Yunnan

Discovery Tour

Yunnan – South of the Clouds

Summary

Type: Discovery Tour

Duration: 15 Days

Best Time to Travel: October – April

Places you'll discover

Bendiwan Village
Dali
Jiangcheng
Jianshui
Jinghong
Kunming
Lijiang
Menghai
Menglun Botanical Gardens
Nuoyu Village
Qiaotou
Shaxi
Shigu
Shuhe
Walnut Grove
Yuanyang Rice Terraces
Zhongdian



FROM
£2,449
Per person based on 2 people sharing
Customise This Tour

Speak to our friendly Travel Experts

01279 507 956

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    Yunnan – South of the Clouds - Itinerary

    Day 1

    Arrive Kunming

    In the morning

    Meet upon arrival and transfer to your hotel.



    Day 2

    Kunming – Jianshui

    In the morning

    Early morning drive to Jianshui. On the way stop at Tonghai where we visit Mount Xiushan with an array of traditional Temples and Pavilions in various styles of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism some of which are from the late Jin Dynasty (265-420). Continue to Jianshui. Visit the recently renovated Confucius Temple „Wen Miao“. The "Wen Miao" of Jianshui is the third largest Confucius Temple in China and construction started around 1285. There is a small lake (“the sea of knowledge”) within the compound which, during the early summer months, is full of beautiful, blooming Lotus flowers. We also visit the “Westgate” from the late Ming Dynasty.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 3

    Jianshui – Yuanyang Rice Terraces

    Jianshui – Yuanyang Rice Terraces
    In the morning

    Visit the magnificent Zhu Mansion. Drive to the traditional Zhuang-Village of Tuanshan with its unique and well preserved architecture. On the way you also visit the "Twin Dragon Bridge", an ancient stone bridge from the Qing Dynasty.

    In the afternoon

    Continue through magnificent scenery towards Xinjie, the gateway to the stunning and spectacular rice terraces of Yuanyang. The Yuanyang rice terraces have been carved out of the Ailao Mountains over hundreds of years by Hani farmers living in the area. We reach Xinjie in the late afternoon.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 4

    Yuanyang Rice Terraces

    Yuanyang Rice Terraces
    In the morning

    We leave the Hotel early (around 6 am) to witness a magnificent sunrise over the rice terraces. After that if possible we will visit one of the bustling weekly local markets in the area where we can observe the local people from various ethnic groups (Hani, Yi, Zhuang, some Miao) doing their weekly shopping. Many of them still wear their traditional costumes. In the afternoon we make a hike (about 2.5 hours) through the magnificent rice terraces of Yuanyang to a nearby Hani village.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 5

    Yuanyang Rice Terraces – Jiangcheng

    In the morning

    Drive through magnificent, ever changing landscape and experience some of the most spectacular rice terraces of the region. There are countless photo opportunities along the way. This area is home to the Yi and Hani ethnic minorities. The Yuanyang Rice Terraces have been carved out of the Ailao Mountains over hundreds of years by Hani farmers living in the area. We take lunch in Luchun before continuing towards Jiangcheng (280kms / 5.5 hours).

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 6

    Jiangcheng – Menglun Botanical Gardens – Jinghong

    Jiangcheng – Menglun Botanical Gardens – Jinghong
    In the morning

    We drive in a Southwestern direction, parallel to the border to Laos along the recently enlarged Route 218 towards Menglun in Xishuangbanna. The name Xishuangbanna originates from the Thai word Sip Song Pa Na, which means literally “12 rice-growing districts.” At some places the border to Laos is just a stone's throw away. This area is one of China's major tea growing areas. After 3 hours we reach Menglun.

    Upon arrival at Menglun we visit the magnificent Menglun Botanical Gardens situated on the shores of the Luosuo River and spreads over 900 hectares. The park was founded in 1959 and today more than 8,000 species of plants can be found within the Garden. We continue our drive north along the Mekong to Jinghong where we arrive in the late afternoon (240kms / 5.5 hours).

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 7

    inghong – Menghai – Jinghong

    In the morning

    Today we drive to the west of Jinghong towards Menghai. You drive through one of Chinas major tea growing areas. You visit a tea factory where you learn more about the local tea production. This area is famous for its quality Pu'er Tea, Depending on the day of the week we visit one of the local markets in the area where Members of ethnic minorities like Dai, Hani or Jino from their nearby villages are gathering. Continue to Jingzhen where we pay a visit at the over 700 years old Octagonal Pagoda and have a look inside the nearby Buddhist Monastery. Drive back to Jinghong.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 8

    Jinghong - Dali

    Jinghong - Dali
    In the morning

    Late morning we fly to Dali. Upon arrival, transfer to Dali Old Town. Dali Old Town is situated on the eastern shores of the stunning Erhai Lake at the foot of the 4,000m Cang Shan Mountains. During the 9th century Dali served as capital of the once powerful Nanzhao and later Dali Kingdoms, before the town was overrun by the Mongols about 400 years later.

    In the afternoon

    Lunch in Dali (not included). In the afternoon we take the cable car to the Zhonghe Monastery located half way up Cangshan Mountain. From there a well maintained walkway called the "Jade-Belt-Path" follows the Eastern slope of the mountain for 11km and offers spectacular views over the Dali valley and the Erhai Lake below. The walk takes about 2 hrs. Take cable car down where our driver will take us back to Dali.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 9

    Dali – Shaxi

    Dali – Shaxi
    In the morning

    A drive through beautiful landscape takes us to the Bai village of Shaxi (115kms / 4 hours). Shaxi was formerly an important pivotal stop on the Tea and Horse trail from Yunnan to Tibet. The village has been renovated with the assistance of the Swiss Government. We visit nearby Shibao Mountain. The impressive rock carvings of Shibaoshan are over 1300 years old and are testimony of the spread of Mahayana Buddhism from Tibet in the region. You can either walk back or take the car back to Shaxi. Overnight accommodation is at a wooden Bai House with a 150 year old history.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 10

    Shaxi – Qiaotou – Nuoyu Village

    In the morning

    We drive through ever changing landscape to Qiaotou, located at the entrance of the Tiger Leaping Gorge and the starting point for our Trek. The trek through the Tiger Leaping Gorge is as follows:

    Walking: Qiaotou – Nuoyu Village: Walking time 2 hours / 6.5kms. The path climbs steadily while it follows the hillside in a north-eastern direction into the gorge. There are already some spectacular views of the Yangtze River below. After a two hours walk we arrive at the Nuoyu Village where we stay for the night. There is some time to relax, enjoy the well-earned beer or to explore the village and its surroundings. Accommodation is at the Naxi Family Guesthouse, a very simple guesthouse which is run by a nice and friendly Family.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 11

    Nuoyu Village – Bendiwan Village

    Nuoyu Village – Bendiwan Village
    In the morning

    After breakfast (at own account) we head out to face the “28 bends”, the steepest and toughest part of the trek. From the top one has spectacular view of the Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) and the “5 Fingers” of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. From there the path is mostly flat or downhill along the hill for another hour until we reach the "Tea Horse Guesthouse" where we have a good lunch. Continue walking for another 2 hours until Bendiwan Village. This last part of the trek offers exceptional views. We stay overnight at the “Halfway Guesthouse” which has a nice balcony with great views of the Tiger Leaping Gorge! The right place to put your feet up, relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery!

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 12

    Bendiwan Village – Walnut Grove - Zhongdian

    In the morning

    We leave the Bendiwan Village, from where the path is mostly downhill towards Walnut Grove. The walk offers some last views of the valley below. (walking time about 2 hrs). At Tina’s Guesthouse our driver is waiting for us. We drive in the shadow of the Haba Mountain Range through stunning scenery towards the impressive Baishuitai (White Water Terraces) where we arrive around lunch time. The natural Limestone-stepped terraces where formed over a period of 250’000 years by the water that is constantly flowing over the terraces. We take a short walk around the terraces before heading for lunch at the nearby Baidi village. In the afternoon the road winds its way up onto the Eastern Tibetan Plateau before continuing through magnificent landscape towards Zhongdian.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 13

    Zhongdian

    Zhongdian
    In the morning

    Zhongdian is situated amongst a stunning landscape on the eastern Tibetan plateau at about 3200 meters above sea level. It recently changed its name and is now called "Shangri-La", after the Shangri-La that the British writer James Hilton described in his Novel "The Lost Horizon". We visit Ganden Sumtseling Gompa, a 300 year old impressive Tibetan Monastery. Destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, the Ganden Sumpseling Gompa is now again one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in the area. After that visit the picturesque old town of Zhongdian. We climb Turtle Hill and spin the giant prayer wheel three times for a good karma. Time at leisure to explore the ancient town of Zhongdian on your own.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 14

    Zhongdian – Shigu – Lijiang / Shuhe

    In the morning

    The road back to Lijiang offers spectacular views of the Yangtze valley.Along the way we visit Shigu village, to see the Yangtze’s famous "First Bend" where the Yangtze River makes an abrupt 180 degree turn and flows for several kilometres, parallel to itself towards the north again. We take a stroll through Shigu village before continuing our trip to Lijiang/Shuhe.

    For those who find Lijiang too much of a tourist place, Shuhe might be just the right place to visit. Located 10 minutes’ drive north of Lijiang, this laid back, sleepy Naxi village is a good place to stay a few days. Shuhe was once an important trading post on the “Tea & Horse Road” for tea on the way from Southern Yunnan to Tibet. An idyllic river runs through the middle of the cobble stoned village, and many of the old buildings where carefully renovated and turned into tastefully decorated restaurants, bars or guesthouses. Upon arrival, check-in at your guesthouse. After that, take a walking tour around Shuhe.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 15

    Lijiang / Shuhe

    Lijiang / Shuhe
    In the morning

    By public bus (20 Min.) we head for the old town of Lijiang. Enjoy a walking tour along the captivating confusion of alleyways and canals leading through the well-preserved old town. We learn more about the mystic Dongba religion, an ancient cult still practiced today. We ascend Lion Hill to catch a birds-eye view of the old town. Visit the local market and taste some of the local snacks. The city of Lijiang was devastated by an earthquake in 1996 and after its reconstruction the old town was given UNESCO World Heritage status. Continue on foot to the wonderful "Black Dragon Pool" Park from where, weather permitting, we will enjoy a spectacular view of the 5'596 Meters high "Jade Dragon Mountain" (Yu Long Shan).

    In the afternoon

    After lunch we can either head back to Shuhe together with our guide or explore the old town by ourselves and head back to Shuhe on our own.

    Optional Idea for the afternoon: On rented bicycles you can ride to Baisha (5km). The Baisha village used to be the capital of the once powerful Naxi Kingdom. You visit the Liuli temple with beautiful wall paintings from the late Ming Dynasty, which, miraculously, survived the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. You continue riding to the Yufeng Monastery which is famous for the over 800 years old Camellia Tree. You cycle through the magnificent countryside of the Lijiang valley past Jade Water village to Yuhu, a romantic village where the Austrian-American Botanist Joseph Rock used to live from 1922 to 1949. His house has been transformed to a small museum about the live and work of Joseph Rock. You head back to Shuhe. (Total cycling distance is approx. 30km - mostly flat with a short incline).

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 16

    Lijiang

    In the morning

    End of services. You can depart Lijiang by train to Kunming or by flight.



    Additional Information

    What's Included?

    • Room accommodation in twin share                       
    • Private transportation by air-conditioned vehicle
    • Experienced English speaking Yunnan guides
    • Domestic Flight: Jinghong – Dali
    • Daily breakfast and meals as mentioned in itinerary
    • Entrance and sightseeing fees as mentioned in the itinerary
    • Airport arrival and departure transfers

    What's Not Included?

    • International Flights
    • Drinks during meals
    • Optional tours
    • China visa
    • Any personal expenses such as laundry, hotel phone etc
    • Tips and gratuities

    Accommodation Information

    Tour Cost: £ 2,449 per person based on 2 people sharing in Standard Accommodation
    Tour Cost: £ 2,949 per person based on 2 people sharing in Superior Accommodation

    City Standard Superior
    Jianshui Zhu Family Garden *** Qing Dynasty Linan Hotel 4* Superior
    Jiangcheng Marvellous Land 2-3* Standard Marvellous Land 2-3* Standard
    Jinaghong Dai Garden Hotel *** Standard Intercontinental 5* Superior
    Dali Fairyland Hotel 2-3* Standard Gurong Hotel 4* Superior
    Shaxi** Shou Wang 2-3* Standard Fancy Holidays 3* Standard
    Tiger Leaping Gorge** Naxi Family 2* Best available Naxi Family 2* Best available
    Tiger Leaping Gorge** Half Way House 2* Best available Half Way House 2* Best available
    Zhongdian Outfitting Inn 3* Standard Arro Khampa 4* Superior
    Lijiang First Bend Inn3* Standard Lux Resort 4-5* Superior

    Yunnan – South of the Clouds Summary

    Details

    Type: Discovery

    Duration: 15 Days

    Best Time to Travel: October – April

    Places you'll discover

    Bendiwan Village
    Dali
    Jiangcheng
    Jianshui
    Jinghong
    Kunming
    Lijiang
    Menghai
    Menglun Botanical Gardens
    Nuoyu Village
    Qiaotou
    Shaxi
    Shigu
    Shuhe
    Walnut Grove
    Yuanyang Rice Terraces
    Zhongdian
    FROM
    £2,449
    Per person based on 2 people sharing

    Speak to our friendly Travel Experts

    01279 507 956
    Customise This Tour
     

    Quick Enquiry: Yunnan – South of the Clouds

      Accept Terms Read about our
      Privacy Policy here