12 Days China-Laos Train Tour from Kunming to Luang Prabang

China – Laos Railway commenced construction on December 2nd, 2015 and is scheduled for completion by 2020. It will connect Kunming, the capital city of southwestern China’s Yunan Province, with Laos’ capital city, Vientiane. The China – Laos railway project is actually a section of the Kunming-Singapore Railway Project, which connects Kunming with Singapore, passing through Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Highlights

  • Appreciate the fabulous  natural sceneries, including the world natural heritage-the Stone Forest, Yuanyang Rice Terrace and tropical rainforest.
  • Explore diverse Yunnan ethnic cultures  also get close contact with Laos customs.
  • Meet both Chinese and Laos culture.

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Kunming Arrival
  • Day 2: Kunming – Jianshui
  • Day 3: Jianshui – Yuanyang
  • Day 4: Yuanyang – Lvchun
  • Day 5: Lvchun – Jinghong
  • Day 6: Jinghong – Mengla
  • Day 7: Mengla – Mohan – Luang Namtha
  • Day 8: Luang Namtha – Oudomxay
  • Day 9: Oudomxay – Luang Prabang
  • Day 10: Luang Prabang
  • Day 11: Luang Prabang
  • Day 12: Luang Prabang Departure

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Kunming Arrival

Sightseeing and Activities:Arrive in Kunming
Accommodation:Kunming
Meals:None

Upon your arrival in Kunming, meet your local tour guide and driver, transfer to the hotel for rest.

Day 2 Kunming-Shilin-Jianshui

Sightseeing and Activities:the Stone Forest, Jianshui Old Town, Chaoyang Gateway, the Garden of Family Zhu
Accommodation:Jianshui
Meals:B,L

Large Stone Forest in Shilin County, Kunming

In the morning, 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  Jianshui Old Town 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 Templethe Zhilin TempleShuanglong Bridge, the Private Garden of the Zhu Family and the Ancient Nalou office Building.

Day 3 Jianshui-Yuanyang

Sightseeing and Activities:the Confucius Temple, Tuanshan Village, the Garden of Family Zhang, Yuanyang Rice Terraces
Accommodation:Yuanyang
Meals:B,L

Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces in Yuanyang County, Honghe

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-Lvchun

Sightseeing and Activities:Duoyishu Rice Terraces, Xinjie local market, Laomeng Sunday Market, Lvchun Hani Ethnic Culture Museum
Accommodation:Lvchun
Meals:B,L

Duoyishu Rice Terraces in Yuanyang County,Honghe-20

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.

Then,drive to 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 Hani Ethnic Culture Museum. Stay at local hotel for this night.

Day 5 Lvchun-Jiangcheng-Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities:Lvchun-Jiangcheng-Jinghong
Accommodation:Jinghong
Meals:B,L

After breakfast, drive along the Lixianjiang River Valley to Jiangcheng Hani and Yi Autonomous County. Visit Lixianjiang River ValleyHani ethnic villagesrice terraces on the way. Then, drive to Jinghong, after arriving in Jinghong city, transfer to the hotel for rest.

Day 6 Jinghong-Mengla

Sightseeing and Activities:Jinghong-Mengla
Accommodation:Mengla
Meals:B,L

You will leave Jinghong for Mengla, your last stop in China. On your way you will stop in Jinuo named after the minority Jinuo which has been the 56th minority officially recognized by Chinese government, they number around 20 000 people. The expression “Jino” refers to an ethnic group that respects the mother’s brother as a prominent person in the family, the uncles’ ideas are highly regarded. They also respect their seniors, especially older women. Upon the building of a new house, or when worshiping in an Adult Ceremony, they hold the highest position. This is a vestige of ancient matrilineal clans.

Your next stop will be in Menglun where you will visit the famous Tropical Botanical Garden, the largest tropical botanical garden in China. It was established in 1959 by Chinese famous botanists including Prof. CaiXitao, who devoted all his life to related scientific research with remarkable achievements. The garden boasts more than 3000 species of tropical plants covering an area of 900 hectares. The garden has 13 special sections for plant growing, such as the tropic fruit tree section, the shade-growing plant section, the palm plant section, the water plant section, the national plant section, medicinal plant section, etc. Arrive in Mengla from in late afternoon.

Day 7 Mengla – Mohan – Boten – Luang Namtha

Sightseeing and Activities:Mengla – Luang Namtha
Accommodation:Luang Namtha
Meals:B,L

Head to Mohan where you will cross the border to Laos. After clearing border formalities you will receive your visa on arrival for Laos (2 passport photos and $20 – $40 per person required in cash, depending on nationality). Meet your Lao guide and transfer by road to the town of Luang Namtha, taking approximately 1 hour. Arrive in Luang Namtha and check in to your accommodation on the banks of the Nam Tha River. A short orientation tour will introduce the peaceful town before dinner is served at your hotel.

After clearing with immigration check point Bo Ten you will be welcomed our guide and driver, then we head to town to Luang Namtha, which is located on the banks of the Namtha River, is a land of rugged mountains and beautiful tropical forests and shares its border with China and Myanmar. We continue our motorbike ride to Muang Sing visiting Muang Sing highlights: Muang Sing Museum, French garrison, old market. The guide will explain you about Muang Sing`s rich history. Have breakfast in Muang Sing morning market, there you can taste local specialties’ such fried banana, noodle soup…and see many ethnic people (Akha, Hmong, Thai Dam, Yao…) that go in the market to sell their products.
Then we ride for the rest of the day. Visit Ban Nong Bou (Tai Dam) to see traditional weaving. Visit Ban Patoy (Tai Neua) to see the making of Lao Lao (Lao Whiskey) and taste some… Visit Stupa (That Xieng Tung) and relax on the mountain. Visit Ban Silihuang (Tai Neua) to see the making of Kao Soi. Visit more ethnic group’s village such as: Yao, Akha, Tai Lue. Visit the ruin of old Muang Sing town, the guide explain you the history of the town. Take lunch on the hill, where was the former residence of the king, enjoying a beautiful view of Muang Sing valley and get back to Muang Sing town around 17:00pm
Overnight in Luang Namtha

Day 8 Luang Namtha -Luang Prabang

Sightseeing and Activities:Oudomxay-Luang Prabang
Accommodation:Luang Prabang
Meals:B,L

Oudomxay-Luang Prabang

Day 9 Luang Prabang

Sightseeing and Activities:Long Lao H’mong Ethnic village, Kuang Si Waterfall, Ban Muang Khai Elephant Riding Experience
Accommodation:Luang Prabang
Meals:B,L

At around 09:00am, you will meet your tour guide at lobby hotel leaving Luang Prabang with your private guide and driver, you travel for around one hour and twenty minutes out of the town. On the way, passing through beautiful scenery and rural landscapes with rice terraces and pineapple fields. You visit Ban Long Lao a local H’mong village where the culture, customs and language are all different to mainstream Laos. Your hike starts from the H’mong village and takes between two and three hours through primary forest and jungle before reaching the top as spectacular Kuang Si Waterfall where you can visit and enjoy the natural beauty.
Lunch will be served in the local restaurant at Waterfall.

On the way back to Luang Prabang, we make stop at Ban Muang Khai, to enjoy feeding Elephant with riding on its back for 30 – 40mintes (each Elephant can carry only 2papx in one time).
Luang Prabang

Day 11 Luang Prabang

Sightseeing and Activities:Giving Alm Bowl to the monks, The National Museum, the Central Market, Wat Xieng Thong, the Night Market
Accommodation:Luang Prabang
Meals:B,L

Optional for early riser at 5:30:
Early morning, enjoy giving Alm Bowl to the monks on the street for making a merit. The Buddhist monks carry for their collection of food as they walk around the village near by only one time a day, early morning. It’s a belief that in order to give people to gain merit before they will start their day life, normally people will have to go to Buddhist temple, but in this case it’s to give people opportunity to do at home, it is not the way of begging as they never ask for any food and even wait for those who are late for giving alms in the morning. (With the Morning Alms Giving, if you do not wish to make an offering, please keep an appropriate distance and observe the ritual in silence. Dress appropriately, shoulder, chest and legs should be covered.)
Then visit the morning Market, where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, Mekhong fishes, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings and local delicacies. Return to hotel for breakfast

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel.
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be met with guide and driver for transfer to hotel for check in, we enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent today visit The National Museum (closed Thursdays) at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of the artefacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating back from the days of the early kings right through to the last sovereign. The National Museum and the Central Market are not to be missed.
We then continue visit the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong with its roofs sweeping low representing the classical architecture of Luang Prabang including the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai; we then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi to explore the sacred, gilded stupa as well as capture a beautiful view of the city and the Mekong River at sunset.

Dinner is on your own account – then transfer back to hotel for the night.
Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 12 Departure from Luang Prabang

Sightseeing and Activities:Departure from Luang Prabang
Accommodation:
Meals:B

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostels
Kunming Sofitel Hotel Jingjiang Hotel Long Teng Hotel Tu Tu Inn
Jianshui Ting Ziyun Hotel Lin An Hotel Res Sky Hotel Huiyuanlou Inn
Yuanyang Yuanyang Twelve Manor Yunti Hotel Shuiyunjian Hotel Guanjing Heaven Hotel
Lvchun / / Yunti Hotel /
Jinghong Hermit Hotel Xile Hot Spring Hotel Tai’ anmeng Holiday Hotel Rainforest Paradise Inn
Mengla Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort Hejing Hotel Hailun Holiday Hotel Shuibian Dai Inn

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;
  • Service charge and all government taxes;
  • Travel Agency’s Responsibility Insurance coverage.

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.