9 Days South Yunnan Ethnic Culture Tour with Coffee and Puerh Tea Experience

Yunnan is a microcosm of China in the areas of minority affairs and nationality relations. The province has 25 minority groups, nearly half of the country’s total ( 56 ethnic groups ). With such ethnic diversity it is important to ask the question: what criteria are used to determine minority status and classification? Basically, there are five ways: Race, Language, Culture, Religion, History. This is an unconventional tour including winter experience at Yuanyang Rice Terrace and Summer experience(tropical forest) at Xishuangbannan.  This tour focuses on attractions of the cities of south Yunnan. This could also be a minority discovery tour, because you may find minority features like Yis, Hanis, Lahus, Was and Dais. 


* Fun Experiences: Hiking in Yuanyang Hini Rice Terraces; Elephant Show in Wild Elephant Valley; 
* Beautiful Sceneries: The Stone Forest, Jianshui Old Town, Jianshui Confucius Temple, Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces, Puer Tea Garden, Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden
* Ethnic Culture: Taste Yunnan Cuisine ethnic flavour, Experience the Yi, Hani, Jino and Dai ethnic culture;
* Historical Discovery: Jianshui Old Town, Tuanshan Village and Zhang Family Garden,
* Special Activities: Jianshui Pottery Maketing; Puer tea cake making; Dai ethnic paper making; the narrow-gauge railway in Jianshui ;
* Puerh Tea Culture: Puerh tea picking and Puerh tea cake making experience; Hiking along the Ancient Tea Horse Road in Nannuo Mountain.
* The dicovery of wild animals: The XishuangBanna nature reserve comprises 102 mammal species, 400 bird species, 63 reptile species, 38 amphibian species and 100 fish species. Besides, more than 90% of China’s wild elephant population is living in XishuangBanna.

Breif Itinerary

  • Day 1 Kunming Arrival
  • Day 2 Kunming-Shilin-Jianshui
  • Day 3 Jianshui-Yuanyang
  • Day 4 Yuanyang
  • Day 5 Yuanyang-Yuanjiang-Puer
  • Day 6 Puer-Daxiang Coffee-Jinghong
  • Day 7 Jinghong
  • Day 8 Jinghong-Nanuo Mountain-Jinghong
  • Day 9 Departure from Jinghong

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Kunming Arrival

Sightseeing and Activities:Kunming Arrival
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: Lunch

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.

Day 2 Kunming-Shilin-Jianshui

Sightseeing and Activities:the Stone Forest, Jianshui Old Town, the Garden of Family Zhu
Accommodation: Jianshui
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Large Stone Forest in Shilin County, Kunming

You will drive 86 km to the Stone Forest. There is a local saying: ‘It is a waste of time not to visit the Stone Forest while visiting Kunming’, which vividly expresses the deep love of the local people toward this world wonder. The quintessential karst landscape makes every tourist lost in wonder. And then, you’ll drive around 4 hours to Jiangshui. 

After arriving at Jianshui, visit the Jianshui Old Town and the Chaoyang Gateway, which was built in Ming Dynasty (1389). It is also known as ‘Miniature Tian’an men’ because the out shape of it is similar to Tian’anmen Square in Beijing. Visit a typical southern private garden-the Garden of Family Zhu.

–Jianshui is a small town in Honghe prefecture,  in the southern part of Yunnan.  It is on the road from Kunimg to the famous Yuanyang rice terraces, most of the travellers stay one night here to enjoy the atmophere of an ancient Chinese town. There are numerous buildings of historic value and places of interest in this area, including over 100 temples, academies of classical learning and large residences. Those are still kept in good condition, including the Chaoyang Gateway Arch, the Jianshui Confucius Temple, the Zhilin Temple, Shuanglong Bridge, the Private Garden of the Zhu Family and the Ancient Nalou Office Building.

Day 3 Jianshui-Yuanyang

Sightseeing and Activities:Jianshui Confucius Temple, Jianshui Touring Train, Yunnan meter-gauge railway, Shuanglong Bridge, Tuanshan Village, Zhang Family Garden, Laohuzui Rice Terraces
Accommodation: Yuanyang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, visit the Confucius Temple, which has a history of 700 years. It is the second largest Confucius Temple in China. Then you’ll take the Jianshui Touring Train to visit Tuanshan Village, Shuanglong Bridge and the Garden of Family Zhang. Tuanshan Village is a rare surviving example of an intact-albeit neglected-traditional walled Yunnan village compound in southwestern China, and has been added to the 2005 list of internationally significant sites by the World Memorial Fund for Architecture (WMF), an international fund for the protection of world heritage sites.

The Yunnan meter-gauge railway evolved from the historical Yunnan-Vietnam Railway and Gebi Linping inch-gauge railways. It has passed through 3 centuries and has been in operation for more than 100 years. It carries the special historical memories of China, France, and Vietnam. It is an important historical and cultural site. The Jianshui Sightseeing Train is now a special tourist train: it departs from Lin’an Station, which is close to Jianshui Ancient Town, passes through “Double Dragon Bridges” and “Xianghui Bridge Station”, ends at “Tuanshan Village” Station, and then returns on the same route.

The Meter-gauge railway also draws attention points. This 1177 meters long Meter-gauge railway is a legendary road that connects the cities, villages of Yunnan, such as Gejiu, Mengzi, Jianshui and Shipin. One of the earliest private railways in China was built in 1915 in Yunnan. It was an Narrow-Gauge railway originally. In 1970, it was reconstructed and changed from an Narrow-gauge railway to a mete-gauge railway. It’s an important industrial heritage of China and a “living fossil” of the world’s narrow-gauge railway.

In the afternoon, you will transfer to Yuanyang and enjoy the sight of terraced fields of Laohuzui (Tiger Mouth) at sunset. Overnight at Mengnong Chieftain Palace.

–Yuanyang is about 300km south of Kunming, renowned for its rice terraces, which was claimed as the world’s largest and most spectacular one, crafted out by bare hands by the Hani people one thousand years ago and is still in use today. The rice farmers have had to practice ecology and land preservation centuries before those concepts were widely accepted around the world. Without hard work maintaining the terrace walls and irrigation system, the precious top soil would wash down the hillsides into the rivers.
Yuanyang Rice Terrace is a self sustaining ecosystem. During winter to early spring, the entire field is irrigated with spring water from the forest above to rejuvenate and getting prepared for the next season. The Hani people have repeated this for more than a thousand years. There is only one harvest in a year for the Yuanyang Rice Terrace; planting is from March to Oct./Nov. every year.

Day 4 Yuanyang

Sightseeing and Activities:the rise view of Duoyishu Rice Terraces, Qingkou Village, Shengcun Market, Laohuzui Rice Terraces
Accommodation: Yuanyang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Get up very early in the morning, you’ll drive 30KM to visit Duoyishu Village and enjoy the sunrise of Duoyishu Rice Terrace Fields when the sun appears above the eastern horizon. The terraced fields are ring upon ring and cascade one by one. They go along the hillside up to the sky. You will see the scenery of the terraced fields from the top of the mountains to the bottom. There are all farms under the sunshine and cloud and mist. The landscape is spectacular.

And then, you will visit Bada Hani Rice Terrace, Shengcun Market where Hani people for generations inhabit. Visit  Qingkou Village and rice terraces as well. You will enjoy the sunset of Laohuzui Rice Terraces in the late afternoon at Panzhihua Town.

Transfer back to Xinjie Town.

Day 5 Yuanyang-Yuanjiang-Puer

Sightseeing and Activities:the Great Bend of Red River, Honghe Bridge,China Puer Tea Exhibition Garden,Plum Lake
Accommodation: Pu’er
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Drive along the Red River Valley to Yuanjiang, visit the Great Bend of Red River on the way. Arrive in Yuanjiang, pay a visit to the Honghe Bridge, which is famous for being the highest bridge in the world.

Continue the driving to Puer, visit China Puer Tea Exhibition Garden in Puer City. Located at the Yingpan Mountains, 34km (21mi) from Cuiyun District of Puer City, and near Puer National Park, the China Puer Tea Exhibition Garden covers an area of 24,167mu (1,611ha). It is an ideal place for growing Puer Tea because of the pleasant climate and great environment. There you can enjoy tea-leaves picking, processing, and exquisite drinking art, as well as buying some to bring home.(We will arrange tea cake making experience in Nannuoshan Mountain in XishuangBanna.)

Visit the Plum Lake in Puer City in the late afternoon. Meizi Lake or Plum Lake is 3.5 km long; its water area is 600 Mu (Chinese acre) and its average depth is 15 meters. For sightseeing, boating facilities have been equipped. In particular, on the lake shore, there are pavilions and archaized architectures, and corridors to display the calligraphic works of the local literati.

Day 6 Puer-Daxiang Coffee Farm -Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities:The Wild Elephant Valley, Daxiang Coffee Farm
Accommodation: Jinghong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Yunnan is not only famous for ethnic diversity and tea, but also getting more and more famous for its small seed coffee. At present, the planting area of Yunnan coffee accounts for 70% of the total planting area in China and its production accounts for 83% of the total production of the whole country. Yunnan small seed coffee has established a dominant position in China. Let’s start a tour for looking for good quality of coffee and tea, and experience ethnic culture.

Today coffee, tea and cocoa are called the world’s three major beverages. According to Records of Puer Region and Records of Puer City, in 1956, Jiangcheng Hani and Yi Autonomous County established a coffee farm in Manlaojie and introduced small coffee varieties for cultivation.

After breakfast, we will drive around 1 hour to Mengzhuzhai (勐主寨) and visit Daxiang Coffee Farm(大象咖啡庄园). Arrive at Daxiang Coffee Farm and start the coffee making class (around 5-6 hours). Yunnan coffee is the “golden belt” of the world’s finest coffee beans. Almost half of Yunnan’s total coffee production comes from Pu’er. After more than 20 years of painstaking development, Pu’er has been called the “coffee capital” of China. China may be the only country in the world that both consumes and grows coffee. And Pu’er coffee is a real Chinese taste.

After lunch, we will have chance to visit the wild elephants in Mengzhuzhai Village with the help of the boss of Daxiang Coffee Farm.

Optional Tour:
We will drive around half an hour to the Wild Elephant Valley, which is the first national park in China focusing on animal and environmental protection. The wild Elephant Valley is densely forested, frequently visited by Asian wild elephants, bison, green peacocks and black bears. It is a natural reserve where visitors can experience close contact with wild elephants in a comparatively safe way.
Drive 1.5 hour to Jinghong City in the late afternoon.

Day 7 Jinghong-Menglun-Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities:Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden, Dai Ethnic Garden, Manting Park
Accommodation: Jinghong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Manting Park in Jinghong City, Xishuangbanna-21

In the morning drive from Puer to Menglun Town.  Take a tour of the Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden. As the home to many rare flora and endangered fauna, Xishuangbanna is an excellent place to take in the unique beauty of sub-tropical nature and biodiversity in China. Take a visit to the Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden and observe beautiful flowers, shrubbery, and trees in the spacious garden. If you go early enough in the morning, you can see the sunrise cast a dreamy golden glow over the garden.

Drive to visit Dai Ethnic Garden, located in the Ganlan Basin in Menghan County, proudly holds a national 4A rating as one of China’s top scenic spots. Within the Dai Ethnic Garden, five Dai villages – Manjiang, Manchunman, Manting, ManZha, and Manga – cover an area of 3.36 square kilometers and consist of 309 families, or 1487 individual villagers.

Transfer to Jinghong in the late afternoon and pay a visit Manting Park which is a modern park that measures about 30 acres in Jinghong, Xishuangbanna. It has a large new Buddhist temple called Zongfo Si. There is a display of ethnic architecture, and people entertain themselves by water fights during the Dai Water Splashing Festival each year. Entertainment is presented in the evening.

Day 8 Jinghong-Nannuo Mountain-Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities:Nanuo tea mountain hiking, Puerh tea picking and Puerh tea cake making; Manting Park,  General Buddhist Temple
Accommodation: Jinghong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Nannuo Mountain is famous in China and abroad as the home of the “King of Tea Tree,” a human cultivated 800+ year old tree. Fine tea tree varieties and superior natural conditions produce outstanding Nannuo Mountain tea products. Puer Tea is mainly made of tea of Nannuo Mountain. Nannuo Tea Mountain become famous with the selling of Puer Tea at home and abroad.

Well-known for its long history of tea cultivation, Nannuo Mountain (南糯山) has gone through a series of transformations but remains a place for pilgrimage. Its trees, many aged between 200 and 500 years, produce some of the best pu’er tea in the province.

In the morning, we will be accompanied by our tour guide in Jinghong, we will head out to meet some local tea farmers at a nearby town. Shitou Village (石头村) is a traditional Aini (爱昵) settlement, which rests peacefully on the side of Nannuo mountain amid groves of bamboo and tea.

We will hike through these Ethnic Villages in Nannuo Mountain. Villages in Nannuo Mountain consist of Banpo Laozhai Village(半坡老寨), Duoyizhai Village(南糯山多依寨村), Guniang Village(姑娘寨), Yakou Xinzhai Village(丫口新寨), Laozhai Village(老寨), Shitouzhai Village(石头寨),Zhulincun Village(竹林村寨) ,Xiangyang Village(向阳寨) and Shuihe Village(水河寨).

The half-day tour includes:
a. Round-trip transportation from the hotel to Nannuo Mountain (up to 4 passengers)
b. A visit to the Hani Tourism and Cultural Village to experience the local culture
c. A hike up to the Banpo Laozhai tea-making village on Nannuo Mountain
d. Crossing through the centuries-old tea forest along the way and visiting the 800-year-old tea tree
e. A visit to the small market in Nannuo Shanzhai

Transfer back to Jinghong in the afternoon. After that, we will head to the Manting Park, which is a natural village park and the oldest one in Xishuangbanna. There are 8 areas in the park, including the national culture square, the vine plant area, the tropical orchid garden, the peacock garden, the Buddhist culture area and etc.

From here, you can walk less than 10 minutes to the General Buddhist Temple, which is the highest Buddhist temple in Xishuangbanna. It is also the center for the Buddhist worships there. The biggest characteristic of the temple is the use of a large number of relieve silver plates, which stands in sharp contrast to the gold painted architectural decoration and the vermilion walls. In addition, the performance of the “Lancang River • Mekong Night” and the campfire party are the biggest highlights of the park, which are well worth a visit.

Day 9 Departure from Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities:Departure from Jinghong
Accommodation: Jinghong

Free at leisure before be transferred to Jinghong airport for your departure flight. Service ends.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostels
Kunming Crown Plaza Kunming City Centre Wenhui Hotel Baiyun Hotel Local Hostel
Dongchuan  /  Shanju Hotel Spring&Autumn Hotel Local Hostel
Shilin Days Hotel Shilin Shilin Bosheng Holiday Hotel Shilin Hotel Local Hostel
Yuanyang Duoyishu Landscape Hotel Yunti Hotel(Shengcun Village) Yunti Hotel(Xinjie Town) Local Hostel
Puer  / Jinglan Hotel Basaicheng Local Hostel
Jinghong Empark Grand Hotel Xishuangbanna Jinglan Hotel Duchang Hotel Local Hostel

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.