Yunnan Minority Tour

701: 8 Days Private Tour of Kunming - Dali - Lijiang - Shangri-La
Tour Type: Private Tour, any part 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
  • Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Erhai Lake & 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
Upon your arrival today, your guide will pick you up in the Arrival Hall of Kunming Airport and then transfer you to the hotel in downtown area. After a short break, you will be escorted to visit the Golden Temple, a well-known Taoist temple in Yunnan, on the Mingfeng Hill. After that, you will spend some time wandering in the Green Lake Park and appreciate the beauty of the Green Lake, which enjoys the reputation of the jade of the city.
Day 2 Kunming
Stone Forest
Photo by our clients Melinda & Edward Ruggiero
Your private tour today will begin with a visit to the Zhuanxin Famers' Market, which is the largest marketplace in Kunming. Roaming around this place, you will get an impression of the local people's daily life, since thousands of people come here to buy fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. every day.

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 shapes of plants, animals and even humans can be found here, some elegant, some rugged.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 3 Kunming to Dali by Bullet Train
A bullet train to Dali and railway station pick-up. Dali Old Town, Three Pagodas Temple and 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. Your local guide in Dali will pick you up from the railway station exit on time and escort you to the hotel in the primitive and tranquil Dali Old Town, where you will see the limpid streams passing through the town and the local people wearing their ethnic costumes. The street that goes from the South City Gate to the North City Gate is now a prosperous market street, full of unique and traditional stores.

Afterwards, you will pay a visit to the Three Pagodas Temple which 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, the three pagodas have been the symbolic constructions of the ancient Dali City.

Later, you will take some time to walk along the ecological corridor of the Erhai Lake. Alternatively, you could also take a bicycle tour from the old town to the Erhai Lake, accompanied by your guide. Your guide will help you rent the bicycle but the fee will be at your own expense. Finally, we will transfer you back to the hotel.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 4 Dali to Lijiang by Private Car
Dali-Lijiang transfer. Bai Traditional House in Xizhou and Tie Dyeing in Zhoucheng, Lijiang Old Town. (B+L)
Local vegetable market
This morning 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. Xizhou, one of the birthplaces of Dali culture, owns the most and best-preserved Bai Minority Traditional Houses. The layout of these houses is distinctive with wood and stone carvings and inky paintings on the lime powdered walls. There, you will also get a chance to learn how to cook a local specialty called Baba, a scone-like toast mainly made of wheat flour.

Then you will go to the nearby Zhoucheng to see the traditional hand-made Tie Dyeing in a local people's home. Upon arrival in Lijiang, you will first check in at the hotel in the old town. After a short rest, your guide will take you to visit the Square Street of Lijiang Old Town. The street is paved with bluestones and lined with numerous souvenir shops, unique bars and delicate restaurants. The most charming part of the street is at night. When all the red lanterns along the street are lit, all people here including the 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 explore the Baisha Village and visit a local Naxi family in the morning. Baisha Village, the ancient capital of Naxi Minority, was once the political, economic and religious center of Lijiang. It was built about 600 years ago and nowadays is mainly famous for the murals. A visit to a local Naxi family will help you know more about Naxi people's customs and their culture. Then, the trip will be continued to the Baisha Murals. These murals, combining the Han, Tibetan and Naxi cultures together, are a wonderful art form of the minority 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 the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. After that, you will visit the Black Dragon Pool Park (Jade Spring Park), a large park with beautiful landscape and some ancient monuments, and then visit the Dongba Culture Museum, which is an interesting folk culture museum featuring on Dongba culture preserved by the Naxi People. By visiting this museum, you could learn more about this minority group.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 Lijiang to Shangri-La by Private Car
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 travel to Shangri-La, which takes about four to five hours' driving. 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 flows by. The nearly 180-degree turn creates marvelous and astonishing views.

The next stop will be the Stone Drum Town, where the First Bend of the Yangtze River locates. There is a drum-shaped marble monument in this town, hence the name. The town has for long been an important place for the Han and Tibetan people to do business transactions.

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

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
Day 7 Shangri-La
Songzanlin Temple, Potatso National Park, A Tibetan family visit. (B+L)
Songzanlin Temple, Shangri-La
Photo by our client Mr. Arne Dalfelt
Today's tour will begin with a visit to the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Yunnan, the Songzanlin Temple. This temple collects the elites of the Tibetan religious culture with splendid architecture. Because of its similar appearance and layout to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, it is also reputed as the 'Little Potala Palace'.

After that, you will travel to the Potatso National Park to visit the Shudu Lake, one of the largest plateau lakes in Shangri-La. The plants around the lake are lush and the wild animals are various. In the park, you could enjoy the beauty of the nature and feel the peace in your mind. Finally, you will visit a local Tibetan family to get involved into the Tibetan people's lifestyle.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast, Lunch
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 onward journey!

There are direct flights to Kunming, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Lhasa from Shangri-La. If you want to extend your China tour to other cities, we will be glad to customize an itinerary for you.

Meals: Western buffet breakfast
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 The 5th Meteorite Glory Hotel
Tour Prices
With Luxury Hotels
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers6-9 travelers
$1539
$1469
$1179
With Standard Hotels
2-3 travelers4-5 travelers6-9 travelers
$1339
$1269
$989  
  • 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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