Embark on a 10-day journey through the cultural wonders of Yunnan, beginning in Beijing and venturing through the ancient heart of China. Explore iconic landmarks such as Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City before witnessing the marvels of the Great Wall. Your adventure continues to Kunming, where you’ll visit the Stone Forest and the serene Green Lake Park. Cycle through Erhai Lake and stroll through Dali Ancient Town, immersing yourself in Bai culture. Discover the enchanting Lijiang Ancient Town, the picturesque Yuhu Village, and the historic Baisha Village. Traverse the stunning landscapes of the First Bend of the Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Gorge en route to the mythical paradise of Shangri-La. Uncover Tibetan culture at Songzanlin Monastery and explore Pudacuo National Park. Your journey concludes with a visit to a local Tibetan family before bidding farewell to the breathtaking landscapes and diverse cultures of Yunnan.
2. Scenic Marvels of Yunnan: Traverse the Stone Forest in Kunming, a natural wonder of karst formations, and enjoy the serene beauty of Green Lake Park, offering a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city.
3. Cultural Immersion in Dali Ancient Town: Immerse yourself in the rich Bai culture while cycling around Erhai Lake and wandering through the charming Dali Ancient Town, characterized by its distinctive architecture and vibrant local life.
4. Enchanting Lijiang Ancient Town: Roam the cobblestone streets of Lijiang Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, discovering the unique architecture, historic landmarks, and the warm hospitality of the Naxi ethnic minority.
5. Tiger Leaping Gorge & Shangri-La Discovery: Experience the natural wonders of the First Bend of the Yangtze River and the awe-inspiring Tiger Leaping Gorge before ascending to the mystical Shangri-La, where Tibetan culture comes to life at Songzanlin Monastery.
6. Pudacuo National Park & Local Tibetan Encounter: Explore the pristine landscapes of Pudacuo National Park and cap off your journey with a meaningful visit to a local Tibetan family, providing insight into their customs and a chance to savor traditional specialties.
- Day 1: Welcome to Beijing
Upon landing at Beijing Capital Airport, your guide and driver will warmly welcome you and whisk you away to your hotel in Beijing downtown area.
The day is yours to unwind or explore nearby attractions like Wangfujing Street, Qianmen Street, or the serene Houhai Lake. Embrace the comfort of your accommodation or set out for a leisurely stroll.
Accommodation: Beijing downtown
- Day 2: Unveiling Beijing's Splendors (B, L)Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, Summer Palace
Following breakfast, your day unfolds with a visit to Tiananmen Square, an iconic symbol of China’s national pride. Explore its grandeur, featuring the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Great Hall of the People.
Venture through Tiananmen Gate to enter the Forbidden City, an imperial masterpiece where history breathes through the halls. Marvel at the Hall of Supreme Harmony, stroll through the Imperial Garden, and ascend Jingshan Park for a breathtaking panoramic view.
After lunch, journey to the Summer Palace, a harmonious blend of nature and imperial design. Traverse the Long Corridor, gaze upon the Marble Boat, and meander through the Seventeen-Arch Bridge.
Accommodation: Beijing downtown
- Day 3: Beijing's Ancient Wonders (B, L)Mutianyu Great Wall, Ming Dynasty's Imperial Tombs, Bird’s Nest and Water Cube
Today, you embark on a journey to one of China's most celebrated landmarks—the Great Wall. Traverse the less crowded Mutianyu section, absorbing the profound history and scenic vistas.
Then, experience the Sacred Way of the Ming Dynasty's Imperial Tombs, where stone statues guard the resting emperors. Conclude your day with a visit to the outside of the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube, legacies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Accommodation: Beijing downtown
- Day 4: Beijing to Kunming by Flight (B, L)Temple of Heaven, Beijing’s Hutongs
Continue your Beijing exploration today. In the morning, you will visit the Temple of Heaven, a masterpiece of ancient Chinese architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beyond the historic architecture, you will also observe the local people’s life in the park, such as doing morning exercises, playing chess, or singing opera.
Stroll through Beijing’s Hutongs on a rickshaw, immersing yourself in the traditional alleyways. These narrow alleys and courtyards represent the traditional lifestyle of Beijing residents.
After lunch, catch a flight to Kunming, the vibrant capital of Yunnan Province. Upon arrival, your local guide will escort you to your hotel in Kunming downtown, where the evening is yours to explore or unwind.
Accommodation: Kunming downtown
- Day 5: Kunming Wonders - High-speed Train to Dali (B, L)Stone Forest, Green Lake Park, Dali Ancient Town
Your day begins with a visit to the Stone Forest, a natural wonder of karst formations that resemble a forest of stone pillars. You will wander through the maze of rocks, and admire the shapes and colors of the stones. The highlights here include the Sword Peak Pond, the Lotus Peak, the Big and Small Stone Forests, and the Ashima Stone.
After lunch, return to Kunming to explore the tranquil Green Lake Park. In this charming urban park, you will enjoy the tranquil and beautiful scenery of the lake, and also see some of local activities, such as flying kites, playing musical instruments, or feeding seagulls.
Later, catch a high-speed train to Dali, a city rich in Bai ethnic minority culture. Check into your hotel in Dali Ancient Town, a historic gem dating back over a millennium. Take a leisurely stroll through its cobblestone streets, brimming with shops, restaurants, and galleries.
Accommodation: Dali Ancient Town
- Day 6: Dali's Ancient Marvels (B, L)Three Pagodas and the Chongsheng Temple, Erhai Lake, Dali Ancient Town
Explore Dali's historical landmarks, starting with the Three Pagodas and the Chongsheng Temple. Dating back to the 9th and 10th centuries, the pagodas are among China's oldest and tallest. The Chongsheng Temple, a vast complex behind the pagodas, offers rich history and views of Erhai Lake and Cangshan Mountain.
Next, explore the serene Erhai Lake, the second-largest freshwater lake in Yunnan. Opt for activities like a bus tour along the lake's ring road, a boat cruise, or a bike ride along the 120-kilometer path.
After lunch, visit Dali Ancient Town, experiencing Bai architecture and culture. Explore attractions like Foreigner Street, the City Wall, and the South Gate. Optionally, try making Flower Cake, a traditional Bai snack, guided by a local master.
Accommodation: in Dali Ancient Town
- Day 7: Dali to Lijiang (B, L)Xizhou Ancient Town, local morning market, Yan Family Compound, Zhoucheng Old Town, Lijiang Ancient Town
Begin your day with a visit to Xizhou Ancient Town, a beautifully preserved enclave showcasing the rich culture and history of the Bai people. Dive into the vibrant local morning market, immersing yourself in the daily hustle and bustle. Savor the Bai’s Three-Course Tea, a ceremonial delight expressing their warm hospitality. Explore the Yan Family Compound, a quintessential example of Bai architecture and art.
Next, transfer to Zhoucheng Old Town, the largest Bai town. Appreciate the intricate Tie-dye art, a traditional Bai craft using natural dyes and wax. Try your hand at creating your own tie-dye souvenir (optional, at your own expense).
After a satisfying lunch, embark on a scenic drive to Lijiang. Upon arrival, leisurely explore Lijiang Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 13th century. Marvel at Naxi culture through wooden houses, stone bridges, water canals, and Dongba symbols. Visit Mufu Palace and Sifang Street Square, the vibrant heart of the town.
Optional Activity: If energy permits, consider an optional hike up Lion Hill and Wanggu Tower for panoramic views.
Accommodation: Lijiang Ancient Town
- Day 8: Lijiang Cultural Exploration (B, L)Yuhu Village, Baisha Village, Shuhe Ancient Town, Dongba Culture Museum, Black Dragon Pool Park
Embark on a journey from Lijiang to Yuhu Village, nestled at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Witness traditional Naxi houses crafted from stone and wood and explore the former residence of American explorer Joseph Rock.
Continue to Baisha Village to admire the Ming and Qing dynasty Baisha Mural Paintings, reflecting a fusion of Buddhism, Taoism, and Naxi Dongba culture. Optionally, try your hand at Baisha embroidery (at your own expense), a traditional Naxi craft.
After lunch, visit Shuhe Ancient Town, an important stop on the ancient Tea Horse Road. Explore its quaint architecture, Sifang Street, Stone Arch Bridge, Tea Horse Road Museum, and Qinglong Bridge.
Next, visit the Dongba Culture Museum, delving into Naxi history, culture, and unique Dongba script. Conclude the day at Black Dragon Pool Park, offering breathtaking views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
- Day 9: Lijiang to Shangri-La (B, L)First Bend of the Yangtze River, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Dukezong Ancient Town
In the morning, embark on a scenic drive to the First Bend of the Yangtze River, a dramatic sight where the river makes a near 180-degree turn. Absorb the contrast of the river against the mountainous backdrop and uncover the legends surrounding the area.
Continue to Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world's deepest and most stunning gorges. Hike the Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge section, enjoying four hours of breathtaking views and the thrill of the challenge.
After lunch, journey to Shangri-La, a mythical paradise perched on the Tibetan Plateau. Witness the landscape and climate transformation as you ascend.
Upon arrival, explore Dukezong Ancient Town, preserving Tibetan culture and architecture. Climb Guishan Hill to witness the world's largest prayer wheel and enjoy panoramic views of the town and Shika Snow Mountain.
- Day 10: Shangri-La Exploration - Departure (B, L)Songzanlin Monastery, Pudacuo National Park, local Tibetan family visit
After breakfast, visit the Songzanlin Monastery, Yunnan's largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Marvel at its grand architecture resembling the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Explore the halls, chapels, and pagodas, observing Buddhist deities and the monks' daily life.
Head to Pudacuo National Park, China's first national park meeting international conservation standards. Discover its pristine lakes, wetlands, forests, meadows, and wildlife, including Shudu Lake, Bita Lake, and Militang Pasture.
Before departing for the airport, experience the hospitality of a local Tibetan family. Taste specialties like yak butter tea, barley wine, and tsampa, gaining insights into their customs and lifestyle.
This concludes your 10-day classic Beijing and Yunnan adventure. Thank you for choosing us as your travel partner.