colour of the pagodas.

We will then head on to the old town of Dali, 2km to the south, where you can still find some typical Bai homes. A relaxed and warm atmosphere seems to ooze from these white walled homes, on which you can find paintings representing mountains, running water, birds and flowers. Their front porches, famous throughout the country, are distinguished by their beautifully carved arches.

Day 19 - Kunming
Upon arrival in Kunming you will be taken to your hotel and from which you will be able to travel onward to your next destination. 

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Email:          Address:Rixin Road,Kunming City,Yunnan Province,China

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