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.
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:
Itinerary idea in detailOpen all Close all
Ask us if you would also like us to arrange your international flights at our preferred rates.
Day 1 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.
Day 2 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.
Day 3 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.
Day 4 Dali
Day 5 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.
Day 6 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.
Day 7 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.
Day 8 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.
Day 9 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.
Day 10 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.
Day 11 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.
Day 12 Return home
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.Find out what sets us apart ›
When to go
Drag the slider to see monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary
|Place||Daily Max Temperature||Monthly Rainfall|