10 Days Northeast and Soutwest Yunnan Winter Birding Tour to Zhaotong and XishuangBanna

Bordering Burma, Vietnam, and Laos, the state of Yunnan lies at the crossroads of Asian bird diversity. It is the most bird-rich province in China, with a distinctly subtropical feel in the south. The largely mountainous terrain supports an incredible variety of forest types, and wetland refuges and powerful rivers increase the variety of habitats to explore. As our Yunnan birding tour is arranged in winter, many migrant species from further north boost the species number, including the enigmatic Black-necked Crane, and sea gulls. Besides birding tour, we can call it a photography tour. Dongchuan Red Land-“the color palette of God” will be one of the famous destination of this tour.


  • Have a view of diverse birds of Yunnan.
  • Enjoy the charming landscape and idyllic sunset and sunrise.
  • Take photos of the Red Land, and make your masterpiece of photography. 

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1 Arrive in Kunming
  • Day 2 Kunming
  • Day 3 Kunming-Dongchuan-Nianhu Lake
  • Day 4 Nianhu Lake-Dashanbao Nature Reserve
  • Day 5 Dashanbao Nature Reserve
  • Day 6 Dashanbao-Zhaotong-XishuangBanna
  • Day 7 Jinghong-Menglun Town
  • Day 8 Menglun-Wangtianshu
  • Day 9 Wangtianshu-Jinghong
  • Day 10 Departure from Jinghong

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1  Arrive in Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities:Kunming City, The Green Lake by your own
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: None

Arrive in the beautiful spring city – Kunming and we will pick you up at airport , then check in hotel and enjoy your free time. Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, is China’s famous historical and cultural city, also China’s excellent tourism city, and a collection of natural landscape and human landscape.

Day 2 Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities: Stone forest, flower and bird market, Dianchi dam to see the gulls
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Large Stone Forest in Shilin County, Kunming

At 09:00 am, meet your tour guide & driver at Jinma Biji Archway and then drive about 85km to the Stone Forest. An old local saying says that ‘If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time.’ Truly, the Stone Forest is one of the most important attractions of Yunnan.

In the afternoon, drive back to Kunming to visit Birds and Flowers Market. After that , we will go to shoot black-headed gulls on Dianchi Dam, where full of dancing black-headed gulls; wander at Yunnan Military Academy near Green Lake or Nanping Street-Mabi chicken Square; eat authentic Yunnan Crossing-the-bridge rice noodles, such as “Qiaoxiangyuan”. Also some fruit snacks are necessary for free activities throughout the whole day.

Day 3 Kunming-Dongchuan-Nianhu Lake

Sightseeing and Activities:  Red land in Dongchuan, Nianhu Lake Birding, Daqiao Black-necked Crane Nature Reserve
Accommodation: Huize 
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Set off in the morning and head to Dongchuan Red Land. Probably arrive at moon to have lunch. After a short rest, head to LuoxiagouQicaipo and Jinxiuyuan to photograph, and go to Waliangfangzi to shoot sunset.

At the late afternoon, drive to Nianhu lake in Huize.

Day 4 Nianhu Lake-Dashanbao Nature Reserve

Sightseeing and Activities:  Nianhu Lake Birding, Daqiao Black-necked Crane Nature Reserve
Accommodation: Zhaotong
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Early in the morning to shoot Nianhu Lake sunrise and a flock of birds flying when the sun comes from the lake and paved with red and dyed golden, black-necked cranes fly up to the sky, just at this moment, someone rowing a small boat and the water rippling gently, the sight is more beautiful.

After breakfast, go to the commanding height to shoot Lijiawan panorama. Walk down the street through a long winding mountain road, and the blue dress of the lake is in front of you. Under the mountains, the winding water bank linked with the red earth, which is Yangmei mountain and there is a village called Li jiawan. Standing in the eye of Li jiawan village, water on the left and mountain on the right. A lake of water to the horizon, in the sunlight, flickering intoxicating eyes, sometimes under the shadow of the hills and trees, coy to reveal the attractive appearance. 

After lunch, take a rest and set off in the afternoon to shoot the sunset of the lake and the return of the black-necked cranes, in the loneliness of intoxicating beauty, you can get a kind of longing of wide and boundless.

And then drive to Zhaotong 

Day 5 Dashanbao Nature Reserve

Sightseeing and Activities: Dashanbao Nature Reserve, Dahaizi sunrise, Black-necked Cranes
Accommodation: Zhaotong
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

The whole day for Dashanbao photography(Dahaizi sunrise, black-necked cranes, black-necked cranes homing)

Head to Dahaizi early in the morning to shoot black-necked cranes and the sunrise, in the faint light, you can see the figure of a large group of crane in a long row along the sea, and with the sound of “goo – goo -“. The sun leaps from the water and lights the sea full of golden, and you will head to Dahaizi birds monitoring room on the hillside 200 meters away from the black-necked crane under the arrangement of Dashanbao reserve administration, please be quite and can’t disturb the cranes. Have a rest after lunch and photograph in the afternoon. The elves gather together from all sides and prepare to return to their nest before darkness.

Day 6 Zhaotong-Xishuangbanna

Sightseeing and Activities: None
Accommodation: Jinghong
Meals: Breakfast 

After breakfast, we will drive you to Zhaotong airport and take flight to Gasa international airport of Jinghong. 

And the driver will pick you up at Jinghong airport and to the hotel to check in. You could have a tour around of the Jinghong city by yourself . Recommend view is Manting park, Mengle Buddhist temple and Gaozhuang night market. 

Day 7 Jinghong-Menglun town

Sightseeing and Activities: Bubeng Nature Reserve, Menglun tropical botanical garden
Accommodation: Menglun
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

We will drive about 68 kilometers from Jinghong city  to Menglun town after breakfast in early morning. Go to Bubeng Nature Reserve to watch birds, where tall trees grow and cable bridges are set to connect trees with each other on the top for people to walk on and get open view. Move back across rainforest to Menglun, where the biggestTropical Botanical Garden is located. 

Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is a national AAAAA tourist attraction. It is the botanical garden with the largest area, the richest collection species and the most specialized botanical gardens in China. There is a old saying”You didn’t come to Xishuangbanna if you didn’t see the tropical botanical garden”. Menglun botanical garden has the reputation of “miniature of plant kingdom” and “heart of Emerald”. Therefore, when people come to Banna, they have to go to the botanical garden to fulfill their wishes.

Day 8 Menglun town -Wangtianshu

Sightseeing and Activities: Wangtianshu scenic area, Nanla river rafting, Experience the beautiful and magic tropical forest
Accommodation: Mengla
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Morning: Experience the beautiful and magic tropical forest including boat and air-corridor

Afternoon: 6 km Nanla River rafting. You can see the birds along the river.

Day 9 Wangtainshu-Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities: Forest Park, 
Accommodation: Jinghong
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Morning we will drive to Forest Park first, see the Peacock Flies here. 

Then back to Jinghong city. You can enjoy the Lancang river night view  and city tour. 

Day 10 Departure from Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities: None
Accommodation: None
Meals: Breakfast

Drive to Gasa international airport in Jinghong , departure from Jinghong.

Service end.


Service Included:

  • Admission fees for all of the sightseeing spots listed in the itinerary;
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary;
  • Hotels as listed in the itinerary;
  • Private English-speaking tour guide;
  • Private vehicle for transfers & sightseeing with skilled driver;
  • Service charge & government taxes;

Service Excluded:

  • Any arrival and departure international airfares or train tickets;
  • Chinese visa fees;
  • Excess baggage charged by Airlines;
  • Tips to guides and drivers;
  • Personal expenses and gratuities to service staff;
  • Personal travel accident insurance;
  • All optional programs.