Classic Yunnan Tour

ST11: 11 Days China Tour from Zurich Switzerland to Beijing - Kunming - Dali - Lijiang - Lugu Lake
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Day 1 Switzerland - Beijing
For people living in Switzerland, traveling to China is quite convenient as direct flights to Beijing are available from Zurich and Geneva. Swissair operates the direct flight from Zurich to Beijing. The flight number is LX196. By taking this flight, you will depart from Zurich at 13:20 and arrive in Beijing at 05:15 the next morning. The flying time is 9 hours and 55 minutes. If you start China tours from Geneva, you can take Air China flight CA862 20:25/12:50+1 to Beijing. This non-stop flight is scheduled to fly on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The flying time is nearly 10.5 hours.
Day 2 Beijing - Kunming
Your international flight will land in Beijing today. After a short layover at the airport, you will need to connect a 3.5-hour flight from Beijing to Kunming. Upon arrival at Kunming Airport, please make your own way to the hotel which is booked by yourself.
Day 3 Kunming Day Tour to Stone Forest
Spend the first day in Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan, exploring its best attraction and world heritage site, the Stone Forest. Located 80 km (50 mi) away in the east suburb of Kunming, it is a geological park featuring various karst landforms with karst caves, stalactites, stalagmites, erosional lakes, and conical peaks.

► How to get there: From Kunming East Coach Station, there are buses every 30 minutes from 8:00 to 18:00. It takes 1.5 hours to reach the Stone Forest and costs CNY 34.
► Top Attractions: Big Stone Forest, Small Stone Forest, Long Lake, Bushao Mountain, Lizi Yuanqing Scenic Area, Ancient Cliff Painting Site, Eternal Mushroom Scenic Area, Qifeng Cave, Zhiyun Cave, Stone Forest Karst Geology Museum…
► Opening Hours: March to October: 7:30-18:30; November to February: 8:00-18:00
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 4 hours
► Ticket Price: CNY 130 for entrance fee; CNY 25 for battery car.

Take the return bus to Kunming. You are recommended to stay near the Kunming Old Street. From the Kunming East Coach Station, you can take metro line 3 to get to Wuyi Road Station, and then walk to the Old Street. It takes 30 minutes and costs CNY 3. A taxi from the East Coach Station to the Old Street takes 20 minutes and costs CNY 20.

Kunming Old Street is a thousand-year-old block in the city center filled with ancient buildings, modern boutiques, souvenirs, and snacks. If you have extra time, you can visit some of the nearby attractions, such as the Jingxing Street Flowers and Birds Market just a 5-minute walk to the south, and the Green Lake Park about 15-minute walk to the northwest.
Day 4 Kunming to Dali Ancient City
It is advised to get up early in the morning and take a high speed train to Dali. There are many trains running from Kunming Railway Station or Kunming South Railway Station to Dali. The train nos. D8652, D8656, D9114, and D8102 departing from Kunming Railway Station, with shortest travel time, are highly recommended. Take a taxi from the Old Street to the Kunming Railway Station in 15 minutes at a cost of CNY 15.

Facts of Train D8652

► Departure: 7:14 from Kunming Railway Station
► Arrival: 9:18 at Dali Railway Station
► Duration: 2 hours 4 minutes
► Fare: CNY 145 for a second-class seat; CNY 231 for a first-class seat

Upon arrival, take a taxi from Dali Railway Station to Dali Ancient City. It take 35 minutes and costs about CNY 50. You can also take bus line 8 from the Railway Station to the Dali East Gate in 1 hour at a cost of CNY 3.

Check in a hotel you’ve booked in advance in the ancient city, and then it’s about 10:30, the time to start your hiking tour of the Cangshan Mountain, which features towering snow peaks, interesting hiking trails, and best sightseeing platform to see the panorama of the whole Dali City.

► How to Get There: Take a taxi to the mountain foot in 8 minutes, costing CNY 10; or take bus 4 or C10 to get there in 20 minutes at a cost of CNY 2.
► Recommended Touring Route: Gantong Cableway - Linglong Chessboard - Qingbi Stream - Grand Canyon Sightseeing Platform - Cloudy Tourist Road - Qilongnv Pools - Cangshan Big Cableway - Ximatan Glacial Lake - Cangshan Big Cableway - Tianlong Babu Film and TV City
► Opening Hours: 8:30 – 15:00
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 4 hours
► Ticket Price: CNY 35 for admission; CNY 130 for one-way ticket of Gantong Cableway; CNY 110 for one-way ticket of Zhonghe Cableway

After touring the mountain, there can be some time left for you to visit the landmark of Dali – the Three Pagodas in the Chongsheng Temple. You can learn the history of the imperial temple and take an iconic picture of the pagodas with their reflections in a pool.

► How to Get There: From the main gate of the Cangshan Mountain, you can take a taxi to the Chongsheng Temple in 12 minutes, costing about CNY 15.
► Opening Hours: 7:10 to 19:00 from May to October; 8:00 to 17:30 from November to the next April
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 1 to 2 hours
► Ticket Price: CNY 75 for entry; CNY 110 for admission and round-trip sightseeing car

At dusk, get back to the Dali Ancient City for a leisurely stroll, find a nice restaurant to taste the authentic local food, and appreciate the sparkling night view of the ancient city.

► You May Like: Private Dali Day Tour with Guide.
Day 5 Erhai Lake Day Tour
Erhai Lake is the essence of a Dali tour. You can take a boat, charter a car, or ride a motorcycle or bicycle to tour around the lake. The west route is highly recommended for first-time visitors to Dali. 

► Top Attractions of Erhai Lake: Caicun Wetland Park, Xizhou Ancient Town, Haishe Ecological Park, Zhoucheng Village, Butterfly Spring, Tianlong Cave, Shuanglang Ancient Town, Wase Town, Little Putuo Island…
► Opening Hours: All day long
► Recommended Time for a Visit: one day
► Ticket Price: Free for the lake; some scenic spots around the lake charge separately.

If you are interested, you can get up early in the morning and take a taxi to the Caicun Pier to see the sunrise over the Erhai Lake. A taxi takes 15 minutes and costs CNY 15. The sunrise time is between 6:30 and 8:00 according to different seasons. After watching the sunrise, take a walk along the lake, and then take a taxi to the Longkan Pier in 10 minutes at a cost of CNY 15. Here you can start a cruise in the Erhai Lake. Remember to book the long cruise that arrives at the Butterfly Spring Pier at noon instead of the short line that returns to the Longkan Pier.

► Cruise Route: Longkan Pier (9:00 – 10:00) → Little Putuo Island (20 minutes) → Nanzhao Folk Island (1 hour) → Butterfly Spring Pier (Taoyuan Pier)
► Duration: 3 to 4 hours
► Fare: CNY 140 to 180

Get off the boat around 13:00 and have lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, take a taxi costing CNY 10 to reach the Zhoucheng Village in 8 minutes, which is a characteristic Bai ethnic village. You can visit the local market and try the most distinctive class of tie-dye in Zhoucheng. The experience lasts 2 to 3 hours and the prices range from CNY 60 to 300. A local artisan will teach you how to make it and you can finally take the dyed cloth away as a special souvenir.

In the evening, take a taxi to Xizhou Ancient Town in 10 minutes at a cost of CNY 15. Stroll around the town, have dinner, and then take a taxi back to the Dali Ancient City. It takes half an hour and costs about CNY 50.

Tonight, it is suggested to take a high speed train to Lijiang. Pick your luggage from your hotel, and take a taxi to the Dali Railway Station in 35 minutes at a cost of CNY 50. The bus line 8 can also take you there in 1 hour and costs CNY 3.

Facts of Train D8135 from Dali to Lijiang

► Departure: 20:07 from Dali Railway Station
► Arrival: 21:49 at Lijiang Railway Station
► Duration: 1 hour 42 minutes
► Fare: CNY 60 for a second-class seat; CNY 95 for a first-class seat

Upon arrival, take a taxi from Lijiang Railway Station to the Lijiang Old Town. It takes 20 minutes and costs CNY 20. Check into the hotel you’ve booked in advance and have a good rest.
Day 6 Lijiang Old Town
After breakfast, you are recommended to visit the Jade Spring Park (Black Dragon Pool) first. It is about 15 minutes’ walk north of the old town. The park with wonderful lake view offers a best place to take pictures of the panoramic reflection of the Jade Snow Dragon Mountain.

► Opening Hours: 7:00 – 19:00
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 1 to 2 hours
► Ticket Price: Free with the receipt of Lijiang Old Town Maintenance Fee

Go back and have a walking tour of the Lijiang Old Town during the rest of the day. Wander along the crisscrossing stone paths flanked by antique buildings, you’ll know the real charm of this World Heritage Site.

► Recommended Touring Route: North Gate - Big Waterwheel - Bar Street - Dayan Huaxiang - Sifang Street - Big Stone Bridge - Guanmenkou Gate - Jade Belt Bridge - Mu’s Residence - Lion Mountain
► Top Things to Do: Stay overnight in a local guesthouse, watch performance at Sifang Square, listen to the local Naxi music, climb up the Lion Mountain for a panorama view, taste the local snacks, learn the local Dongba culture and crafts, set a floating river lantern…
► Opening Hours: The town opens all day long, while the Mu’s Residence opens from 8:30 to 17:30, and the Lion Mountain opens from 8:30 to 18:30.
► Recommended Time for a Visit: one day
► Ticket Price: CNY 50 for the Old Town Maintenance Fee; CNY 40 for Mu’s Residence; CNY 35 for Lion Mountain

In the evening, find a decent restaurant to try the authentic Lijiang dishes, such as the Lijiang Baba Cake, Dongba Grilled Fish, and Pork Ribs Hot Pot. After dinner, you can enjoy the colorful nightlife at the Bar Street.
Day 7 Day Tour to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, north of Lijiang Old Town, is a must-see. It is the snow mountain closest to the equator in the northern hemisphere and the second highest mountain in Yunnan, with an elevation of 5,596 meters (18,360 feet). The huge altitude difference allows you to experience the four seasons in a single day. At the foot of the mountain you can see isolated primitive villages and patches of wild flowers, while on the slopes there are lush alpine meadows, lakes and wild yaks. Take the Big Cableway to go up the mountain and you can see the snow-capped peaks and thousand-year-old glaciers. It is recommended to book the cableway ticket online 1 or 2 days in advance and arrive as early as possible in the morning to take the Big Cableway up the mountain for sightseeing.

How to Get There:
A taxi from the Lijiang Old Town to the mountain takes 40 minutes and costs CNY 80 to 100. You can also hire a car for a round trip at a price of CNY 200 to 300. You can share a car with other travelers if possible. Bus is not recommended for it takes a long time and includes a long walking distance.

► Recommended Touring Route: Big Cableway → Glacier Park → Blue Moon Valley (White Water River) → Impression Lijiang → Ganhaizi Meadow (Dry Sea)
► Opening Hours: 8:00 – 18:30 (Ticketing stops at 16:30.); the Big Cableway opens from 7:00 to 18:00, with the ticketing time stopping at 16:00.
► Recommended Time for a Visit: one day
► Ticket Price: CNY 100, including Glacier Park, Blue Moon Valley, Spruce Meadow, Yak Meadow, and Ganhaizi Meadow, while excluding the cableway and sightseeing bus (CNY 20); CNY 180 for a round trip of the Big Cableway.

Performance: Impression Lijiang

► Show Time: 11:10, 13:30
► Duration: 60 minutes
► Venue: Open-air theater at Ganhaizi Meadow near the tourist center of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
► Ticket Price: CNY 280 for a common seat; CNY 346 for a VIP seat.

●  Note: You can join our Guided Day Tour to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to have the transport, tickets and sightseeing plan well arranged for you.
Day 8 Lijiang to Lugu Lake
A 2 days tour to the Lugu Lake should be a perfect end of this classic Yunnan tour. In the morning, take a taxi to the Lijiang Bus Station, taking 10 minutes and costing CNY 10. Here there are buses running to the Lugu Lake.

► Bus Schedule: 10:20, 12:00, 15:00
► Distance: 200 km (124 mi)
► Duration: 4 to 5 hours
► Fare: CNY 88

Take the earliest bus, and you’ll arrive at about 15:00. You can also ask your hotel staff to buy a ticket of the special bus to the Lugu Lake running by the local tour operators, and you could arrive at noontime.

The bus will leave 15 minutes at the Sightseeing Platform at the entrance of the scenic area for you to enjoy a panoramic view of the Lugu Lake, and then it will take you to the Big Luoshui Village, where you can start the afternoon tour of the lake.

► Ticket Price: CNY 70
► Opening Hours: 8:00 – 18:00
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 2 to 3 days
► Recommended Route for This Afternoon: Big Luoshui Village → boat tour to Rock Island → take a boat or hire a car to Lige Village (Lige Island)

At the Lige Island, stroll around or go up the sightseeing platform to appreciate the sunset over the lake. Here you can choose a nice lake view hotel to stay overnight.
Day 9 Leisurely Day at Lugu Lake
Car rental with driver is the more convenient way to tour the Lugu Lake. It costs CNY 400 to 600 per day depending on different car types and seasons. If you have enough time and physical strength, renting a bicycle or electric bike is also a good choice, but it would be more difficult.

It is highly recommended that you get up early today to enjoy the sunrise over the Lugu Lake. After breakfast, you can hire a car and start your trip around the lake.

► Recommended Route: Lige Island → Nisai Village → Small Luoshui Village → Lovers Beach → Mansion of the Last Princess → Caohai Lake & Walking Marriage Bridge → Goddess Bay

Start your tour clockwise from the Lige Island. Drive 5 minutes to the Nisai Village, where you can stop for half an hour and look for the famous Lovers Tree. Then drive 10 minutes to the Small Luoshui Village, and stay one hour to feel the primitive folk customs of the Mosuo people. Drive 20 minutes to the Lovers Beach, take a short walk, and then 15 minutes to the Mansion of the Last Princess. Here you can learn about the glorious but troubled life stories of the ancient princess. Afterwards, drive 15 minutes to visit the Caohai Lake for 2 to 3 hours. Finally, take a 40-minute drive to the Goddess Bay, where you can enjoy the best view of the Goddess Mountain and the sunset.

Return to the Lige Island before dark, and stay for another night. 
Day 10 Lugu Lake - Beijing
Today you will fly from Lugu Lake to Beijing, with a stopover in Kunming. The recommended flights are China Eastern Airlines MU5938 13:00/13:55 (55m) to Kunming and then MU5703 15:00/18:15 (3h15m) or MU5709 16:00/19:35 (3h35m) to Beijing Daxing International Airport. Since you will arrive in Beijing in the evening, please find a hotel near the airport, which will be convenient for you to catch the international flight back tomorrow.
Day 11 Beijing - Switzerland
There are direct flights back to Zurich and Geneva from Beijing. We suppose that you have booked a round way ticket. Please confirm from which airport your flight will depart, so that you can arrange the transfer properly. Farewell!
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