13 Days Yunnan Tour along the Ancient Tea Horse Road from Jinghong to Shangri-La

This Ancient Tea Horse Road Tour includes Kunming City Tour, Xishuangbanna Tea Culture Tour, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La Highlights Tour. Winding across the mountains and forests of Sichuan-Tibet-Yunnan triangle area on the Roof of the World, this road was spreading and connecting the ancient civilizations and cultures at the highest altitude. In this tour, you will travel through the Stone Forest, the Ancient Tea Mountain, the Tropical Rainforest,  Ethnic Villages, Erhai Lake, Ancient Towns, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, National Parks and  Tiger Leaping Gorge, etc.


  • Experience the local life and ethnic culture.
  • Appreciate the charming landscape.
  • Visit the famous cities-Kunming, Lijiang, Dali, Jinghong and Shangri-La.

Breif Itinerary

  • Day 1 Arrive in Kunming
  • Day 2 Kunming-Stone Forest-Jinghong by Airplane
  • Day 3 Jinghong-Yiwu-Menglun
  • Day 4 Jinghong-Puer
  • Day 5 Puer-Jingdong
  • Day 6 Jingdong-Weishan-Dali
  • Day 7 Dali
  • Day 8 Dali-Shaxi-Lijiang
  • Day 9 Lijiang-Baoshan Stone Town
  • Day 10 Baoshan Stone Town-Lijiang
  • Day 11 Lijiang-Tiger Leaping Gorge-Shangri-La
  • Day 12 Shangri-La
  • Day 13 Departure from Shangri-La

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities:Green Lake

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

— 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-Stone Forest- Jinghong by Airplane

Sightseeing and Activities:Stone Forest, Guandu Ancient Town
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Stone Forest in Shilin County of Kunming City

You will drive 86 km to the 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. After lunch drive back to Kunming to visit the Guandu Ancient Town which is a famous historical & cultural town in Kunming, which keeps the main architectural style of Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties.

After that, drive to Kunming airport, take the flight to Jinghong, meet your local guide and transfer to the hotel.

Day 3 Jinghong-Yiwu-Menglun

Sightseeing and Activities: Ganlanba daily market, Yiwu Old Town, Tropical Botanical Garden
Accommodation: Menglun
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Go along the Mekong River to Ganlanba, a major residential area of Dai People, see a lively daily market where local people sell or buy food and other native products. Drive to Yiwu, a small town once boomed due to tea trade in the history, see the old part of town and the stele erected in Qing Dynasty that recorded the trade situation at that time, pay a visit to local families that are still producing Pu’er Tea the traditional way. Back to Menglun, visit the biggest Tropical Botanical Garden of China, enjoy the nice view and quietness in the garden. 

Day 4 Jinghong-Puer

Sightseeing and Activities:Jinuo Mountain, tea plantation near Dadugang
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Enjoy morning freshness in the botanical garden, have a relaxing walk in rainforest zone for a short experience, leave botanical garden for Jinuo Mountain Area, visit Jinuo People uniquely belonging to this region, the last nationality classified by Chinese Government in 1979. See the ancient tea plantations around Jinuo village, which used to be part of cradles of famous Pu’er Tea, try Wrap- charcoaled Tea and Salad Tea Jinuo people prepare in their traditional way. Move to Simao, stop en route to get view of vast tea plantation near Dadugang. See the ancient tea caravan way that still winds its way on ridges of mountains, of which the paving stones are still telling people the former prosperity of tea trade on this way, pay a visit to local family that used to run hostel specially for tea transporting caravans in the past. Further to Pu’er, a town that once was the tea distribution center of South Yunnan, after which Pu’er Tea was named by tea businessmen who gathered here. Stay in Pu’er.

Day 5 Puer-Jingdong

Sightseeing and Activities:Cha An Village, Mohe Town, Jingdong
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Pay a visit to Cha An Village and Mohei Town, former stops on the Ancient Tea Caravan Way, chat with local people to learn about their predecessors’ life with tea transporting caravans. Drive to Zhenyuan, then further to Jingdong Yi Autonomous County under the jurisdiction of Pu’er City. Stay in Jingdong.

Day 6 Jingdong-Weishan-Dali

Sightseeing and Activities:Confucian Temple, Weibaoshan Mountain, Weishan Old Town
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Gongchen Tower in Weishan Old Town, Dali

Go to visit the Confucian Temple of Jingdong. Then drive to Weishan via Nanjian, tour around on Mount Weibao near Weishan to see Taoism temples built in Ming and Qing Dynasty, to experience the influence over local ethnic people’s life inflicted by Taoism from inland China.  Afterwards, visit Weishan Old Town, which used to be the capital of early Nanzhao Kingdom 1300 years ago, current old town was constructed during Ming Dynasty 600 years ago, layout of whole place still remains in the shape of Chinese chess board as originally planned, lots of buildings aged hundreds of years are in use all the same, feel atmosphere of primitive simplicity by walking along streets. Leave Weishan for Dali. Stay in the ancient town of Dali.

Day 7 Dali

Sightseeing and Activities:Three Pagodas in Chongshen Monastery, Erhai Lake, Xizhou Town
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Reflection Park of Three Pagodas in Dali City

Enjoy the sunshine in Dali Old Town, then 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’ll cruise in Erhai Lake by the small boat to the Jinsuo Islet in the east Erhai Lake. There are 200 Bai ethnic families around 1000 people in Jinsuo Island. In Erhai Lake cruise, you will enjoy the green Cangshan Mountain and the Three Pagodas from a far as well as lots of birds and seagulls flying over the lake.

After landing, 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. 

Day 8 Dali-Shaxi-Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities:Dian Nan Village, Shaxi Old Town, Lijiang Old Town
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Mu Palace in Lijiang Anceint Town

Early morning, drive to Eryuan, visit Dian Nan Village on the way, a place famous for their traditional wood carving products. Drive to Shaxi, a famous countryside town that boomed because of busy tea trade and salt trade between Yunnan and Tibet in the past, reputed as the Only Living Market on Ancient Tea Caravan Way, buildings remain in original look, people are living traditional way, folk custom is well maintained. Leave for Mount Shi Bao, see the the most famous grotto in Yunnan, of which elaborate Buddhism sculptures demonstrated the art level of Bai people 1100 year ago. Afterwards, transfer to Lijiang in the afternoon. You will be relaxed around Lijiang Old Town, a well-preserved old city of ethnic minorities with brilliant culture, which is a central town of the Lijiang Autonomous County of the Naxi Ethnic Minority in Yunnan Province.

Day 9 Lijiang-Baoshan Stone Town

Sightseeing and Activities:Shuhe Old Town, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Baoshan Stone Town
Accommodation:Baoshan Stone Town
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

This morning, visit Shuhe Old Town, a traditional Naxi Nationality Village famous for leather craft, used to be an important leather market on former Ancient Tea Caravan Way, to feel the relaxing atmosphere given by stone bridges, rivers crossing village and local people’s idyllic rural life.  You will see the symbol of Lijiang, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, holy mountain in local Naxi people’s hearts. Further drive along countryside road to Bao Shan Stone Town , a village located by the upriver Yangtze, built on top of a protruding rocky hill. Stay at local guesthouse in village.

Day 10 Baoshan Stone Town- Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities:Baoshan Stone Town, Yufeng Monastery, Baisha Old Town, Black Dragon Pond
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Have a walk in the stone town, wander in narrow lanes to observe the authentic life of local Naxi people, to explore how they could built houses on craggy and rocky mountain to keep their homes from invasion in bygone days. Back to Lijiang, pay a visit to Yu Feng Monastery and Baisha Old Town. Then Black Dragon Pond (Known as Jade Spring Park also), which is famous for assorted pavilions of Naxi style and its crystal water, in good weather, pavilions, arch bridge, willows growing on the bank, Jade Snow Mountain behind, together with their reflections in the water will compose a very beautiful view. 

Day 11 Lijiang-Tiger Leaping Gorge-Shangri-La

Sightseeing and Activities:the First Bend on the Yangtze River, Shigu Town, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Dukezong Ancient Town
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch


From Lijiang, you’ll drive about 60KM to the First Bend on the Yangtze River with imposing gorge scenery, visit the Iron Chain Bridge, the 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. You will have an experience of the floating from the First Bend of the Yangtze River to Longpan Town, after one hour floating, meet the driver and transfer to Tiger Leaping Gorge.

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. 

— Tiger Leaping Gorge is on the Jinsha River of the upper reaches of the Yangtze, located 105 kilometers south of Shangrila County. The gorge is 17 kilometers long with a drop of 213 meters. Tiger Leaping Gorge is divided into three sections: Upper, Middle and Lower Hutiao. At the narrowest spot the river is only 30 meters wide. The mouth of the gorge is 1,800 meters above sea level. The river is flanked by Yulong and Haba snow mountains, with a height difference of 3,900 meters. It is one of the deepest gorges in the world.

Day 12 Shangri-La

Sightseeing and Activities:Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, Pudacuo National Park, Dukezong Tibetan Ancient Town, Guishan Hill
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

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. And afterwards you’ll visit the tranquil Shudu Lake in Pudacuo National Park . The 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, it contains more than 20 percent of the country’s plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species and almost 100 endangered species.

Visit Dukezong Tibetan Ancient Town in the late afternoon, climb up to the top of Guishan Hill or tortoise Hill, you will see the largest Prayer Wheel of the world and have a panoramic view of shangrila county and Dukezong Ancient Town. (Optional: Finally, you will have an option to visit a Tibetan’s family to experience the local life in the bonfire party with Tibetan dance and music and you will try Tibetan home-made yak and cheese).
–Shangri-La is the “Eden in dream”. Since it first appeared in British novelistJames Hilton’s Lost Horizon in the 1939, it has been associated withthe mystique of a place which could not possibly exist here on Earth. In Tibetan,Shangri-La means the “sun and moon in heart”, an ideal home only found in heaven.There the lofty and continuous snowy mountains, endless grasslands, steep andgrand gorges, azure lakes and the bucolic villages always leave a deep impressionon visitors.

Day 13 Departure from Shangri-La

Sightseeing and Activities:Departure from Shangri-La

Take the flight to Kunming and change the flight for returning. Service ends.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostel
Kunming Crown Plaza Kunming City Centre Wenhui Hotel Baiyun Hotel T&T Story Hotel
Jinghong Century Golden Resources Hotel Dai Garden Hotel Duchang Hotel Jinghong Daixiang Vocational Hotel
Menglun Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort Xishuangbanna Wanglian Hotel Xuri Hotel Local Guesthouse
Puer Meizihu Lake Hot Spring Hotel Jingland Hotel Basai Hotel Local Guesthouse
Jingdong / / Huangma Hotel Local Guesthouse
Dali Hilton Landscape Hotel Taiheju Hotel Dali Fengxue Gucheng
Baoshan Stone Town / / / Local Guesthouse
Lijiang InterContinental Lijiang Ancient Town Resort Wangfu Hotel Baisha Holiday Resort Erma’s Inn
Shangri-La Shangri-La Hotel Zhaxidele Hotel Shenqu Hotel Wu Fu South Yunnan Boutique Inn

Service Included:

  • Admission fees for all of the sightseeing spots listed in the itinerary;
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary;
  • Accommodation with breakfast 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;
  • Two bottles of mineral water each day;
  • Travel Agency’s Responsibility Insurance; 
  • Domestic air tickets from Kunming to Jinghong(Economy Class).

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.