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What is tailor made? Customised itinerary | Every trip is unique | Flexible accommodation options | Designed to your budget

    Places visited:

  • Kunming
  • Dali
  • Shaxi
  • Lijiang
  • Zhongdian
  • See the Tibetan town of Zhongdian, high on the Tibetan plateau.

  • Experience rural Chinese life in the village of Shaxi.

  • Visit the historic Naxi town of Lijiang.

  • See the Bai minority town of Dali with its Ming Dynasty-era Three Pagodas.

Audley Travel specialist Nick

What our specialists say...

Yunnan is one of China’s most diverse provinces. Bordering Tibet, Burma, Laos and Vietnam, it’s a mélange of cultures and traditions. With few big cities and much less industry than elsewhere in China, Yunnan is geographically diverse, with subtropical forests and karst scenery to the south and the Himalayan foothills to the north. This itinerary takes in some of the highlights, visiting three key areas that are home to different minority groups. You'll be immersed in mountain scenery, and visit intriguing sights such as Songzanlin Monastery. You’ll travel with a private driver and private guide, with all breakfasts included throughout.

We recommend this trip for:

  • Kunming
  • Dali
  • Shaxi
  • Lijiang
  • Zhongdian

Itinerary idea in detail

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Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Day 1 International outbound flight

International outbound flight

Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Kunming.

Day 2 Kunming

Kunming

Upon arrival into Kunming you're met at the airport by your private guide and driver, and driven to your city hotel by private transfer. You have the evening at leisure to explore the city, if you wish, or simply relax in your hotel after your journey. You may like to take a stroll to Green Park Lake, ringed with teahouses and criss-crossed by traditional bridges.

Accommodation

Day 3 Dali

Kunming , Dali

This morning you're driven by private transfer, with your private guide accompanying you, to Dali. The drive takes around five hours. The town of Dali is the starting point for exploring the mountains of the northwest of the province. After checking into your hotel, you have the rest of the day at leisure. If you're staying in Dali's nearby village of Xizhou, you can spend the rest of the day exploring its vibrant Bai culture, excellent markets and Bai architecture.

Accommodation options

Day 4 Dali

Dali

Today spend the day exploring Dali's old town with your private guide and driver. Walk around its willow-lined waterways and visit the markets that cluster round the gate towers on the old city walls. You could also visit the Buddhist site of the Three Pagodas. Your guide will explain about their architecture and their place in the region's history. These elegant structures have stood in the same spot for over one thousand years and have miraculously survived earthquakes.

Accommodation options

Day 5 Dali

Dali

You have today at leisure to further explore Dali's cobbled streets. You may wish to take the 20 minute walk from Dali's central hub to Erhai Lake. This crescent of alpine lake is one of the biggest freshwater lakes in China.

Accommodation options

Day 6 Shaxi

Dali , Shaxi

Today you leave Dali. Your private driver takes you to the village of Shaxi, a two hour journey. Drive through deep countryside, weaving through villages and rice paddies en route. Once there, you have the rest of the day at leisure to explore this sleepy rural village. Stroll around its market square and along the river, admiring its 14th-century Ming Dynasty buildings. You'll see vignettes of daily life, such as villagers taking their oxen into the surrounding fields.

Accommodation options

Day 7 Lijiang

Shaxi , Lijiang

After another morning spent exploring Shaxi independently, your private driver and guide take you further north today to Lijiang, a town in the shadow of a huge mountain. The drive takes several hours, as you stop off en route at the holy Buddhist mountain of Shibaoshan. Your private guide will show you the intriguing carvings of the Stone Bell Temple and the site's other highlights, before continuing on your journey. You usually arrive in Lijiang in the late afternoon.

Accommodation options

Day 8 Lijiang

Lijiang

Lijiang has a very well-preserved old town where many Naxi minority people live. Today potter around under your own steam, exploring streets tightly packed with slate-tiled houses and latticed with mountain streams and waterways. You're likely to see Naxi minority culture, with local people wearing their distinctive traditional dress and women buying embroidery and striped fabrics from the town's markets.

Accommodation options

Day 9 Lijiang

Lijiang

Another day at leisure in Lijiang. You may wish to stroll around Black Dragon Pond Park for some of the best views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the peak that dominates the skyline of the town.

Accommodation options

Day 10 Zhongdian

Lijiang , Zhongdian

Today take a private transfer to Zhongdian, two hours' drive away from Lijiang. Accompanied by your private guide, en route you stop at the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world's deepest gorges. You'll admire the gorge from a viewing platform. If you wish, you can take a steep walk down steps to the Jinsha River at the bottom. You then continue on to Zhongdian, driving through more gorges and valleys before reaching the relatively flat Tibetan plain.

Accommodation options

Day 11 Zhongdian

Zhongdian

Today your guide accompanies you to Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in China. It's a 15 minute private transfer from the town of Zhongdian, unless you choose to stay at a hotel nearer the monastery. Your guide leads you around this functioning 300-year-old monastery which has great views over a valley, and give you an insight into the day-to-day life of its monks.

Accommodation options

Day 12 Zhongdian

Zhongdian

You have today at leisure to explore the town of Zhongdian and its surrounding landscape independently. We recommend meandering around the old town with its prayer flags and small hill with a revolving prayer wheel. Wandering around, you see that Tibetan culture is predominant here. If you're feeling more energetic, we suggest going for one of the many good low-level hikes through the surrounding valleys and forests.

Accommodation options

Day 13 International return flight

Zhongdian , International return flight

Today you're driven by private transfer to Zhongdian Airport, around 40 minutes away, to catch your flight to Kunming. From Kunming you can catch your onwards flight.

Day 14 International return flight

International return flight

Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Audley Travel specialist Chris
Audley Travel specialist Cheryl

Contact a specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to China will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.

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When to go

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Shaxi
 
 
 
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