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The Yunnan province has an unmatched diversity of landscapes and peoples, from the high Tibetan fringes in the northwest to the tropical rainforests on the borders of Burma and Vietnam. Water from this mountainous province feeds many of Asia's great rivers, including the Yangtze and Pearl rivers of China, and the Mekong, Red and Irrawaddy rivers, the lifeblood of Southeast Asia. Yunnan is home to 26 ethnic groups, some who share more in common with their distant relatives in the hills of Vietnam, Laos and Burma than with their coast dwelling countryman.
Our Classic itineraries cover the key attractions with carefully selected experiences to ensure you get the most out of your holiday. Classic itineraries include time for relaxation or for adding extra activities. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.
You will meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to the Yunnan province, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the first day.
Kunming is the capital of the Yunnan province and is situated on a fertile plateau at an altitude of 2,000 metres. With its perpetual spring like weather Kunming is known as the "City of Eternal Spring". Surrounded by lakes, the city is covered with blossoms and lush vegetation all year round.
Today you will enjoy a full day tour of Kunming.
Explore the remarkable Stone Forest, a geological phenomenon dating back 270 million years. This stalagmite-like forest of thin limestone spires were carved by rain and wind to create the fanciful shapes you see today. Visit a Yi minority village to gain an understanding of the ethnic tribes that inhabit this mountainous area of China.
Rise early and take the bullet train to Dali - The ancient capital of both the Bai kingdom of Nanzhao, which flourished between the eighth and ninth centuries, and the Kingdom of Dali which reigned from the tenth to thirteenth centuries. "Dali" is literally the name of marble in China due to marble stone being quarried in this area.
Upon arrival you will be met and have full day tours including cruise on the Erhai Lake, the 1000-year-old Three Pagodas at Chongsheng Temple, and the old city of Dali.
After breakfast enjoy the scenic drive to Lijiang. The first stop is the traditional town of Xizhou, meaning "happy prefecture", on the western shore of Erhai Lake. Learn about the traditional architecture of the Bai minority people and visit the local market where you can sample the town's famous snack: Xizhou baba, a flatbread with minced pork and spring onion, or sweet red bean paste filling.
UNESCO World Heritage listed Lijiang old town was the political, commercial and cultural centre for the Naxi people from the seventh to the eleventh centuries. The old town consists of winding cobbled stone lanes, clear streams, ancient stone bridges and traditional timber houses.
After lunch your guide will explain the fascinating history of the Naxi people on a brief guided tour of the Dongba Culture Museum. Wander the gardens of the Black Dragon Pool with a dramatic mountain range backdrop.
Explore the meandering lanes of Lijiang old town, walking around market square, listening to the tradition Naxi music, and enjoying local cuisines such as Yunnan rice pot. Your guide can make personal suggestions for dinner.
This morning accompany your guide to Yak Meadow, crossing small streams on the way. Ride the cable car to an elevation of 3,500 metres, within the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range. From the peak enjoy the panoramic vista over hundreds of snow-capped mountains. You have the opportunity to go on a small hike and visit a Tibetan mountain temple before heading back.
If you're searching for the ultimate location photo, with some luck, you can photograph grazing yak with the verdant valley and snow-capped mountains as the backdrop!
Afterwards, visit the village of Baisha, famous for the Baisha Fresco wall paintings that date back to the Ming Dynasty six hundred years ago. With some interpretation the Frescos provide an interesting insight into the people from that era. The village is also known for the Naxi Handmade Embroidery Institute that was central to carrying on the silk embroidery traditions in this area of China.
In the evening enjoy a Naxi classical music show.
Another breath-taking journey takes you past the upper reaches of the Yangtze River to one of the world's deepest gorges and China's most spectacular natural scenery. Part of the Yangtze River (known here as the Jinsha River) thunders through Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is in turn framed by 5000-metre-high mountains.
Enjoy the evening free at leisure.
The full day tour takes you first to the Songzanlin Monastery, founded in the 17th century and is nicknamed by local the Lesser Potala Palace. Holding about 700 monks and one living Buddha, the monastery is a must go in the region. You will also visit the Napa Lake Reserve with its vista of blossoming flowers and lush grassland dotted with sheep and cattle, a local Tibetan family and a local market.
Take a morning flight back to Kunming where upon arrival you will connect to onward flight.
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Standard:||from AU $3,259|
|Superior:||from AU $3,990|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.
This trip package includes 1 internal flight (Kunming - Dalhi) which retails at about 200AUD.
Visas for China
Almost all nationalities require a visa for mainland China. You must obtain your Chinese visa in advance. Give yourself at least 3-4 weeks. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival and Chinese visas can be very difficult to obtain outside your country of residence.
Hong Kong and Macau are not considered part of mainland China for immigration purposes and most nationalities (please check) do not require a visa.
Availability of accommodation and season.
"Our highlight was the old history and scenery in Yuannan, all hotels were great and we loved the Monastery in Shangri La like Tibet!" — Mr and Mrs Willoughby, Sydney, November 2018
"A day in Shanghai-la China - a really beautiful part of the world - visiting The Songzanlin Monastery (The lesser Potala Palace), a Tibetan family, the local market and finally Napa Lake Reserve. Market Thank you GetaboutAsia and Asia teams for a wonderful trip in China, guides were fantastic. " — John and Viv Cumming, Sydney, November 2017
"Kunming was a fantastic surprise, telling an honest story of China, with natural history, development versus conservation, ancient cultures and a lifestyle different to other places we visited in China... ...Favourites were the Kunming Conference Hall and the Dynamic Yunnan cultural show with its peacock dance, which was much better than cultural shows experienced elsewhere… If you're brave I'd recommend the local hot noodle dish. " — Bennett Family, Woronora Heights, NSW, September 2013