22 days Yunnan Birds Watching Tour

This is the best birds watching tour in Yunnan which will bring you to watch birds in the main attractions of Yunnan, including tranquil lakes – Napahai Lake, Lashihai Lake; significant mountains – Gaoli Gongshan, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain; beautiful wetlands – Beihai Wetland; rivers and parks, etc. With terrain ranging from tropical rainforest to snow-capped peaks, Yunnan boasts half of China’s plant and animal species. It is also the home to a third of China’s ethnic minorities (nearly 50%). So, you will also step into ancient towns and ethnic villages to explore the diverse ethnic cultures and profound history of Yunnan in this tour. 


  • Watch diverse birds of Yunnan.
  • Discover the profound history and ethnic culture.
  • Appreciate the charming landscape on the way.

Brief Itinerary:

  • Day 1 Arrive in Kunming
  • Day 2 Kunming – Shangri-La
  • Day 3 Shangri-La – Lijiang
  • Day 4 Lijiang
  • Day 5 Lijiang
  • Day 6 Lijiang – Shibao Mountain
  • Day 7 Shibao Shan – Dali
  • Day 8 Dali
  • Day 9 Dali – Gaoligongshan Mountain
  • Day 10 Gaoligongshan Mountain
  • Day 11 Gaoligongshan Mountain
  • Day 12 Gaoligongshan Mountain – Tengchong
  • Day 13 Tengchong
  • Day 14 Tengchong – Yingjiang
  • Day 15 Yingjiang – Nabang
  • Day 16 Nabang
  • Day 17 Nabang – Ruili
  • Day 18 Ruili
  • Day 19 Ruili
  • Day 20 Ruili- Kunming
  • Day 21 Kunming
  • Day 22 Kunming Departure

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Kunming

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

Today you arrive in Kunming, the Eternal Spring City and capital of Yunnan Province. Greeted and received by your local guide who will escort you to your hotel. The rest of day is at your own disposal. Overnight in Kunming.

Day 2 Kunming – Shangri-La

Sightseeing and Activities: Napa Lake, Gyalthang Old Town
Accommodation: Shangri-La
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning you will take a flight to Shangri-La (Zhongdian), met with and transferred to your hotel for luggage drop off. Then you will begin the birding in Yunnan. You will have half day birding at Napa Lake which is a seasonal alpine lake and a wetland half an hour drive from town. Later of the day you back to Shangri-la and enjoy some relaxed time in Gyalthang Old Town. Overnight at Shangrila.

Day 3 Shangri-la – Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities: Songsamlin Monastery, Tiger Leaping Gorge
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast you will have a culture visit at the Songsamlin Monastery, then you will drive towards Lijiang and make birding stops on the way. En route visit Tiger Leaping Gorge at Daju. Often called Ganden Sumtseling Monastery or Guihua Monastery, is located at the foot of Foping Mountain near Shangri-La County in Yunnan Province. The monastery was built on a hillside and looks like an ancient fort. The Songzanlin Monastery is often called as the little Potala Palace because of its traditional Tibetan architectural style. The Tiger Leaping Gorge, itself is tucked neatly between the Yulong Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain, which surround its two sides, as the turbulent water of the Jinsha River is forced by Hailuo Shan standing in its way to turn abruptly 100 degrees northeastwards and thus gives birth of the “First Bend of the Yangtze River”. Overnight at Lijiang.

Day 4 Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities: Lashi Hai (lake), Black Dragon Pool, bird watching
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Enjoy a day trip in and around Lijiang. You will first of all drive to Lashi Hai (lake) for birds, and then return Lijiang for bird watching at Black Dragon Pool in the Ancient Town. Overnight at Lijiang.

Day 5 Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today is for sightseeing. You will drive outside Lijiang to see the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain(Yulong Xueshan), including a walking to Spruce Terrace Yak, walk in the forest and birding. Located 15 km north of Lijiang old town, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain stretches 35 km from north to south with 960-square-kilometers of snow-capped area. Experts say that it has the southernmost glacier in the North Hemisphere. Of all the 13 peaks on the mountain, Shanzidou is the highest with an altitude of 5,596 meters above sea level. Looking from afar, you can see that the mountain just looks like a huge dragon lying in the cloud. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is the holy mountain – “God of Sanduo” of Naxi people. Overnight at Lijiang.

Day 6 Lijiang – Shibao Mountain

Sightseeing and Activities: Shibao Mountain
Accommodation: Shibao Mountain
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Baoxiang Hanging Temple in Jianchuan County, Dali

Drive to Shibao Mountain and birding in the mountain. Shibao Shan lies about 10km north of Shaxi on the road to Jianchuan, and was one of the very first nature reserves and religious sites to be officially protected in China back in 1982. The 2000 hectare area is made up of three separate mountains reaching up to a height of 3083 meters, known as Mount Baoding, Mount Shisan and Mount Shizhong, along with four temples; Shizhong Temple, Baoxiang Temple, Haiyun Temple, and Jinding Temple. Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 7 Shibao Shan – Dali

Sightseeing and Activities:Three Pagoda Temple
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Morning birding at Shibao Shan, head south to Dali and visit Three Pagoda Temple in the Old Town. On the way to Dali you will pass through ancient town Shaxi, an important stop on the ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Route. Three Pagodas is a symbol of the history of Dali City, and a record of the development of Buddhism in the area. As its name implies, Three Pagodas are made of three ancient independent pagodas forming a symmetrical triangle. Overnight in Dali.

Day 8 Dali

Sightseeing and Activities: Cangshan Mountain, Birding
Accommodation: Dali
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

One full day birding on Cangshan Mountain. Cangshan lies in the West of Dali. The highest summit, Malong, is 4,122m, but the mountain includes another 18 peaks all over 3,500m. The mountain is noted for its very rich, diverse flora, first scientifically documented by Pierre Jean Marie Delavay in 1882. We will have lots of opportunities to watch many kinds of pheasants on the mountain. Overnight in Dali.

Day 9 Dali – Gaoligongshan Mountain

Sightseeing and Activities:Dali – Gaoligongshan Mountain, Birding
Accommodation: Gaoligongshan Mountain
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Morning birding on Cangshan Mountain, in the afternoon we will cross the Mekong and Salween to Baihualing in the north range of the Gaoligongshan Mountain. Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 10 Gaoligongshan Mountain

Sightseeing and Activities: Baihualing Natural Reserve, Birding
Accommodation: Gaoligongshan Mountain 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

GaoliGongshan Mountain Hiking Tour

We have a full day birding at Baihualing Natural Reserve on Gaoligongshan Mountain. Walk to different parts in the mountain for birds. Have a picnic lunch during the day. Extending more than 300 miles along Yunnan’s border with Myanmar, the narrow, jagged Gaoligong mountain range meets with the Salween River in a dramatic 500-mile-long gorge. The mountains form a divide between two major rivers in Asia, with the Salween, known to the Chinese as the Nu River to the east and the Irrawaddy to the west. Two more great rivers, the Yangtze and the upper Mekong, converge where the mountains meet the Nujiang River gorge. Remote and rugged, the Gaoligong Mountains are recognized as a global biodiversity hotspot, the epicenter of plant endemism in northwest Yunnan, and a MUST-DO for birders to Yunnan. Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 11 Gaoligongshan Mountain

Sightseeing and Activities: Gaoligongshan Mountain, Birding
Accommodation: Gaoligongshan Mountain 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

We carry on the birding in Gaoligongshan Mountain. We expect to see more than 50 species on the mountain. Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 12 Gaoligongshan Mountain – Tengchong

Sightseeing and Activities: birding on the way
Accommodation: Tengchong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Drive across Gaoligongshan Mountain to Tengchong, birding on the way. Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 13 Tengchong

Sightseeing and Activities: Mt. Laifengshan, Yunfeng Mountain
Accommodation: Tengchong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Tengchong is a good place to see Yunnan’s tropical birds. We start the day birding on Mt. Laifengshan and Yunfeng Mountain in Tengchong. Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 14 Tengchong – Yingjiang

Sightseeing and Activities: Beihai Wetland, birding near Yingjiang
Accommodation: Yingjiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Birds are more active in morning time. We drive to observe as more species as possible at Beihai Wetland, in the afternoon we will drive to Yingjiang and birding near Yingjiang. Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 15 Yingjiang – Nabang

Sightseeing and Activities: birding in and around Nabang
Accommodation: Nabang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Drive to the border village Nabang, birding in and around Nabang at Nong Tian and Tongbiguan etc. Overnight at a local lodge.

Day 16 Nabang

Sightseeing and Activities: observing birds in and around Nabang
Accommodation: Nabang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Spend another day in Nabang for endemic species. We shall be observing birds in and around Nabang at Tongbiguan, Banyan King and Xima Old Trail etc. Overnight at a local lodge.

Day 17 Nabang – Ruili

Sightseeing and Activities: Greater Yingjiang River, Ruili River, Birding
Accommodation: Ruili
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today we will get to Ruili and birding at Greater Yingjiang River on the way. Ruili is a birthplace of the Dai ethnic group. The Ruili River looks like a white jade belt winding around green mountains and fields. Ruili is a prosperous border trade city. Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 18 Ruili

Sightseeing and Activities: Nanjingli Woodland and Jiele Reservoir
Accommodation: Ruili
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Birding at Nanjingli Woodland and Jiele Reservoir. Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 19 Ruili

Sightseeing and Activities: Moli Nature Reserve
Accommodation: Ruili
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

One day birding at Moli Nature Reserve in Ruili. Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 20 Ruili- Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities:Ruili Arboretum, birding on the way to Mangshi
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

We take half day birdwatching at Ruilin Arboretum, and then we will drive to Mangshi and birding on the way, take flight back to Kunming. Enjoy some free relaxed time upon checking in hotel in Kunming. Overnight in Kunming.

Day 21 Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities: West Hill and Dianchi Lake
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Birding on West Hill and Dianchi Lake. Dianchi Lake is the biggest fresh water lake in Yunnan and the sixth largest fresh water lakes in China. Driven back your hotel and free time in the afternoon. Overnight in Kunming.

Day 22 Kunming Departure

Sightseeing and Activities: Departure from Kunming
Accommodation: None
Meals: Breakfast

Departure from Kunming. Service ends.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostels
Kunming Sofitel Hotel Kunming Jinjiang Hotel Kunming Longteng Hotel Wu Fu South Yunnan Boutique Inn
Shangri-La Tianju Shangri-La E-outfitting Boutique Hotel Bodhi Boutique Inn Wu Fu South Yunnan Boutique Inn
Lijiang InterContinental Hotel E-outfitting Boutique Hotel Liwang Hotel Erma’s Inn
 Shibao Mountain / / / Local Guesthouse
Dali Hilton Dali Resort And Spa Dali E-outfitting Boutique Hotel Taiheju Hotel Dali Fengxue Gucheng
Gaoligongshan Mountain / / / Local Guesthouse
Tengchong Tengchong Guanfang Hotel   Tengchong Empark Grand Hotel   Tengchong Dongfang Xuanyi Holiday Hotel  Yinxingge Guesthouse
Yingjiang / / / Local Guesthouse
Nabang / / / Local Guesthouse
Ruili Jingcheng Dihai Hot Spring Resort Hotel Jingcai Hotel Ruili Biancheng Hotel Local Guesthouse

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 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.

Travel Tips:

  • Visitors are advised to always carry changes of clothing due to the large variations in temperature between day and night.
  • The climate is relatively dry, so drink more water every day.
  • Protecting oneself from strong UV radiation at high altitude.
  • Protecting oneself from altitude sickness. Lessen the effects of altitude sickness, avoid strenuous exercise and have plenty of rest. 
  • Respect local customs , habits, and religious beliefs.