How to Plan Winter Tour in Yunnan

More and more people choose to travel to Yunnan in winter because there is no severe cold, and with no withering grass and flowers. So there is a question: how to plan you Yunnan holiday in winter? It depends on your holiday duration and your preferred destination. Generally, Kunming-Dali-Lijiang is most favored by first time travelers. If you are a shutterbug, you can choose Dongchuan Red Land and Yuanyang Rice Terraces as your destination. If your are an enthusiasticbirder, Dianchi Lake Dam(Kunming) Nianhu Lake Black-necked Crane Nature Reserve(Qujing) and Zhaotong Dashanbao Black-necked Cranes National Nature Reserve are your top choice of Yunnan Winter tour. If you want to experience the summer of Yunnan, undoubtedly Xishuangbanna is the best option.

Choose a Gateway City

Choose a gateway city in China to take a flight or high-speed train to Kunming. You can start your tour from BeijingShanghaiXi’anChengdu and other cities to appreciate more about China’s charm. Or you can also fly from TaiwanHong Kong or cities in other countries like Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Hanoi, Dacca, Phnom Penh, Osaka, Singapore, Calcutta, Rangoon, Mandalay, Vientiane and Bangkok. Kunming is usually the first stop and the gateway city of Yunnan tour.

Make the Travel Destination Sure


Northern Yunnan, which borders Tibet, has the highest mountains and the coldest winter temperatures. If you would like to visit Haba Snow MountainMeili Snow MountainJade Dragon Snow Mountain(Lijiang) and other snow mountain, winter is a good time to visit. Otherwise, you should prevent to go north to Shangri-La or Deqin


As a popular destination in Yunnan, Lijiang is considered as a fairyland blessed with fresh air, clear streams, breathtaking snow mountains and an undisturbed landscape inhabited by Naxi ethnic minority. In winter, Lijiang enjoys more sunshine than other seasons. Choosing a favorable local guesthouse and having a warm sun bath on a sling chair is a perfect way to spend your holiday in Lijiang.


Walking around Dali, you will witness the magical power and charm with your own eyes. Dali has around 126 days in the year with temperatures around 18-21℃(54-66 F) which is the most appropriate temperature for taking a break. In addition, it enjoys abundant sunshine which is most welcome during the winter months thanks to its high altitude.


With its perpetual spring-like weather which provides the ideal climate for plants and flowers, Kunming is known as the “Spring City”. Every winter, black-headed gulls from Siberia fly to Kunming and settle in Green Lake and Dianchi Lake, forming a harmonious scene of human beings and nature. Besides, Dongchuan Red Land and Jiaozi Snow Mountainare worth visiting.


Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces is marked by spectacular terraces that cascade down the slopes of the towering Ailao Mountains to the banks of the Honghe River. In winter, there is only water in paddy field. With the change of sunray, terrace presents different beautiful scenery. Sea of cloud often appears at these months. If you want to experience rice transplanting, come and visit Yuanyang Terraces in late April.


Located south of the Tropic of Cancer, Xishuangbannan enjoys the tropical monsoon climate. November to next May is dry season with cool weather so that it is the hot tourism season. Try to avoid the peak holidays due to crowded Chinese tourists such as Chinese Spring Festival (usually in late Jan or early Feb.) While if you would like to taste the rich tropical fruit here, traveling during the period from June to September is a good choice. 

Make the Tour Theme Sure

Yunnan Birdwatching Tour

Since the weather in most areas of Yunnan is mild in winter, thousands of various birds migrate to Yunnan, Mainly from Sibiria during the winter. In the season of winter when migratory birds flock into Yunnan, many (wetland) parks are highlighted by such birds such as the wintering grounds for the red-beaked seagulls in Kunming and black-necked cranes in Nianhu(Qujing) and Huize(Zhaotong). 

Yunnan Flower Watching Tour

Early every late winter(January) or early spring, the blossoming Luoping rapeseed flowers draws flocks of tourists and photographers. Sprawling farmland covered in golden rape stretches right up to the horizon, forming a sea of yellow buds and filling the air with the refreshing smell of spring. In recent years, Luoping Rapeseed Flowers Tour has been popular and enjoyed good fame.

Yunnan Hiking & Climbing Tour

Yunnan is the paradise for hikers. The popular winter hiking routes of Tiger Leaping GorgeCangshan MountainLaojun Mountain favored by thousands of adventure tourists. Besides, climbing up a snow mountain such as Haba Snow MountainMeili Snow MountainJade Dragon Snow Mountain, Jiaozi Snow Mountain,are worth to have a try.

Yunnan Photography Tour

If you are a shutterbug, you can choose Dongchuan Red Land and Yuanyang Rice Terraces as your destination. The bright red land with blue sky, white cloud and unpredictable light form the spectacular scenery of Dongchuan Red Land, hence the name ‘God’s Palette’. Every winter, a crowd of photographers are attracted by the spectacular view of Yuanyang terrace like sunrise, sunset, sea of cloud. More and more people admire the charm of Yuanyang rice terrace.

Yunnan Ethnic Minority Discovery

Yunnan has the largest number of ethnic population in China with 25 ethnic minorities including Bai, Yi, Dai, Naxi, Hani, Miao, Tibetan, Hui and Yao. A visit to Yunnan offers an unique and exciting experience of ethnic customs with more than 400 ethnic minorities festivals. The ethnic minorities maintain their unique folk traditions and customs full of myths and celebrated the festivals by singing, dancing, paintings and playing the ancient music.

Yunnan Student Education Tour

For those who are interested in Chinese culture, especially interested in Yunnan culture, students education tour includes the special visiting to local schools and experience local life with ethnic people, which can help you to learn more about Yunnan ethnic culture and daily life of local people. Students will have chance to know about the local students’ study life by having classes, games etc. They will also have opportunity to learn how to make some handicrafts, visit some ancient architecture and well-known attractions, and experience beautiful nature by hiking. Our students education tours usually start from Kunming, Dali or Lijiang. Jianshui is also a good place to begin your education tour, where you can experience the Confucius culture at Jianshui Confucius Temple. 

Make the Travel Duration Sure

Visit Yunnan in One Day

If you only have a day in Yunnan, it is recommended to visit the highlights of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang or Xishuangbanna.


In Kunming, you can visit the Green Lake, Dianchi LakeBirds and Flowers MarketJinma Biji ArchwayNanping Street and Yuantong Temple. You can also spend the day exploring the Stone Forest, appreciating the beautiful scenery of Jiaozi Snow Mountain, photographing Dongchuan Red Land, the “color palette of God” or maybe enjoying the leisure time of playing golf and beautiful scenery of spring city golf and lake resort.

Kunming Day Tour Packages:
1 Day Kunming City Discovery Tour
1 Day Kunming Stone Forest Tour
1 Day Kunming Jiaozi Snow Mountain Tour
1 Day Kunming Dongchuan Red Land Tour
1 Kunming Golf Tour to Spring City Golf and Lake Resort


If you only spend one day in Dali, it is recommended to visit the highlights of Dali including Xizhou Ancient TownZhoucheng Village, Three Pagodas, Erhai Lake and Dali Ancient Town. You can also spend the day hiking Cangshan Mountain easily and enjoying the stunning view of Erhai Lake; Or pay a visit to Weishan Old Town and Donglianhua Village, and in this way, you can not merely enjoy the local culture, but also taste featured dishes and snacks.

Dali Day Tour Packages:
1 Day Dali Highlights Tour
1 Day Dali Easy Hiking Tour to Cangshan Mountain
1 Day Dali to Lijiang Tour with Shaxi Old Town and Shibaoshan Mountain


There are so much to do in Lijing. If you have one day in Lijiang, Jade Dragon Sonw Mountain and Lashihai Lake may be included. If you want a culture and history tour, Lijiang Ancient Town and Shuhe Ancient Town may help you got a better understanding about Lijiang culture. 

Lijiang Day Tour Packages:
1 Day Lijiang Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Tour with Impression Lijiang Show
1 Day Lijiang Hiking Tour from Wenhai Lake to Yuhu Village
1 Day Tiger Leaping Gorge Highlight Hiking Tour from Bendiwan Village to Tina’s Hostel


Xishuangbanna is definitely a famous tourist destination especially renowned among China domestic tourists. There is no winter days here. The popular attractions include Manting ParkMenglun Tropical Botanical GardenWild Elephant Valley, Dai people’s village at Ganlanba, WangTianShu Scenic Spot, etc. 

Xishuangbanna Day Tour Packages:
1 Day North XishuangBanna Tour to Wild Elephant Valley and Jinuo Ethnic Village
1 Day East XishuangBanna Tour to Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden and Dai Minority Garden
1 Day South XishuangBanna Tour to Damenglong White Pagoda and Dai Ethnic Villages
1 Day West XishuangBanna Tour to Ethnic Villages and Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion

Visit Yunnan in 2-3 days


2-3 days is enough to finish the highlights of a single travel destination in Yunnan. However, our 2-3 days tour packages combine Kunming with other destinations mainly including Jianshui and Yuanyang.

What You Can Choose for 2-3 days Kunming Tour

  • Western Hill & Dragon Gate
  • Dianchi Lake
  • Stone Forests
  • Green Lake
  • Dongchuan Red Land
  • Nanping Street
  • Flowers and Birds Market
  • Jiaozi Snow Mountain

Recommended Kunming Tour Packages:
2 Days Kunming Dongchuan Red Land and Jiaozi Snow Mountain Tour
2 Days Jiaozi Snow Mountain Hiking Tour
2 Days Dongchuan Red Land Photography Tour
2 Days Jianshui Ancient Architecture Tour from Kunming
3 Days Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Photography Tour from Kunming


What You Can Choose for 2-3 days Dali Tour

  • Dali Ancient Town
  • Xizhou Ancient Town
  • Zhoucheng Village
  • Erhai Lake
  • Cangshan Mountain
  • Three Pagodas
  • Weishan Old Town
  • Shaxi Old Town

Recommended Dali Tour Packages:
2 Days Dali Pilgrimage Hiking Tour from Erhai Lake to Jizu Mountain
2 Days Shaxi Old Town and Shibaoshan Mountain Tour from Dali to Lijiang
2 Days Dali Cycling Tour around Erhai Lake


What You Can Choose for 2-3 days Lijiang Tour

  • Jade Dragon Sonw Mountain
  • Lashihai Lake
  • Lijiang Ancient Town
  • Shuhe Ancient Town
  • Baisha Ancient Town
  • Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Lugu Lake
  • Yuhu Village

Recommended Lijiang Tour Packages:
2 Days Shaxi Old Town and Shibaoshan Mountain Tour from Dali to Lijiang
2 Days Lijiang Lugu Lake Tour and Matriarchal Society Discovery
2 Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Tour
3 Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour


What You Can Choose for 2-3 days Xishuangbanna Tour

  • Manting Park
  • Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden
  • Wild Elephant Valley
  • Dai people’s village at Ganlanba
  • WangTianShu Scenic Spot
  • Jinuo Mountain Village
  • Xishuangbanna Primeval Forest Park

Recommended Xishuangbanna Tour Packages:
2 Days Xishuangbanna Cycling Tour along the Mekong River
2 Days West XishuangBanna Tour with Damenglong White Pagodas and Ethnic Villages
3 Days XishuangBanna Hiking Tour to Yao Ethnic Village and The Air Corridor

Visit Yunnan in More Days

If you have more days in Yunnan, you can choose several destinations and visit them. Generally, Kunming-Dali-Lijiang is most favored by first time travelers. You can also choose other theme tour such as birding tour, photography tour, hiking tour, etc. Below we recommend some popular Yunnan Winter Tour Packages for your reference. You can also contact our consultant to tailor-make Yunnan Winter Tour of your own kind!

5 Days Kunming Spring City and Luoping Rapeseed Flowers Photography Tour
6 Days Kunming-Dali-Lijiang Tour
6 Days Northeast Yunnan Winter Birding Tour to Dianchi Lake, Nianhu Lake and Dashanbao
6 Days Kunming Yuanyang Jianshui Photography Tour with Honghe Hani Rice Terraces
7 Days Kunming, XishuangBanna and Puer Family Tour with Tropical Forest and Ethnic Culture Discovery
8 Days Yunnan Photography Tour with Dongchuan Red Land and Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces

Read more about Yunnan Winter Tours.

Prepare for Yunnan Winter Tour

What to Know 

1. Know some basic information about Yunnan and China, which can help you understand the local culture well.

2. Learn some information about ethnic minorities in Yunnan in advance.

3. Check the weather condition of the destinations you’ll go.

4. If you are interested, learn some basic Chinese words and phrases, which could help you communicate with the locals easily.

What to Pack

1. Pay attention to keep warm in winter. Because of the relatively high altitude, the temperature difference is large between day and night in winter, it is suggested to bring the thick coat and windproof jacket. 

2. Pay attention to sun protection. Due to the strong solar radiation in the daytime, sun cream, sun hat, sunglasses and other sunscreen products will be needed.

3. Do remember to take the umbrella and rain gear in the rainy season, especially from May to October.

4. Take some medicines for emergency, like cold medication and and medicines for a stomachache.

5. Don’t forget your Chinese visa and passport. If you will go further to Tibet, Tibet travel permit is also required. 

Keep Reading:
How to Plan a Kunming Tour?
How to Plan a Dali Tour?
How to Plan a Lijiang Tour?
How to Plan a Shangrila Tour?
How to Plan Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-La Tour?
How to Plan a Honghe and Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces Photography Tour?
How to Plan a Xishuangbanna Tour?