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The Yunnan Road

Travel days:  12 days
 /  11 nights

  • All flights mentioned in the program are in economy class and include airport tax and fuel surcharge.
  • All transfers mentioned in the program are in air-conditioned vehicles.
  • First entrance fee for all sights mentioned in the program.
  • Accommodation in specified hotel with breakfast.
  • English speaking local guide for all mentioned sightseeing. Other languages are available on request.
  • All meals mentioned in the program (B for breakfast, L for Lunch, D for Dinner).
  • 24 hours TUI China telephone hotline (German and English speaking): +86 13910187388
  • Tips.
  • Personal expenses.
  • All expenses not mentioned above.
  • Hotel            
    On request
  • Difficulty Level :**
  • Best time to visit: March – May, September – December
  • Eat, hike and breathe some of Yunnan's most rewarding rural areas
  • Discover untouched villages
  • Interact with Minority people and learn their cultures through hands-on activities
  • Really get to know the locals over a home cooked lunch or dinner
  • Re-trace ancient trading town on the Tea & Horse Caravan Trail
  • Gain a long-lasting appreciation of the history and religion of Yunnan

Travel content

Just the word "Shangri-La" in most people's minds conjures up images of a pristine Utopia. Indeed, this longing to escape to paradise is deeply rooted in Chinese as well as Western culture. This paradise is best described by the Medieval Chinese tale of The Record of the Peach Blossom Spring, which, just like James Hilton's Lost Horizon, tells of an intrepid explorer who unwittingly stumbles upon the legendary Shangri-La. What awaits today's adventurers is a landscape of snowcapped mountains, alpine meadows, and deep river gorges, truly some of China's most breathtaking scenery. In addition to this, Yunnan is China's most ethnically and culturally diverse province. Among the cultures found here are the Bai with their distinct white homes, the matriarchal Naxi, and the Dai, a people closely related to Thais. Remarkably, each group has managed to retain much of its individual identify, including customs, dialects, and distinct ethnic costumes. In this program, we'll explore China's diverse ethnic cultures and people, discover the ancient trading towns of Yunnan, and experience Yunnan's stunning nature

Travel Itinerary

  • Day 1:
    Kunming – Dali (D)
    • Arrive in Kunming
    • Walking tour of the city, includes visit to the Flower and Bird Markets, count red-beaked sea gulls at Green Lake
    • Overnight train to Dali
    • Overnight Train
  • Day 2:
    Dali (B L D)
    • Arrive in Dali, have breakfast in hotel
    • Transfer to Mt. Cangshan and take the chairlift up Zhonghe Peak and visit the Zhonghe Temple overlooking Dali and Er Lake. If energy permits, hike around Mt. Cangshan (2 hours).
    • Return to Dali Ancient Town
    • Walk around the ancient town to discover some hidden corners
    • Overnight in Dali Ancient Town
  • Day 3:
    Dali (B L D)
    • Transfer to Zhoucheng Village (30 min), visit local market and learn the art of batik
    • After lunch, transfer to visit Xizhou, an ancient town with thousands of years of history. Watch a private cormorant fishing show on Er Hai Lake.
    • Return to Dali Ancient Town
    • Overnight in Dali Ancient Town
  • Day 4:
    Dali – Shaxi (B L D)
    • Visit Shibaoshan Grottoes (3 hours), rock carvings that are over 1300 years old and evidence of the spread of Mahayana Buddhism into Yunnan from Tibet.
    • Transfer to Shaxi Ancient Town, an important historical trading town on the Tea & Horse Caravan Trail. Walk around the town.
    • Overnight in Shaxi Guesthouse
  • Day 5:
    Shaxi – Lijiang (B L D)
    • Drive towards Lijiang. En route, stop at Jianchuan Ancient Town for a break and have lunch at Lashi Lake (4-4.5 hours)
    • Transfer to Lijiang Ancient Town (40 min). After arrival, explore the ancient town with your guide.
    • Overnight in Lijiang Ancient Town
  • Day 6:
    Lijiang (B L D)
    • Take an early morning walk around the town, giving a completely different view than that of nighttime. Then walk to Black Dragon Park and Dongba Museum.
    • Explore the local market and select ingredients for our lunch. Learn to cook authentic Naxi food at a Naxi family's courtyard.
    • Take your learning about Naxi culture to the next step by learning Dongba script and making a Dongba script T-shirt.
    • Optional: biking tour to Baisha Town and Puji Temple
    • Overnight in Lijiang Ancient Town
  • Day 7:
    Lijiang – Wenhai (B L D)
    • Half day hike to Wenhai Village.
    • Starts at Yuhu Village, where the famed naturalist Joseph Rock lived during the 1920s and 1930s. The hike takes you about 3-3.5 hours into the Wenhai Valley.
    • Walk around Wenhai Village, visit a local school, and if lucky, spot the wild Yunnan crane in the village
    • Enjoy authentic Naxi food in a local Naxi family home
    • Overnight in Wenhai Ecolodge
  • Day 8:
    Wenhai – Tiger Leaping Gorge (B L D)
    • Descend into the Wenhai Valley.
    • Along the trail, there are excellent views of Lijiang and surrounding villages. The hike takes 5.5-6 hours including lunch.
    • Meet the bus at Longpan, then transfer to Qiaotou to spend the night
    • Qiaotou is the starting point of Tiger Leaping Gorge
    • Overnight in Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Day 9:
    Tiger Leaping Gorge (B L D)
    • Hike Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world's deepest gorges tucked between Yulong Snow Mountain and the Haba Mountains. (5-6 hours )
    • Overnight at Half-way Guesthouse
    • Overnight in Tiger Leaping Gorge  
  • Day 10:
    Tiger Leaping Gorge – Zhongdian (B L D)
    • Continue hike in Tiger Leaping Gorge (3-3.5 hours)
    • Meet our bus and transfer to Zhongdian
    • Overnight in Zhongdian Ancient Town
  • Day 11:
    Zhongdian (B L D)
    • Follow the Zhongdian Tibetans' pilgrimage road around Songtsam Monastery. Along the trail, overlook Zhongdian Ancient Town and the surrounding villages from the summit.
    • Visit Songtsam Monastery
    • Tour Dabao Temple and make prayer flags
    • Visit a local Tibetan family in Dabao village and try yak butter tea
    • Walk around the ancient town and enjoy a Tibetan dance
    • Overnight in Zhongdian Ancient Town
  • Day 12:
    Depart (B)
    • Fly to Kunming for your connecting flight back home
    • End of service