Classic Northern Yunnan tour

This tour follows the axis Kunming – Dali – Shaxi – Lijiang – Shangrila, that are often rightly the most essential steps for a first travel in Yunnan. After entering urban China in Kunming and discovering the Stone Forest site, you will take the high speed train that will take you directly to the north part of the province and its rich landscapes with different minorities : Bai in Dali, Naxi in Lijiang then Tibetan in Shangrila. Different kind of civil and religious architectures will follow one another, with beautiful and varied landscapes in the background, from lake Erhai to tibetan countrysides, through the dizzying snow mountains at the foot of which crawls the mighty Yangtse river. This is a very tempting adventure between luxury, charm and serenity !

You will visit :

Find below the details of our program “Classic Northern Yunnan tour

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Daily program: Classic Northern Yunnan tour Download the PDF brochure

Day 1 : Your place - China

Take off towards China !

Diner and overnight on board.

Day 2 : Arrival in Kunming ~ 50mn drive. Altitude : 1800m

Breakfast in the plane and arrival in China, transit flight to Kunming. Arrival at Kunming Airport (time to confirm. The flight is not included in our quote).

Welcoming by your driver (with a board at your name) in the airport hall after going through the immigration and getting back your luggage, then transfer to Loon & Chalice 4* hotel, ideally located in the heart of Kunming’s  dynamic commercial center with its old districts sheltering the Birds and Flowers market.

Rest of the day free to explore at your own pace. Easy stroll towards the Emerald Lake where local people like to wander around, sing, dance or play music, alone or together with their lover, friends or family; the park is full of life from dusk to dawn and especially on the weekends; sceneries of happy and quiet lives will give you a very good first impression of Yunnan, its people and their culture.

Welcome to Yunnan! Not far away from there you can go further and walk to Yuantong Temple (6 rmb/person), two steps from which you will be able to withdraw money from an ICBC or Bank of China ATM, if you haven’t done so yet. It will not be further than 1 or 2 km from your hotel.

Dinner at your own expense. We recommend you the Laofangzi restaurant, located close to your hotel, you can eat very well in a traditional frame with rooms decorated around an inner courtyard.

Overnight in Kunming, at Moon & Chalice.

Optional suggestion : Transfer around 19.00 with your local driver to assist to a very beautiful show of Yunnan minorities songs and dances called ” Dynamic Yunnan ” (20.00-21.40). Back to the hotel afterwards.  Extra Charge : 250 RMB per person (32 EUR) on a 2 travelers basis / 200 RMB per person (25 EUR) on a 4 or 6 travelers basis.

Day 3 : Kunming – Shilin (Stone Forest) – Dali – Xizhou (B) ~ 2h30 drive + 2h30 high speed train

Breakfast and meeting with your english-speaking driver and guide at 08.00 am. Head off towards Shilin, near Kunming, famous for its Stone Forest, interesting karstic shapings that stretch out on a 500km2 surface (entrance : 155 RMB per person).

Take your time to stroll amongst the site’s small paths, those are quieter than the main roads and the park’s entry where Chinese tourist groups stay most of the time.

Then, transfer to the Shilin railway station for your high speed train towards Dali. Say goodbye to your guide.

In Dali, welcoming by your driver and transfer to the old city and take some free time if you wish. You can also have dinner there (at your own expense). We advise you to get tempted by the local barbecue, which is the undisputed specialty in Dali, in one of the many restaurants in the old city.

Then road to Xizhou Bai village. Late check in at the very comfortable Linden Center charming hotel, built in a beautiful traditional Bai courtyard.

Overnight in Xizhou.

Day 4 : Xizhou (B)

Quiet breakfast and rest of the day free in Xizhou‘s quiet small village. You can explore the morning market and the village on foot, then on bike or on foot the surroundings of the village accross the rice fields (bikes available at your hotel).

Note that a visit of Linden Center is organized by the hotel everyday at 5.00 pm in English, to present this place’s history and architecture. The hotel has a very decent restaurant however we would also advise you to get tempted by some simple restaurants on the village’s main square which will be the ideal spot to observe the local evening life. Families get together on the square, kids are playing, the elderly drink some tea and chat together. The small street are not lit after the night as fallen, don’t forget to bring the flashlight that you will find in your room, or use the one on your mobile phone !

Overnight in Xizhou.

Day 5 : Xizhou – Shibaoshan - Shaxi (B) ~ 3h30 drive. Altitude : 2050m.

Meeting at 9.00 am with your English Speaking driver and drive with your private vehicle towards Shaxi Valley, with a stop en route at Zhoucheng Bai minority village, notably reknown for its craftspeople producing batik clothes.

In the afternoon, stroll through Shibaoshan’s majestic site (entrance : 45 RMB + shuttle : 40 RMB), a nice set of buddhist sculptures engraved in the rocks and very zen temples. You will go down the mountain on foot, this will take you about 90 minutes, with sumptuous clear views amidst the pine trees and with an invigorating and pure air.

Check in at the beautiful Landscape 4* hotel, charming address in the heart of Shaxi village. Meals at your expense. Overnight in Shaxi.

Day 6 : Shaxi – Lijiang - Shuhe (B) ~ 3h drive. Altitude : 2300m

This early morning, discovery of Shaxi village. Stride through the picturesque small streets of this old city, which used to be an important waypoint on the Tea and Horses Road.

Then take the road to Lijiang. Discover Lijiang Old Town by foot (entrance : 50 RMB per person) and venture up to the very beautiful Black Dragon Pond (access 50 RMB per person) with the mountains on the background reflecting into the clear waters.

Then if you feel like to and if you have enough time, you can visit the Dongba Museum and immerse yourself in the Dongba Naxi culture, with about 2500 exhibits and relics, directly coming from that ethnic minority (free entrance if you have already settled 50RMB to access Lijiang old town).

Check in at the Arro Khampa 4* hotel, which is located in Shuhe, a quiet old village away from the sometimes over-frequented streets of Lijiang, without being too far from there though (6km). Say goodbye to your English Speaking driver.

Dinner at your expense and overnight in Shuhe.

Day 7 : Shuhe / Lijiang valley (B)

Today you will be entirely free without a guide or a driver. You can go with a taxi (or for those who want to on a bicycle, on an electric scooter) to discover the surrounding Naxi villages like Baisha and Yuhu from where you will have a beautiful view over the snowed summits from the Jade Dragon mountain. Yuhu is also the village chosen by the explorer Joseph Rock to settle down, you can visit his house (entrance : 25 RMB / person).

We suggest you keep some free time to stroll in the heart of Shuhe old village. Don’t be afraid to get away from the center and go discover the hillside small streets with their vegetable gardens and the shady park (just behind the hotel) where the small rivers mingle with ponds, the water is particularly clear there.

Dinner at your expense and overnight in the Arro Khampa in Shuhe.

Day 8 : Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge - Shangri La (B) ~ 4h drive. Altitude : 3200m

Breakfast and meeting at 08.30am with your new English speaking guide and driver. Road towards Shangrila Tibetan Region. First stop en route at Shigu village (first curve of the Yangtse River), then transit to the not to be missed Tiger Leaping Gorge (entrance : 45 rmb / person), amongst the deepest in the world, at the bottom of which flows the majestic Yangtse River, particularly powerful and noisy at this very spot, strangled between Haba Mountain (summit at 5400m) and the Jade Dragon Mountain (Summit at 5600m). Continue to Shangrila.

After your arrival, check in at Shangrila Songtsam Lodge 5*, charming hotel at the foot of Songzanlin monastery, away from the city.

Dinner at your expense and overnight in Shangrila.

Day 9 : Shangri La (B ; L)

One day of visiting Shangrila and its surroundings, to begin with the impressive Songzanlin tibetan monastery (Entrance : 75 RMB per person).

For lunch, you will have the opportunity to visit a tibetan family, discover the place where they live, try some yak butter tea, tsampa and of course the famous yak butter cheese, all of which are local specialties and the basis of daily food.

Stroll to the local market with stalls full of local products such as yak cheese and the numerous varieties of mushrooms freshly harvested, then stroll through the old city, notably to the Bai Ji Si temple with nice views over the surroundings and the Shika mountains. Get to Da Gui Shang small temple, facing a giant tibetan prayer wheel dominating the city.

Back to your lodge to enjoy quietly the end of this day. Say goodbye to your English Speaking driver.

Dinner and overnight at Songtsam Lugu Lodge 5*.

Day 10 : Shangri La / departure (B) ~ 20 minutes transfer.

Breakfast and last free moments to enjoy your hotel or Shangrila’s old city and its very warm atmosphere. Then transfer to the airport for the return flight.

Transit in China and board on long flight back to your place.

Diner and overnight on board.

Note : Your room will have to be freed before noon. Your luggage can be kept at the hotel.

Day 11 : China – your place

Breakfast in the plane and arrival in your country. 

End of our services. Our team wish you a nice way back home with beautiful memories in mind !

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The price includes

  • Charming hotels with breakfast included everyday 
  • Experienced English speaking driver and guide on days 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9. On a 6 travelers basis, English speaking guide + driver
  • Every other transfers in private vehicles with Chinese speaking driver.
  • Payment by bank card in France so you can benefit from the travel insurance included with your bank card service
  • Guarantees from our French travel agency (professional insurance, guarantee for the transfered funds)
  • 24/7 assistance from our Kunming Agency

The price does not include

  • Flights to and from Yunnan (we can offer you a rate on demand)
  • Meals and drinks to get according to your wishes and your guide’s recommendation
  • Distant Chinese Visa application (our agency can offer it for 140€  per person)
  • Entries on site as mentioned within the itinerary, to settle directly on site (about 490 RMB per person, that is 62 EUR. Possible reductions up to 50% at some sites for travelers above 60 years old on presentation of a valid ID)
  • Tips (you can count 120RMB/day total for the guide-driver)
  • Personal expenses

Private tour on a 2 travelers basis – Flights not included – : 8560 RMB per person, that is 1097€ per person

Private tour on a 4 travelers basis – Flights not included – : 6460 RMB per person, that is 828€ per person

Private tour on a 6 travelers basis – Flights not included – : 6855 RMB per person, that is 878€ per person

  • On a 6 travelers basis, you will enjoy the service of an English speaking guide plus a driver.
  • An extra charge will apply during peak season (July 1st – August 25th) and during the 1st May and 1st October Golden Week and for Chinese New Year, rates on demand.

David is an expert on this circuit Classic Northern Yunnan Tour.
He will answer all your questions about this trip and will adapt it according to your particular desires and your budget.
Contact David by email or on this form:

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