Allow your curiosity to be awakened on this 7 day tour of Kunming, Dali, and Lijiang, traveling by bullet train for the first portion of the tour. Capturing the essence of the traditional local Bai minority people in each destination, you’ll have the chance to learn about their craft, food, industry, and lifestyle, while also taking in the many natural focal points along the way, including Kunming’s Stone Forest, Erhai Lake in Dali, and the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Lijiang. Local ancient towns are a rich trove of culture and history too. Dali Ancient Town and Shuhe Ancient Town profile the traditions of the Bai and Naxi people respectively. There’s every chance you’ll feel time has stood still as you peak through this window into China’s living past. Inclusive of all four and five star accommodation, daily breakfast, bullet train travel, all transfers, wonderful local guides in every destination, and a flexible itinerary based around train and road travel, this tour is a must for any western traveler wanting to see and experience the real China.
Arrive at Kunming Airport where you will be met by your dedicated tour guide outside the baggage claim area. From here you will be escorted to the hotel and assisted with check in. Enjoy the rest of the day by relaxing or exploring around the hotel precinct.
Note: Dining out? Be sure to consult with your local guide about the best options. With knowledge and insights to the best local eats, they can assist with bookings and ordering meals, if required.
Meals included: None
China boasts many natural wonders and the famous Stone Forest located 90 minutes from Kunming ranks high among them. The Stone Forest is just that – a seemingly endless collection of unusual and grotesque looking karst stone formations that bear a striking resemblance to a tree forest when viewed from a distance. Your local guide will share how the ‘forest’ was formed by the movement of the earth 270 million years ago and exposure to wind and running water. A home to the Yi minority who are renowned for their diligence, embroidery and dancing, the Stone Forest is also the origin of local myths and legends. The afternoon will see you return to Kunming itself where you can browse the fabulous Bird and Flower Market. Apart from the eclectic range of birds, fish, antiques, jewelry, souvenirs and other handmade crafts, the mesmerizing kaleidoscope of flowers here is inspiring. Test your bargaining skills as you mix with locals in this bustling bazaar, soaking up the culture and local daily life. At the end of the day, you will be returned to the hotel. Be sure to check in with your guide for tips on the best local eats.
Meals included: Breakfast
Farewell Kunming when you depart by bullet train and travel to Dali (on a D Series train which travels at speeds up to 250 km per hour). On the way, enjoy the experience of watching China go by, literally changing in front of you as you cruise by. In Dali, you will be welcomed by your guide who’ll commence your exploration here with a cruise on Erhai Lake, an ‘ear-shaped’ body of water cradled below Cangshan Mountain. The scenery here is exquisite. You’ll treasure the opportunity to capture gorgeous photos and learn more about the cultural significance of the lake to the local Bai minority people. Step onto scenic Jinsuo Island where you can continue your wandering through the historic buildings, enjoy the tranquility. The peaceful theme continues as you move on to Chongsheng Temple. Here you’ll visit the landmark Three Pagodas: comprising one giant pagoda, 69.13 meters tall which is flanked by two smaller pagodas. Incredibly, these Buddhist pagodas were erected in the Nanzhao period (738 – 902 AD) and feature many significant cultural relics and Buddha statues of great value which have been gathered over the eras and are now on display.
Finish the day’s exploration on a lighter note with a stop at Dali Ancient Town. Once the heart of trade, politics, and culture of Yunnan province during Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD) and Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD), Dali Ancient Town is a vibrant tourist center. It’s here you’ll find the juxtaposition of the modern and ancient in China. Time to wander will allow you to experience both the historical cultural ambiance of the ancient town and the vigorous vibe of modern life. Be sure to make a stop in bustling Foreigner Street. Here you’ll discover ethical clothes, local crafts, and delicious street food. At the end of the day, put your feet up in your Dali hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast
Launch into local Dali life with a visit to Xizhou Town, home of the ethnic Bai minority. Soak up the bustling atmosphere of the clamorous Xizhou morning market. Mix with locals out to purchase their daily essentials, seafood, and local specialties. In many ways, you’ll see how time has stood still here. Local women still adorne themselves in the colorful traditional Bai costumes and many families still live in residential complexes that reflect traditional Bai minority homes. Wander through the classical layout of the Yan Family Mansion, an enduring example of Xizhou’s prosperous past. Your tour will move on to Zhoucheng, the largest of all Bai villages. Remarkably, Zhoucheng retains its traditional folk customers and traditional lifestyle, including its renowned fine tie-dyeing craft form.
Afterwards, you’ll be driven to Lijiang where picturesque scenery awaits at Black Dragon Pond Park. Here temples, towers, pavilions and stone tablets from past ages reflect mirror-like in the pond against the backdrop of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Gain an understanding of the local Naxi minority culture at the Dongba Culture Museum, where more than 12,000 cultural relics are on display.
Lastly walk up to the Lion Hill to visit the five storey high Wangu Pavilion, featuring traditional architecture in the elaborate arches, roof beams, veranda, tiled roofs and sculptures representing the 23 ethnic groups in the region. A phenomenal 10,000 dragon carvings grace the walls. Absorb the panoramic view of the whole ancient town which can be seen from the top of the pavilion – wonderful at sunset! Considered a genuinely amazing place for the way in which time seems to stand still, Lijiang will feel like another world. Enjoy a contemplative evening after you’ve checked into your hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast
Depart after breakfast for the drive to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the holy mountain in Naxi culture, renowned for its spectacular setting of peaks, plateaus, glaciers, frozen waterfalls and forests. It’s here you’ll have the opportunity to witness the merging of modern art with traditional music and culture. Be entertained by the great show, Impression Lijiang, directed by Zhangyimou, the famous and talented director of the 2008 Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The show is performed at an outdoor theater against the backdrop of the Jade White Snow Mountain. Involving around 400 locals of 10 ethnic groups and 100 horses, the show is an interesting spectacle that highlights the legend and stories of the traditional Naxi culture with sincerity. Following the show, you’ll take a cable car to Spruce Plateau, a vast meadow hidden by a primitive spruce forest and shrouded in lingering mists. It’s no mistake that many associate this idyllic landscape of stunning spruces, plateaus, pines, and clouds with an earthly fairyland. Fascinating views of the surrounding snow-capped mountain ranges complete the picture. From a distance, Snow Mountain appears like a giant white dragon nestled in the clouds, which is how it was given its name. A quieter and more sedate opportunity to experience local Bai life is possible when you arrive at Baisha Village. Here you’ll feel compelled to admire the distinctive cultural characteristics, precious historical artifacts and especially the unique Baisha Murals. Different religions appear in the same wall painting, including Buddhism, Taoism and even Lamaism, indicative of an important cultural relic in the study of Chinese history of arts and religion. Round out today’s adventure with a relaxing evening when you return to the hotel in Lijiang.
Meals included: Breakfast
Enjoy a hearty breakfast in preparation for today’s touring which starts with a 3 hour (100 kilometer) drive to Tiger Leaping Gorge. Along the way, a stop will be made at the First Bend of Yangtze River. An important geographical point, it’s here the Yangtze River headwaters take a sharp ninety degree turn towards northeast slowing its pace. Stunning – and a sign of what’s to come – you’ll see how the river flows as it broadens. The picturesque scenery is framed with overlapping peaks, terraced fields and local villages. Beautiful!
In the afternoon, continue exploring at Tiger Leaping Gorge. Astounding geography, the gorge was formed by the convergence of steep vertical ridges on opposite banks rising more than 3,900 meters, forcing the flowing waters of the Jinsha River into a narrow gap, causing thunderous whirlpools and dangerous rushing waters. From well-paved pathways you can observe, hear and feel the spectacle of fast waters rushing and slamming into large rocks, or you can stand up close on the viewing deck to gaze at the torrents roaring between mountains. This is a natural spectacle you’re likely to experience just once in a lifetime.
On the return to Lijiang, you’ll have an opportunity to admire the mysterious stone tablet with Sanskrit verses at Zhiyun Lamasery, a Tibetan temple blending the architectural style of the Han, Tibet, Bai and Naxi minorities. Built in the ninth year of the reign of Emperor Yongzheng in 1727, the Lamasery is also renowned for its mysterious legends and enchanting landscape. In the temple courtyard walk among the five ancient trees thought to be two or three hundred years old. These only add to the spirit of the buildings which overlook the lake. Today’s travel ends when you return to your hotel. Relax or take in the Lijiang evening by wandering the streets after a local meal.
Meals included: Breakfast
Your final day on tour allows you free time to explore or simply rest before your guide collects you from the hotel in time for the airport transfer and your departure flight.
Meals included: Breakfast
Travel note: We love helping our customers make the most of their available travel time. Need assistance planning your next destination? We can help with that too. Our travel network spans across every corner of China and South East Asia. With connections like you can be confidence we’ll take care of every detail. Kindly note, that a surcharge will apply.
Inclusions / Exclusions
- Admission fees: to sightseeing spots and activities specified
- Accommodation: hotels based on double/twin occupancy as specified
- Meals: as specified in the itinerary
- Tour guide: excellent private English-speaking guide
- Transportation: bullet train (D series (200-250km/h) of Kunming/Dali (First class seat for Luxury tours; second class seat for Superior tours). Upgrades can be arranged. Please advise of your requirements at the time of booking. Note, a surcharge will apply.
- Transfers: land transfer with drivers as specified
- Travel Agency Liability Insurance during the tour
- Government taxes and fees.
- International/domestic flights and trains to Kunming/from Lijiang
- China visa fees
- Gratuities to guides and drivers and any expense of a personal nature
- Our tour package does not include travel insurance. Please purchase travel insurance before your trip to protect for any unforeseen circumstances.
Important information – PRIVATE TOUR
- This is a private tour for your group of family or friends. There will be no other travellers in the group apart from you. It’s always available for your schedule!
- Smart casual dress and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
- Prices based on twin occupancy.
- The prices shown are not valid during China’s Official Holidays (such as National Day and Chinese Spring Festival).
- The tour guide may adjust the itinerary due to closure of the museums each Monday.
- Optional tours to Suzhou, Hangzhou or nearby Watertown, and other destinations are also available.
- Any city not included in the existing tour package can be blended into as Private tour.
- Entering and exiting China from Hong Kong and Taipei are also available.
- Stays at entering and exiting cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei) can be extended.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
After purchase, you will receive a receipt and a Purchase Confirmation email with a Passenger Information Form. The Passenger Information Form must be completed within 72 hours of the purchase.
Any special requests, preferences and optional extras MUST be clearly stated in your Passenger Information Form. Any change requested after submitting your Passenger Information Form cannot be guaranteed, is strictly subject to availability and will incur surcharges as outlined in the Schedule of Fees below.
On purchasing this tour product, you are bound by the General Terms and Conditions, in addition to the specific terms and conditions outlined in this Important Information.
Please note: online credit card payment and PayPal payments incur surcharges.
Tour Start Dates
Private and custom tours can be scheduled to commence on any day. Multi-day small group tours start on set dates as indicated in the booking calendar for the specific tour.
Cities for Commencement of Tours
Beijing is the city in which multi-day small group tours start. Multi-day tours with set itineraries booked as a private tour, commence in Beijing, unless otherwise arranged with ChinaTours.com. Tours booked as custom tours can start in any destination listed on the ChinaTours.com website.
High Speed Trains
First class seat for five star (Luxury) tour packages and second class seat for four star (Superior) tour packages.
High Speed Train Seat Upgrades
Seat upgrades are available on high speed trains on request at an additional charge and subject to availability. A limited number of first class seats are available on high speed trains. ChinaTours.com cannot guarantee high speed train seat upgrades due to third party or supplier’s shortage.
Transfers from airport to hotel provided as air-conditioned vehicle with driver.
Accommodation options for early arrival prior to commencement of tour are available. Bookings can be made online prior to checkout or arrangements can be made with a ChinaTours.com travel consultant.
Accommodation options for stay behind after completion of tour are available. Bookings can be made online prior to checkout or arrangements can be made with a ChinaTours.com travel consultant.
All ChinaTours.com tour guides are bilingual speakers with intimate knowledge of an area/city, its culture, history, people, and food, which they will share on tour. ChinaTours.com does not operate commission-based shopping tours which means our tour guides do not receive commissions for commission-based shopping stops. Small group and private tour groups of 1-2 (<3) people will be provided with a guide/driver rather than a driver and a guide.
Optional tour activities are available on request. Please contact ChinaTours.com directly to customize your optional tour activities and destinations.
ChinaTours.com selects international four star and five star hotels located in the inner city centre. In small, regional destinations, ChinaTours.com selects the best available hotel.
Bedding included in accommodation is double or twin bedding (subject to availability). Special arrangements available on request; additional charges may apply due to third party or hotel request.
Adjoining/Interconnecting rooms are available subject to passenger’s request. Additional charges may apply due to third party or hotel request.
Pricing for child and infant can be quoted separately.
Infant price is valid for children 0 to 2 years. Child price is valid for children aged 2 to 11 years. Adult pricing apply for passengers aged 12 years and over. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult aged 18 years or over. No unaccompanied minors allowed.
All breakfast included. Lunch and dinner are excluded allowing passengers to make their own selection for lunch and dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided on the Yangtze River Cruise only. Lunch provided on the Li River Cruise. Local guides can be consulted to provide recommendations and assist with eating arrangements on request.
Customers are required to provide valid passport details either at the time of purchase or within 72 hours of purchase. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of the booking. In this instance customers will be responsible for any costs and fees incurred.
Passport validity should be at least six months for entering China.
A tourist visa for China is a strict requirement if travelling on a foreign passport.
Please make arrangements for your visa as soon as you receive your documentation to account for any delays due to consulate operating hours.
Gratuities (tips) for services of the tour guide and driver throughout the tour are not included in the tour package price.
ChinaTours.com tour packages do not include travel insurance. We strongly recommend purchase of comprehensive travel insurance prior to departure to provide for any unforeseen circumstances.
Schedule of Fees
For changes to travel arrangements:
- First change – No charge.
- For all subsequent changes – USD50.
- Any charges applied by a third party (for example, airline, cruise company, accommodation provider, other travel provider) cannot be waived.
For China tour Packages, ChinaTours.com charges cancellation fees at a percentage of the total tour package price, which are stated as follows:
- More than 60 days prior to tour start date: 15 percent cancellation fee
- 45 – 59 days prior to tour start date: 20 percent cancellation fee
- 30 – 44 days prior to tour start date: 30 percent cancellation fee
- 15 – 29 days prior to tour start date: 50 percent cancellation fee
- Within 14 days prior to tour start date: 100 percent cancellation fee
Any charges applied by a third party (for example, airline, cruise company, accommodation provider, other travel provider, credit card fee, bank fee) cannot be waived.