Welcome to Kunming, the Spring City of China! Upon arrival at the Kunming airport/train station, the local tour guide and driver will meet you in the arrival hall and escort you to your hotel and help you check in. (Please note: to take the afternoon itinerary, you'd better arrange flight or train landing in Kunming before 10:00.)
In this afternoon, you’ll take a visit to Yunnan Nationalities Museum for a wonderful understanding of the 25 ethnic minority groups in vast Yunnan. This largest minority museum in whole Asia boasts a collection of over 20 thousand pieces (units) of precious cultural relics to show you the beautiful costumes, diverse ethnic festivals, daily life scenes, exquisite musical instruments, brilliant cultural texts, and so on to know the essence of Yunnan culture!
Later, visit the famous Western Hills which is called “Sleeping Beauty Hills”, looking like a beautiful young lady lying beside Dian Lake (the largest freshwater in Yunnan and famed as the “Pearl on the Plateau”). It is a particularly pleasant experience to walk in such verdant forest mountain park with elegant sightseeing and a series of cultural relics and sites, including some old temples. You will not miss the symbolic visit to the magic Dragon Gate as it says “If you do not visit Western Hill, you haven't visited Kunming; if you do not come to Dragon Gate, you haven't been to Western Hills”, where to admire the colorful old grottoes on the wall and catch the panoramic view of the large peaceful Dianchi Lake and Kunming City. (You can visit the temples if interested. Huating Temple and Taihua Temple are included in the ticket.)
After the tour, drive back to your hotel.
After breakfast, your local guide and driver will meet you at your hotel and then escort you to discover Stone Forest first for about 1.5 hours’ riding (85km)!
Kunming Stone Forest as the “Essence of World Karst Landform” has been listed as the UNESCO World Natural Heritage with the incomparable coverage of 12 square kilometers’ stone pinnacle groups. Take the sightseeing bus to visit the Greater Stone Forest Scenic Area to admire the typical concentrating cinerous stone pinnacles by walking through the maze of stone peaks and jumping high for the panorama of the forest of protruding stone peaks. Also, you will see the famous peak on many photos and even stones towering over 40 meters. Then, continue to ride the bus to explore the Lesser Stone Forest to closely look at the iconic stone “Ashima” like a young lady, listen to the touching love story of Ashima, and fill your eyes with the emerald garden-like park of wilder stone peaks surrounded by lush green plants and blossoms. Take the sightseeing bus to exit the scenic park.
After the discovering, drive back to Kunming downtown and enjoy a cultural visit to Yuantong Temple that is one of the top oldest Buddhist temples in Kunming with more than 1,200 years’ history. Take your stroll there to feel the rich Buddhist atmosphere of three Buddhist sects filling the antique halls and houses specially designed into a traditional Chinese garden layout for a quite different appreciation of temple in China.
Then, walk to Kunming Green Lake nearby. This pretty park with a lovely lake, old-styled pavilions, corridors, flowers, etc. is the most popular place for an authentic feeling of local Kunming people’s leisure life with citizens singing, dancing, talking, exercising, etc. During November to the next March, Black-headed Gulls from Siberian will never be late to fly there for their expecting comfortable warm winter holiday. Do not miss playing with those adorable and vigorous elfin during your relaxing roam!
After today’s visiting, be escorted back to your hotel. Have a good sleep!
In the morning, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel and escort to Kunming Changshui International Airport for a flight to Shangri-La (about 1-1.5 hours). Welcome to Shangri-La (Zhongdian, altitude: 3459meters), the Garden of Eden! Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by our local guide at the arrival hall who is holding a sign on which says your name. Then our guide and driver will transfer you directly to your hotel in Shangri-La by our comfortable private car (non-smoking), and the guide will help you check in.
Then, drive about 28 kilometers (within 1 hour) to Nixi Pottery Village, the most “Shangri-La” of Shangri-La. Nixi Tangdui Village is a Tibetan village well known for the two-thousand-year-old art - black pottery (also listed as National Intangible Cultural Heritage). Around 70 out of the 100 families in the village are engaged in this traditional art. Pay a visit to a Tibetan family’s workshop and watch how they make different items of black pottery. (Optional experience: If you want to involve in the pottery making, you can follow the local master to make one by your own hands. It takes about 30-40 minutes. After that, you can view the firing process.)
Later, drive back to Dukezong Old Town for further exploration. With a history over 1300 years, Dukezong Old Town is the largest and the best preserved Tibetan community in China. Climb up to the top of Guishan Hill (or Tortoise Hill) to have a panoramic view of both the endless snow-capped mountains surrounded the pure land and the large scale of the old town with countless Tibetan dwellings. Join in the tourists to turn the largest Prayer Wheel in the world in clockwise direction. (Optional experience: If you show interest in making traditional Tibetan Thangka, you can learn at Shangri-la Thangka Institute. Programs here include Thangka painting, chanting, Tibetan language and calligraphy. You can choose your like.)
Evening Time Suggestion: The main square of the Duzekong Old Town has dancing performance organized by the local Tibetan at night between 19:30 and 21:00 which is nice to watch or even join in.
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. Today, you’ll enjoy your time to explore the earthly paradise described in the famous novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton.
First, you’ll be transferred with 7 kilometers’ driving to Songzanlin Monastery (Ganden Sumtseling Gompa), reputed as the “Little Potala Palace” for it was built according to the complex of Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Established by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1679, the monastery belongs to Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and it is also the largest Buddhist monastery in Yunnan Province with around 700 monks and lamas. Walk 147 steps to get atop of the monastery and pay clockwise visit to the three main lamasery buildings where you can not only see the Buddhism treasures, but also enjoy large number of monks of all ages going about their daily routines, praying, chanting, cooking and resting. It should a nice trip to get in-depth understanding about Tibetan Buddhism. If time permits, take some quiet time to walk around the peaceful Lamuyangcuo Lake and shoot panorama view of Songzanlin Monastery with reflection in the clear water.
In the morning, drive about 23 kilometers to Pudacuo National Park. This 1,300-square-kilometer national park is notable as the first national park in China to meet International Union for Conservation of Nature standards. It is renowned for well-preserved primitive landscape, which is endowed with lakes, wetlands, forests, meadows, streams, brooks, rare plants and animals. Visit the spots by clockwise and throw yourselves into the lush green forest with diverse species of flora and fauna, walk along the plank road to catch the gorgeous scenery of Shudu Lake (hike 3.3 km, about 1 hour). (Note: the altitude of Pudacuo is at 3500m-4150m and you should avoid strong activities. There’s no problem to hike in the park.) Walk along the wooden plank road (1 kilometer for single route, about 50 minutes for a round route) to admire the satisfying alpine meadow with seasonal blossoms and immerse into the verdant scenery of the peaceful Bita Lake (altitude: 3538 meters) which has the highest altitude among lakes in Yunnan and is praised as the “pearl of the plateau”.
Important Notice: Militang Pasture (弥里塘草场) in Pudacuo National Park is closed for tourists due to maintenance from 3th September, 2017. The administrative office of Pudacuo National Park hasn't confirmed when they will be open exactly. Shudu Lake Scenic Area (属都湖) and Bita Lake Scenic Area (碧塔海) are open for tourists. If you want to adjust today’s itinerary, please contact your travel consultant.
After the merry time in the park, pay a visit to a local Tibetan family to experience the highly-praised hospitality of Tibetan people and taste some special Tibetan snacks and butter tea.
(Optional Experience: If you are interested in the Tibetan people’s daily drinks, you can follow the locals to involve in the process of making butter tea.)
After breakfast, your will be escorted to the airport for your flight to next destination. Service ends!
The quotation for this trip is from Request P/P
1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one standard double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling with our private tour in low seasons.
2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities in your itinerary and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate. If you want a lower price, you can get more people to join you, or use economy class hotels.
Professional licensed English-speaking guide;
Admission tickets for all attractions listed in the itinerary;
Accommodation as listed in the itinerary (4-star standard);
Necessary vehicle transfers as listed in the itinerary;
Domestic flights (economy class) and high-speed trains (second class) as listed in the itinerary;
Airport (and train station) pick up and drop off;
Luggage Transfers: between airports (railway station) and hotels;
All meals as listed( “B” for Chinese and Western breakfast buffet in your hotel; “L” for Chinese Lunch in local restaurant; “D” for Chinese dinner in local restaurant.);
Our service charge, including tour planning, handling, operational and communication charges.
Accommodation not listed in the itinerary;
Single Room Supplement;
Tourist sites which are not listed in the itinerary;
Recommended optional activities;
Flights or trains not listed in the itinerary;
Excess Baggage Charges;
Optional tips to guides, drivers, etc.
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