Find below the details of our program “Yunnan off the beaten track”
Daily program: Yunnan off the beaten track (24 days)
Day 1: Departure from Paris.
Departure from Paris at 12:30 p.m. on flight CA876 to Beijing, arrival the next day at 4:45 a.m., 2h15mn stopover in Beijing, then check-in on flight CA1403 at take-off at 7:00 a.m., arrival at 10:30 a.m. (international and domestic round trip China available at this day for 960 euros (subject to availability and evolution)
Day 2: Arrival in Kunming ~ 1h transfer. Altitude: 1800m
Arrival at Kunming airport, welcome by your driver (with a sign with your name) at the exit of your flight, then transfer to the Home Inn Plus hotel located in a pleasant district of the center of Kunming. Rest of the day free to recover from your long flight, and make some first visits quietly on foot from the hotel. You can walk to the Emerald Lake, where locals love to walk, sing, dance and play music. Possibility to keep on to Yuantong Buddhist temple located 5 / 10min away from the park.
Dinner at your own expenseIn the evening, attend Yunnan’s beautiful Yunnan minority dance and song show, “Dynamic Yunnan” (8: 00-21: 30), back to your hotel after the show.Overnight at Home Inn Plus.
Day 3 : Kunming - Stone Forest - Jianshui ( B) ~ 4h drive. Altitude: 1800m
Meet your English-speaking guide and driver at 8:00 am and drive to the Stone Forest where we recommend a 2 to 3 hour walk between rocks and karst peaks. Continuation of the road to Jianshui and check in at the Lin An Guest House and possible visit of the museum having been fitted out in the superb residence of the Zhu family, one of the best preserved in Yunnan, formed by a set of interior courtyards, pavilions and gardens.
Dinner at your own expense Overnight at Lin An Guest House.
Day 4 : Jianshui (B) Altitude 1800m
In the morning, walk through Jianshui old town, including the big Chaoyang Gate which houses a small bird market. Discover local market, a tofu workshop. Visit the temple of Confucius, which is the second largest in China after that of Qufu, the hometown of the master. The temple consists of a large park with pond, several courtyards, beautiful porticos, temples and pavilions. In the afternoon, short drive to Tuanshan typical village, including the former Zhang family residence, and lunch at a local family home. Discover the old double dragon bridge.
Dinner at your own expense Overnight at Lin An Guest House
Day 5 : Jianshui - Yuanyang (B) ~ 4h drive. Altitude: 1800m
Morning drive to the Yuanyang region, once you get there, weather permitting, stop at different points of view to take pictures of the rice fields. Installation at the Twelve Manor Terraces, very comfortable and located just between Jingkou and Bada with a view of the rice fields and easily accessible from the road. In the afternoon, enjoy a sunset walk around Bada rice fields.
Free dinner at the hotel restaurant and Overnight at Twelve Manor Terraces.
Day 6 : Yuanyang (B, L) ~ 2h drive
After breakfast, depart for Yuanyang Xinjie Town to attend morning market (set according to the day in the Chinese lunar calendar). Meeting with different minorities, including Yi, Hani and Dai. Continue to the small village of Malaohe where you will be served lunch with one of the local families after a fairly picturesque traditional dance and song show. In the afternoon, 2 to 3 hours hike through beautiful landscapes of rice terraces, and small villages.
Dinner at your own expense and overnight at Twelve Manor Terraces.
Yuanyang rice fields are filled with water from mid December to the end of February each year. From early March, the land is prepared for plantations that will last the entire month of April. The rice begins to grow in May. Starting from June, the rice fields take green colors, then yellow for the months of July to September. The harvests last all the month of October, then the rice fields are cleaned then put back in water in November / beginning of December. If you are interested, we can organize, with local farmers, a planting activity (April) or rice harvest (October), on a half day or a full day.
Day 7 : Yuanyang - Kunming (B) ~ 6h drive
Breakfast at the hotel before taking the long drive back to Kunming. Lunch at your own expense on the way.
Installation at the Home Inn Plus upon arrival and walk to the flower and bird market if time permits before dinner at your own expense. In the evening, attend Yunnan’s beautiful Yunnan minority dance and song show “Dynamic Yunnan” (20: 00-21: 30), dinner at your own expense. Overnight at Home Inn Plus.
Day 8: Kunming - Lexiaguo ( B) ~ 4 hours of transfer. Altitude: 1800m
Meet with your driver at 9:00. Morning drive to Dongchuan, then to the “red earth” area of Lexiaguo. First walk this afternoon through the different sites of the region. Meals at your own expense.
Overnight at Hongtu Yinxiang Hotel.
Day 9 : Lexiaguo - Kunming - fast train to Dali (B ) ~ 4h drive
Morning of discovery of terraced landscapes of the region, especially near the villages of Huashitou, Lexiaguo and Damakan. In the afternoon, drive back to Kunming and visit the Golden Temple and the Bamboo Temple (weather permitting). Then transfer to the station for the train D8734 departing at 19:12, arrival at 21:47.
Welcome by a driver and transfer to your hotel well located in the center of the old town.
Overnight at Yunxi Boutique Hotel
Day 10 : Dali - Xizhou ( B) ~ 1 hour drive. Altitude: 1900m
Meet your English-speaking driver-guide after breakfast, and stroll through its old streets, still quiet at this time of day, then transfer to the Temple of the Three Pagodas. Free lunch then at the pleasant Bai minority village of Zhoucheng, to meet its inhabitants (learn more about the batik dyeing process, practiced here for generations) and its small but obsolete but charming temples. Then transfer to Xizhou. Installation at the superb and comfortable charming Linden Center hotel, built in a beautiful traditional Bai residence, and with all modern comforts. In the afternoon, you can rest at the hotel, explore the surrounding countryside by bike (available at the hotel) to Lake Erhai, or take a stroll through the village of Xizhou, home to beautiful old residences. Note that a tour of the hotel is organized by the Linden Center every day at 17:00, in English, presenting the history and architecture of this traditional building.
Dinner at your own expense Overnight at Linden Center.
Day 11 : Xizhou - Weishan ~ 2h drive. Altitude: 1900m
Meeting with your driver and transfer by private vehicle to the Weishan Valley, still unspoiled by tourism, this city is home to a very charming and smiling population. On the way, visit Donglianhua Hui village, with its small Tea and Horses Road museum and its mosque. Discovery this afternoon of Weibaoshan Mountain, located at 2500m altitude. As part of one of the 13 sacred Taoist mountains of China, the site is calm, exudes a certain serenity, and it is good to walk there to discover its small temples where Daoist monks reside. Arrival in Weishan at the end of the day and evening walk in the old city.
Overnight at Fudi Guesthouse.
Day 12 : Weishan - Nuodeng (B / D) ~ 2h30min drive. Altitude: 2100m
Departure in the morning to the Yunlong Valley and Nuodeng typical village. Located on a hillside, this village is not accessible to motorized vehicles, locals carry loads on mules, the houses are wood-carved and agricultural traditions still alive. You will have to climb in the village for about ten minutes to reach your family inn. From there you can explore the surrounding area and visit the Confucius Temple located at the top of the village. In the afternoon, small hike on the heights of Nuodeng, on the old tea and horse route, paved path used by caravans until the last century. Visit lost villages on the way. Return to Nuodeng at the end of the day, dinner at the inn. Do not miss to observe the grandmothers preparing the incense sticks according to ancestral techniques. Overnight at Gujin Inn.
Day 13 : Nuodeng - Shaxi (B) ~ 3h drive. Altitude: 2050m
Road this morning towards the great valley of Shaxi. Also discovered before the arrival in Shaxi of Shibaoshan Moutain, a beautiful set of Buddhist sculptures carved in the rock and very Zen temples. Continue to Shaxi. Accommodation in the heart of Shaxi’s Old Town in a beautifully refurbished traditional courtyard with all the comforts of home, having once been used to house shopkeepers along the Tea and Horse Caravan Route upon which Shaxi used to be a major trading center. The hotel has a good restaurant. Overnight at the Aoding Courtyard.
Day 14: Shaxi - Shigu - Liming - Tacheng (B / D) ~ 5h drive. Altitude: 3200m
Departure this morning at 8:00 am and drive to Liming, quick stops en route to various small villages of Naxi and Lisu minorities, including Shigu and the first curve of the Yangtze River.
Lunch at your own expense and visit Liming protected natural park this afternoon, with its famous “Mountain of a thousand tortoises”, continuation of the road towards Tacheng and the park of the Golden Monkeys of Yunnan, dinner at your own expense on the way, arrival in the evening and installation at the Accommodation Center of the Yunnan Golden Monkey Reserve.
Day 15 : Tacheng - Cizhong (B). 4 hours drive. Altitude: 2200m
Departure from your hotel at 8:00 to go to the Baima Nature Reserve, to observe the Golden Monkeys of Yunnan, protected species, in their natural environment. Return route, possible visit along the way of Naxi minority villages, as well as the village near the hotel, beautifully surrounded by vineyards, and which also produces very good traditional honey! After lunch at the hotel, drive to the amazing village of Cizhong, populated by Tibetan Catholics.
Dinner at your own expense and overnight at Kawakajiu Guest House (basic comfort)
Day 16 : Cizhong - Meili Mountains (B, L) ~ 3h drive. Altitude: 3300m
Depart early this morning for the road leading to the beginning of the path to the Mingyong Glacier below the Kawa Karpo Summit and the Meili Mountains. Nice hike to the glacier and a local temple (about 3 hours round trip). Possibility to go up and / or down in electric minibus (recommended because the hiking path has been eliminated on this part of the journey.
Lunch at your own expense. Dinner at your own expense and overnight at Mingzhu Hotel.
Day 17 : Meili - Benzilan - Shangri la (B). ~ 3h drive. Altitude: 2300m
Beautiful sunrise on the Meili Mountains. Then drive to Benzilan through the three mountain passes of the white horse. On the way, very pretty points of view on the massif then on a beautiful curve of the Yangtze. Visit of the Tibetan monastery of Dongzhulin, located on the Yangtze. It is a popular place for locals, known for having hosted several “living Buddhas”. If the weather permits, discover not far from a small local nunnery. Continuation of the road to Shangrila and Check In at the Timeless Inn.
Dinner at your own expense and overnight at Timeless Inn.
Day 18 : Shangri La (B)
Visit Shangri La and its region, starting with the beautiful Tibetan Songzanlin Monastery. Walk to the local market, then walk through the old town, including Bai Ji Si temple with beautiful views over the Shangri La and Shika Mountains. Note that the central part of the old town was ravaged by fire on January 11, 2014, it is rebuilding little by little.
Free time for lunch in the afternoon, discover on foot or by bike the Tibetan countryside (several possible routes, to discuss in the morning with your guide according to your desires and abilities).
Random stop of the road and your meetings with a Tibetan family, always welcoming, to taste Yak butter tea, “Tsampa” and Yak butter cheese, local specialties and bases of their daily food. Attend and participate if you wish in spontaneous dances in the evening of locals in the Old Town Square. Dinner at your own expense.
Overnight at Timeless Inn.
Day 19 : Shangri la - Tiger Leaping Gorges (B) ~ 2h drive
Road to the Tiger Leaping Gorges via the Baishuitai road, the limestone terraces, then continuation to the Tiger Leaping Gorges, from there you will reach the Tea Horse Guest House by car, then take a first walk about 1 hour to Halfway Guest House to have lunch at your own expense. Continue in the afternoon with a 3 hours hike with great views of the Gorges, until the Sean’s Guest House. Meals at your own expense.
Overnight at Sean’s Guest House.
Day 20 : Tiger Leaping Gorges - Daju - Wumu (B) ~ 6h drive
2 / 3h hike this morning, starting from your inn and down to the Gorges. Lunch at your own expense and crossing of the Yangtze by car on a ferry, to reach Daju, long road then towards the Jade Dragon Mountain National Park towards the village of Wumu, near Baoshan, with a first stop at the Jade Lake on the road. Continuation. You are among the Naxis, and many shamans are still active in this valley, which has been kept away from the development of tourism. Wumu has a long history of a few hundred years but the village is peaceful here. The oldest center is built on a rock, now well hidden between the houses. The access road dates from 2014 and with the Suming and Mingwei villages in the same valley there are still nine active Dongba shamans. Accommodation at Huahuasei Lodge, the only inn in the valley, opened in 2013 by a Naxi / Belgian couple. Dinner includedand overnight at Lodge Huahuasei.
Day 21 : Baoshan - Wumu (B)
Breakfast at the lodge then rest of the day to discover the valley with your guide, hike in the valley and possible meeting with a Shaman Dongba who can explain the foundations of his traditional beliefs.
Meal and overnight at Huahuasei Lodge.
Day 22 : Wumu - Shuhe (B) ~ 4h drive. Altitude: 2300m
Morning drive to Lijiang through the Jade Dragon Mountain Natural Park and the Blue Moon Valley. Continuation of the road to Shuhe Naxi village, located in the heart of the Lijiang valley. Installation at the amazing The Bivou hotel. Then drive by car to the Valley Villages, Baisha or Shuhe. Dinner at your own expense in one of Shuhe’s many restaurants within walking distance of your hotel. Overnight at the Bivou.
Day 23 : Shuhe - Lijiang - train to Kunming (B) ~ 2h30 transfer
Transfer after breakfast to the old town of Lijiang which you can explore today, climb up Lion Hill to have a view of the traditional rooftops and descend to the park of the Black Dragon pond. Free lunch and mid-afternoon transfer to Lijiang station to take the D8790 train to Kunming, departure at 4:43 p.m., arrival at 7:54 p.m. Welcome by a driver and transfer to your hotel.
Overnight at Home Inn Plus.
Day 24 : Departure from Kunming (B) ~ 1h transfer
Very early transfer (departure around 5 a.m.) to Kunming airport to take flight CA4171 to Beijing at take-off at 07:00 a.m., arrival at 10:40 a.m., stopover at 02:55 a.m. in Beijing and check-in on flight CA933 at take-off at 1:35 p.m., arrival at 6:40 p.m. in Paris (Roundway flight available for 960 euros, subject to availability).
End of our services, we wish you a pleasant return home, beautiful memories in mind!