Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La)
|Tour Length & Outline:|
|8 Days & 7 Nights|
Kunming (1N) - Night Train (1N) - Dali (1N) - Lijiang (2N) - Shangri-La (2N)
|Best Time to Visit:|
|March - November|
|Very leisure tour; zero physical demand|
Kunming Shilin Scenic Area
Dali Old Town
The Local Naxi People in Lijiang Old Town
Songzanlin Monastery in Shangri-La
Take our 8 days classic tour in Yunnan to explore the best of Yunnan in just one go!
Starting from Kunming, you will visit the world famous Stone Forest to enjoy the unique Kast landscape. Attending an original Pu'er Tea Ceremony, you will learn more about Chinese Tea culture as well as the history of the ancient Tea Horse Road. Just following the Ancient Tea Horse Road, you will keep forward to Dali Ancient Town and Lijiang Old Town. You can expereice the leisure life pace in the small towns and explore the amazing culture of the local Naxi people. Shangri-La, the last paradise is the final destination in this tour. Before you arrive in Shangri-La, you will visit the gorgeous First Bend of Yangtze River and the splendid Tiger Leaping Gorge. The natural beauty of Yunnan will deeply impress you. In the trip to Shangri-La, you will visit Ganden Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Yunnan, and witness the mountainous landscape with barley fiedls and yaks scattered in the valleys.
- [Stone Forest] Have a stroll in this unique natural forest of stone;
- [Erhai Lake] Get close and touch the beautiful “flawless jade” among mountains;
- [Dali Old Town] Walk along the ancient street to seek the tranquility you have ever felt;
- [Lijiang Old Town] Enjoy the marvelouse landscapes of the small town and explore the culture of the local Naxi ethnic group;
- [Tiger Leaping Gorge] Walk through three marble tunnels to experience how deep it is when looking down;
- [Shangri-La] Visit Songzanlin Monastery, the “Little Potala Palace” in Yunnan Province.
Day 1: Kunming Arrival
Upon your arrival at the Kunming Changshui International Airport, our tour guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel in Kunming. After settling down your luggage and a short rest, you will start your tour in Kunming.
If your time permits, you can visit the Kunming City Museum, where you can have the chance to learn more about Kunming city as well as Yunnan Province.
Option for the Evening:
Dynamic Yunnan Show is an original ethnic dance musical that directed by Yang Liping. You can get a unique “Yunnan Impression” from the show, which is a combination of folk dances and a fresh artistic concept. The show starts at 20:00 every day (except at and around the Spring Festival) and lasts for 1.5 hours.
- Altitude: Kunming (1895m)
- Kunming Local Hotel
Day 2: Kunming - Stone Forest - Dali
The Gate of Stone Forest
The Train to Dali from Kunming
In the morning, your tour guide will pick you up from your hotel in Kunming city. You will be invited to a Yunnan Pu’er Tea Ceremony before heading to Stone Fores. Pu’er Tea is one of the most popular teas in China. During the Pu’er Tea Ceremony, you will not only taste the local Pu’er tea, but also learn more about the tea culture of China and the history of the Ancient Tea Horse Road. Also, it is a good idea to take some Pu’er tea, a symbol of Yunnan province, with you as gifts for your family and friends.
After the Pu’er tea ceremony, you will take a 1.5 hours’ drive to Stone Forest, and enjoy a local Yunnan style lunch before entering the scenic area. The Stone Forest in Yunnan is vast in area with lots of towering stones with peculiar shapes, creating a picture of stone world. The Stone Forest Scenic Area covers an area of 1,460 square kilometers in total and the Karst Stone Forest has been formed 500,000 to 300 million years ago. You can enjoy the marvelous landscape of stones in different shapes.
Then, you will be driven back to Kunming downtown and dropped off at Kunming train station for taking an overnight train to Dali.
- Drive 90km to Stone Forest Scenic Area
- Altitude: Stone Forest (1500m-1900m), Kunming (1895m)
- Stay Overnight on the Train to Dali
- Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3: Dali
Dali Ancient Town
Three Pagodas of Dali Old Town
After you arrive at Dali Railway Station in the early morning, your Dali local tour guide and your driver will meet you at the train station and take you to have breakfast first. You can enjoy the pretty view from the outside of the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Monastery which are the symbols of Dali. Then, you will check into your comfortable hotel and take a rest.
You will enjoy a traditional Dali lunch. Afterwards, you will visit Dali Old Town. Dali Old Town is traditionally the habitation of the Bai and the Yi minorities. Tracing back the glorious history of Dali, it was once the capital of the Nanzhao Kingdom in 738. In 937, the Autonomous Kingdom of Dali was founded and lasted outsit Han-run China until the Yuan Dynasty, when the Mongol rulers finally breached the Dali fortifications and brought Dali into the province of Yunnan.
When you visit the Old Town of Dali, you can 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.
- Drive 40km from the Train Station to Dali Old Town
- Altitude: Dali Ancient Town (2052m)
- Dali Ancient Town Hotel
- Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4: Dali - Lijiang
Old Houses in Xizhou Town
Local Fishermen in Erhai Lake
Today, you will get to the morning market of Xizhou Town to experience the authentic traditional local life. Located 19 kilometers north of Dali Old Town, Xizhou is lies between Erhai Lake and Cangshan Mountain Range. The well-preserved old folk houses in this town are a good presentation for the Bai culture. Futhermore, Xizhou is a typical commercial center of Bai Ethnic Nationality. Here, you can explore the traditional lifestyle of the local ethnic groups as well as join in their recent life, enjoying lovely local clothes, decorative architectures and wonderful handicrafts in the old town.
Next, you are going to take a cruise on Erhai Lake to a local fishing village, called Jinsuo Island. You can enjoy the green Cangshan Mountian Ranges and the famous Three Pagodas from far.
After lunch, we will drive about 2.5 hours to Lijiang, another famous ancient town along the ancient Tea Horse Road. Upon your arrival in Lijiang Ancient Town, you will check in your hotel and enjoy your free and easy evening in Lijiang.
- Drive 170km to Lijiang
- Altitude: Lijiang (2400m)
- Lijiang Ancient Town Hotel
- Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5: Lijiang
Lijiang Old Town
Naxi People in Lijiang Old Town
After breakfast, you will visit the Black Dragon Pool and the Naxi Dongba Museum, where you can learn Naxi pictograph character and explore the rich Naxi minority culture.
Then, we will move on to the Jade Lake Village (Yuhu Village), from which you can enjoy a fantastic view over the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Also, you will visit the museum dedicated to the life of Joseph Rock, an explorer and biologist who lived in this area in the early 20th century.
Then, you can take a 2-hour guided horse trek along the mountain slopes, passing 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.
After tour, you will get back to your hotel in Lijiang. The well-presented Old Town of Lijiang has retained a historic townscape of high quality and authenticity. You can find different elements from several cultures that have come together over many centuries from its architecture. Also, the ancient water-supply system in Lijiang Old Town still functions effectively today. While visiting Lijiang Ancient Town, you can experience the harmony of different cultural traditions as well as the splendid urban landscape of this town.
- Drive about 30km
- Altitude: Lijiang (2400m)
- Lijiang Ancient Town Hotel
- Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6: Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Shangri-La
The First Bend of Yangtze River
Tibet Leaping Gorge on the Way to Shangri-La
Today, you will firstly drive about 60 kilometers to the First Bend of the Yangtze River, which is close to Shigu Town.
Then, we will drive further north to Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the top attractions in Yunnan Province. As one of the deepest gorges in the world with 34 rapids, it measures 16 kilometers long and a steep of 3900 meters from the water of Jinsha River to the peaks of Haba Snow Mountain to the north-west and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to the south-east. The inhabitations of the gorges are primarily the indigenous Naxi people, who live in a handful of small hamlets.
Later in the afternoon, after a 2.5 hours drive, you will arrive in Shangri-La, formerly known as Zhongdian. Shangri-La, as the“Eden in Dream”, is well-known as the paradise destination for every traveler. It was first mentioned in the book Lost Horizen that written by British novelist James Hilton in the 1939. It was known as a mysterious place which could not possible exist here on Earth. And its name, Shangri-La, means the sun and the moon in heart in Tibetan. The continuous snow mountain ranges, the endless grasslands, steep and grand gorges, pure lakes and the idyllic villages always leave a deep impression on all the visitors.
Upon your arrival in Shangri-La, you will going to the Tibet cultural area and enjoy the landscapes of barley fields and yaks scattered in the valleys.
- Drive about 80km to Tiger Leaping Gorge and 105km to Shangri-La
- Altitude: Tiget Leaping Gorge (1800m-2670m), Shangri-La (3280m)
- Shangti-La Local Hotel
- Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7: Shangri-La
Shangri-La Songzanli Monastery
Prayer Flags at Baiji Temple in Shangri-La
After the breakfast in your hotel, we will go to visit the Ganden Songzanlin Monastery, which is the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan. Then, we will visit a local family and experience the real life of the local Tibetans.
After lunch, we will pay a visit to Baiji Temple, which is very close to the west of Dukezong Ancient Town. You can enjoy a great view of the city from Baiji Temple.
Then, we invite you to have a relaxed break in Shangri-La’s High Mountain Resort to enjoy a cup of coffee. Facing the beautiful Napa Lake, you can enjoy a marvelous view of the local nature.
The evening is free for you to look around Dukezong Ancient Town by yourself. This region is inhabited by many different ethnic groups, with the Tibetans comprising the majority of the population. You can experience the local Tibetan life and learn about their lifestyle, religion and taste the authentic local Tibetan cuisine.
- Drive 20km in total
- Altitude: Shangri-La (3280m)
- Shangri-La Local Hotel
- Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8: Shangri-La Departure
This day is free for you until you head to your next destination or take flight to get back home.
We’d be happy welcoming you in Yunnan again!
- Altitude: Shangri-La (3280m)
Price Details & Guide
- Private transportation with skilled driver, including hotel pick-ups and drop offs; including gas, toll and parking fee;
- Lodging: one night in Kunming local hotel, one night on the train to Dali, one night in Dali Ancient Town hotel, two nights in Lijiang Old Town, and two nights in Shangri-La local hotel, all hotels with breakfast (as per chosen category; based on twin-bed room for 2 pax);
- Private English-speaking local tour guide;
- Entrance ticket fees for all the sight spots listed in, 6 Lunches);
- Overnight train ticket from Kunming to Dali (Soft Sleeper category);
- 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.
- International and domestic flight/train to Kunming (Note: we accept the domestic flight/train tickets booking to Kunming from other cities in advance, check the updated ticket availibility and cost with your travel consultant);
- Meals that are not specified in the itinerary (Averagely a meal in the 3rdpole region cost 3~10USD per person);
- Tips and gratuities for the trip leader and driver;
- The expense of a personal nature like alcoholic beverages, laundry, phone call, etc;
- Optional activities and excursions not specified in the itinerary;
- Dynamic Yunnan Show discount tickets (please mention which category you prefer if of interest)
VIP – USD 72
Luxury – USD 54
Standard – USD 39
Budget – USD 27
- China Entry visa fees;
- Surcharges for upgrades from standard twin-bed rooms to doubled-bed rooms.
Once we receive your tour deposit, which is followed by signing the contract, your reservation is secured with legitimacy. Our staff will reserve the accommodation, vehicle, site tickets, meals and more, and pay the deposit for our suppliers. So if you want to alter to another itinerary, you need to cover the deposit we've paid, while no service charge is needed if you make some changes on the itinerary you booked.
Cancellation and Refund Policy
If you cancel the tour beacuse of your personal issues, you will be liable to pay cancellation charges that are bounded by 3rdpoletour.com cancellation policy as follows:
1.) If you cancel the tour more than 30 days before the trip starts, you will forfeit 10% of the total land cost per person;
2.) If you cancel the tour 15-30 days prior to your trip start date, 20% of your total land tour cost will be forfeited as a cancellation fee.
3.) If you cancel the tour 7-15 days before the trip starts, you will forfeit 30% of land cost.
4.) If you cancel the tour 7 days prior to your tour start date, you will forfeit 50% of land cost.
5.) If you fail to show up or cancel at your scheduled arrival time without prior notice or later than that, you will forfeit 100% of the land cost.
If the tour has to be cancelled because of the natural disaster or the government restrictions that is beyond both parties control, we will charge only USD50 per person, this is just the service fee and larbor fee during the preparation. This is a rare occurrence!
The cancellation fee charged by 3rdpoletour.com will be kept under your name (person who contacted us) for a usable period of 2 years. Within the applicable period you can use it for next time or you can kindly pass your authority to any of your family, friends or colleagues to use by booking a tour with 3rdpoletour.com. A certifying email from you is necessary to pass the cancellation fee to others, but it is only applicable for private group.
Know Before your Go
Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with 3rdpoletour you will experience the vast array of wonderful local food that is only available in the places we visit. We have most of the breakfast in the hotels except for the camping; for the long-driving and transportation day the lunches are included as well; the featured local flavor dinner is arranged as well in some places. Included breakfasts will usually be asian style consisting of noodles or congee (rice porridge) or bread and eggs, although in some remote areas the choice maybe very limited. Generally, the food in the plateau areas is worse than in the morden cities of the plains, but it's much cheaper, about 3~10 dollars one person one meal. No group dinner.
For the Meals not included in the trip price, we would like to leave you a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, when and what to eat. Our trip leader will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Vegetarians will be able to find a range of different foods, although in some areas the choice may be limited.
In most of the 3rdpole area (Western Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet, Qinghai, Xinjiang and Gansu) they might not be like what you are used to back home as service and efficiency can vary. In some areas we stay in simple local guest houses in stunning locations, and rooms are small and simple and there may only be shared toilet facilities and showers. But we guarantee to arrange the best local hotels for our guests. The accommodation condition of every night is shown on the itinerary description, please refer for the details.
All 3rdpoletours trips are accompanied by one of our professional English-speaking trip leaders who are different from the tour guides you may book from most of the online China travel agencies. Our trip leaders are trained strictly and they are not allowed to take guests to commission shopping factories. All of them are our full-time staff and work 8 hours every day in our office to do the editing and website friendly design when they don't have the trip on the road. Not like most agencies who pay their guides and themselves with commision earnings, we put the cost of paying our guides a good wage straight into the tour price so they are happy and not reliant on guests spending money shopping to earn their own salaries. Thus they concentrate on your needs and being the best hosts to you that possibly can.
They know the areas like their backyards and have explored like hundreds of times. With a experience of more than ten years, everyone of them has served more than hundreds of guests from all over the world. They are responsible, trustworthy and have their own life experience and story to share which will add more fun and safety to your trip in the plateau highland.
We include all transportation during the trip except for the international flight or train, although you need to pay by yourself for the horse riding, cablecar, and more that are not included in the price quotation in some destinations.
We will be using a variety of types of vehicle on our trips, mainly depending on the number of your group. Land cruiser 4WD is the most popular vehicle in 3rdpole tourism that is suitable for rocky and bumpy road in off-the-bitten-path. Capacity of the vehicle is 4 passengers and bags can kept in the trunk. Most of our land cruiser are almost brand new. The van and mini-bus are mostly used for groups ranging from 5 to 15 people, and most of the vans and mini-buses are pretty new and in a very good condition. Buses are mostly used for bigger groups ranging from 20-40 people.
Our drivers are professional and always consider the safety and comfortable as the priority, although most of them don't speak English. It is our company policy to provice you with unlimited free drinking water, an air pillow and a headscarf for each one to make your driving more relaxing and comfortable.
Your trip leader is the one you could contact at the first place, should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need. If for any reasion you do not receive a satisfied answer, please call or email your travel consultant who organized the trip for you, and they will assist you 7/24. Our office number is 028-8522698, open 7/24.
Visa & Travel Pemit
Except Tibet, you can travel all of the destinations and cities of 3rdpole region with only a Chinese visa. For a visit to Tibet, we will apply for a Tibet travel permit for you in advance.
Tipping for your trip leader and driver is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with them who have assisted you on your tour. Tipping is appreciated if they did an excellent job for you.
High Altitude Sickness
Average altitude in 3rdpole area is more than 2000M, and you may be worried about the altitude sickness. We prepare the medicine to reduce high altitude sickness symptoms. Please load this page to read the detailed information about the 3rdpole elevation and high altitude sickness.
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