Yunnan Minority

701: 8 Days Private Tour of Kunming - Dali - Lijiang - Shangri-La
Tour Type: Private Tour, any parts of the itinerary can be customized
Guide & Driver: English-speaking guide, experienced driver with an air-conditioned vehicle
Meals: 7 western buffet breakfasts, 6 lunches
Tour Highlights:
  • Marvel at the Karst landscape of the Stone Forest & experience a local farmers' market
  • Tour around the Erhai Lake in a horse-drawn carriage & visit the Bai Traditional House
  • Explore the nearly 1000-year-old town Lijiang - a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Admire the sheer natural beauty in the Lost Horizon of Shangri-La
From $1269 per person Free Inquiry
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Day 1 Arrival in Kunming
Our guide will pick you up outside the arrival hall at Kunming Airport and transfer you to the hotel in downtown area. After a short break, you will be escorted to visit the Golden Temple. Located on the Mingfeng Hill, the temple is a well-known Taoist temple in Yunnan. Then you may spend some time wandering at the Green Lake Park and enjoy the local element of this beautiful park.

Meals: No meals, advice freely available
Day 2 Kunming
Stone Forest
Photo by our clients Melinda & Edward Ruggiero
Your private tour will begin with a visit to the Zhuanxin Famers' Market. It is the largest marketplace in Kunming. Roaming around this place, you will get an impression of local people's daily life, since every day thousands of people come here to buy fruits, vegetables, meats, etc.

Then, you will travel to the Stone Forest, a typical model of China's Karst landforms. Walking through the Stone Forest, you will be astonished by the extraordinary workmanship of nature. Stones in the figure of plants, animals and even humans can be found here, some elegant, some rugged.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 3 Kunming - Dali
A bullet train to Dali and railway station-hotel transfer. Dali Old Town, Three Pagoda Temple, Hop in a horse-drawn carriage to tour around the Erhai Lake. (B+L)
Three Pagodas, Dali
Today, you will take an early morning bullet train to Dali which takes around 2 hours on the way. Our guide will pick you up at the railway station and escort you to the hotel in the primitive and tranquil Dali Old Town, where you will see limpid streams passing through the town and local people wearing their ethnic costumes. A street that goes from the South City Gate to the North City Gate is now a prosperous market street, selling marble, tie-dyeing and other souvenirs. Afterwards, pay a visit to the Three Pagoda Temple that faces the beautiful Erhai Lake. As its name implies, there are three ancient independent pagodas standing in a symmetrical triangle inside the temple. With a history of more than 1,800 years, Three Pagodas have been symbolic constructions of the ancient Dali City. Then you will hop in a horse-drawn carriage to tour around the Erhai Lake. The lake is shaped like an ear, hence its name, which means ear shaped sea in Chinese. You will also visit the nearby old villages and after that, we will transfer you back to the hotel.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 4 Dali - Lijiang
Dali-Lijiang transfer. Bai Traditional House in Xizhou and Tie Dyeing in Zhoucheng, Lijiang Old Town. (B+L)
Local vegetable market
Today you will travel to Lijiang, which is about three to four hours' drive. On the way, you will pay a visit to the Bai Minority Traditional Houses in Xizhou. The layout of these houses is distinctive with the features of wood and stone carvings and paintings on lime powdered walls. Xizhou is the place where the best and most of Bai Minority Traditional Houses are preserved. Over there, you will also get a chance to learn cooking a special local delicacy, call Baba, a scone-like baked bread mainly made of wheat flour.

Then you will go to the nearby Zhoucheng to visit the traditional hand-made Tie Dyeing in the local people's home. Upon arrival at Lijiang, you will first check in at the hotel in the old town. After a short rest, our guide will take you to visit the Square Street of Lijiang Old Town. The street is paved by the local bluestones, with numerous souvenir shops, unique bars and delicate restaurants scattered around. The most charming part of the street is at night. When red lanterns along the street are all lit up, all people here including tourists will enjoy a relaxing but exciting night life.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 5 Lijiang
Baisha Village, A local Naxi family, Baisha Murals, Former Residence of Dr. Joseph Rock,  Black Dragon Pool Park, Dongba Cultural Museum. (B+L)
Lijiang old town
You will first explore the Baisha Village and visit a local Naxi family in the morning. Basha Village was once the political, economic and religious center of Lijiang. Nowadays, it is famous for the murals and the old town built about 600 years ago. A visit to a local Naxi family will help you know more about Naxi people's living habits and customs. Then, continue the trip to visit Baisha Murals. These murals, combining the Han, Tibet and Naxi culture together, are a wonderful art form of minorities in west Yunnan, and vividly unfold the life of the minority people to us. 

Then, you will pay a visit to the Former Residence of Dr. Joseph Rock in Yuhu village at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. After that, you will visit the Black Dragon Pool Park (Jade Spring Park), an enormous park with beautiful landscape and some ancient monuments. Then visit the Dongba Cultural Museum, which is an interesting folk cultural museum featuring on Dongba culture preserved by Naxi People. By visiting this museum, you could learn more about this minority group.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 Lijiang - Shangri-La
Lijiang to Shangri-La transfer. First Bend of the Yangtze River, Stone Drum Town, Tiger Leaping Gorge. (B+L)
Yunnan Minority people
Today, we will transfer you from Lijiang to Shangri-La for about four to five hours. Along the way, you will first visit the First Bend of the Yangtze River. It is named so because a sudden V-shaped bend has been formed when the Yangtze River flowing by. The nearly 180-degree turn creates marvelous and astonishing views. The Stone Drum Town, the town where the First Bend of the Yangtze River located, is the last stop en route. There is a drum-shaped marble monument in this town, hence the name. The town has for long been an important town for Han and Tibetan people to do business transactions.

Our last stop en route is one of China's deepest and most beautiful gorges, Tiger Leaping Gorge. It has a reputation of being dangerous: one is the dangerous mountain with high peaks, steep cliffs, jagged rocks and winded gigantic old creepers; the other is dangerous water with a high drop, fast water current, numerous rocks, dangerous shoals and cascading waterfalls. All these form a rare spectacle in the world. Upon arrival at Shangri-La, you will check in at the hotel.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 7 Shangri-La
Songzanlin Temple, Bitahai Lake, Shudu Lake, A Tibetan family visit. (B+L)
Songzanlin Temple, Shangri-La
Photo by our client Mr. Arne Dalfelt
Today's visit will begin with a visit to the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Yunnan, Songzanlin Temple. This temple collects the elite of Tibetan religious culture and presents splendid architecture. Because of its similar appearance and layout to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, it is also reputed as 'small Potala Palace'. Then, you will travel to the Bitahai Lake. Fed by small streams from the snow mountains encircled, the lake shapes just like a trumpet shell. In the color of azure with snowy mountains and trees reflecting in it, the gorgeous lake is a wonderland to appreciate the beauty of nature. There is also another lake of beauty and peacefulness, Shudu Lake. The plants around the lake are lush and the wild animals are various. After enjoying the beautiful natural scenery, you will visit a local Tibetan family to get involved into the Tibetan people's lifestyle.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
 Friendly Tips

Bitahai Lake Scenic Area is closed for repairing, and the reopening time is unclear.
Day 8 Departure from Shangri-La
Hotel-airport transfer & see you off. Wish you a pleasant trip! (B)
Your private Yunnan minority trip will end here as we transfer you to the airport today. Wish you a nice journey home!

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
 Friendly Tips

Shangri-La has direct flights to several major cities, such as Kunming, Lhasa, Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, etc. If you want to extend your China tour to other cities, we are willing to customize an itinerary for you.
B-- Breakfast L-- Lunch D-- Dinner
DestinationsLuxury HotelsStandard Hotels
KunmingGreen Lake Hotel Jinjiang Hotel
DaliGurong Hotel Gurong Hotel
LijiangInterContinental Lijiang Ancient Town Resort Ivy Garden Hotel Resorts
Shangri-laParadise Hotel Shangri-la Old Town Hotel
Tour Prices
With Luxury Hotels
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers6-9 travelers
With Standard Hotels
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers6-9 travelers
  • Prices are per person in US Dollars based on double occupancy.
  • Any part of the itinerary e.g. tour length, activities & hotels can be tailored to your individual interests.
Price Includes
  • Domestic airfares & train fares
  • Hotel accommodation with breakfasts
  • Lunches as itinerary specifies
  • Private English-speaking guides
  • Private drivers & air-conditioned vehicles
  • Entrance fees to tourist sites
Price Excludes
  • International airfares
  • Entry visa fees
  • Tips or gratuities for guides and drivers
  • Peak season surcharge (public holiday, July & August, etc.)
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