18 Days Colorful South China Ethnic Minorities Discover Tour

Beijing, Xian and Shanghai are the top destinations of China city tour. This 18 Days Tour will take you to explore the popular cities of Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Guilin. What’s more, we will also head to Yunnan to appreciate its stunning natural scenery and learn its minority cultures. Yunnan is the most ethnically varied province in China. There are 25 different ethnic minorities in Yunnan, making it the most culturally diverse province in China. 


  • Experience the old and modern culture of Beijing, Xian and Shanghai.
  • Enjoy the best highlights of Guilin, Longsheng and Yangshuo.
  • Explore the hot destinations of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La in YUnnan.

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Beijing Arrival
  • Day 2: Beijing
  • Day 3: Beijing
  • Day 4: Beijing – Xian
  • Day 5: Xian
  • Day 6: Xian – Lijiang
  • Day 7: Lijiang
  • Day 8: Lijiang – Shangrila
  • Day 9: Shangrila
  • Day 10: Shangrila – Shaxi
  • Day 11: Shaxi – Dali
  • Day 12: Dali
  • Day 13: Dali – Kunming
  • Day 14: Kunming – Guilin
  • Day 15: Guilin – Yangshuo
  • Day 16: Yangshuo – Guilin – Shanghai
  • Day 17: Shanghai
  • Day 18: Shanghai Departure

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Beijing

Sightseeing and Activities:Arrive in Beijing

Upon your arrival at the airport, meet your local tour guide and driver and then transfer to your hotel for rest. If time permits, explore the city on your own. You will start your travel from the capital city of China – Beijing.

Day 2 Beijing

Sightseeing and Activities: Beijing
Accommodation: Beijing
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Depart from your hotel in the morning to visit Tiananmen Square (40min) – the World’s largest urban square, and the Forbidden City (2.5 – 3 hours) – the largest and most complete ancient imperial palace in the world. Then visit the Temple of Heaven (1 hour) in the afternoon. After that, drive back to your hotel and free of the rest time.

Day 3 Beijing

Sightseeing and Activities:Beijing
Accommodation: Beijing
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, start to drive to visit the Mutianyu Great Wall (2 hours, including round cable car and scenic bus) – the section of the Great Wall which is more popular among foreign visitors. Have the lunch near the Mutianyu Great Wall, and then drive back to the downtown and have a short visit to see the exterior Bird Nest and Water Cube (about 1 hour) – the amazing architectures that built for Beijing Olympic Games. After that, drive back to your hotel and free of the rest time.

Day 4 Beijing-Xian

Sightseeing and Activities:Drum Tower, Hutong Tour,the Summer Palace
Accommodation: Xian
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, drive to Drum Tower area for taking a relaxing Hutong Tour by rickshaw (Short route, 40 min) – the way to know the Beijing local lifestyle. And then, a visit to the Summer Palace (about 1.5 hour ) – the existing largest, best-preserved imperial garden in China. After you lunch in Beijing, be transferred to the airport for the 2 hours flight to Xian. Your Xi’an tour guide will wait for you at the airport and help you to transfer to the hotel.

Day 5 Xian

Sightseeing and Activities:Xian
Accommodation: Xian
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Ample time will be provided for visits to Terracotta Warriors (2.5 – 3 hours) – one of the world’s most important archaeological finds, with troops, horses and carriages in battle formation. After lunch near the Terracotta Warriors area, drive back to the downtown for a visit to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda (1 hour) – the site of the old Han and Tang capital Chang’an. After that, continue to visit the Xian City Wall (1 hour) – represents one of the oldest and best preserved Chinese city walls. After that, drive back to your hotel and free of the rest time.

Day 6 Xian-Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities:Xian-Lijiang
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Finish the breakfast, and you will firstly to visit the Shaanxi History Museum (2 hours) – one of the first huge state museums with modern facilities in China. After lunch, continue to the Hanyang Mausoleum (1 hour) – the multi-burial cemetery of Emperor Jing of Han and his queen. Your Xi’an tour will be finished by connecting the 2.5hours flight to Lijiang. Your Lijiang tour guide will wait for you at the airport and help you to transfer to the hotel.

Day 7 Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities:Yulong Snow Mountain,Spruce Meadow, Baisha Village and Murals,Baishui River and Terraces
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

The Glacier Park of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang

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 sightseeig bus for a short visiting through the Baishuihe River, 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 Spruce Meadow(3200M).

After lunch, you you’ll visit Yuhu Village and the Former Residence of Joseph Rock who was an Austria-American botanist and explorer, lived in Yuhu village and other places in that region from 1922 to 1949. He was also a naturalist and Photographer, and the first foreign scholar to introduce Lijiang ethnic culture to the western world.

Stroll through Baisha Old Town, which is an enchanting traditional Naxi style old town. Visit the Baisha Mural about 600 years old, which is one part of the World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO 1997.

Day 8 Lijiang-Shangrila

Sightseeing and Activities:Shigu Ancient Town, the Iron Chain Bridge, Stone Drum,Tiger Leaping Gorge, Dukezong Old Town,the largest Prayer Wheel
Accommodation: Shangrila
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 Old 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. Walk 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. 

Day 9 Shangrila

Sightseeing and Activities:Songzanlin Monastery, the Bita Lake & Shudu Lake, Dabao Monastery, Napahai Lake and Tibetan Villages
Accommodation: Shangrila
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 Bita Lake & 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, 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 Dabao Monastery on the way back from Pudacuo National Park. Drive around Napahai Lake and visit some Tibetan villages and families. 

Day 10 Shangrila-Shaxi

Sightseeing and Activities:Shaxi old town
Accommodation: Shaxi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, you will drive 4-5 hours to Shaxi Ancien Town. Visit the quiet town there. 

Day 11 Shaxi-Dali

Sightseeing and Activities:Shibaoshan mountain ,Baoxiang temple,Stone Bell Temple,Baoxiang temple,Haiyun temple,,Xizhou Town, Zhoucheng Village
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

You will drive 50 minutes to Shibaoshan Mountain to spend around 3 hours visiting the scenery there.

Day 12 Dali

Sightseeing and Activities:Dali Old Town, the Three-pagoda in Chongshen Temple, Erhai Lake Cruise
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Sea gulls are seen flying over Erhai Lake in Dali in Southwest China's Yunnan province

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.

Day 13 Dali-Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities:Westerns Hills and Dragon Gate, The Green Lake,Nanping Street
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, you will take the morning high speed train to Kunming. Kunming tour guide will pick you up. Then visit Westerns Hills and Dragon Gate, The Green Lake, and Nanping Street.

Day 14 Kunming-Guilin

Sightseeing and Activities:Stone Forest
Accommodation: Guilin
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Large Stone Forest in Shilin County, Kunming

After breakfast, you’ll be driven 86 km to the renowned Stone Forest, the ‘First Wonder of the World’. You’ll marvel at its natural stone masterpieces and be bewitched by the intricate formations. You feel like come into a ‘stone world’.

After the tour, be transferred to Kunming Changshui Airport, take flight to Guilin.

Your Guilin tour guide will wait for you at the airport and help you to transfer to the hotel.

Day 15 Guilin-Yangshuo

Sightseeing and Activities:Guilin-Yangshuo
Accommodation: Yangsuo
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning you will be driven to the Zhujiang Pier for the Li River Cruise (about 4 hours, lunch served on board). Savour the fairy-tale scenery while cruising down the meandering river to Yangshuo. After disembarkation and check-in hotel with help of your tour guide, you can have a walk along the famous West Street and enjoy the free leisure time there.

Day 16 Yangshuo-Guilin-Shanghai

Sightseeing and Activities:Yangshuo-Guilin-Shanghai
Accommodation: Shanghai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After your breakfast, be transferred back to Guilin and you may arrive around the lunch time. Enjoy your lunch and then continue to visit the Elephant Trunk Hill (1 hour) – the symbol of Guilin. After that, have a trip to Reed Flute Cave (1 hour) – the showcase of distinctly-colored stalactites and stalagmites. And then, say good bye to Guilin and take a 2.5 hours flight to Shanghai. You Shanghai tour guide will wait for you at the airport and help you to transfer to the hotel.

Day 17 Shanghai

Sightseeing and Activities:Shanghai
Accommodation: Shanghai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

A full day sightseeing starts with Jade Buddha Temple (1 hour) – famous for the seated Buddha, encrusted with jewels, which is said to weigh 1,000 kg. And then, go to Yuyuan Garden (1 hour) – a Chinese classic garden in city downtown. Then visit the nearby Chenghuangmiao (Old Street) (1 hour). After lunch time, you will have an exterior tour of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower (30 min) – the most charming landmark of Shanghai. And then, go for shopping in Nanjing Road (1 hours generally) – the earliest commercial street in Shanghai, and have a leisure walk along the Bund (30 min) – famous as a group of building known as “a Gallery of world architecture”. After that, drive back to your hotel and free of the rest time.

Day 18 Departure from Shanghai

Sightseeing and Activities:Departure from Shanghai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today is a relaxing day by firstly having a visit to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall (1 hour) – one of the world largest showcases of urban development. And them, a leisure walk on Xintiandi (1 hour) – a car-free shopping, eating and entertainment area of Shanghai. The afternoon is free for you to get deep touch with this charming oriental metropolis. You will be dropped off after finishing the sightseeing in Shanghai.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostel
Kunming Softel Hotel Wenhui Hotel Jinhua Hotel T&T Story Hotel
Dali Hilton Dali Resort & Spa Shouyi Boutique Hotel Dali Taihe Boutique Inn Dali Fengxue Gucheng
Lijiang Pullman Hotel Wangfu Hotel Liwang Hotel Baisha Holiday Resort
Shangri-La Shangri-La Hotel Shangri-La Old Town Hotel Moon City 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;
  • 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;
  • High speed train tickets(2nd class seat).

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.