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Tour code: RET-YN04

8-Day Classic Tour of Yunnan


All Year Round







Tour Highlights

  •  Visit Yunnan's vibrant capital Kunming
  •  Experience Dali with its Bai ethnic minority
  •  Get inspired in famous Lijiang
  •  Trek parts of the Tiger Leaping Gorge
  •  Travel to Yunnan's north to Tibetan influenced Shangri-La
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Important Info

Discover Yunnan and its beautiful towns and scenery in this classic and amazing 8 days’ tour!

This Classic Tour includes the major attractions of the captivating and diverse Province of Yunnan.

Our tour combines ancient history with modern tourist attractions. We start in Kunming where you can stroll around the Green Lake, a charming area of tea houses and small boutiques selling handicrafts and beautiful local paintings. If you have enough time you can have a look at the interesting Kunming City Museum and other sites across the city.

Attend an original Pu’er Tea Ceremony: this tea is one of China’s most famous and finest teas. Learn about the interesting tea culture of China and the history of the old Tea Horse Road.

Not far away from Kunming is Shilin, (engl. Stone Forest). According to an old saying it is a pity not visiting it while you are in Kunming. Enjoy the beautiful views of the karst landscape and walk around between the high columns of bizarrely shaped pillars and boulders.

Dali is our next stop. Standing outside, the stunning Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Monastery, which is the symbol of Dali, you will quickly discover the beauty of the place. Walk through quaint Dali Old Town, climb the City Wall or go shopping in numerous little stores. Explore the lively Dali street culture and walk down to quiet Er’hai Lake to make a boat trip.

Of course, Lijiang mustn’t be missed on such a tour. A visit at the Black Dragon Pool and the Dongba Museum is very informative when exploring the rich Naxi minority culture.

Not far north of Lijiang lays the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge, the deepest gorge of the world! Wedged by the Haba Snow- and the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain with heights of over 5500m the still young Yangtze River makes his roaring way through 34 rapids. Upon arrival in Shangri-La, you will have entered the cultural area of Tibet even though still in Yunnan. The mountainous landscape with barley fields and yaks scattered in the valleys will give you a foretaste of the higher Himalayan regions of China. The Ganden Songzanlin Monastery is the largest of its kind in Yunnan.

classic yunnnan


Day 01 Kunming (/)

You'll begin your journey to diverse and captivating Yunnan Province from the capital city, Kunming. Upon your arrival at the Kunming International Airport, meet your local guide who'll bring you to the hotel by private vehicle. If you have time, take a leisurely stroll along the Green Lake, a charming area of tea houses and small boutiques selling handicrafts and beautiful local paintings. If you have enough time, you can visit the interesting Kunming City Museum (9:30—17:00), where you can get informed about Kunming’s history and specifically on its role in the past decades (WWII).

Kunming is the capital and largest city of Yunnan Province in Southwest China. It was known as Yunnan-Fou until the 1920s. As a prefecture-level city, it is the political, economic, communications and cultural centre of Yunnan and is the seat of the provincial government. It was important during World War II as a Chinese military center, American air base, and transport terminal of the Burma Road. Located in the middle of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Kunming is located at an altitude of about 1,900 m above sea level and at latitude just north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Option for the evening: if you like you can visit the Dynamic Yunnan Show in Kunming's Art Theatre – an original ethnic dance musical. It was directed by Yang Liping and has been an outstanding gain to the Chinese stages in recent years. Primitive, unsophisticated folk dances and a fresh artistic concept converge in the program, giving audiences a unique "Yunnan Impression." Sixty-two drums and 120 masks of strong ethnic characteristics are incorporated in the performance. The show starts at 20:00h and lasts for 1.5 hours. It is highly recommended by Wonders Of Yunnan Travel and tripadvisor. For people interested in minority culture, this is a must-see and not to be missed when in Kunming! 


Day 02  Kunming - Stone Forest - Dali (B/L)

Your guide picks you up from your hotel lobby in the morning at 9am. First you'll be invited to Yunnan Pu’er Tea Ceremony, which is one of the most famous teas in China. Additionally, learn about the interesting tea culture of China and the history of the "Tea Horse Road". You can also take some Pu’er tea with you as gifts for your family or friends as it’s the symbol of Yunnan culture and therefore a nice souvenir.

Later on we will drive you to Stone Forest (about 90 km, 1.5 hours, mostly highway), and enjoy a local Yunnan lunch before we enter the scenic area. According to an old saying it is a pity not visiting the Stone Forest while you are in Kunming. After lunch, we will have a full afternoon to visit this wonderful landscape. Enjoy the beautiful views of the sight and spend about 2-3 hours in the park.

The Yunnan Stone Forest was listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2007. The vast southern Chinese karst landscape is jointly composed by the sword- and pagoda-shaped karsts pillars of Yunnan's Stone Forest as well as the cone-shaped and stereoscopic pillars with its nature made bridges and crevices of the Karst Forest in Libo, Guizhou. This typical Karst physiognomy assumed shape of stone pillars and boulders which have been formed 500,000 to 300 million years ago and in total covers an area of 1,460 square kilometers. The scenic attractions in these regions enjoy great reputation, both within China and abroad.

Shilin, how the Stone Forest is called in Chinese, is located about 90km east of Kunming. It is a very popular tourist hot spot. Due to the gigantic size of the park it is nevertheless still possible to find less visited and remote areas, especially in the winter months. Find your own way through the maze of enormous stone pillars!

Afterwards you are driven back to Kunming and dropped off at Kunming train station from where the overnight train is leaving to Dali. 


Day 03 Dali (B/L)

Upon your arrival in the early morning, your local Dali tour guide and driver meet you at the train station and take you to have breakfast first. We enjoy the beautiful view from the outside of the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Monastery afterwards which are the symbols of Dali. Check into your comfortable hotel and take a rest. After having enjoyed a traditional Dali lunch we will visit Dali Old Town, climb the City Wall and stroll through the souvenir roads which are very famous in Dali. You are free to explore the lively Dali street culture, shop for souvenirs or whatever you are up to.

Dali is located on a fertile plateau between the Cangshan Mountain Range to the west and Erhai Lake to the east. It has traditionally been settled by the Bai and Yi minorities. It is also the capital of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. It consists of Dali New City Xiaguan and Dali Old Town. Dali has a long and rather glorious history. In 738 the Nanzhao Kingdom was established with Dali as its capital and covered a large area of Yunnan and northern Burma and parts of Sichuan and Guizhou. The Autonomous Kingdom of Dali was founded in 937 and lasted outside Han-run China until the Yuan Dynasty when the Mongol rulers finally breached the Dali fortifications and brought Dali into the province of Yunnan.

Travelers visit Dali Old Town for its traditional architecture, minority cultures (mostly Bai but also with many Yi and Hui nationalities) and simply to relax. 


Day 04  Dali - Lijiang (B/L)

Today, we take you to the morning market of Xizhou Town to experience traditional local life. We will visit Bai-style traditional architectural courtyards, taste the typical fragrant Three-Course Tea and explore the Bai's distinctive culture. Xizhou is 19 kilometers north of Dali Old town and lies between Erhai Lake and the Cangshan Mountain Range. It is famous for Bai culture with its old and well-preserved folk houses. But it's not only a historically famous city but also a typical commercial center of Bai Ethnic Nationality. The Bai minority are very present at Xizhou. With a more mixed population and cosmopolitan background, it is considered a must for travelers. Here, you can enjoy lovely local clothes, decorative architectures and wonderful handicrafts.

Afterwards we are going on a cruise on close Erhai Lake to Jinsuo Island – a local fishing village. Enjoy the green Cangshan Mountain Range and the Three Pagodas from far as well as lots of birds flying over the lake.

After lunch, get driven to Lijiang (about 170 km, 2.5 hours, mostly highway), check in your hotel and enjoy your free and easy evening in Lijiang. 


Day 05 Lijiang (B/L)

The next morning starts with a visit at the Black Dragon Pool and Dongba Museum to explore the rich Naxi minority culture. Then we'll visit to the Jade Lake Village (Yuhu Village): from here, you will enjoy a fantastic view over the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. We visit the museum dedicated to the life of Joseph Rock, an explorer and biologist who lived in the area in the early 20th century.

We then have the opportunity to join a 2-hour guided horse trek leading you along the mountain slopes. The trek passes ancient Naxi deer farms, the ruins of Jujian Temple, the King Ranch of the Naxi, ancient tree populations, stone inscriptions and many other nice and interesting places. We meet our driver again afterwards and get driven back to the hotel.

Lijiang became known in the 'western countries' through a book written by an American commissioner who traveled in and out of Yunnan province in the late 19th century. And then it was the earthquake in 1996 that brought Lijiang back to the world's attention.

The Old Town of Lijiang, which is perfectly adapted to the uneven topography of this key commercial and strategic site, has retained a historic townscape of high quality and authenticity. Its architecture is noteworthy for the blending of elements from several cultures that have come together over many centuries. Lijiang also possesses an ancient water-supply system of great complexity and ingenuity that still functions effectively today. It is an exceptional ancient town set in a dramatic landscape which represents the harmonious fusion of different cultural traditions to produce an urban landscape of outstanding quality. 


Day 06 Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Shangri-La (B/L)

Today after breakfast, we'll drive about 60 km to the First Bend of the Yangtze River, which is close to Shigu can be marveled at before we head further north to Tiger Leaping Gorge with an imposing gorge scenery (about 88 km, 1.5 hours, partly highway, partly country roads). It's one of the deepest gorges in the world with 34 rapids. The gorge measures 16 km long and a steep 3900m from the waters of Jinsha River to the snow-capped mountain tops of Haba Snow Mountain to the north-west and Yulong (or Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain to the south-east. The inhabitants of the gorge are primarily the indigenous Naxi people, who live in a handful of small hamlets. The Tiger Leaping Gorge is another top attraction of Yunnan!

Later in the afternoon the tour proceeds to Shangri-La (102 km, 2.5 hours), the former Zhongdian which is well-known as the paradise destination for every traveler. Upon arrival in Shangri-La, you will have entered the Tibetan cultural area and a landscape of barley fields and yaks scattered in the valleys. 


Day 07  Shangri-La (B/L)

After the breakfast we go to see the Ganden Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan. Then we’ll visit a local family and get close to the real life of Tibetans.

After lunch we have a closer look at Baiji Temple which is very close to west of the Dukezong Ancient town, from where a great view over the city can be enjoyed.

We then invite you to a relaxed break in Shangri-La’s High Mountain Resort to enjoy a cup of coffee, facing beautiful Napa Lake and enjoy great views into the local nature. Spend a free and easy evening around Dukezong Ancient Town.

Shangri-La is the "Eden in dream". Since it first appeared in British novelist James Hilton's Lost Horizon in the 1939, it has been associated with the mystique of a place which could not possibly exist here on Earth. In Tibetan, Shangri-La means the "sun and moon in heart", an ideal home only found in heaven. The lofty and continuous snowy mountains, endless grasslands, steep and grand gorges, azure lakes and the idyllic villages always leave a deep impression on its visitors.

Shangri-La County is administered by Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province. The average altitude is more than 3,000 meters (about 9,843 feet). In the past, it was called Zhongdian or Jiantang in Tibetan. In 2002, Zhongdian changed its name to Shangri-La. The region is inhabited by many different ethnic groups, with the Tibetans comprising the majority of the population. You will have an opportunity to experience Tibetan life and learn about their lifestyle, religion and cuisine. The unique scenery, highlighted by plateaus, together with the fascinating ethnic culture makes the land very attractive and charming to visit. 


Day 08 Shangri-La (Departure) (B)

Have breakfast in your hotel. Your driver is already waiting for you to take you wherever in town you need to be brought to this morning (Shangri-La Airport, bus terminal, etc.). This tour comes to an end and we’d be happy welcoming you in Yunnan again!


  •   Centrally located hotels (as per chosen category, 2 persons share one twin-bed room) with breakfast
  •   Authentic Chinese meals as listed, 6 meals in total per person.
  •   Private car / van rental with skilled driver, including hotel pick-ups and drop offs; including gas, toll and parking fee.
  •  Overnight train ticket from Kunming to Dali (Soft Sleeper category)
  •   Private English-speaking tour guide(locally employed)
  • ●  Entrance fees as listed in the program
  •  2 bottles of drinking water per person per day
  • ●  Supplements for meals and accommodations for tour guide and driver
  • ●  24/7 English-speaking customer services
  • ●  Government taxes
  • ●  Travel accident insurance


  • ●  Dynamic Yunnan Show discount tickets (please mention which category you prefer if of interest)

    Ø  VIP – USD 72

    Ø  Luxury – USD 54

    Ø  Standard – USD 39

  • Ø  Budget – USD 27

  • ●  Flight tickets and its taxes
  • ●  China entry visa fee (China requires visa for most travelers)
  • ●  Personal expenses
  • ●  Tips for driver and guide (highly appreciated but not requested)
  • ●  Surcharges for upgrades from standard twin-bed rooms to doubled-bed rooms
  • ●  Payment transaction commission charged by bank or third-party

  •   15 days prior to departure date, we will fully refund your purchase without any additional charges
  •   7 days prior to departure date, 50% of reservation cost will be charged
  •   24 hrs prior to dearture date, 100% of reservation cost will be charged
  •   Certain refund policy should be subject to current circumstance


  •   Confirmation will be received within 24 hours, subject to availability