17 Days Yunnan Ethnic Minorities Festivals Tour around Chinese New Year

This trip will take you to the northwest and the west of Yunnan, crossing three major river systems: the Yangtze, the Salween and the Mekong. The geography of the area ranges from rain forests in Ruili to snow-capped mountains in Lijiang. Various ethnic groups living in the area include the Dai, Jingpo, Achang, Lisu, Bai, Yi, and Naxi. Each ethnic group created their own festivals and it has become a part of their daily life. This tour will give you more chances to learn about the people in this region.


  • Feel the atmosphere of Chinese New Year and know the ways of celebrating New Year by various ethnic groups.
  • Explore unique Ethnic culture in colorful Yunna and meet friendly ethnic groups like Bai, Dai, Achang, Naxi.
  • Explore profound ancient towns on the trip, like Dali old town, Lijiang old town and Shaxi old town, etc.
  • Visit Buddhist and Taoist temples and understand Chinese religious culture.
  • Get lost in the charm of nature in Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest and most spectacular river canyons in the world.

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Kunming Arrival
  • Day 2: Kunming-Dali
  • Day 3: Dali
  • Day 4: Dali-Weishan-Dali
  • Day 5: Dali
  • Day 6: Dali-Binchuan
  • Day 7: Binchuan-Lijiang
  • Day 8: Lijiang
  • Day 9: Lijiang-Shaxi
  • Day 10: Shaxi-Yunlong
  • Day 11: Yunlong-Baoshan
  • Day 12: Baoshan-Tengchong
  • Day 13: Tengchong
  • Day 14: Tengchong-Ruili
  • Day 15: Ruili-Longchuan
  • Day 16: Longchuan-Ruili
  • Day 17: Ruili-Mangshi Departure

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities: Arrive in Kunming
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: Lunch

Upon arrival in Kunming, our local guide will pick you up from Kunming airport, then transfer to hotel for check-in. 

Day 2 Kunming-Dali

Sightseeing and Activities: Dali Ancient Town
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Four and half hours drive to Dali, visit the Dali Old Town to see how people prepare for the Chinese New Year. Markets are very busy as people will buy everything they need for the New Year. Every family cleans their houses and streets and pastes spring couplets, three pieces of red paper with Chinese writing to paste on the door, one on the top and two on left and right side, to express their good wishes for coming year. Dinner is the time for family gathering.

Day 3 Dali

Sightseeing and Activities: the dances of Dragons and Lions
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Go to the streets to see the dances of Dragons and Lions in Dali Old Town. While these happen on the streets, old people usually sit in the park and play some traditional music of the area. Everybody finds something to enjoy the time, and the whole town is full of joy and happiness.

Day 4 Dali-Weishan-Dali

Sightseeing and Activities: Weishan old town, Weibaoshan Mountain
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day trip to Weishan old town to see how people celebrate the festival over there. Weishan is a small autonomous county of Bai and Yi people with the history of more than thousand years, it used to be a very important old town before the Nanzhao Kingdom was established. Visit the Taoist Temple in Weibaoshan Mountain and walk in the forest.

Day 5 Dali

Sightseeing and Activities: Three Pagodas, Cangshan Mountain, Zhonghe Temple
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Reflection Park of Three Pagodas in Dali City

Visit thousand-year-old Three Pagodas and Congsheng Temple, which is the biggest Buddhist Temple in the Southeast Asia. Dali is the Kingdom of Bai people, with Cangshan Mountain on the west and Erhai Lake on the east, people just live on the fertile land between the Mt. Cangshan and Lake Erhai. The area of Dali used to be an independent country called Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms. Bai people created the own culture and festivals for thousands of years. Take the cable car up to Cangshan Mountain at 2550 meters, visit Zhonghe Temple and walk on the Clouds Road where you can have a bird’s eye view of Dali.

Day 6 Dali-Binchuan-Jizu Mountain

Sightseeing and Activities:Jizu Mountain hiking tour, Jizu Mountain Worshiping Festival, Zhusheng Temples
Accommodation: Jizu Mountain
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Zhusheng Temple of Jizu Mountain in Binchuan County, Dali

Three hours drive to Mt. Jizu, visit Buddhist Zhusheng Temples and walk for three hours up to the top of the mountain. If you don’t want to climb all the way up, you can walk for an hour and then take the chairlift up to the top. There on the mountain top, you will join the locals for the Jizu Mountain Worshiping Festival to pray and express good wishes. Usually, people will go to the Mt Jizu for a couple of times for their wishes. The first time they go there is to ask for the good wishes, when their wishes come true, they will go back again to express the thanks to the God, and they may have new wishes again.

Day 7 Jizu Mountain-Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities: Jizu Mountain
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Get up early to see the sunrise of Mt. Jizu, you can take photos there. Then walk down to visit some temples on the way back and drive to Lijiang. Lijiang is the home of the matriarchal Naxi culture, which is protected as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site. Lijiang was at the end of the Tibetan tea caravan route that gave rise to the Naxi women’s strong commercial bent as successful shopkeepers and traders. 

Day 8 Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Baishuihe River, Yak Meadow, Baisha Old Town, Baisha Murals, Lijiang Ancient Town
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

The Glacier Park of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang

In the morning, drive about 30 KM to Ganhaizi Meadow(3100 meters), you will take the sightseeing bus for a short visiting through the Baishuihe River, then take 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 hour in the original forest in Yak Meadow(3700 meters).

After lunch, 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.

Then visit Lijiang Old Town built hundreds years ago in a traditional style with rivers running through the town. Now it is also the culture heritage of the UNESCO.

Day 9 Lijiang-Tiger Leaping Gorge-Shaxi

Sightseeing and Activities: Tiger Leaping Gorge, the First Bend of Yangtze River, Shaxi Ancient Town,
Accommodation: Shaxi
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Drive about 2.5 hours to Qiaotou and visit the Tiger Leaping Gorge with the drops of 3900 meters from hilltop to the Yangtze River. The whole gorge is 19 km long with three very narrow parts, only 30 meters between the banks. It’s said that once someone saw a tiger jumped over the River and so called Tiger Leaping Gorge. Four hours drive to Jianchuan with a visit to the first bend of the Yangtze. Visit Shaxi Ancient Town in the late afternoon.

Day 10 Shaxi-Yunlong

Sightseeing and Activities: Shibaoshan Mountain, Shizhongsi Grottoes, Baoxiang Temple
Accommodation: Yunlong
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Half an hour drive to visit Shibao Mountain where you can see thousand-year grottoes demonstrating the life and religion of Nanzhao Kingdom. Visit a Buddhist temple built on a cliff and if possible, walk in the Mountain for a couple of hours. Drive to Yunlong County along the Lancang-Mekong River.

Day 11 Yunlong-Baoshan

Sightseeing and Activities: Buddha Temple
Accommodation: Baoshan
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Six hours drive to Baoshan via Dali and Mekong River. Visit the reclining Buddha Temple built thousand years ago in a cave, which is very popular among the people from Burma. They would come to pray and worship the Buddha here.

Day 12 Baoshan-Tengchong

Sightseeing and Activities: Taibao Park, Dai village and temple
Accommodation: Tengchong
Meals: Breakfast and lunchc

Taibao Mountain Forest Park in Longyang District, Baoshan

Visit Taibao Park in Baoshan with Buddhist & Taoist Temple, people here have the mixed religions. Buddhist and Taoist temples are just next door to each other, and they stay in harmony. Drive to Tengchong via Salween River with a visit to Dai village and temple. And then drive through Mt. Gaoligong and carry on to Tengchong. Tengchong is the city of the jade, people here has the tradition of processing jade for a long history. Jade is mined in Burma and processed in Tengchong and sold to the Chinese communities all over the world.

Day 13 Tengchong

Sightseeing and Activities: Heshun Ancient Town, the Anti-Japanese War Museum, Hot Spring Bath
Accommodation: Tengchong
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

A couple of hours visit to Heshun village built by returned oversea Chinese. People from this village have the tradition of doing business in southeast Asian countries in the past few hundred years. When they get old, they all want to come back to their hometown to spend the rest of the life. So we can easily found that most of the people in the village are the elder while young people still do business outside. We can also visit a Museum of US air force Flying Tiger from the 2nd World War. And then enjoy the Hot Spring bath there.

Day 14 Tengchong-Ruili

Sightseeing and Activities: Dai and Achang villages, Jiele Golden Temple
Accommodation: Ruili
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Seven hours drive to Ruili via Yingjiang and rainforest on the way. We have chance to stop on the way to visit some Dai and Achang villages. Visit Jiele Golden Temple in Ruili.

Day 15 Ruili-Longchuan

Sightseeing and Activities: the ancient Buddhist temple of Leizhuangxia, One-Tree Forest, frontier market, Munaozongge Festival
Accommodation: Longchuan
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Mangling One Tree Forest in Ruili City, Dehong

Visit the ancient Buddhist temple of Leizhuangxia, which is the oldest temple in the area built thousand years ago and still very popular among the Dai people there. The monks in the temple are not only from Ruili but also from Myanmar. All Dai people need to spend some time on studying in the temple as their part of the life, otherwise, they will be looked down upon by others. Visit One-Tree Forest, as the weather is hot and wet here, there are some old big banyan trees growing in the area, sometimes one banyan trees covers thousands of square meters. Visit the colorful frontier market on the Myanmar border. Drive to Zhangfeng Town in Longchuan County and enjoy the Munaozongge Festival of the Jingpo ethnic minority.

Day 16 Longchuan-Ruili

Sightseeing and Activities: the Munaozongge Festival of the Jingpo People
Accommodation: Ruili
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

The Munaozongge Festival takes place in a Jingpo village near Ruili, before the festival, Jingpo people from the mountains nearby would come down to the village and set up the tents for the festival duration. On the festival day, they will dress up in their best outfit to sing and dance on the square, every dancing team has a leading dancer and others follow in circles or lines together with music. Thousands of people dance together but in proper orders, amazing and spectacular.

Day 17 Ruili-Mangshi Departure

Sightseeing and Activities: Mangshi Departure
Accommodation: None
Meals: Breakfast

Drive to Mangshi Airport, fly to Kunming. Take the flight back home from Kunming International Airport.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostels
Kunming Sofitel Hotel Jinjiang Hotel Longteng Hotel /
Dali Hilton Hotel E-outfitting Hotel Taiheju Hotel /
Jizu Mountain(Binchuan) / / / /
Lijiang InterContinental Hotel E-outfitting Hotel Liwang Hotel /
Shaxi Landscape Hotel Aoding Courtyard shaxi xiao la zhe Yododo Inn /
Yunlong / / / /
Baoshan / / / /
Tengchong / / / /
Ruili / / / /
Longchuan / / / /

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.

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.