Home China City Tours Yunnan Tours Top Yunnan Tours 8 Days Classic Yunnan Minority Tour of Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-La

Tour Overview

Located in the southwest of China, Yunnan is endowed with credible seeing points: diversified ethnic elements, colorful local folk culture, beautiful natural scenery, nice climate… With its remarkable tourism resources, Yunnan has always been the top tourist destination in China. This mysterious land is home to 25 distinct ethnic groups, each with their own unique culture and traditions.

Join our classic Yunnan tour package to explore the essential landscapes of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La in Yunnan and experience local ethnic villages. During this 8-day Yunnan tour, you can not only capture the most authentic lifestyle and folk culture of ethnic minorities such as the Yi, Bai, Naxi, and Tibetan people but also enjoy the vast and magnificent natural landscapes. We can also tailor your China tour to Yunnan to your needs, interests, and budget.

Travel destinations: Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La
Suitable for: First-timers, Family, Cultural Enthusiasts
Tour type: Private

Highlights of this tour:

1. Meet the Dianchi Lake, known as “the pearl of the plateau“, and feed lovely red-billed gulls.
2. Relax both your body and mind by bathing in the sunshine in Erhai Lake Park.
3. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural landscapes of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Blue Moon Valley.
4. Hike the deepest gorge in China – Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is well-known for its grotesque.
5. Experience the Tibetan culture and lifestyle by visiting their house or chatting with local people in Shangri-La, also known as “Paradise on Earth”.

Day-by-day Itinerary

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  1. Your 8 days Kunming Dali Lijiang Shangri-La tour will start from the City of Spring - Kunming! Upon arriving at the airport, a local driver will be there to welcome you, holding a sign with your name. You will then be transferred to your hotel for check-in.

    The remainder of the day is yours to spend as you wish. Dianchi Lake, known as the "Pearl of the Plateau," is highly recommended. Not only are there beautiful lakes and mountains here, but every winter, thousands of red-billed gulls fly over Dianchi Lake, bringing joy to tourists. You can bring breadcrumbs and delight in the fun of feeding the seagulls.

    Meal: N/A

    Accommodation: in Kunming

    Dianchi Lake in Summer
    Dianchi Lake in Summer

  2. Get picked up in the morning from your hotel lobby and then transferred to the famous Stone Forest after about 2 hours of driving.

    Kunming Stone Forest, hailed as the "First Wonder of the World," is a world-renowned karst landscape scenic area, comprising the Big Stone Forest, Small Stone Forest, and three other areas. On this vast land, various stone formations such as stone peaks, columns, stalactites, and stalagmites present a spectacular sight. Strolling through it feels like entering a forest of stone where each rock has its unique posture and story. Here, you can experience the marvel and charm of nature and also appreciate the cultural richness of Yunnan's ethnic minorities.

    After lunch, drive back to Kunming downtown to visit the Green Lake which is the most beautiful park in Kunming. From there, you will walk leisurely for about 20 minutes to visit Flowers and Birds Market to get a close observation of local life. Finally, you will be dropped off at your hotel.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Kunming

    Kunming Stone Forest Guests
    Kunming Stone Forest

  3. Meet the local driver early in the morning and board a bullet train for a 2-hour journey to Dali. Upon arrival at Dali Train Station, your local guide will be waiting for you at the exit, holding a name board.

    Begin your Yunnan tour in Dali at the Three Pagodas in Chongshen Monastery, located northwest of Dali Ancient Town. The pagodas, constructed thousands of years ago to propagate Buddhism, hold significant historical and cultural value.

    The next highlight of the day is Erhai Lake. Hop on a boat cruise to Jinsuo Islet, enjoying the serene and breathtaking scenery along the way, including views of Cangshan Mountain and the Three Pagodas in the distance. Jinsuo Island is home to around 200 Bai ethnic families, approximately 1,000 people, offering an opportunity to learn about local folk culture from your tour guide.

    In the late afternoon, visit Dali Old Town, taking a leisurely walk and immersing yourself in the vibrant and bustling atmosphere of the town. Finally, check in at a local hotel in the old town to conclude your day.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Dali

    Yunnan Dali Three Pagodas in Chongshen Monastery
    Dali Three Pagodas in Chongshen Monastery

  4. After breakfast, head to the first stop today: Xizhou Town. It's a beautiful old town filled with Bai-style elements especially architecture, folk customs, and culture. You will visit some courtyards and taste their fragrant Three-Course Tea there. Then move to Zhoucheng Village and visit the local Bai people's tie-dying cloth workshop which is a distinct feature of this minority. It's a good place to buy some souvenirs with the Bai ethnic elements if you are interested in that.

    After lunch, you will come to Lijiang Old Town. This old town won its name nationwide with its unique historical, cultural, and tourist value and is listed as one of World Cultural Heritage. It's home to Naxi Ethnic Minority, located on the plateau 2,400 meters above sea level. With the well-preserved unique architecture, the layout of the town, distinct traditional customs, and folk culture, you will find the ever achievement of the Chinese ancient city. Besides these shining titles, Lijiang is "Utopia" in China, especially for the youth trying to escape from the pressure of modern life. After the tour, check in at your local hotel.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Lijiang

    Yunnan Zhoucheng Dye
    Handmade tie-dye products in Zhoucheng

  5. Begin today's tour with the highlight of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Located north of Lijiang city, it's the biggest snow mountain in the Northern Hemisphere with an altitude of over 4,000 meters. You will reach Ganhaizi Meadow first. Then take a sightseeing bus to visit the Baishuihe River. Afterwards, take cable care to Spruce Meadow, hike about 30 minutes in the forest, and then take a battery cart to Blue Moon Valley where you will see pearl-like lakes scattering on the land and marvel at the great scenery here.

    After lunch, you will enjoy the Impression Lijiang Ethnic Show directed by Zhang Yimou (a very famous director in China). It is held in Ganhaizi Meadow about 3,100 meters above sea level. Later on, come to visit Baisha Old Town, a beautiful traditional Naxi-style old town. Baisha Murals here are the must-see sites that have been enrolled in the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO 1997. Transfer you back to your Lijiang hotel after the tour.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Lijiang

    Yulong Snow Mountain Yunnan
    Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Lijiang

  6. Drive about 60 km from Lijiang in the morning to the First Bend of the Yangtze River with breathtaking gorge scenery. Walk through the Iron Chain Bridge on the river, which is a thrilling experience. And then visit the Red Army's Long March Memorial Monument at the Shigu Old Town to learn about the suffering but great history of new China. Shigu means stone drum in Chinese. There is a large, cylindrical marble tablet shaped like a drum in the town, hence the name.

    Next, we drive to the Tiger Leaping Gorge - the deepest gorge in the world, famous for being "steep and dangerous". Jinsha River flows softly from Qinghai Plateau but starts to run rapidly like a roaring tiger when meeting the narrow and deep gorge, thus it gets the name Tiger Leaping Gorge.

    Yunnan Tiger Leaping Gorge
    Tiger Leaping Gorge

    Afterwards, head to the Tibetan area and start your Yunnan Shangr-La tour with a visit to Dukezong Ancient Town. It's the largest and best-preserved Tibetan population in China and also a significant station along the Ancient Tea Horse Road. Besides, walking up to the top of Guishan Hill to appreciate the typical Tibetan-style view - Prayer Wheel. From there, you will have a bird-view of Shangri-La County and Duzekong Ancient Town. Get to your Shangri-La hotel to check in.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Shangri-La

    Shangri-la Guishan Hill
    Turning the Prayer Wheel on Guishan Hill

  7. Shangri-La has a totally different appearance from the last places where you will start to meet Tibetan elements. The first site today is Songzanlin Monastery which is the largest Tibetan monastery in the Yunnan area and is famed as the "Small Potala Palace". It was built along the hillside, looking like an old castle, showing the brilliant construction technology of Tibetan. Afterwards, you will be guided to a Tibetan family and enjoy a local Yak Butter lunch there.

    Yunnan Shangri-La Songzanlin Monastery
    Songzanlin Monastery

    In the afternoon, you will head to visit Shudu Lake. It is embraced by beautiful mountains all around where primitive forests and many precious animals are well protected. Next is the Pudacuo National Park, a main highlight of Shangri-La. The park is definitely a priceless gift from nature: with an altitude between 3,500 meters and 4,159 meters, it collects rich natural resources including geology and landforms, lake wetlands, meadows, rivers and valleys, and rare plants and animals. The amazing scenery here will make you can't stop the camera in your hands and marvel at this wonderland.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Shangri-La

    Shangri-La Pudacuo National Park Yunnan
    Pudacuo National Park

  8. It's time to say goodbye. Your driver will transfer you to Shangri-La airport, marking the end of the 8-day classic Yunnan minority tour. Thank you for choosing Chinaxiantour for your Yunnan China tour. We are always here, dedicated to serving you, and look forward to welcoming you again for your next trip to China!

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: N/A

Tour Price Per Person

The price varies depending on the activity, number of people, travel date, and selected hotel. Please contact us for a specific price.

Price Includes

  • 7 nights' accommodation in well-selected hotels;
  • Meals listed in the itinerary;
  • Private air-conditioned vehicle with licensed drivers;
  • Excellent local English-speaking tour guides services as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Entrance tickets as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Second-class train tickets and economic-class flights mentioned in the itinerary;
  • 1 bottle of mineral water per person per day;
  • China Travel Insurance.

Price Excludes

  • Flight/train tickets to Kunming / off Shang-La;
  • China Visa;
  • Any optional activities inside the attractions;
  • Any item not mentioned in the itinerary;
  • All kinds of gratuities for guides, drivers & others.
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