10 Days South Yunnan Ethnic Minority and Tropical Rain-forest Photography Tour with China Border Culture

Yunnan is a microcosm of China in the areas of minority affairs and nationality relations. The province has 25 minority groups, nearly half of the countries total (56 ethnic groups). This 10-day tour is a landscape exploration, minority discovery and photography tour. Ancient town, local ethnic villages, rice terraces, stone forest, tropical rain forest……every where can be a visual feast and a good place to shoot. You will enjoy everything of  south Yunnan.


  • Explore the ancient ethnic villages and experience
  • Experience the beautiful and magic tropical forest including boat and air-corridor.
  • Record the charming scenery by shooting.

Brief Itinerary:

  • Day 1 Arrive in Kunming
  • Day 2 Kunming-Shilin-Jianshui
  • Day 3 Jianshui-Yuanyang
  • Day 4 Yuanyang
  • Day 5 Yuanyang-Jiangcheng
  • Day 6 Jiangcheng-Menglun-Mengla
  • Day 7 Mengla-Jinghong
  • Day 8 Jinghong
  • Day 9 Jinghong-Menghai-Jinghong
  • Day 10 Departure from Jinghong

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities: Flowers and Birds Market, Green Lake
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: Lunch

The Green Lake Park(Cuihu Park) in Kunming

You’ll begin your journey to the diverse and captivating province of Yunnan from the capital city, Kunming. Upon arrival at the Kunming International Airport, meet your local guide and transfer to the hotel.

If time permits, you will have a Kunming city tour to visit the Flowers and Birds Market in the downtown of Kunming. You will take a leisurely stroll along the Green Lake, a charming area of teahouses and small boutiques selling handicrafts and beautiful local paintings.

–Kunming is the capital of southwest China’s Yunnan province, a primarily agricultural province of 45 million. Kunming has a population of five million and is located in one of the world’s most geographically, ethnically, biologically and linguistically diverse regions. Situated at 1,900 meters (6,233ft) above sea level and 25° north of the Equator it has a rather unique and pleasant climate for a Chinese city.

Day 2 Kunming-Shilin-Jianshui

Sightseeing and Activities: the Stone Forest, Jianshui Old Town, the Garden of Family Zhu
Accommodation: Jianshui
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Large Stone Forest in Shilin County, Kunming

You will drive 86 km to the Stone Forest. There is a local saying: ‘It is a waste of time not to visit the Stone Forest while visiting Kunming’, which vividly expresses the deep love of the local people toward this world wonder. The quintessential karst landscape makes every tourist lost in wonder. And then, you’ll drive around 4 hours to Jiangshui.

After arriving at Jianshui, you’ll visit the Old Jianshui City and the Chaoyang Gateway, which was built in Ming Dynasty (1389). It is also known as ‘Miniature Tian’an men’ because the out shape of it is similar to Tian’anmen Square in Beijing. Visit a typical southern private garden-the Garden of Family Zhu.

–Jianshui is a small town in Honghe prefecture,  in the southern part of Yunnan.  It is on the road Kunimg to the famous Yuanyang rice terraces, most of the travellers stay one night here to enjoy the atmophere of an ancient Chinese town. There are numerous buildings of historic value and places of interest in this area, including over 100 temples ,academies of classical learning and large residences .There are still kept in good condition, including the Chaoyang Gateway Arch, the Jianshui Confucius Temple, the Zhilin Temple, Shuanglong Bridge, the Private Garden of the Zhu Family and the Ancient Nalou office Building.

Day 3 Jianshui-Yuanyang

Sightseeing and Activities: Jianshui Confucius Temple, Tuanshan Village, Zhang Family Garden, terraced fields of Laohuzui
Accommodation: Yuangyang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, visit the Confucius Temple, which has a history of 700 years. It is the second largest Confucius Temple in China. Then you’ll visit Tuanshan Village and the Garden of Family Zhang; Tuanshan Village is a rare surviving example of an intact-albeit neglected-traditional walled Yunnan village compound in southwestern China, and has been added to the 2005 list of internationally significant sites by the World Memorial Fund for Architecture (WMF), an international fund for the protection of world heritage sites.

In the afternoon, you will transfer to Yuanyang and enjoy the sight of terraced fields of Laohuzui(Tiger Mouth) at sunset. Overnight at Mengnong Chieftain Palace.

–Yuanyang is about 300km south of Kunming, renowned for its rice terraces, which claim as the world’s largest and most spectacular one, crafted out by bare hands by the Hani people one thousand years ago and is still in use today. The rice farmers have had to practice ecology and land preservation centuries before those concepts were widely accepted around the world. Without hard work maintaining the terrace walls and irrigation system, the precious top soil would wash down the hillsides into the rivers.
Yuanyang Rice Terrace is a self sustaining ecosystem. During winter to early spring, the entire field is irrigated with spring water from the forest above to rejuvenate and getting prepared for the next season. The Hani people have repeated this for more than a thousand years. There is only one harvest in a year for the Yuanyang Rice Terrace; planting is from March to Oct./Nov. every year.

Day 4 Yuanyang

Sightseeing and Activities: Yuanyang Duoyishu Rice Terrace Fields, Qingkou village, terraced fields of Bada, Shengcun market, terraced fields of Laohuzui
Accommodation: Yuanyang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Get up every early in the morning, you’ll drive 30KM to visit Duoyishu Village and enjoy the sunrise of Duoyishu Rice Terrace Fields when the sun appears above the eastern horizon. The terraced fields are ring upon ring and cascade one by one. They go along the hillside up to the sky. You will see the scenery of the terraced fields from the top of the mountains to the bottom. They are all farms under the sunshine and cloud and mist. The landscape is spectacular.

And then, you will visit Qingkou Village and rice terraces where Hani people for generations inhabit. Visit Bada Hani Rice Terrace, Shengcun Market as well. You will enjoy the sunset of Laohuzui Rice Terraces in the late afternoon in Panzhihua Town. Transfer back to Xinjie Town.

Day 5 Yuanyang-Lvchun-Jiangcheng

Sightseeing and Activities:local market, Lvchun Hani Ethnic Culture Museum, Lixianjiang River Valley, Hani ethnic villages, rice terraces
Accommodation: Jiangcheng
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Village of Hani Ethnic Minority in Yunnan Ethnic Villages, Kunming

After breakfast, visit the local market in Xinjie Town. Depart from Xinjie Town, drive around 2 hours to Laomeng, if you are lucky enough, you will have chance to enjoy the Laomeng Sunday Market. Laomeng holds the most flamboyant market every Sunday. One can see people from six different ethnic minorities, with women and children dressing up in colorful dresses, different in their own traditional style.

Continue the driving along the banana forest and some rice terraces, you arrive at Lvchun County. Lvchun county, on the south western border of Yunnan Provice, China, just like its name, is a land where the green mountains spread out like a ribbon, the azure water always flows, the winter isn’t too cold, and the summer isn’t too hot. Pay a visit to Lvchun Local Market and Lvchun Hani Ethnic Culture Museum. The main cultural legacy of the worldwide Hani people over several thousand years of development is its unique immaterial culture. Therefore, this museum, in accordance with current advanced theory, has discarded the model of a traditional museum which simply displays a collection of implements, and adopted a model of bringing together local characteristics and the worldwide Hani culture.

After lunch, drive along the Lixianjiang River Valley to Jiangcheng Hani and Yi Autonomous County. Visit Lixianjiang River Valley, Hani ethnic villages, rice terraces on the way.

Day 6 Jiangcheng-Menglun-Mengla

Sightseeing and Activities: Longfu Border, Jiangcheng Tea Plantation, Mantan Village, Chenzisanzhai Village, Monument of One Foot in Three Countries, Triple-border Boundary Table
Accommodation: Mengla
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Drive 1 hour to Qushui Town and visit Longfu Border between China,Vietnam and Laos including Monument of One Foot in Three Countries, Triple-border Boundary Tablet, Longfu Border Market (3th,13th,23th). Longfu Border, located in Shiceng Dashan Mountain (Ten Layers Mountain), is famous for the Place Straddling the border of China, Vietnam and Laos.

Drive back to Jiangcheng, visit Jiangcheng Tea Plantation. Drive to Zhengdong Town, 60KM from Jiangcheng County. Visit Mantan Village and Chenzisanzhai Village of Dai Minority.

Day 7 Mengla-Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities:Wangtianshu Scenic Area, Air Corridor, Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden
Accommodation: Jinghong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Air Corridor of Wangtianshu Scenic Area in Mengla County, XishuangBanna

Visit Wangtianshu Scenic Area, which is the only oasis at 21 degrees north latitude, and has been recognized internationally as China’s unique tropical rainforest. Then walk in the Air Corridor(only the first entrance tickets of Wangtianshu Scenic Area and Air Corridor are included).

Drive to Menglun and take a tour of the Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden. As the home to many rare flora and endangered fauna, Xishuangbanna is an excellent place to take in the unique beauty of sub-tropical nature and biodiversity in China. If you go early enough in the morning, you can see the sunrise cast a dreamy golden glow over the garden. Drive to Jinghong City for overnight.

Day 8 Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities :Ganlanba Morning Market, Dai Ethnic Garden, Mengle Temple
Accommodation: Jinghong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning visit Ganlanba Morning Market, water Dai villages, Burmese temple and rubber garden on the way. Visit Dai Ethnic Garden, located in the Ganlan Basin in Menghan County, proudly holds a national 4A rating as one of China’s top scenic spots. Within the Dai Ethnic Garden, five Dai villages – Manjiang, Manchunman, Manting, ManZha, and Manga – cover an area of 3.36 square kilometers and consist of 309 families, or 1487 individual villagers.

Transfer back to Jinghong in the afternoon and pay a visit Mengle Temple. Mengle Great Buddha Temple was built to memorize a beautiful Dai Minority queen who was a pious Buddhist during Ming dynasty (1368-1644), which was destroyed during a war in 1848 and what we see today was rebuilt in 2007. Notable for its peculiar shape which resembles a sitting Buddha, Mengle Great Buddha Temple, the largest Theravada Buddhist temple in China, is the most sacred and important religion site of Dai people.
Visit Manting Park which is a modern park that measures about 30 acres in Jinghong in Xishuangbanna. It has a large new Buddhist temple called Zongfo Si. There is a display of ethnic architecture, and people entertain themselves by water fights during the Dai Water Splashing Festival each year. Entertainment is presented in the evening.

Day 9 Jinghong-Daluo-Menghai-Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities: Daluo Border, Mengjinglai Dai ethnic village, One Tree Forest, Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion
Accommodation: Jinghong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion in Menghai County, Xishuangbanna

Transfer to Daluo Town and visit Daluo Border between Myanmar and China. Daluo town is located in southwest of Menghai County. The southeast is Bulangshan Mountain, the southwest and west are bordering on the Myanmar with the national boundary of 36.5 kilometers.With a total area of 400 square kilometers and superior geographical advantage, and being 81 kilometers away from Menghai County, Daluo is an important port in Yunnan province.

Visit Mengjinglai Dai ethnic village. Mengjinglai is the most outstanding China-Myanmar village. It’s located in the southwest of Xishuangbanna, Menghai Town. The crystal clear Daluo River flows from the west of the village forms the natural borders for both countries. Mengjinglai is a very typical traditional Dai ethnic village. The villagers here and the Shan ethnic from Myanmar have a good relationship through inter ethnic marriage and they form a rare Dai-Shan ethnic in this area. It’s a strong Buddhist foothold with much common view of sacred trees, pagodas, holy spring, temples which make you feel a solemn Buddhist culture here.

Visit One Tree Forest. Some aerial roots will grow from the trunk of the big banyan tree to whose base they would twine. Through the branches of the banyan tree breaks 32 aerial roots that are hanging down into the earth to be an aerial roots jungle. These straight aerial roots stand in lines like the soldiers who protect their motherland at the frontier, which makes people respectful. Therefore, the One-Tree-Forest scenery in Da Luo town is indispensable for the tourists to Xishuangbanna.

Drive to Menghai County, pay a visit to Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion. Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion was built in 1701 during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) — the year 1063 according to the Dai calendar. It was originally built in a local Hinayana temple, but the temple was destroyed. The pavilion has retained its former features following three large-scale repairs.

Transfer back to Jinghong.

Day 10 Departure from Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities:Departure from Jinghong
Meals: Breakfast

Departure from Jinghong. Service ends.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostels
Kunming Sofitel Hotel Kunming Jinjiang Hotel Kunming Longteng Hotel T&T Story Hotel
Jianshui Tinziyun Resort Lin’an Hotel Hongmantian Hotel Local Guesthouse
Yuanyang The Twelve Manor Terraces Hostel Yunti Hotel (Yuanyang Shengcun) Yunshuijian Guesthouse Tingshan Guesthouse
Jiangcheng / / / Local Guesthouse
Mengla Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort Jingland Hotel Hailun Holiday Hote Shuibiandai Inn
Jinghong Empark Grand Hotels & Resort Dai Garden Hotel Duchang Hotel Jinghong Daixiang Vocational Hotel

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;
  • Luggage transfers between airports and hotels;
  • Domestic train tickets of soft sleeper.
  • Two bottles ofmineral watereach day.

Service Excluded:

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

Travel Tips:

  • Visitors are advised to always carry changes of clothing due to the large variations in temperature between day and night.
  • The climate is relatively dry, so drink more water every day.
  • Protecting oneself from strong UV radiation at high altitude.
  • Protecting oneself from altitude sickness. Lessen the effects of altitude sickness, avoid strenuous exercise and have plenty of rest.
  • Respect local customs , habits, and religious beliefs.
  • Situated on the northern edge of the tropical zone, Xishuangbanna area is hot, humid and rainy; don’t forget to take an umbrella or a raincoat when go out.