Upon arrival in Kunming, you’ll be picked up at the airport by your local guide and chauffeured to the hotel to check in. You can spend the rest of the day exploring the city at your own pace.
Golden Horse and Jade Phoenix Archway
Breakfast & lunch
After breakfast, you’ll be chauffeured to the Stone Forest scenic area on a 1.5-hour road trip. The region is located 85 kilometers to the south of Kunming. Due to a process of weathering and erosion, nature has created an art gallery of limestone sculpture there. During your 2.5-hour visit, 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.
After lunch, you’ll head back to Kunming to visit Yuantong Temple. Yuantong Temple is the oldest Buddhist temple in the city with a history of more than 12 centuries. Located in downtown Kunming, it offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The temple hosts a series of pavilions and Buddhist halls, and it is noted for its gradually descending terrain from the entrance to the back as well as its unique structure with many of its Buddhist halls built around waters.
After that, you’ll be escorted to Kunming’s train station, from where you’ll take a fast speed train to Dali.
The city of Dali serves as a perfect antidote to modern slump with its relaxed vibe and breathtakingly gorgeous scenery. The city is embraced by the stunning Erhai Lake to its west side and the magnificent Cangshan Mountain to its east edge. Its high elevation ranging from 700 to 4300 meters makes it a perfect place for star gazing.
On your first day in Dali, you’ll firstly pay a visit to the sparkling Erhai Lake (which is actually an alpine fault lake) and spend 2 hours on a boat trip to better appreciate its gleaming aquamarine.
Next up, you’ll spend 1 hour visiting the Three Pagodas, which is another unmissable spot as a typical historical symbol of Yunnan province and one of the oldest sublime architecture in South China. After that, you’ll be escorted to visit the South Gate of the Dali Ancient Town, which is the landmark and symbol of the old city. You’ll spend 2 hours visiting the old city, which hosts a large collection of traditional Bai architectures. Once served as a vital gateway of cultural exchange and trade with southeastern Asian countries, the city retains its unique ancient charm despite of the constant stream of tourists it accommodates each year. The Foreigner Street is lined with an abundance of bistros and trendy restaurants serving both modern dishes and regional delicacies. You can embark on a culinary tour and gorge on the local feasting when hunger strikes.
Breakfast & Lunch
We’ll head to Lijiang after breakfast, the whole road trip will take approximately 3 hours. On your way to Lijiang, you’ll visit Xizhou Old Town first to attend their bustling morning market. Xizhou is a cozy ancient city where a cluster of traditional Bai ethnic architectures are well preserved. You can explore the distinctive culture of the Bai ethnic group there.
You’ll then continue heading north to visit Zhoucheng Village. The charming Zhoucheng Village is the largest Bai Minority settlement in Yunnan and is renowned for being the 'Hometown of Tie-dyeing Art'. The village is easily accessible as it’s close to both Erhai Lake and Xizhou Ancient Town. A visit to the area offers a fascinating insight into the history, culture and craftsmanship of Bai people. A workshop experience of the sophisticated tie-dying technique will satiate your curiosity and leave you with a precious memento to remember the trip with.
After that, you’ll be escorted to visit Lijiang Ancient Town. This well-preserved UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site covers an immense area of 1255 square kilometers. Once the habitation of local Naxi people, the place is now crammed with a profusion of fancy restaurants and boutique hotels, yet its enduring allure never fails to fascinate visitors. You can have an exploration of what the stores have to offer at daytime and stroll through its meandering streets when the whole place is lit up by lanterns and neon at night. The city was found on the streets radiating out from the landmark Square Street, which can help you better navigate the maze-like place just in case you get lost in your ambling.
Breakfast & lunch
08:00 AM pick up at hotel and start off. (1h).Shuhe Old Town: 6km northwest of Lijiang center. A staging post at ancient Tea & Horse Road. It is a tranquil town, as well as part of the UNESCO Heritage site. Baisha Village is named after the signature white sands abound in the area and is located 16 km to the northwest of Lijiang Ancient Town. It’s the earliest settlement of the Naxi people and houses myriad cultural relics and ancient buildings. There are many ancient constructions built in the Ming Dynasty: the Dabaoji Palace, the Liuli Temple and the Wenchang Palace.
One of the biggest tourist draws in Baisha Village is the exquisite Baisha Mural, which consists of a series of paintings created 600 years ago, representing the first-class craftsmanship at that time and reflecting the spiritual pursuit and mundane life of Naxi people in ancient times. Not only does it stand out as a rare treasure of art, but it also serves as an important source of information for research on national religions, arts and history.
Next up, you’ll be delivered to Yuhu Village, which is an ideal place for a relaxing getaway from the bustling Lijiang Ancient Town. The village is a primitive and peaceful village inhabited by Naxi people where time has almost stood still. It holds a unique allure with its traditional Naxi lifestyle and its ancient houses entirely constructed with a rare type of stones. After taking only 10 minutes’ walk from the village, you’ll be amazed by the ravishing beauty of the Yuhu lake, which has shimmering blue water and a backdrop of the immense Jade Dragon Snow Mountain miles away. You’ll then visit the former residence of the Austrian-American botanist Joseph Rock, who was among those first groups of westerns that had been intoxicated by the beauty of Lijiang and had lived there for decades.
After that, you’ll head to the picturesque Black Dragon Pool with the towering Jade Dragon Mountain as its backdrop. One can see arbours and pavilions beside the pond, temples hidden in the trees and flowers found everywhere.
You’ll then pay a visit to Dongba Culture Museum to explore the rich Naxi minority culture. The museum hosts more than 10000 Dongba historical and cultural relics and offers the ‘Dongba Culture Exhibition all year long.
Breakfast & lunch
You’ll be chauffeured for 50km/1h to visit the magnificent First Bend of Yangtze River, which originates from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. When the river reaches Stone Drum Town, it makes an abrupt turn and flows further northward, forming the rare U-shape bend and creating views of wonder. Get prepared to snap a photo of the meandering water embraced in lush valleys.
Stone Drum Town is 70 kilometers away from the city of Lijiang and sits on the bank of Yangtze River. The old town is named after a drum-shaped marble plaque it hosts. Built during the Jiaqing era of the Ming Dynasty, the stone drum is a monument commemorating the victory of Lijiang’s Naxi ruler over an invading Tibetan army. Throughout time, Stone Drum Town was always a significant strategic military area where many famous historical events have been taken place. In April 1936, the Second Route of the Red Army crossed the river here and continued to march north. There are memorials here honoring the people whose histories are entwined with the Stone Drum Town. The area is now home to 8 ethnic populations and boasts a greet scenery of swirling rice terraces and trembling willows. You’ll then head west to visit the Iron Chain Bridge, a bridge built in late Qing dynasty to help villagers cross the galloping Chongjiang River under the feet.
As a primary tributary of the upper Yangtze River, the Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest river canyons in the world. The gorge has a series of rapids surging under its steep cliffs and a maximum depth of approximately 3,790 meters from the base to the mountain peak. Legend says that in order to escape from a hunter, a tiger jumped across the river at the narrowest point, the gorge is therefore named as such. It holds a dramatic allure for adventures and trekkers all over the world.Despite its odd danger, it’s gorgeous almost every single step along the way.
After that, you’ll head to Shangri-la on a 2.5-hour road trip. You’ll be chauffeured to the hotel in the city upon arrival. You’ll spend the rest of the day visiting Dukezong Old Town, a 1300-year-old Tibetan town, experienced both the flames of war and prosperity of frontier trade. It has authentic Tibetan dwellings, majestic prayer halls and pagodas, winding lanes offer sanctuary to all those seeking refuge from the bustle city.
Breakfast & lunch
In the morning, you’ll start your journey in Shangri-la by embarking 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.
Next up, you’ll be escorted to visit the ravishing Napa Lake: is 3270 meters (10,728 ft.) above sea level and covers 660 square kilometers (254 square miles). Approximately 8 kilometers northwest of Shangri-La, the lake fills up a valley surrounded on three sides by mountains which are covered in snow during winter and spring time.
Today, you’ll be picked up from your hotel in Shangri-la and chauffeured to the airport to catch your departure flight. Hotel check-out time depends on the time of your departure flight.
|Kunming||Cachet Boutique Kunming Artime||Kunming Weilong Hotel||Kunming Jinhua International Hotel|
|Dali||Dali Regent Hotel||Dali Regent Hotel||Dali Landscape Hotel|
|Lijiang||Lijiang Ivy Garden Resort Hotel||Lijiang Wangfu Hotel||Lijiang Sanhe 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.
This tour can be customized to following intinerary - 8 Days Kunming Dali Lijiang Shangrila Classic Tour: D1: Kunming Airport pickup to Kunming Hotel. Stay in Kunming. If time permits, visit Green Lake,this area of tea houses, small handicrafts shops, etc. and Golden Horse & Jade Rooster Archway. Day 2 Kunm more..
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] by Lina Tao,10/17/2011
Nancy, I just want to thank you for all your efforts in making our trip such memorable one. Everything worked as planned the guides were great and towns we saw were fascinating, the local guide and driver are very friendly, and the meals and hotels in the trip is good too. I will highly recommendation your more..
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!] by JANIS AIVARS DZELDE,06/25/2014