Welcome to Kunming, the Spring City of China! Upon arrival in Kunming (before 12:00), your tour guide and driver will meet you at the arrival hall. Then, you'll be driven 85 km (about 2 hrs) to the typical Karst landform - Stone Forest. As the “Essence of World Karst Landform”, Stone Forest 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.
If time permits, drive about 40 minutes to visit Nuohei Village which is a typical Yi minority village with more than 600 years history in Shilin County and reputed as “the most famous stony village with Karst landscape”. You’ll totally indulge in this featured village of stone - stone houses, stone walls, stone paved roads, stone squares and stone mills…and have a wonderful time to explore.
After the exploration, stay overnight in Shilin County.
After breakfast, your guide and driver will meet your at your hotel. The following journey is about 293 kilometers’ driving from Shilin County to Yuanyang which takes about 4-4.5 hours. On the way, you’ll have the chance to stop for relaxing exploration about some primitive ethnic villages near Yuanyang County.
Yuanyang Rice Terrace, regarded as the most beautiful rice terrace in China, is the core area of the UNESCO World Heritage called the Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces. Upon arriving in Yuanyang, you’ll be transferred to your hotel first and in this afternoon, have a nice shoot in the spectacular Bada Rice Terrace - the best place to shoot sunset and catch the terrace panorama. At dusk, when the sun shines on the 950-hectare rice paddies rising from 800 meters to 2000 meters, then the magnificent scene forms - like the ladders toward heaven led by bright light. Hold your breath when sunset glow shining upon the paddies and you'll see the 3700-level terraces first turns pink, then rosy and later dark red, pink, golden and white…
After the tour, you’ll be escorted to your hotel in Yuanyang. Have a good rest tonight.
On this day, try to get up early and head to Duoyishu Rice Terrace to watch sunrise. Duoyishu is the best place to shoot sunrise and misty Hani village, surrounded by high mountains in three sides and stretching to the valley in one side. There are many mushroom-like houses dotted aside the rice paddies, just like the sailboat moving into the sea. The ray appears splendidly over the high mountains at first light and when the sun rises up, the whole rice terraces change its colors from quiet blue into golden, shining brilliantly.
Later, move from Duoyishu Rice Terrace to Aichun Village which is about 5km away to see the blue rice terrace. It is in blue not because the water here is blue but for the terrace is the huge mirrors of the blue sky. Standing at a high observation deck, you can feast your eyes with a beautiful painting scrolls with azure sky and white clouds above, blue rice terraces layer by layer on the ground, traditional Hani houses hidden among the trees at a short distance... (Travel tip: come to visit Aichun Village during 09:00-10:00 which is the best time to appreciate blue rice terrace.)
The following time is a leisure cultural trip to Azheke Village, the most primitive Hani Village and its 51 mushroom houses are listed into the protective mushroom houses in Yuanyang. Azheke Village is the best example of harmony living between humankind and nature, fully presenting Forest - Village - River - Clouds fused together. Walking into the village, you’ll numerous old mushroom houses, stone mills, sheep, buffaloes, back pigs, smoke rising continuously from the chimneys…Pay a visit to one of the local Hani families and have a good talk with them to know their daily life and ethnic customs.
Lastly, be transferred to Laoyingzui Rice Terrace for the beautiful sunset. This terrace is the steepest one and another good spot for shooting sunset. It is at the top of a cliff with an inclination of 90° that you’ll see the rice terraces from above just like an eagle does. What attracts travelers most is the gorgeous multiple colors of the rice terraces, just like the colorful palette being scattered on the land with magic. Catch the best time to shoot many pictures as you like.
After breakfast, catch the last moment to enjoy the beautiful morning in Yuanyang. Your guide and driver will escort you to attend the Ethnic Market & Bazaar in Yuanyang, a bustling place for local people who dressed in traditional ethnic costumes trading daily supplies, including fresh vegetable, fruits, meats, and many other kinds of food and daily necessities. It is a great opportunity to get close to Hani people’s living conditions.
Later, you’ll head to Jianshui County (116km, about 3-3.5 hours’ driving). Upon arrival, you’ll first reach the grand Chaoyang Tower, the landmark of Jianshui. Reputed as “Little Tian’anmen” with similar construction, Chaoyang Tower has a history even older than Tian’anmen in Beijing. This imposing Ming edifice is also modeled on the Yellow Crane Town in Wuhan and Yueyang Tower in Hunan. (Extra experience: you can climb up to this three-storey tower for a panoramic view of the whole Jianshui Ancient Town.)
Then, enjoy a relaxing visit to Jianshui Ancient Town which is reputed as “Museum of Ancient Buildings and Residential Houses”. With a history over 1200 years, Jianshui Ancient Town is even older than Lijiang Old Town. Stroll leisurely along the old street and explore different kinds of ancient wells to witness how water plays an important role in making the famous Jianshui Tofu and Steam Pot Chicken. Afterwards, walk to Confucius Temple, the third largest as well as the second grandest Confucius Temple in China. The temple has operated as a school for 750 years and was so successful that over half of all Yunnan’s successful candidates in imperial examinations during this period came from Jianshui. Walk through the axis and visit the main hall - Dacheng Hall to worship the great sage.
Later, move your steps to Zhu Family Garden, a spacious 20,000-sq-meter residential complex built in Qing Dynasty comprising ancestral buildings, family homes, ponds and lovely gardens. When walking into the garden, you’ll get amazed at its layout, exquisite design and elegant garden scenery.
In this morning, you will enjoy a scenic journey by taking the meter-gauge sightseeing train to travel out of Jianshui Ancient Town to see Double Dragon Bridge and Tuanshan Folk Houses. Yunnan meter-gauge railway, which has a gauge of only 1 meter (1000 mm), has been in operation for 110 years. It is the only meter-gauge railway that still operates in China, and works as a connection with the neighboring countries.
Hop on the train at Lin’an Station (near Chaoyang Tower) and appreciate the idyllic farming scenery along the route and make a stop at Double Dragon Bridge for sightseeing. Double Dragon Bridge, also called Shuanglong Bridge, is a Seventeen-Arch Bridge with 148 meters long and 3 meters wide. It crosses above the injunction of Lu River and Tachong River which looks like two Chinese dragons, hence got the name Shuanglong Bridge. This bridge is a masterpiece and listed as one of the top 10 famous bridges in China. You can either look it from afar or walk on the ancient bridge for close appreciation.
Afterwards, continue your train journey moving to Tuanshan Village. Built in Ming Dynasty, Tuanshan Village is regarded as the Gem of Chinese Civil Houses and the most beautiful village in Yunnan. Its architectural style of the 19th century and beyond remains intact and the distinctive way of people's life is preserved, fully showcasing China's indigenous cultural characteristics. Have a wonderful stroll in this historic village and explore the distinctive buildings like Zhang Family Garden, unique lifestyle and folkways of Tuanshan Villagers.
After the tour, your guide and driver will take you to Kunming. After arriving in Kunming, transfer to your hotel and have a good rest.
In this morning, you’ll be escorted to Kunming Railway Station to take a high speed train from Kunming to Dali (about 2 hrs). After your arrival at Dali Railway Station, you will be welcomed by the local tour guide and transferred to begin today’s sightseeing.
First, pay a visit the symbol of Dali - Three Pagodas and Chongsheng Temple. Built in 10th century in Nanzhao Kingdom, Three Pagodas is made of one big pagoda and two small pagodas forming a symmetric triangle. If you look at it from a distance, the pagodas are like three giant ballpoint pens breaking up the landscape of the never-ending mountains. Here, you’ll get close to look at the pagodas to know more history and stories, visit the royal temple in Dali - Chongsheng Temple, take awesome photos of Three Pagodas and the reflections…
Then, head to the famous Erhai Lake (Ear-shaped Sea), which is reputed as the "Immaculate Jade between Mountains". Normally, there are three ways to explore the lake. You can ride a sightseeing bus(default), enjoy a boat trip or try cycling. Please tell your best pick to your travel consultant before booking the tour, as the final prices will differ by activities you choose.
1) Erhai Lake Sightseeing Bus Tour (about 1 hour CNY 50/pp): There are sightseeing roads built around the lake. On the west bank of the lake, there is also a 27.5-kilometer-long Ecological Corridor with mini sightseeing buses offered. Hop on the mini bus, you will get the placid lake view while moving, with fresh air and gentle wind kissing your face.
2.Erhai Lake Boat Tour (about 2~3 hours from CNY 145/pp): On Erhai Lake cruise, you’ll enjoy the green Cangshan Mountain and Three Pagodas from afar as well as lots of birds and seagulls flying over the lake. Enjoy an excursion to one of the famous islands for an in-depth look at the peaceful Bai fishing village and other sites on island.
3.Erhai Lake Cycling Tour (about 2 hours from CNY 50/pp): If your energy permits, you can choose a cycling tour along this picturesque Erhai Lake, which may give you a more exciting experience there than the cruise and bus.
Later, be followed a trip to explore Dali Old Town. Used to be the ancient capital of Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms, Dali Old Town is formed in the square-shaped structure, laid out on a typical north-south, east-west axis with five north-south and eight east-west streets. Wander leisurely through the historic streets with weeping willows dancing and colorful flowers blooming in the sunshine. You will visit the symbolic Wuhua Tower in a drum tower outlook. Continue to find Honglongjing (Red Dragon Well) with lovely view of clear water flow on layers of stone stages between the ancient dwelling houses and modern bars. Walk along Renmin Road to visit those bustling shops selling Yunnan specialties and some interesting items and then encounter the only Christianity church in this Chinese old town to feel the mixture culture there. As you feel the ancient flavor of the old site, stroll to the famous must-visit Foreigner Street to soak in the busy atmosphere along the old path and in those boutique shops and old coffee shops. Enjoy your time roam in this famous old town and feel like going back to the old times.
After breakfast, you’ll start your exploration of Xizhou Ancient Town, an authentic old town where local Bai people really live and work. Set eyes on the local morning market - a place for local people in traditional costumes trading daily supplies, including fresh vegetable, fruits, meats, and many kinds of food and daily necessities. It is a great opportunity for getting close to local living conditions. Walk into the “the Museum of Bai Architecture” and appreciate the exquisite residential complexes decorated fabulous sculptures, paintings, pointed eaves and wall screens. Taste Bai’s Three-Course Tea in bitter, sweet and mixed flavors and experience the tea ceremony to enjoy deeper of the artistic culture of Bai ethnic people. Then, visit Yan Family Compound where to appreciate the delicate courtyard houses, screen walls, colorful paintings, and more decorations to learn more about the fine Bai ethnic architecture.
Then, transfer to “Hometown of Bai People’s Tie-dye Art” - Zhoucheng Old Town for an appreciation of Tie-dye. Tie-dye is a typical feature to present the Bai’s excellent handcraft with various colors and elegant designs. You’ll visit local indigo workshop in Zhoucheng and know the way of making.
Later, transfer to Lijiang with 2 hours’ driving. Upon arrival, enjoy a memorable tour to wander in Lijiang Ancient Town (Dayan Ancient Town). Established in the Ming dynasty as a commercial center, Lijiang Old Town is a well-preserved 800-year-old town for Naxi ethnic group, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Walk to the central area of the old town and visit Mufu Palace. A saying goes “there is Forbidden City in the North, Mu’s Residence in the South”. Mu’s Residence was called the miniature Forbidden City. Looked from a far distance, it likes a grand imperial palace and it is famous for the grandness and architectural buildings. Getting into the palace, you can know Tusi’s ruling history and appreciate Naxi people’s brilliant culture and fine arts. Then, wander through the old alleys, old bridges, featured shops and bars to Sifang Street Square, a mingling ground to enjoy lively atmosphere and unwind yourself. If time permits, join the Naxi people and tourists to dance happily in a round. (Optional Activity: Take a leisure walk up to the Lion Hill and climb up the 33-meter-tall Wanggu Tower - the landmark building of Lijiang to enjoy a panoramic view of the whole old town and overlook the magnificent Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance.)
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. First, you’ll be transferred out of Lijiang Old Town to Yuhu Village which is located at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Walking into this authentic Naxi Village, you’ll see unique stone houses, Naxi ladies dressing in traditional clothes, kids playing, a tranquil Yuhu Lake…explore leisurely around the village and then go to explore the Former Residence of Joseph Rock, who was an Austrian-American Botanist came to Lijiang and stayed in Yuhu Village for 27 years and made huge research work on Naxi minority.
Later, head to Baisha Village and appreciate the ancient Baisha Mural Paintings. Houses here are arranged on a north-south axis around a central, terraced square. Visit Dabaoji Palace and Liuli Temple to view murals painted over 1000 years ago which depict subjects relating to Buddhism, Taoism and the life of the Naxi people, incorporating cultural elements of the Bai people. (Optional experience: You can have in-depth cultural experience to learn how to make Baisha embroidery instructed by the local masters in Baisha Village.)
Then, it is followed by a relaxing trip to Shuhe Ancient Town - one of the earliest settlements of Naxi people as well as the well-preserved stop of the Ancient Tea Horse Route. This ancient town is less crowded than Lijiang Dayan Old Town. Take a nice stroll here to explore local cultures, folk customs and traditions over several centuries.
After that, transfer to Dongba Culture Museum where more than 10,000 Dongba cultural relics show mysterious Dongba culture of the Naxi people. Take a gentle walk to Black Dragon Pool Park to enjoy gorgeous view and peaceful surroundings. If weather permits, get to the best spot to overlook the snow-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and shoot some amazing pictures.
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. First, drive about 52 kilometers from Lijiang to view the First Bend of Yangtze River. The upper reach of the Yangtze River is Jinsha River coming down from Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and when it arrives at Shigu Town, it is obstructed by Hailuo Mountain and forms a V-shape turn. Then it changes the direction and goes to the northeast. You’ll reach the observation deck to catch a panoramic view of the bend, an extraordinary turn nearly about 180 degrees with beautiful and marvelous views like a wonderful landscape painting unfolding before your eyes. You’ll have a look at local market and Red Army’s Long March Memorial Monument in Shigu Town.
Later, be transferred to visit the one of the deepest and most spectacular river canyon in the world - Tiger Leaping Gorge. It is also a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site called Three Parallel of Yunnan Protected Areas. This steep gorge is situated between the 5596 meters Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to the south and 5396 meters Haba Snow Mountain to the north. Measuring 17 kilometers in length, the whole gorge is divided into three parts: upper, middle and lower gorge and you’ll pay a visit to the maturest section - Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge. Walk about 1,000 stairs along the plank road from the entrance to the Tiger Leaping Rock. Take a moment to enjoy the magnificent gorge view and rolling waves. (Travel tip: This gorge is suitable for most travelers with easy walk. Comfortable shoes are recommended.)
After the hiking tour, you’ll be driven to Shangri-La. With 2 hours' driving, enjoy the enchanting natural scenery along the way. Welcome to Shangri-La (Zhongdian, altitude: 3459meters), the Garden of Eden! Upon arrival, check in your hotel and explore this earthly paradise on your own.
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. 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.
Then, drive about 27 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. Throw yourself into the lush green forest with diverse species of flora and fauna, walk along the plank road to catch the gorgeous scenery. There are also many hiking opportunities. (Notes: 1) the altitude of Pudacuo is at 3500m-4150m so you should avoid strong activities to avoid high altitude sickness; 2) part of the national park is currently closed for environment protection and recovery.)
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.)
In the morning, cherish your time in Shangri-La to explore Dukezong Old Town. 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.)
After the tour, be escorted to the Shangri-La Zhongdian Airport for your flight to next destination. Service ends!
Departure Ideas: Travelers can take flights from Shangri-La to Kunming, Lhasa, Chengdu, Chongqing, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and more cities.
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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