8 Days Northeast Yunnan Photograph Tour

In winter, tourists would like to visit the northeast Yunnan for photography tour for the Nianhu snow, Nianhu Lake, Dongchuan Red Land, and Dashanbao black-necked crane. The 8-day tour is one of the famous Yunnan photography tours. It can not be missed for photographers. They are all in the best time to be visited. You will really see the spectacular view of Yunnan. 


  • Have a view of diverse birds of Yunnan.
  • Enjoy the charming landscape and idyllic sunset and sunrise.
  • Take photos of spectacular view of northeast Yunnan. 

Brief Itinerary:

  • Day 1 Arrive in Kunming
  • Day 2 Kunming-Dongchuan
  • Day 3 Dongchuan-Huize
  • Day 4 Huize-Nianhu Lake
  • Day 5 Nianhu Lake-Zhaotong-Dashanbao
  • Day 6 Dashanbao
  • Day 7 Dashanbao-Kunming
  • Day 8 Departure from Kunming

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities: Kunming City,
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: Lunch

Arrive in the beautiful spring city – Kunming and check in hotel, then enjoy your free time. Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, is China’s famous historical and cultural city, also China’s excellent tourism city, and a collection of natural landscape and human landscape.

Day 2 Kunming-Dongchuan

Sightseeing and Activities: Sunset Photograph: Dongchuan Red Land— Qicaipo—Jinxiuyuan—Luoxiagou—Waliangfangzi
Accommodation: Dongchuan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Set off in the morning and head to Dongchuan Red Land. Probably arrive at moon to check in the hotel and have lunch. After a short rest, head to Luoxiagou, Qicaipo and Jinxiuyuan to photograph, and go to Waliangfangzi to shoot sunset.

Qicaipo: With beautiful colors and high terrain, in different angles and different seasons,the different plots on the hillside have different colors, which will give you different visual impacts. The Qicaipo is suitable for local light shooting, and the best time for shooting is in the afternoon.

Jinxiuyuan: Jinxiuyuan is the largest and most imposing place in Dongchuan red land.

You can see a huge range of slopes, different angels and different views. Less magnificent than Damakan and Luoxiagou, but more pretty, and more suitable for local light; the best time for shooting is 4:00-5:30 pm due to location of east side of the mountain and there will be shadow if too late.

Waliangfangzi: Waliangfangzi is the best place to watch the sunset and the sunset glow where the terrain is high, and you can have a panoramic view of Lepuao. Before sunset, you can also go to the Snail Farm nearby to have a visit, which is very convenient.

Day 3 Dongchuan-Huize

Sightseeing and Activities:Red Land-Damakan sunrise-Lepuao-Huize
Accommodation: Huize
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Set off at 6:00 am and head to Damakan, which takes 25 minutes to arrive at the photography spot. When the first ray of sunlight hits the village, the distinct light and shadow makes it the best time to shoot and you can finish at about 8 o ‘clock.

Then head to Lepuao, after finished shooting, drive to Huize. The sunset and the sunset glow, stands on the shore watching the round red sun blooming the red clouds, golden red light casts shadows on the lake. So mysterious. The dusk with the intoxicating sunset, the blue sky with the still beautiful lake, the yearning with the distant silhouette, as well as the movement of black-neck cranes as a symbol of auspicious, happy and faithful. After sunset on the left bank, the people, cattle and the silhouette of birds, are fuzzy and fade-out gradually, like ink painting, real magic, and the reed patches spread out into the water, dividing the lake.

Nianhu LakeAround November of each year, a large number of black-necked cranes and bar-headed geese fly here to spend winter until march of the following year. The peaceful water attracts national kayak athletes here to assemble for training. The quiet mountains, clear water and red land, under the guidance of the active migratory birds, show a dynamic scroll and become the paradise of the photographer and the backpackers.

Day 4 Huize-Nianhu Lake

Sightseeing and Activities:Nianhu Lake Birding, Daqiao Black-necked Crane Nature Reserve
Accommodation: Huize
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

The whole day for Nianhu Lake photography. (Nianhu Lake sunrise-Black-necked Crane- Nianhu sunset)

Early in the morning to shoot Nianhu Lake sunrise and a flock of birds flying when the sun comes from the lake and paved with red and dyed golden, black-necked cranes fly up to the sky, just at this moment, someone rowing a small boat and the water rippling gently, the sight is more beautiful.

My Yunnan Bird Tour to Dashanbao Nature Reserve in Zhaotong, Nianhu Lake in Huize and Caohai Lake in Guizhou

After breakfast, go to the commanding height to shoot Lijiawan panorama. Walk down the street through a long winding mountain road, and the blue dress of the lake is in front of you. Under the mountains, the winding water bank linked with the red earth, which is Yangmei mountain and there is a village called Li jiawan. Standing in the eye of Li jiawan village, water on the left and mountain on the right. A lake of water to the horizon, in the sunlight, flickering intoxicating eyes, sometimes under the shadow of the hills and trees, coy to reveal the attractive appearance. 

After lunch, take a rest and set off in the afternoon to shoot the sunset of the lake and the return of the black-necked cranes, in the loneliness of intoxicating beauty, you can get a kind of longing of wide and boundless.

Day 5 Nianhu Lake-Zhaotong-Dashanbao

Sightseeing and Activities:Nianhu Lake sunrise-Jigong Mountain-Dashanbao Mountain
Accommodation: Zhaotong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, capture the sunrise of the lake and the flying black-necked cranes in the light. After breakfast, drive to Zhaotong Dashanbao Black-necked Cranes National Nature Reserve. Probably arrive at the township in the afternoon, and then head to Tiaodunhe, five kilometers from the township and running against Dahaizi, fairy field plateau meadow area on the way and you can turn into the pasture to experience the cattle and sheep flocks of “Mongolian amorous feelings”. Finally, take a trip to shoot the sunset of the mountain.

TiaodunheThe main habitat of black-neck cranes during winter, which covering an area of 340 hectare and nestling between the rolling hills, like a beautiful girl, gentle and transparent, clean but more beautiful. Every winter, the elves perch dancing here and start their courtship and reproduction, with high clouds, clear water and loess, who spend the long winter in this original ecological wetland, leaving a charming and beautiful image to photographers, artists and writers.
Jigong Mountain: The sweet home of the world’s rare and endangered species and also the best place to watch sea of clouds and sunset. If you are lucky, you can see the Buddhist light here.The mountain was named for its shape like a head of cock, and the huge stones on the top of the hill was a perfectly brilliant crow.

The meadows, mountains, lakes, canyons, fog, clouds and folk customs…Has gradually attract the domestic and foreign tourists, science and technology workers, environmentalists, photographer, and explorers; the lake area sets landscape, wetlands, meadows, rivers, rare bird into one, and integrates expanse, beauty, mystery and rareness, which is a piece of pure land without pollution and extremely rare for sightseeing, photography, expedition, adventure, leisure and entertainment.

Day 6 Dashanbao

Sightseeing and Activities:Dashanbao Nature Reserve, Dahaizi sunrise, Black-necked Cranes
Accommodation: Zhaotong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

The whole day for Dashanbao photography(Dahaizi sunrise, black-necked cranes, black-necked cranes homing)

Head to Dahaizi early in the morning to shoot black-necked cranes and the sunrise, in the faint light, you can see the figure of a large group of crane in a long row along the sea, and with the sound of “goo – goo -“. The sun leaps from the water and lights the sea full of golden, and you will head to Dahaizi birds monitoring room on the hillside 200 meters away from the black-necked crane under the arrangement of Dashanbao reserve administration, please be quite and can’t disturb the cranes. Have a rest after lunch and photograph in the afternoon. The elves gather together from all sides and prepare to return to their nest before darkness.

Day 7 Dashanbao-Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities:Dahaizi sunrise
Accommodation: Kunming
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, go to Dahaizi to shoot black-necked cranes and sunrise. Once completion, forward to Kunming, probably arrive in the evening. We will send you to Kunming railway station, where is the starting point of airport terminal line 2 and convenient to go anywhere. 

Seven days of getting along let us part with reluctance, wave goodbye to these friends and hope to meet next time. And the friends who will stay for tonight just have a happy time!

Tips: Probably arrive in Kunming at 16:00 and suggest to book the return trip after 21:30, but still recommend you to stay in kunming for one night.

Day 8 Departure from Kunming

Sightseeing and Activities:Hiageng Park, Haigeng Dam, Daguan Park and The Green Lake birding by your own.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Free by your own, you can choose the birding places around Dianchi Lake to visit the seagulls.
Places to visit seagulls in Kunming: Hiageng Park, Haigeng Dam, Daguan Park and the Green Lake.
Departure from Kunming according to your flights.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostels

Sofitel Hotel

Kunming Jinjiang Hotel

Kunming Longteng Hotel

T&T Story Hotel
Dongchuan / House on The Hill  Chunqiu Hotel

Jvying Guesthouse

Huize / Huize Decheng Ramada  Hotel Huize Hotel Huize Shiguang Bieyuan Inn
Zhaotong / Zhaotong Ziguang Hotel Zhaotong Hotel Home 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;

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.