10 Days Yunnan Ethnic Villages and Ancient Towns Tour (Kunming-Dali-Shaxi-Lijiang-ShangriLa)

This tour focuses on most famous cities and classic attractions in Yunnan Province and it also provides more chances to visit ancient towns and ethnic villages in Yunnan.

Highlights:

  • Visit the highlights of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La.
  • Discover ancient culture in ancient towns in Yunnan;
  • Experience ethnic culture and life in ethnic villages in Yunnan.

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Kunming Arrival
  • Day 2: Kunming-Shilin
  • Day 3: Shilin-Honghe-Kunming
  • Day 4: Kunming-Dali
  • Day 5: Dali-Shaxi
  • Day 6: Shaxi-Lijiang
  • Day 7: Lijiang
  • Day 8: Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge – Shangri-La
  • Day 9: Shangri-La
  • Day 10: Shangri-La Departure

Google Map

Detailed Itinerery

Day 1 Kunming Arrival

Sightseeing and Activities:Kunming Arrival
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: None

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.

Day 2 Kunming-Shilin

Sightseeing and Activities:Stone Forest, Nuohei Stone Village
Accommodation: Shilin
Meals: breakfast

Large Stone Forest in Shilin County, Kunming

This morning, you will drive 86 km 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.

Then transfer to Nuohei Stone Village to have local ethnic lunch.  

After lunch, you will stroll at Nuohei Stone Village to deeply discover ethnic culture. Firstly, you will visit the site of the Former Border Headquarters, then walk to visit  their Yi Ethnic Group Culture Museum to learn the history, and daily life of Nuohei Stone Village. On the way, you will be attracted by a Tiger Totem Gate, a place for local people to celebrate their Mizhi Festival: as important as their Torch Festival (Please note: no one can enter in unless it is during their Mizhi Festival) . Then visit their Embroidery Products Exhibition to learn their costume and decoration culture. Then walk in this village to visit their stone houses and tobacco kilns. Visit the site of the Former Panjiang Daily. 

Afterwards, go back to Shilin for overnight.

Day 3 Shilin-Honghe-Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities:Chengzi Ancient Village, Green Lake
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: breakfast

The Green Lake Park(Cuihu Park) in Kunming

In the morning, drive to visit Chengzi Ancient Village in Honghe Profecture. The appearances of the ancient folk houses of the village have Yi nationality characters, but their inside structures have Han nationality characters. According to the Records of the Luxi County, the Yi people currently living in the Yongning Township came from the reaches of the Jinsha River mostly, and at that time, the Chengzi Village was the home of the Baishao Tribe of the Yi nationality. That’s why the houses have both the Yi and Han characters. 

Drive back to 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. 

Day 4 Kunming-Dali by Bullet Train

Sightseeing and Activities: Xizhou Old Town, Zhoucheng Village, Dali Old Town
Accommodation
Meals: breakfast

Xizhou Ancient Town in Dali

Take bullet train to Dali. Upon arrival, you visit the Three Pagodas in Chongshen Monastery which has a history of over 1,800 years located at the foot of Cangshan Mountain facing to the Erhai Lake. Three Pagodas are made of three ancient independent pagodas forming a symmetrical triangle.

After lunch, you will head for Xizhou Town to fully appreciate Bai-style traditional architectural courtyards, taste their fragrant Three-Course Tea and explore their distinctive culture. Visit Zhoucheng Village and the Bai people’s Tie-dying cloth workshop where you can take some special souvenir with the Bai ethnic style.

Transfer to Dali Old Town for overnight.

Day 5 Dali-Shaxi

Sightseeing and Activities: Shibaoshan Mountain, Shaxi Old Town
Accommodation: Shaxi
Meals: breakfast

Shaxi Old Town in Jianchuan County,Dali

In the morning, drive to Jianchuan County. Visit Shibaoshan Mountain .The most prominent sight at ShibaoShan is the Stone Bell Temple with its 139, well preserved stone carvings. These magnificent stone carvings date as far back as 1300 years to the once powerful Nanzhao Kingdom during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Explore the ancient temple complex including Baoxiang Temple, Haiyun Temple, Shizhong Temple and the Ancient Grottoes. If you are lucky enough, you also can see a lot of wild monkey group around Baoxiang Temple.

Then visit Shaxi Old Town. Shaxi is the last remaining ancient market town of its kind on the Tea & Horse Caravan Trail. This trail is a trading route that connected Tibet, Sichuan, and Yunnan to countries in southeast Asia, also called the Southern Silk Road.The World Monuments Fund (WMF) has listed Shaxi as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world in 2001.

Day 6 Shaxi-Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities:Black Dragon Pool, Dongba Museum, Lijiang Old Town
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: breakfast

Black Dragon Pool in Lijiang

Drive about 180KM to Lijiang with the beautiful farmlands and ethnic villages on the way. You’ll head for the scenic Black Dragon Pool and the Dongba Museum to explore the rich Naxi minority culture.
 
In the late afternoon, explore Lijiang Old Town. Lijiang Old Town has a history more than 800 years; it was listed as the World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO 1997. Here you will see the wonderful wooden architecture of Naxi ethnic people.

Day 7 Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Ganhaizi Meadow, Baishui River, Impression Lijiang Show, Baisha Old Town, Baisha Muruals
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: breakfast

Enjoy the sunrise of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Lijiang Ancient Town in the morning, drive about 30KM to Ganhaizi Meadow(3100M), you will take the sightseeing bus for a short visiting through the Baishuihe Rivertake the chairlift up to visit Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The cableway will be arranged according to the condition of the mountain. You will hike around 1 hours in the original forest in Spruce Meadow (3200M).

After lunch, you will enjoy the Impression Lijiang Ethnic Show directed in Ganhaizi Meadow(3100M). A cultural show demonstrating the traditions and lifestyles of the Naxi, Yi and Bai peoples of the area. The show takes place inside Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Park at 3500m in an outdoor theater specifically designed to showcase the mountain which is used as a backdrop. The production itself was designed by Zhang Yimou, Fan Yue and Wang Chaoge, a cast of over 500 people, and a number of horses.

In the afternoon, you’ll stroll through Baisha Old Town, which is an enchanting traditional Yunnan town. Visit the Baisha Murals about 600 years old, which is one part of the World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO 1997.

Day 8 Lijiang-100KM-Tiger Leaping Gorge-100KM-Shangri-La

Sightseeing and Activities: First Bend on the Yangtze River,  Iron Chain Bridge, Red Army’s Long March Memorial Monument,  Tiger Leaping Gorge, Dukezong Old Town
Accommodation: Shangri-la
Meals: breakfast

The-First-Bend-of-Yangtze-River-Lijiang-01

From Lijiang, you’ll drive about 60KM to the First Bend on the Yangtze River with imposing gorge scenery, visit the Iron Chain Bridgethe Red Army’s Long March Memorial Monument in the Shigu town. The town of Stone Drum got its name from a large, cylindrical, marble tablet shaped like a drum. The scenery is magnificent as the road running through the Lijiang valley which is filled with wheat fields and drying haystacks.
 
Visit the Tiger Leaping Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world. With 34 rapids of the Yangtze River, it is called the Jinsha in this area because you can find gold in the river. Afternoon, you’ll head for Shangri La, the former Zhongdian which is well-known as the paradise destination for every tourist. Upon arrival in Shangri-La, you will have entered the Tibetan cultural area and a landscape of barley fields and yaks scattered in the valleys. Walk around Dukezong Ancient Town, an important town of the Ancient Tea-horse Trade Caravan from Yunnan to Tibet and India.

Day 9 Shangri-La

Sightseeing and Activities: Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, Xiaojiezi Tibetan Village, Shudu Lake
Accommodation: Shangri-la
Meals: breakfast

In the morning, visit the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan. Songzanlin Monastery has another alias – ‘the little Potala Palace ‘, so named because the whole monastery is in the traditional style with mysterious atmosphere.

At noon, visit Xiaojiezi Tibetan Village near the monastery and pay a visit to a local family.

And afterwards you’ll visit the tranquil Shudu Lake in Pudacuo National Park. Pudacuo National Park is located in one of the most biologically-diverse regions of the world. While the region comprises only 0.7 percent of China’s land area, but more than 20 percent of the country’s plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species and almost 100 endangered species. 

Day 10 Shangri-La Departure

Sightseeing and Activities:Shangri-La Departure
Accommodation: none
Meals: breakfast

Pick up from hotel and transfer to Shangri-La airport for the departure flight. Service ends.

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 and vehicle for transfers & sightseeing;
  • Service charge & government taxes;
  • Luggage transfers between airports and hotels;
  • Free-bottled mineral water;
  • Bullet train tickets from Kunming to Dali.

Service Excluded:

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