Visit Kunming the City of Spring and marvel at Chinas most famous natural sight, the Stone Forest of Yunnan. Enjoy a day in the ancient city Dali, where the Bai minority lives. Cruise on the Erhai Lake and wander along the world-famous Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the world. Relax in the peaceful town of Lijiang and enjoy the view from the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Visit Zhongdian at the Yangtze River and do a short trekking tour in the Tiger Leaping Gorge. At the end of your journey enjoy the visit of an ancient monastery and the beautiful Napa Lake.

Destinations: Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Zhongdian

Brief itinerary
Day 1 Arrive in Kunming (no meals)
Day 2 Kunming city tour, Stone Forest excursion (Breakfast)
Day 3 Fly to Dali, Dali exploration (Breakfast)
Day 4 Drive to Lijiang (Breakfast)
Day 5 Lijiang exploration (Breakfast)
Day 6 Drive to Zhongdian (Breakfast)
Day 7 Zhongdian exploration (Breakfast)
Day 8 Zhongdian departure, trip ends (Breakfast)

Duration: 8 days
Activities level: moderate
Accommodation: Tourist class hotels
Kunming: Jinjiang Hotel | Dali: Landscape Hotel | Lijiang: Xianghe Hotel | Zhongdian: Moonlight City Hotel
Transport: Private air-conditioned vehicle, domestic flights
Meals: 7 hotel breakfasts
Price: CNY 5175 per person double occupancy
Size of group: min. 4 persons

Tour details
Day 1 Arrive in Kunming (1896 meters) (no meals)
Arrive in Kunming on your own.
After airport formalities, meet your guide and be transferred to hotel. Serving as the capital of Yunnan, Kunming is historically and culturally renowned throughout the country. It is the center of politics, economy, culture, science and technology in Yunnan. With an annual average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius, it is well known as the City of Eternal Spring without bitter cold in winter and intense heat in summer.

Day 2 Kunming city tour, Stone Forest excursion (Breakfast)
Your own leisure or optional city tour & Stone Forest excursion
Drive 98 km. to the Stone Forest one of China’s most remarkable natural phenomena. It consists of 80 hectares of innumerable bizarre-shaped ancient limestone cliffs and peaks created by wind and water erosion some 270 million years ago.
Return to Kunming, city sightseeing to Yunnan Provincial Museum. A monumental Russian-style building, Yunnan Provincial Museum houses a collection of textiles, costumes, handcrafts and artifacts of Yunnan’s many ethnic minority groups. Take also a guided stroll in the old town of Kunming to the Golden Horse and Green Peacock Archway, the East Temple Pagoda and the West Temple Pagoda.

Day 3 Fly to Dali, Dali exploration (Breakfast)
Transfer to airport and fly to Dali in the morning.
Dali is an ancient historical city where the Bai minority lives. Chinese people call the area “Scandinavia”.
Meet at Dali Airport and proceed to the shore of the Erhai Lake, the village of Caicun. From there, you will take a private boat and have a cruise on the lake (about 45 minutes one way) to Jin Suo Isle. Visit the Bai minority fishing village on the Isle with its colorful market. On the way back to Dali stop and visit the Three Pagodas. Standing in a way of a tripod on the outskirts of old town, the Three Pagodas were constructed in about 850 and 1050 following the model of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an. For centuries, they are considered landmark of the region.
Rest of afternoon will be guided stroll in the old town of Dali. The old town of weathered gray granite stands at 2,100 meters on a long, narrow rice plain between the Cangshan Mountains and the Erhai Lake, a natural configuration that seems specially designed for a good, bountiful life. Format of the old town is like a chessboard with four gates guarding in the directions of east, south, west and north, a design that was adopted by most towns in ancient China.

 

Day 4 Drive to Lijiang (Breakfast)
In the morning, visit the Bai minority villages in Xizhou. 23 kilometers north of Dali, Xizhou village has a more mixed population and cosmopolitan background. It grew and flourished in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) along with the fortunes of Dali’s renowned tea merchants that traded to Tibet. Family Yang’s courtyard is a good example of traditional Bai houses. And each morning, villagers in Bai dresses gather in a small market to buy and sell their produce and daily wares. Here, you will also enjoy Three-coursed Tea accompanied with folk song and dance performance, a ceremony of the Bai people to greet guests.
Drive to Lijiang, drive of 180 kilometers, approx. 3.5 hours, along the new road to Lijiang. Lijiang is a gathering place of rugged mountain people with the Naxi forming the majority. Lijiang is a small mountain town of stone and tile, laced with swift canals, which has been recently listed as an UNESCO world monument.
Upon arrival in Lijiang, check in, and then take a guided stroll in the Old Town. Old town of Lijiang is a big area with its center, or Si Fang Jie (Square Street) in the form of an official inks stone, hence its name Dayan (ink stone) Town. It enjoys a long history of over 800 years and unlike most of the old towns in China, there is no city wall due to a superstitious belief of the local ruler whose family name is Mu (tree), when encircled by walls, would be Kun (besieged). Wooden structures, mountains, small rivers and lanes integrate harmoniously in this mountain town.

Day 5 Lijiang exploration (Breakfast)
Your own leisure or optional Lijiang exploration:
Drive to the Yak Meadow of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountains. Take chairlift (roundtrip) ride up with superb views over the mountains and valleys. Good weather permitting, you will be able to see the much-famed snow-clad thirteen peaks.
On the way back to Lijiang, visit Naxi village Baisha. North of Lijiang Country finds the Liulidian Temple and Daobaoji Temple at Baisha village, housing 558 mural paintings on 12 walls that date back to the Ming Dynasty in 1385. Buddhism, Taoism and Lamaism manifest in integration in styles of the Han Chinese, the Tibetan, the Bai and the Naxi people on the murals, a proof of exchange on politics, economy, culture and religion between the mainland and the frontiers of China.
Visit the Jade Peak Monastery (also called Yufeng Monastery). 11 kilometers northwest of Lijiang, this monastery’s centerpiece is a 500-year-old camellia tree that boasts ten thousand blossoms from December until March of the following year. Visit also to the Black Dragon Pond with the Wufeng Temple (Five Phoenix Pavilion) and Dongba Culture Museum.

Day 6 Drive to Zhongdian (Breakfast)
You will drive180 kilometers (approx. 5 hours) along the Yunnan-Tibet road to Zhongdian. En route, you will visit of the First Bend of the Yangtze River and the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
The village of Stone Drum stands at the First Bend of the Yangtze River, some 70 kilometers west of Lijiang. Approaching to Stone Drum offers a dramatic view of the Yangtze’s near-180-degree turn, where the wide, swift waters perform a miraculous about-face. For nearly 20 kilometers the river, first flowing south, then north, runs parallel to itself.
The Tiger Leaping Gorge, or Hutiaoxia in Chinese, is wedged tightly between titanic cliffs; the river is so narrow here, as legend tells us, that a hunted tiger made his escape to the other side in a single bound. Here, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountains and the Haba Snow Mountains lean close to each other and a large volume of torrent moving between them cutting deeper and deeper into the bottom of the gorge. In some places there is a drop of 3,000 meters to the water. You will take 2-hour soft trekking in the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
At 3,160 meters above sea level, Zhongdian (or Gyalthang in Tibetan, and approved by State Council to be renamed Shangri-La County as of late December 2001) lies in a landscape of rolling hills, snow-capped peaks, virgin forests of spruce, pine and meadow dotted with wild flowers and tranquil lakes. The old town, still entirely in local Tibetan style, is to the south of Zhongdian.

Day 7 Zhongdian exploration (Breakfast)
Free time at leisure or have an optional Zhongdian exploration
Visit Ganden Songzanglin Monastery, the Napa Lake, and a local Tibetan village.
Founded in the 17th century during the reign of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama and nicknamed as Lesser Potala Palace by the locals, Ganden Songzanglin Monastery is one of the thirteen Tibetan monasteries in the Kangba Region, where Tibet, Yunnan and Sichuan join. Holding about 700 monks and one living Buddha, the monastery is a must-go in the region.
Napa is a seasonal lake just a few kilometers away from Zhongdian. In dry season, the lake area turns to be a swamp that provides open ground for horse riding and an ideal location for migrant birds. In rainy season, with a backdrop of green mountains in a distance and blue sky, offers quite a few photogenic opportunities.
Visit also the Vegetable Market in the new town. In the evening, take a guided stroll in the Old Town where you may attend the local dancing in the market square from 20:00.

Day 8 Transfer to airport, departure (breakfast)
Transfers to Zhongdian Airport, departure, end of services.


Price:
CNY 5175 per person double occupancy
Size of group: min. 4 persons

Including
– 7 nights’ hotel accommodation on twin sharing basis with daily breakfast
– Day 1 & 7 Airport round transfers with local English speaking gudie
– Day 3 & 4 & 6 Sightseeing tours, entrance fees, private English speaking local guide with air-conditioned van
– Day 3 Domestic flights eco class Kunming to Dali

Optional tour
Day 2 Kunming city tour & Stone Forest excursion CNY 670 p. persons

Incl. Stone Forest & Yunnan Province Museum
Day 3 Lijiang exploration CNY 825 p. person
Incl. Old town, Naxi Monority, Jade Dragon Mountain, Spruce Meadow with cable car, Dongba Museum, Mural of Baisha, 
Day 7 Zhongdian exploration CNY 730 p. person
Incl. Ganden Songzanglin Monastery, Napa Lake, visit a local Tibetan family

Hotels & resorts
Tourist class hotels
City: Kunming
Hotel name: Kunming Jinjiang Hotel
Information: There are 320 well-appointed guestrooms, seven deluxe restaurants and conference and banquet facilities, guests can choose from any of the hotel’s seven restaurants, serving Yunnan, Sichuan, Huaiyang, Cantonese and Western cuisines.
Location: Is located near the railway station, the hotel is within walking distance of Jewelry City and both the Kunming International Trade Center and Foreign Trade Center.

City: Dali
Hotel name: Landscape Hotel
Information: The only hotel in the region designed in the Bai Minority’s courtyard style. On offer are 284 guest rooms and several restaurants serving Bai Minority food and other Chinese cuisine. Beside you can see the dark-blue cangshan mountains and the clouds around the mountains
Location: Is located in Dali’s ancient historical quarter at the foot of Cang Shan facing Erhai Lake. It is near to chongsheng temple three towers park foreigners street etc.

City: Lijiang
Hotel name: Lijiang Xianghe dajiudian
Information:The Xianghe Hotel (Xianghe Dajiudian) is located a 15-minute drive from East Lijiang Railway Station. The Lijiang Sanyi Airport is 37 minutes away by car while downtown Lijiang is just four minutes away.
Location: Close to Nanmen Parking lot, Lijiang Old Town

City: Zhongdian
Hotel name: Shangri-la Moonlight City Hotel
Information: The 4-storey hotel features 54 rooms and suites. This hotel features various room types and all of them are fitted with free internet access. Chinese and Western buffet breakfast is also available for diners.
Location: Shangri-la Moonlight City Hotel is located close to Dukezong Ancient Town, and Longtanhu Park. It is 6 kilometer to Diqing Shangri-La Airport.

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