Slow travel Yunnan Tour

A tour with a slow pace and carefully selected legs to let you take the time to find back the very essence of travel, discovery, sharing, meeting people, emotions, in a world where everything goes faster and faster. This tour we offer to your interest is purposedly limited to Northern Yunnan, for a deeper approach of some sites that classical itineraries don’t or seldom include. You will also meet some french, belgian or american “expats”, that will gladly share with you their life experience in Yunnan and will bring their personal touch that will make the difference. You will explore grandiose natural environment and go along the quietness of those still very authentic small town, far away from the rumble of big cities. Come and take a deep breath of Yunnan’s fresh air !

You will visit :

Find below the details of our program “Slow travel Yunnan Tour

-> Download the pdf file

Daily program: Slow travel 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 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 the charming Lost Garden Guest House, 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 – Dali – Xizhou (B) ~ 30 mn transfer + 1h + 2h high speed train. Altitude : 1900m.

Early or take away breakfast and transfer to the railway station for your high speed train towards Dali. Arrival in Dali around noon. Welcoming by your chinese speaking driver and transfer towards the young, dynamic and friendly old town to take some free time.

You can notably discover a stunning catholic church, as well as the 3 Pagodas temple (entrance : 120 RMB per person).

Possible lunch 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.

Check in at the very comfortable Linden Commons charming hotel, built in a beautiful traditional Bai courtyard. 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 4 : Xizhou / Tea harvesting and making (B)

Before your breakfast you can explore the morning market (daily) on foot. Meet with your English Speaking driver at 09.00 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.

Back to Xizhou and rest of the day free. You can stroll in the heart of this village, then you can ride a bicyle or just walk to explore the surroundings and small villages through the rice fields (bicyle available at the hotel).

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

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

Breakfast before hitting the road towards the Shaxi valley. On the way, stop at Bai Minority’s big village Zhoucheng, notably known for their craftsmen producing the Batik clothes.

Check in at your guest house, in the heart of Shaxi Old Town. Discover the village. Stride through the picturesque small streets of this old city, which used to be an important waypoint on the Tea and Horses Road.

Dinner at your own expense.

Overnight at the charming Aoding Courtyard 3* guest house. We recommend your guest house’s restaurant.

Day 6 : 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 7 : Shaxi – Shangri La (B) ~ 3 hours drive. Altitude : 3200 m.

Breakfast then road towards Shangrila Tibetan Region.

At your arrival, check in at the tibetan guest house Timeless Inn, located in the heart of the old city.

Take your time to wander in the old Shangrila’s picturesque small streets, or even to venture towards the new city only two steps away ! Not far from your hotel, you will find the small Da Gui Shang temple, in front of a giant tibetan prayer wheel dominating the city : wonderful when the sun goes down !

Dinner at your expense and overnight in Shangrila.

Day 8 : Shangri La (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.

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 9 : Shangri La - Benzilan (B ; D) ~ 2.30h drive. Altitude : 2300m.

Breakfast at your guest house, then road to Benzilan, through some beautiful mountain sceneries with very nice views over the curve of 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.

Check in at Estelle’s house, the Tulu Lodge, well located in a very tiny protected quiet valley with a very special micro climate. This guest house was decorated with passion by Estelle, spellbound by China already a long time ago. You will fall in love with the house’s two dogs, very cuddling !

The house is also an host table, where you can enjoy a delicious homemade dinner made by the owner out of local organic products, mostly inspired by Provence Cuisine.

Overnight at Tulu Lodge.

Day 10 : Benzilan (B ; D)

French style breakfast put together by Estelle, who will give you lots of suggestions for today, so as to help you organize your day and discover her adopted country. She will probably go with you on the neighbouring villages’ trails, to meet the local tibetan craftsmen and families. You can expect a nice time of sharing and a local experience that will leave you some unforgettable memories.

Dinner and overnight at Tulu Lodge.

Day 11 : Benzilan (B ; D)

Breakfast and free day to relax at the Tulu Lodge.

Enjoy this tibetan traditional house decorated with taste and furnished with loads of old furniture acquired allthrough the years. The house offers nice indoor and outdoor common spaces, a big terrace on the roof and a nice garden. Go and stroll on the surrounding trails, amongst the fields, close to a small mountain river.

You can do a 2 to 3 hours hike in the forest towards the alpine pastures. Estelle will prepare a picnic for you !

Dinner and overnight at the Lodge.

Day 12 : Benzilan - Shangrila / Ringha Valley (B) ~ 2.30h drive. Altitude : 3200m.

Breakfast before leaving Estelle and the Tulu Lodge.

Road back to Shangrila. Stop at Nixi Village and its potter craftsmen, the black earth of this region is very famous for its properties.

Then before arriving to Shangrila, explore the shores of Lake Napa, the fauna and flora reserve from this valley.

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.

Then check in at Red Hill Lodge, at Nathan’s, the american owner who will welcome you warmly with his family from Minnesota.

Dinner at your expense and overnight at the Lodge, far from everything in the heart of Ringha Green Valley, about 12km from the city.

Day 13 : Ringha valley (B)

Quiet breakfast and entire day free to enjoy the natural surroundings and explore by foot the neighbouring countryside.

From there you can hike for the whole day or for half a day, up to the hills over the valley.

Follow Nathan’s recommendation, he will be your best advisor !

Meals at your expense and overnight at Red Hill Lodge.

Day 14 : Shangri La – Potatso – Baishuitai – Tiger Leaping Gorge (B) ~ 4 hours drive.

Today, early start towards the Tiger Leaping Gorge on the old road that used to link Shangrila and Lijiang together. The road is picturesque and now less used by most travelers who prefer the comfort and the speed of the new express road. The road is narrow and sinuous, and will provide you with beautiful view points at every turn.

You will make a first stop to discover Potatso National Park (entrance : 180 RMB per person). The park is reputed for its water that are particularly clear with majestuous hills in the background and the forests hosting a rare fauna and a flora.

You will make another stop in Baishuitai (entrance : 30 RMB per person) to admire the beautiful limestone pools with turquoise water that contrast with the intense green of the surrounding reliefs. A stunning universe that wwe don’t expect to find here, another hidden treasure of Yunnan…

Arrival 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 Sean’s Guest House. Enjoy the light of dusk with the sun going down progressively over the heights that are sometimes submerged into the clouds. A whole atmosphere to relish on the guest house terrace with a hot tea or a fresh beer !

Dinner at your own expense and overnight at Sean’s Guest house.

Day 15 : Tiger Leaping Gorge (B)

Take your breakfast on the terrace with a breathtaking view over the high summit all around you.

Then for the most courageous, many hiking options are available for today, 2 to 3 hours way below in the gorge to get to the river’s shore, or 4 to 5 hours on the heights of the gorge with breathtaking views. You can also do both or walk the full day on the heights nearly on the whole length of the gorge. The way up is quite rough, you can count with a dozen hours walking in total.

Then for the non athletes, you can also lay down and enjoy this exceptional natural environment. You can also drive in the gorge to enjoy the beautiful landscapes. Easy walk from the Tea Horse Guest house to the Halfway Guest House (1 hour, flat ground), where you can relax on the panoramic terrace.

This day is flexible and can be arranged according to your wishes and capacities. You can define the program together with your guide !

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

Day 16 : Tiger Leaping Gorge – Wumu (B) ~ 4h drive. 2300 m.

Today after breakfast you will cross the Yangtse River on a bark up to Daju Village.

Road towards Wumu Region. You will go through narrow small roads along which you can expect to see beautiful landscapes ! The most ancient center of Wumu village 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 ! Breathtaking view from the terrace and spectacular starry night !

Overnight in Wumu.

Day 17 : 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 18 : Wumu - Lijiang – Shuhe (B) ~ 3h30 drive. Altitude : 2000m

Early road to Lijiang. Passage through the Yulong National Park (entrance : 100 RMB per person). Arrival at mid day. 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).

Transfer and check in at the Bivou 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 19 : Lijiang valley/ Shuhe (B)

Today, the day will be entirely free. You can go on a bicycle, on an electric scooter or with a taxi 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).

Rest of the day free in Shuhe. 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 Bivou in Shuhe. 

Day 20 : 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.

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 21 : China – Your place

Breakfast in the plane and arrival in your country.

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

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The price includes

  • Charming hotels with breakfast included everyday on site 
  • English-speaking driver and guide from day 4 to 18. The days 10, 11 and 13 are free without guide nor driver. On a 6 travelers basis, French Speaking guide + driver from day 3 to 18
  • Every other transfers in private vehicles with Chinese speaking driver.
  • High speed train from Kunming to 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 800 RMB per person, that is 102 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 – : 18325 RMB per person, that is 2349€ per person

Private tour on a 4 travelers basis – Flights not included – : 12700 RMB per person, that is 1628€ per person

Private tour on a 6 travelers basis – Flights not included – : 12740 RMB per person, that is 1633€ per person

* On a 6 travelers basis, you will enjoy the service of an English speaking guide plus a driver from day 3 to 18.

David is an expert on this circuit Slow Travel 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 david.asianroads@gmail.com or on this form:

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