On your first day in Kunming, you’ll visit the Western Hills and the elaborately carved Dragon Gate grottoes. You’ll visit Qiongzhu Temple later that day. You’ll visit the magnificent Stone Forest the charming Golden Temple the next day. You’ll fly to Shangri-la today to visit the majestic Ganden Sumtseling Monastery and the otherworldly Potatso National Park the following day. On the last day of the journey, you’ll return to Kunming from Shangri-la to head to your next destination.
Upon arrival, you’ll be picked up by your local guide at the airport and chauffeured to your hotel in the city. You’ll start your trip by visiting the beautiful Western Hill first. Located 15km away from the city, the Western Hills are a national conservation area. They’re nicknamed ‘Sleeping Beauty Hills' because they appear like a young lady laying beside Dianchi Lake with her face upward and her hair trailing into the water when being viewed from a distance. You’ll catch a chairlift at the foot of the mountain to skip the fairly steep ascent to the summit to visit the Dragon Gate — a massive exquisite stone carved edifice with a collection of grottoes, sculptures, corridors, tunnels and pavilions that were hacked from the cliff between 1781 and 1853 by a Taoist monk and his co-workers. You can stand on the edge of the cliff by holding the railing, looking downward to experience the steepness of the hill and enjoy the spectacle of Dianchi Lake.
Next up, you’ll visit the splendid Qiongzhu Temple, which is honored as one of the national cultural relics in China and hosts the top-grade artistic achievements 7 hundred years ago. Qiongzhu Temple (Bamboo Temple) is a Buddhist temple located 12 kilometers to the northwest of Kunming. It was established during the Yuan dynasty as the first temple dedicated to Zen Buddhism in Yunnan. The major temple is enclosed by a stretch of courtyard walls and gables, emphasizing its status as the sacred centerpiece of the area. The temple is most notable for the painted clay sculptures of the 500 Buddhist arhats. Each arhat is vividly featured with unique facial expressions and body gestures, which marks a radical separation from the conventional style of Buddhist sculptures.
Dragon Gate grottoes
Breakfast & lunch & Dinner
After breakfast, you’ll be chauffeured to the Stone Forest scenic area located 90 kilometers to the south of Kunming. Due to a process of weathering and erosion, nature has created an art gallery of limestone sculpture there. You’ll be amazed to discover the striking resemblance between the stones there and trees, animals and even fungi. The quintessential karst landscape will make every visitor lost in wonder. Altogether, you’ll explore a variety of bewitching landscapes including the Greater Stone Forest, the Lesser Stone Forest, the Naigu Stone Forest, the Zhiyun Cave, the Long Lake, the Da Dieshui Waterfall and the Qifeng Cave.
Next up, you’ll be escorted back to Kunming in the afternoon to visit the charming Golden Temple. Located only 11 kilometers away from Kunming, the gorgeous Golden Temple sits on top of Mingfeng Hill in a surrounding of sweeping greenery. It’s the most renowned Taoist shrine in Yunnan province and is largely decorated in gleaming copper. You can spot copper-made Buddha statues, wall decorations and banners almost everywhere. When approaching the temple by climbing uphill on winding stone steps and passing through a series of ‘Heavenly Gates’, the outline of the temple will gradually appear on sight and will enchant you almost immediately with its elaborate architectural style and sedative tranquility.
By the end of today’s trip, you will be delivered to the Green Lake which is nicknamed ‘the gem of the city’. You can take a gentle stroll around the lakeside adorned with an abundance of charming teahouses and small boutiques selling handicrafts and beautiful local paintings.
Breakfast & lunch & Dinner
You’ll take a flight to Shangri-la and embark on a spiritual journey to the majestic Ganden Sumtseling Monastery. Built in 1679, Ganden Sumtseling Monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province and is referred to as the Little Potala Palace. The monastery used to boast 2,000 monks at the peak of its past spiritual influence. Today, it houses 700 monks in 200 associated houses with a combined architectural style of both Tibetan and Han Chinese features. It retains a timeless charm and offers a fascinating insight into a unique Tibetan Buddhist culture. Being immersed in a sublime ambience and surrounded by packs of reverent monks and pilgrims, you’ll be expected to reemerge with a reformed perspective on life and religion.
Afterwards, you’ll visit Potatso National Park (including Shudu Lake, Bita Lake resort and Xiaji Resort).
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery
Shudu Lake, Potatso National Park
After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to Shangri-la’s airport to catch a morning flight back to Kunming, where you can catch your next flight to your following destinations. Have a nice trip!
If you need a separate airport pick-up service to downtown Kunming or want to stay an extra night there, please let us know.
|Kunming||Kunming Bank Hotel||Kunming Golden Dragon Hotel||Kunming Camellia Hotel|
|Shangri La||ShangriLa Paradise Hotel||Shangri La Holy Palace Hotel||ShangriLa Pacific Rim Hotel|
Price may vary according to different seasons. You can extend your stay in Yunnan after this package finishes, we will keep the discount hotel rate for you for the extended days.
The private tour departs every day (please inquire us in low season).