Top Destinations to Visit Yunnan in Winter

Yunnan, the most southwestern province of China, is home to mild weather, diverse culture, delicious foods, and stunning scenery. Winter is a decent time to travel Yunnan. The highest mountains and the coldest temperatures in winter can be experienced in the northern part of Yunnan which borders Tibet. However, travelling around Lijiang, Dali and Kunming of the central Yunnan would be a great experience. The weather is good enough with bright sunshine, azure sky and less rainfall. Flowwers are in full bloom, and you may feel like it is in spring not in winter. Below we introduce you the top destinations to visit Yunnan in winter.

Top 1: Xishuangbanna – the Kingdom of Animals and Plants

Located south of the Tropic of Cancer, Xishuangbannan enjoys the tropical monsoon climate. November to next May is dry season with cool weather so that it is the hot tourism season. Try to avoid the peak holidays due to crowded Chinese tourists such as Chinese Spring Festival (usually in late Jan or early Feb.) While if you would like to taste the rich tropical fruit here, traveling during the period from June to September is a good choice. Please read more about Xishuangbanna.

Tips for the Visit

Highlights: Wild Elephant Valley, Menglun Botanical Garden, Wangtian Tree, Manting Park, Dai Village
Recommended Tour Length: 3~4 days
Recommended to Visit with: Kunming, Lijiang, Dali
Things to Do: See tropical rain forest and experience unique ethnic customs

Recommended Tours:

4 Days XishuangBanna Hiking Tour to Ganlanba Basin and Mekong River
4 Days Best XishuangBanna Tropical Forest and Ethnic Minorities Discovery
7 Days Kunming, XishuangBanna and Puer Family Tour with Tropical Forest and Ethnic Culture Discovery
8 Days South Yunnan Ethnic Minority Discovery and Tropical Forest Photograph Tour

Please read more about Xishuangbanna Tours.

Top 2: Kunming – the Spring City

With its perpetual spring-like weather which provides the ideal climate for plants and flowers, Kunming is known as the “Spring City”. Every winter, black-headed gulls from Siberia fly to Kunming and settle in Green Lake and Dianchi Lake, forming a harmonious scene of human beings and nature. Besides, Dongchuan Red Land and Jiaozi Snow Mountain are worth visiting. Read more about Kunming.

Tips for the Visit

Highlights: Stone forest, Dongchuan Red Land, Dianchi DamJiaozi Snow Mountain
Recommended Tour Length: 2~4 days
Recommended to Visit with: Lijiang, Dali, Shangri-la, Yuanyang, Xishuangbanna
Things to Do: See black-headed gulls, sunbathing, visit Dongchuan Red Land and Jiaozi Snow Mountain

Recommended Tours:

1 Day Kunming City Discovery Tour
2 Days Kunming Dongchuan Red Land and Jiaozi Snow Mountain Tour
5 Days Kunming Spring City and Luoping Rapeseed Flowers Photography Tour
6 Days Kunming-Dali-Lijiang Tour

Please read more about Kunming Tours.

Top 3: Dali – Nanzhao Kingdom with Bai Culture

Dali is one of the earliest cradle of Yunnan culture and created glorious Dali Kingdom. Walking around Dali, you will witness the magical power and charm with your own eyes. Dali has around 126 days in the year with temperatures around 18-21℃(54-66 F) which is the most appropriate temperature for taking a break. In addition, it enjoys abundant sunshine which is most welcome during the winter months thanks to its high altitude. Please read more about Dali.

Tips for the Visit

Highlights: Dali Ancient TownCangshan Mountain, Erhai LakeThree Pagodas, Xizhou Ancient Town
Recommended Tour Length: 2~3 days
Recommended to Visit with: Kunming, Lijiang, Shangri-La
Things to Do: See natural scenery, explore history and ethnic culture

Recommended Tours

1 Day Dali to Lijiang Tour with Shaxi Old Town and Shibaoshan Mountain
2 Days Dali Cycling Tour around Erhai Lake
4 Days Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Group Tour
6 Days Kunming-Dali-Lijiang Tour

Read more about Dali Tours.

Top 4: Lijiang – Highlights of Yunnan Tour

As a popular destination in Yunnan, Lijiang is considered as a fairyland blessed with fresh air, clear streams, breathtaking snow mountains and an undisturbed landscape inhabited by Naxi ethnic minority. In winter, Lijiang enjoys more sunshine than other seasons. Choosing a favorable local guesthouse and having a warm sun bath on a sling chair is a perfect way to spend your holiday in Lijiang. Please read more about Lijiang.

Tips for the Visit

Highlights: Lijiang Old Town, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lugu Lake
Recommended Trip Length: 2~4 days
Recommended to Visit with: Shangri-La, Dali, Kunming
Things to Do: Visit snow mountain, explore ancient town and discover ethnic culture

Recommended Tours

1 Day Lijiang Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Tour with Impression Lijiang Show
2 Days Lijiang Lugu Lake Tour and Matriarchal Society Discovery
3 Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour

Read more about Lijiang Tours.

Top 5: Shangrila – Eden in Dream

Northern Yunnan, which borders Tibet, has the highest mountains and the coldest winter temperatures. If you would like to visit Haba Snow MountainMeili Snow MountainJade Dragon Snow Mountain(Lijiang) and other snow mountain, winter is a good time to visit. Otherwise, you should prevent to go north to Shangri-La or Deqin. Read more about Shangrila.

Tips for the Visit

Highlights: Pudacuo National Park, Songzanlin Monastery, Tiger leaping Gorge
Recommended Trip Length: 3~5 days
Recommended to Visit with: Kunming, Lijiang, Dali
Things to Do: See natural scenery and explore Tibetan culture

Recommended Tours

1 Day Lijiang to Shangri-la Tour with The First Bend of Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Gorge
2 Days Kawa Karpo Meili Snow Mountain Tour from Shangri-La
4 Days Shangri-La City Tour
8 Days Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-La Overland Tour

Read more about Shangrila Tours.

Top 6: Yuanyang – Paradise for Photographer

Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces is marked by spectacular terraces that cascade down the slopes of the towering Ailao Mountains to the banks of the Honghe River. In winter, there is only water in paddy field. With the change of sunray, terrace presents different beautiful scenery. Sea of cloud often appears at these months. If you want to experience rice transplanting, come and visit Yuanyang Terraces in late April.

Tips for the Visit

Highlights: Sunrise, Sunset, Rice Terrace
Recommended Trip Length: 3 days or longer
Recommended to Visit with: Kunming, Jianshui
Things to Do: See the spectacular scenery of terraces and explore Hani culture

Recommended Tours

3 Days Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Photography Tour from Kunming
6 Days Kunming Yuanyang Jianshui Photography Tour with Honghe Hani Rice Terraces
8 Days Yunnan Photography Tour with Dongchuan Red Land and Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces

Read more about Yuanyang Tours.

Top 7: Western Yunnan – New Land of Yunnan Tour

Including Dehong, Baoshan, Lincang and Nujiang, Western Yunnan belongs to the subtropical monsoon climate and the subtropical monsoon rain forest climate. It is located in the low-latitude plateau region, where there is no severe heat in summer and no severe cold in winter, and the four seasons are like spring. Tengchong, Ruili, Mangshi are top destinations of western Yunnan tours.

Tips for the Visit

Highlights: Menghuan Grand Golden PagodaMengbanaxi Rare Park, Tengchong Volcano ParkRehai Hot Spring
Recommended Trip Length: 3 days or longer
Recommended to Visit with: Dali, Lijiang, Kunming
Things to Do: See volcanic geology, discover rainforest and explore ethnic culture

Recommended Tours

10 Days West Yunnan Birding Tour with Gaoli Gongshan Mountain, Tongbiguan Nature Reserve and Ruili Tropical Forest
11 Days West Yunnan Overland Tour
13 Days West Yunnan Overland Indepth Tour

Read more about Dehong Tours, Baoshan Tours, Lincang Tours and Nujiang Tours.

Keep Reading:
How to Plan a Kunming Tour?
How to Plan a Dali Tour?
How to Plan a Lijiang Tour?
How to Plan a Shangrila Tour?
How to Plan Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-La Tour?
How to Plan a Honghe and Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Photography Tour?
How to Plan a Xishuangbanna Tour?