8 Days Yunnan Classic Tour with Shaxi Old Town (Kunming-Dali-Shaxi-Lijiang-ShangriLa))

For this 8 days Yunnan classic tour, you will visit the highlights of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La. This is also a minority discovery tour, because you will find minority diversity during your trip, the minorities such as Yis, Bais, Naxis and Tibetan. Moreover, the Tiger Leaping Gorge will be the most impressive part of your trip, you could be shocked by the ruggedness and magnificence of Tiger Leaping Gorge and the mountains around when you are there. This part can not be missed.


  • Visit the highlights of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La.
  • Discover the ethnic culture of Yis, Bais, Naxis and Tibetan.
  • Be shocked by the ruggedness and magnificence of Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Kunming Arrival
  • Day 2: Kunming – Stone Forest – Kunming
  • Day 3: Kunming – Dali
  • Day 4: Dali – Lijiang
  • Day 5: Lijiang
  • Day 6: Lijiang – Tiger Peaping Gorge – Shangri-La
  • Day 7: Shangri-La
  • Day 8: Shangri-La Departure

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities: the Green Lake Park
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: No meals

Welcome to Kunming, the Spring City of China! Upon arrival at the Kunming airport/train station, the local tour guide and driver will meet you in the arrival hall and escort you to your hotel.You’ll begin your journey to the diverse and captivating province of Yunnan from the capital city, Kunming.

The Green Lake Park(Cuihu Park) in Kunming

After a short rest, stroll in the most picturesque park in Kunming urban area – the Green Lake Parka charming area of tea houses and small boutiques selling handicrafts and beautiful local paintings. Here you can share the happiness of local people’s doing tai chi, performing local opera, and other vibrant activities. If you visit the park in November or December, you will see the grandeur of huge flocks of red-beaked seagulls that migrate there from Siberia.

Day 2 Kunming – Stone Forest – Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities:The Stone Forest, Sani Village, the Flowers and Birds Market
Accommodation: Kunming
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’. The Stone Forest is in Shilin Yi Nationality Autonomous County, which is about 120 kilometers from Kunming and requires only a three-hour drive. It covers an area of 400 square kilometers (96,000 acres) and includes both large and small stone forests, as well as many other scenic spots. The Stone Forest has unique karst topography which is one of the best of its kind within China.

Afterwards, visit a minority village of Sani People, to admire their colorful minority costumes and exotic tradition cultures. You’ll have a nice chance to listen to the touching love story of Ashima told by local old people. The Sani minority people are one group of the branches of the Yi. The Sani Minority Villages around the Stone Forest cluster many small Yi ethnic villages.

After the tour, be transferred to Kunming and visit the Flowers and Birds Market in the downtown.

Day 3 Kunming – Dali by Speed Train

Sightseeing and Activities: The Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple, Erhai Lake cruise, Dali Ancient Town
Accommodation: Dali
Meals:Packaging breakfast, Lunch

Reflection Park of Three Pagodas in Dali City

Take the morning speed train to Dali, meet your local guide and transfer to the hotel in Dali Ancient Town. Dali, a historically and culturally famous city of China, is renowned for her historical interest and Bai ethnic culture.

After that,  you will 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, 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.

Xiao (Little) Putuo Island of Erhai Lake in Dali

Afterwards, visit Dali Ancient Town which is 13 kilometers away from Xiaguan in Dali City. It can be dated back to the year 1382 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and has been among the top listed historical cities of China since 1982. With Erhai Lake to the east, and Cangshan Mountain to the west, its grand city wall, traditional Bai ethnic minority folk houses and marvelous scenery have been attracting many visitors. The tour in Dali Ancietn Town will include the Forigners Street, the Gate Towers and the Ancient City Wall.Walk along the ancient street and arrive the south entrance to Dali Ancient Town,pay a visi to the Ancient City Wall of Dali which was built in the 15th year of Hongwu in the Ming dynasty (AD1382) after the Ming army occupied Dali. Backing on the Mt. Cangshan and facing the Erhai, it is 7.5 meters high and 6 meters deep rounding an area of 36 square kilometers. Nowadays, only some parts of the north and south ancient wall were still standing.

Day 4 Dali -Shaxi- Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities: Xizhou Old Town, Xizhou Morning Market, Zhoucheng Village, Bai Ethnic Tie-dyeing Cloth Workshop, Shaxi Old Town, Lijiang Old Town
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning,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. This little village has been called ‘a living art museum’ due to its unusual concentration of nationally protected heritage sites, mostly including architecture that spans the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) until the creation of New China in 1949, but also includes centuries old trees, parks, and wildlife preserves.

Strolling through the morning market and main walking street will reveal a vibrant town with a healthy mix of traditional Bai culture and modern influence from Eastern China and abroad. It is the balance of development and forward thinking that exists in Xizhou that makes it special.

After Xizhou, visit Zhoucheng Village which is the largest Bai ethnic village in China and the Bai Ethnic Tie-dying Cloth Workshop where you can take some special souvenir with the Bai ethnic style. The tie-dyeing products in Zhoucheng Village are well sought after, both at home and abroad. Do drop by and witness the process of this historical craftsmanship. Who knows, you will return home with some cheap and beautiful crafted cloths.

Transfer to Shaxi Old Town, Shaxi was a bustling trade station on the Tea and Horse Caravan that linked Yunnan and Tibet with Southeast Asia for tea and horse trading. The World Monuments Fund has listed Shaxi as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world because of its historical importance as the only surviving example of a Tea & Horse Caravan trade center.

Embark on a captivating hike from Sideng Street to a neighboring village, tracing the footsteps of Meet Yourself. Begin your journey by crossing the charming Yujin Bridge, meandering alongside the serene Heihui River. Immerse yourself in the idyllic countryside, where you may catch glimpses of locals tending to their fields and encounter a lady gracefully carrying a basket of freshly harvested plants. Make a stop at Beilong village and be pleasantly surprised by a hidden gem—a beautiful bookstore housed in a former crop processing factory. The entire walk spans approximately 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) and culminates in Duanjiaden village. Along the way, take a moment to relax and indulge in a book at the bookstore or savor a cup of local coffee at a charming café. Windy Courtyard in Fengyang Yi Village: Discover the Locale of “Meet Yourself”. Explore the enchanting Windy Courtyard in Fengyang Yi Village, the picturesque setting featured in the drama “Meet Yourself.” Immerse yourself in the allure of local folk ethnic culture, delving into the rich tapestry of history, delectable cuisine, traditional attire, customs, traditions, and architectural splendors.

Drive to Shibaoshan Mountain to visit the Haiyunju Temple, Baoxiang Temple, Wild Monkeys, Shizhongsi Temple and the Ancient Grottoes. Mt. Shibaoshan is famous for its picturesque landscape, elegant temples and Shizhongshan Grottoes, a collection the largest caves in Yunnan.

Arrive in Lijiang in the afternoon.

You will be relaxed around Lijiang Old Town, a well-preserved old city of ethnic minorities with brilliant culture, is a central town of the Lijiang Autonomous County of the Naxi Ethnic Minority in Yunnan Province. Located on the plateau which is 2,400 meters above the sea level and embraced by the tree-covered Lion Mountain in the west, Elephant and Golden Row Mountains in the north, vast fertile fields in the southeast and crystal clear water running through, the old town looks like a big jade ink slab, therefore got the alias the Town of Big Ink Slab (Dayanzhen).

Day 5 Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Ganhiazi Meadow, Baihsuihe River, Yak Meadow, Impression Lijiang Show, Baisha Old Town, Baisha Murals
Accommodation: Lijiang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Enjoy the sunrise of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Lijiang Ancient Town in the morning, drive about 30KM to Ganhaizi Meadow(3100M), take the sightseeing bus for a short visiting through the Baishuihe River, take the chairlift up to visit Yak Meadow of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The cable-way will be arranged according to the condition of the mountain. You will hike around 1 hour in the original forest in Yak Meadow.

After lunch, enjoy Impression Lijiang Show which is A Spectacular Show with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as the Backdrop, directed by the famous director Zhang Yimou. The show is innovatively staged in the morning and afternoon, at 3,100 meters (10,100 feet) above sea level with Jade Snow Mountain as the breathtaking backdrop.

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

Day 6 Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge – Shangri-La

Sightseeing and Activities: Shigu Old Town, the First Bend of Yangtze River, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Dukezong Ancient Town, Guishan Hill
Accommodation: Shangri-La
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour between Lijiang and Shangrila

From Lijiang, you’ll drive about 60KM to the First Bend on the Yangtze River with imposing gorge scenery, visit the Iron Chain Bridgethe 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(Shangri-La section), 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.

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 Shangri-La County and Dukezong Ancient Town.

Day 7 Shangri-La

Sightseeing and Activities: Songzanlin Monastery, Pudacuo National Park, Tibetan Family Visit
Accommodation: Shangri-La
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today, visit the Songzanlin 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. 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.

After that, pay a visit to a Tibetan Family.

Day 8 Departure from Shangri-La

Sightseeing and Activities:Departure from Shangri-La
Accommodation: None

Departure from Shangri-La. Service ends.

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 and vehicle for transfers & sightseeing;
  • Service charge & government taxes;
  • Luggage transfers between airports and hotels;
  • Two bottles of mineral water each day;

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;
  • Domestic air tickets fares with airport tax and fuel extra fee based on economy class mentioned in the program.

Travel Tips:

About the meals by Yunnan Exploration
We Yunnan Adventure Travel to provide our clients with well-arranged dinners when traveling. We do hope you can enjoy Chinese delicacies during the tour.
If you have any specific dietary requirements (vegetarian, vegan, food allergies) please inform us on the inquiry form so that we can provide advance notice about any special accommodations that may be necessary for you. If you are a food lover, Yunnan Adventure can be your culinary guide and provide you the opportunity to savor tempting local food and world-famous dishes.
Most meals are included as specified in the itinerary. Meal codes are: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner.
Breakfast – Each breakfast will be served in your hotel. Breakfast selections include both Chinese and Western dishes to meet every diner’s taste.
Lunch – Lunches are normally arranged at the Chinese restaurants near the scenic spots. Your tour guides will order food according to your appetite. Most are Chinese dishes, and some are modified to fit westerners’ tastes. A complimentary glass of beer or soft drink is served with lunch.
Dinner – Same as lunch. If you prefer to not eat Chinese food, China Odyssey Tours suggests you have dinner on your own. Your local tour guide can recommend some good western restaurants in the area.

Some Question and Answers about Meals in China:

  • Are the meals shown in the itinerary pre-arranged or could we make our own orders when we sit down at the table?

Answer: To guarantee the hygiene and quality, most of the meals are pre-arranged in the government approved restaurants, which are all set-menu meals. You can not make your own orders at this point. We also arrange a la carte meals in some restaurants, which have been inspected by the management of our company. If you have special requirements for meals, please inform us before the tour starts so we can make relevant arrangements.

  • What kind of meals will be available on tour?

Answer: All breakfasts are served at your hotel with western style buffet including fruits, cold and hot cereals, Chinese dim sum etc. Lunch and dinner are usually Chinese food. Each lunch and dinner will be offered with two cups of soft drink free of charge.

  • Do you provide vegetarian (including no chicken or seafood) meals?

Answer: Yes, we do provide vegetarian meals if required. We always respect the clients’ dietetic habits and try our best to cater to their needs. But we would like to explain that if you are not on a private tour, you will have to share the vegetarian dishes with other members of the group.

  • Do we share large tables with other people?

Answer: If you are on a private tour, you will have your own table, but if you join in a group tour you will have to share a large table with other members of your group.

  • Can I arrange my own meals rather than the pre-arranged restaurants in the tours?

Answer: Yes, you can but we do not suggest you do so.
Firstly the restaurants we arrange are all approved by the national tourism administration or local tourism bureau and therefore are reliable in terms of hygiene and quality. Secondly, we arrange good restaurants located the closest to the place you will visit, that is to say, we will save time spent in transit and allow you the maximum time to enjoy your sightseeing as well as your meal. If you prefer to find a restaurant yourselves, you might not be able to find a reliable one with good quality because you are not familiar with local area. You might also sacrifice valuable eating and sightseeing time searching for a restaurant.

  • What are the suggestions for dinners that are not included in the program?

Answer: Besides some unique meals, like roast duck, we leave almost all dinners to discover for yourselves. You do not need to worry, however, about where or what to have for dinner. In each city, there are good things to eat and you only need to ask for suggestions from your local guide. Please always remember to choose a restaurant respected for its hygiene and quality.
China is a country of good food and there are eight main cuisines. Make sure to try some of these typical dishes when you have time.

  • Can you give us an idea of how much Chinese Yuan we will need for meals during our tour? Do they accept credit cards?

Answer: The meal price depends on the grade of the restaurant you choose and the dishes you order. Credit cards are only accepted in large hotels. In most of the restaurants in China, Chinese Yuan is more popular. In order to avoid embarrassment, we advise you to ask whether credit card is accepted before making an order.

  • Our food and menu in Yunnan

We do arrange the featured Chinese food and local Yunnan food as well as the local ethnic food and snack. Please click the Yunnan Restaurant and Food to get the menu.