Lights of Yunnan

An amazing tour where you will be able to discover the most famous places of Yunnan such as Kunming, Dali, Shangri La, Jianshui, and Yuanyang. You will have the chance to marvel at mesmerizing landscapes like the Red Soil region, the Stone forest, and the insane terrace rice fields. This travel, far away from your everyday life, will let you take a new breath in Yunnan. Enjoy your trip !

You will visit :

Find below the details of our program “Lights of Yunnan

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Daily program: Lights of Yunnan 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 International Airport. Welcoming by your driver (with a board at your name) in the arrival hall after going through the immigration office and taking back your luggage, then drive to your hotel, well located in the very heart of Kunming City.

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. Then you can go towards the dynamic commercial center with its old districts nesting the old birds and flower market. It will not be further than 1 or 2 km from your hotel.

Dinner at your own expense.

Overnight in Kunming.

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 – Puzhehei – Kunming (B) ~ 2h transfer. About 1.15 hour train * 2.

Meeting with your English speaking guide at 07.30 am. Transfer towards the railway station to take the high speed train to Puzhehei about 310km away from Kunming.

The site of Puzhehei (180 RMB per person) is somptuous, it is simply nicknamed “the little Guilin”, as a reference to the well known karstic reliefs. The site is bucolic. Roam in the village and its small streets, surrounded by breadths of lotus plants, a must do is the ride on a small boat to see the local caves. You will also have the possibility to climb up a hill with a panoramic view over the reliefs, the villages and the surrounding countryside. Just for the story, Puzhehei has become very famous and in a way a symbol of romantism after a tv show was shot there and now followed by every chinese families! 

After the visit, back to Kunming by the high speed train. Welcome and transfer to your hotel.

Dinner at your own expense and overnight in Kunming.

Day 4 : Kunming – Lexiaguo Red soil (B) ~ 4h drive.

Breakfast and meeting with your English Speaking driver at your hotel at 8.30 am.

Road to Dongchuan, then towards Lexiaguo “Red Soil” Region, close to the Sichuan Province border.

This afternoon, you will discover the region’s terrace fields landscapes, particularly Huashitou and Lexiaguo village (5 to 10 rmb to access the fields).

Check in at your hotel.

Diner at your own expense and overnight at New Red Soil Hotel 4*.

Day 5 : Lexiaguo Red Soil - Shilin (Stone Forest) (B) ~ 4h30 drive

Breakfast before going on with your discovery of the surroundings, which are of the best effect for the photographers eyes ! All year long, the hills offer a unique and colourful show, although you have to be lucky enough to get the best lighting conditions. You will see another nice viewpoint close to Damakan village.

Then, road to Shilin which is located about 1 hour drive from Kunming. This site is known for it Stone Forest, funny karstic shapings all over a surface about 500Km².

Check in at Yinruilin International Hotel 5*. Dinner at your expense and overnight in Shilin.

Day 6 : Shilin (Stone forest) - Tuanshan (B) ~ 4h30 drive.

Early breakfast and way to the Stone Forest (155 rmb / 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. Your guide will guide you on the walk.

About mid day, you will take the road to the picturesque village of Tuanshan (entrance : 35 RMB per person), kept out of time and of which most buildings date back from the Qing Dynasty.

Check in at the charming Jielu Inn, in the heart of the old city. Stroll in the small streets. Dinner at your expense and overnight in Tuanshan.

Day 7 : Tuanshan - Jianshui – Tuanshan (B)

Quiet breakfast at your guest house and road to Jianshui, one of the most remarkable cities in Southern Yunnan, located around 15km from Tuanshan.

Stop at the Double Dragon bridge. In Jianshui,  you will explore the local Confucius Temple (entrance : 40 rmb/ person), which is the second largest in China after the Qufu Temple, the master’s native city. The temple consists in a big park with a pond, many courtyards, magnificient gantries, temples and pavillions. Stroll through Jianshui Old Town. Don’t miss the Zhu Family’s garden (entrance : 50 RMB/person), and the Chaoyang Arch, hosting a small birds market.

Then you will have some free time before your way back to Tuanshan this evening.

Dinner at your expense and overnight in Tuanshan.

Day 8 : Tuanshan - Yuanyang (B) ~ 4h drive. Altitude : 1800m

Breakfast, a few free time for a last walk in the heart of this picturesque village, and continue the road towards the Yuanyang region. On the road you will get to a checkpoint where you will need to settle the entrance fee for the region (70rmb/person).

Check in at the superb Twelve Manor Hotel where you will have great views on the terrace fields from your room. Terraces have been set up with sunbeds on the hotel’s rooftop so you can enjoy a moment of contemplation and serenity, especially at sunset! Rest of the day free.

Dinner at your expense and overnight in Yuanyang.

Day 9 : Yuanyang (B)

Enjoy your breakfast watching the rice fields, those are often flanked by the morning mist, a mystical and relaxing atmosphere. Today’s market will take place in Niujiaozhai (the market place might however change according to the day). Short drive to the market. You will be able to meet with Yi and Hani minority people still wearing their traditional outfit. First overview of different viewpoints over the amazing terrace rice fields, such as the Bada Viewpoint. 2 to 3h walk through beautiful terrace rice fields, going through some picturesque villages.

Back to the hotel at the end of the day.

Dinner at your expense and overnight at Twelve Manor.

Day 10 : Yuanyang (B)

Breakfast, then discovery of Shengcun Market (The village can however change according to the day of the lunar calendar). This will be an occasion to meet with local farmers from all around. Don’t be surprised if local people eating together amongst friends invite you spontaneously for a cup of rice wine!

Free time this afternoon, feel free to walk through the surrounding villages and rice fields. Or you can also ask your guide to drive you to Duoyishu or Laohuzui village to get to a different viewpoint over the rice fields.

Dinner at your expense and overnight at Twelve Manor.

Day 11 : Yuanyang – Mile – Dali – Xizhou (B) ~ 4h drive + 3 hours train.

This morning, discovery of Yuanyang Xinjie’s Market (The village can however change according to the day of the lunar calendar).

Then you will take the road to Mile’s railway station to take the high speed train to Dali. Say goodbye to your English Speaking driver. Arrival in Dali, welcoming by your Chinese speaking driver and transfer towards Dali Old Town to take some free time.

Possible dinner on site (at your expense), in one of the numerous restaurants offering the local specialty : the barbecue on a marble stone!

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

Overnight in Xizhou.

Date 12 : Xizhou (B)

Free day in Xizhou. 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).

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 Linden Commons.

Day 13 : Xizhou / Tea making and mount Cangshan (B)

Breakfast and meeting with your new english-speaking driver and guide at 08.30 am.

This morning, we take you to a tea field near Dali to harvest, process and taste your own tea! The field is located on Cangshan’s mountainside, it’s a very beautiful place. After making it you can taste your own tea and take it with you but also taste different kind of Chinese tea, to get to know better the different tastes and making processes. This afternoon, head towards the Cangshan mountain’s summits, from where you will have a very beautiful view of Dali and Lake Erhai. You will reach the mountain’s top by cable car (Entrance : 110 RMB per person). At the summit, you will visit the most interesting temples and can roam a few hiking trail.

Back to Xizhou and rest of the day free.

Dinner at your expense and overnight at Linden Commons, in Xizhou.

Day 14 : Xizhou – Donglinghua - Weishan / Weibaoshan (B) ~ 2h45 drive.

Breakfast and head towards the Weishan region. En route, first stop at Donglinghua Hui village (muslim minority) (entrance : 50 RMB per person), to discover its mosque or its museum with a magnificient viw over the city’s rooftops (entrance : 20 RMB). Still preserved from mass tourism, Weishan hosts a very charming and smiling population.

In the afternoon, discover Weibaoshan Mountain (entrance : 40 RMB per person), located at 2500m. altitude. Being a part of the 13 sacred taoist mountains in China, the site is quiet and gives off quite a serene atmosphere and it’s good to stroll there and discover the small temples where taoist monks live.

Back to Weishan. Then, stroll in the streets of Weishan’s old town, discover the wooden houses and small shops. 

Dinner at your own expense and overnight at your guest house, Laoguan.

Day 15 : Weishan - Nuodeng (B) ~ 3h drive. Altitude 2100m.

Departure this morning towards the Yunlong valley and Nuodeng’s small typical village. Layed down on the mountain side, this village is not accessible to motorized vehicles, the inhabitants carry the loads with mules, the houses are made of wood sculpted and the agricultural traditions are still well alive. You will have to go up the village for about 20 minutes to get to your family guest house (mules will be available to carry your luggage). From there, you can explore the surroundings and visit the confucius temple located at the top of the village.

Dinner at your expense and overnight at the Gujing family guest house.

Day 16 : Nuodeng - Shaxi (B) ~ 2h30 drive.

Breakfast then, road towards the Shaxi region.

Arrival in Shaxi, check in at your guest house in the heart of the old city. Stroll in the small streets.

The village is a former big center of commercial exchange on the road of the tea and horses caravan. A livestock market is also held way below the small town.

Dinner at your own expense.

Overnight at the Aoding Courtyard 3* hotel. The welcome is very warm and we advise you to try the hotel’s restaurant !

Day 17 : Shaxi / Shibaoshan (B)

Breakfast before going to 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.

End of the day free to enjoy at your pace the quiet atmosphere of Shaxi village. Lots of small cafes or bars with a terrace will be available close to the main square. Relax and immerse yourself in the local life.

Dinner at your own expense and overnight in Aoding Courtyard 3*.

Day 18 : Shaxi – Laojun Shan - Tacheng (B) ~ 5 hours drive.

Early breakfast and road towards the isolated region of Tacheng. En route, detour in the Liming district to discover the exceptional Laojun Shan National Park, with its great karstic mountains accessible by cable car (entrance : 210 RMB per person including the cable car). This protected area make this park the second most impressive in China for its biodiversity and cultural richness. We can advise you to go down on foot if you have enough time (3km on steps and prepared paths). Continuation on the road and arrival in Tacheng.

Check in at Habuda Hotel 3*.

Dinner at your own expense and overnight in Tacheng. We recommend your hotel’s restaurant.

Day 19 : Tacheng - Cizhong (B) ~ 4h drive. Altitude 2200m.

Breakfast and short transfer to Baima Natural Reserve (entrance : 120 RMB per person) to observe the Yunnan Golden Monkey in its natural environment, a protected species. Then, go on towards the Mekong valley and the stunning small village of Cizhong, inhabited by catholic tibetan people.

Discover the village over the Mekong river, its vineyards and its church. First built by French missionaries from Paris foreign missions society in 1867, it was destroyed and burnt during the Tibetan Revolt in 1905. It was rebuild in the heart of Cizhong Village.

Dinner at your expense and overnight at Kawakajiu guest house, standard, functional and clean. We recommend you the adjacent restaurant, tibetan specialties in an authentic environment. You can taste the local wine there.

Day 20 : Cizhong – Meili moutain (B) ~ 2h30 drive. Altitude 3300m.

After your tibetan breakfast, departure on the road along the Mekong River towards Mingyong glacier, located below the Kawa Karpo summit and the Meili mountains. You will reach there with the local shuttle (entrance : 280 RMB per person, shuttle included). Very nice path to get there, also used by many tibetan pilgrims. Continuation of the road to reach Feilaisi village.

Check in at Mingzhu Hotel, in front of the mountains.

Dinner at your expense and overnight.

Day 21 : Meili – Benzilan - Shangri La (B) ~ 4h30 drive. Altitude 3200m.

Beautiful sunrise over the Meili mountains and the first sun rays come shine over the Kawa Karpo snowed slopes. Then road towards Benzilan through the three passes of the White Horse mountains. Crossings at more than 4000 meters! On the way you will enjoy very beautiful viewpoints on the mountain, then over the Yangtse River. In Benzilan, visit Dongzhulin Tibetan Monastery (entrance : 30 RMB per person), located above the Yangtse River. It is a very popular place for local people, reknown to have hosted many “living buddhas”. In Benzilan, you might have the chance to discover a woodcarved pottery workshop in a big and beautiful tibetan house, if the owner is available when you arrive there. Keep on on the road going through Yangtse river’s first curve.

Arrival in Shangrila, check in at the Timeless Inn tibetan guest house, located in the heart of the old city. Dinner at your own expense. Early this evening, take your time to stroll through the small street, up to Da Gui Shang temple in front of a giant tibetan prayer wheel dominating the city : just wonderful when seen at dawn!

Overnight in Shangrila.

Day 22 : Shangri La / Ringha valley (B)

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

Then you can venture to the nice Ringha temple, in the heart of a beautiful green valley. This Temple is considered as one of the 5 most important tibetan temples in Yunnan. The places are peaceful and not so busy, a perfect time for meditation.

Back to Shangrila. In the evening, stroll around or take part in the spontaneous dancing of local people on the old city’s square. Really a must do!

Dinner at your own expense.

Overnight at Timeless Inn.

Day 23 : Shangri La – Tiger Leaping Gorge (B) ~ 2h30 hours drive.

Take the road early today to get 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).

Check in at the Sean’s Guesthouse, then go for a wonderful hike on the Gorge’s heights. You will reach the Tea Horse guest house by car, then you will first walk for about 1 hour to reach the Halfway Guest house and get lunch (at your expense), or simply enjoy the view and relax for a while.

Continuation this afternoon with 3h hike providing beautiful views over the Gorge, up to Sean’s Guest House. Say goodbye to your English Speaking driver.

Dinner at your own expense. Overnight at Sean’s Guest House where the only noise will be the rumbling waters from the river.

Day 24 : Tiger Leaping Gorge – Wumu (B) ~ 4h drive. 2300 m.

This morning you can hike on your own for about 2 to 3 hours to get to the Gorge’s bottom, then a vehicle will wait for you around noon to cross the Yangtse on a bark, up to Daju village.

Road towards Wumu Region. The most ancient center is built on a rock, now well hidden between the houses. The road was built in 2014 and with Suming and Mingwei villages in the same valley, there are still nine active dongba shamans. Visit the village and the fields all around, meet the locals and understand their rythm of life. From any corner of the village, you will have beautiful views on the mountains and the Yangtse River.

Accomodation at Huahuasei Lodge, the only Inn in the valley, opened in 2013 by a Naxi/Belgian couple. Family welcome and excellent meals!

Overnight in Wumu.

Day 25 : Wumu & Baoshan (B ; L) ~ Altitude : 2000m

A delicious breakfast one the lodge’s terrace above the Yangtse Valley, then start a very impressive hike that will lead you to Baoshan, the “Stone village”. Trust your local guide, go on the slopes and go down the mountain to get to the shores of Yangtse River where a boat will wait for you and take you to a 40 minutes sailing.

It will be then time to go the way up to the Baoshan village to enjoy a very delicious lunch (the way up is quite steep, but you can take your time and enjoy the landscapes!). Baoshan is  built on a big rock. In some houses you will see tools, furniture or even a full kitchen dug into the rocks.

Back to the lodge by car (about 1 hour 15 minutes drive).

End of the day at the lodge to enjoy a well deserved rest!

Overnight in Wumu.

Day 26 : Wumu (B)

Breakfast and rest of the day fully free in this exceptional place. Take some rest enjoy the environment, or go on foot to discover the surroundings, following the lodge’s owner Wendy and Jeff’s recommendation.

Meals at your expense.

Overnight in Wumu.

Day 27 : Wumu – Lijiang valley – Shuhe (B) ~ 3h30 drive. Altitude : 2000m

Early breakfast and road towards Lijiang. Passage through the Yulong National Park (entrance : 100 RMB per person). Arrival at mid day. Discover the surrounding Naxi villages Baisha and Yuhu, from where you will have a view over the Jade Dragon mountain’s snowed summit, culminating at 5600m. Yuhu is also the village chosen by the explorer Joseph Rock to settle down, you can visit his house (entrance : 25 RMB / person).

Transfer and check in at the Shouyi Boutique Hotel (E-Outfitting) 3*, 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).

Dinner at your expense and overnight in Shuhe. 

Day 28 : Shuhe / Lijiang (B)

Today you will have free time to discover at your own pace. You can rent bicycle and electric scooters. Your hotel can also help you order a taxi.

Go to Lijiang’s old town (entrance : 50 RMB per person), and its morning market, then venture to the very beautiful Black Dragon Pond with the mountains in the background, reflecting into the clear waters (entrance : 50 RMB per person).

Then if you feel like to, visit the Dongba Museum to get yourself into the Naxi Dongba culture, with 2500 items and relics directly coming from this ethnic minority (free entrance if you have already paid the 50 RMB access fee to Lijiang).

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 at Shouyi Boutique Hotel (E-Outfitting), in Shuhe.

Day 29 : Shuhe - Lijiang / Departure (B) ~ 40 mn Transfer.

Quiet breakfast and last few moments in Shuhe until the time of your transfer towards the airport for your flight back.

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

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

Diner and overnight on board.

Day 30 : China – Your place (B)

Breakfast in the plane and arrival in your country.

End of our services. Our team wishes you an enjoyable way back home !

  • Click on the markers of the map to view the description of the step.
  • Press the "Switch to full screen" icon at the top right of the map to get the best overview of the circuit.
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  • Complete the form to contact us. An agent answers all your questions.

The price includes

  • Charming hotels with breakfast included everyday on site, unless otherwise specified.

     

  • English Speaking guide on day 3 for the excursion in Puzhehei (English speaking guide on a 6 travelers basis)

     

  • English speaking driver and guide from day 4 to 11 (Southern Yunnan), from days 13 to 23 and on day 27 (Northern Yunnan). On a 6 travelers basis, English speaking guide + driver from day 4 to 27, except for days 12 and 26 that are kept free

     

  • Every other transfers in private vehicles with Chinese speaking driver.

     

  • High speed trains from Kunming to Puzhehei and back and Mile-Dali, in second class.

     

  • 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 1840 RMB per person, that is 240 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

RATES. Private tour on a 2, 4, 6 travelers basis in double/twin rooms :

Private tour on a 2 travelers basis – : 24620 RMB per person, that is 3156€ per person

Private tour on a 4 travelers basis – : 16450 RMB per person, that is 2108€ per person

Private tour on a 6 travelers basis – : 17045 RMB per person, that is 2185€ per person

  • On a 6 travelers basis, you will receive service from a English speaking guide and a driver, from day 4 to day 27, except for days 12 and 26 which are free.

David is an expert on this circuit Lights of Yunnan.
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 david.asianroads@gmail.com or on this form:

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