Tailor-Made Holiday

Holiday to the Yunnan Province in China

Travel from Kunming to Dali and Lijiang to Shangri-La

15 days

from $4,195pp (excluding flights)

The province of Yunnan is one of China's most diverse and naturally beautiful provinces with terrain ranging from snow-capped and alpine mountains to tropical rainforests. Travel from Kunming to Dali and Lijiang to Shangri-La experiencing fascinating cultures and beautiful scenery enroute.

  • Home to nearly a third of China’s minority groups
  • Spend time in Dali with local Bai villagers
  • In Lijiang, view the Jade Dragon Mountains reflected in the waters of the Black Dragon Pool
  • View the dramatic Tiger Leaping Gorge where the Yangtze River pushes through
  • Visit Sungtseling Monastery for a taste of Tibet

Begin your holiday in Kunming before travelling north to the lakeside city of Dali to explore local villages on bicycle and meet the Bai people.

Continue onto Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled beneath Jade Dragon Mountains with its narrow cobbled streets and Naxi people, a matriarchal ethnic group. Journey via Tiger Leaping gorge to Shangri La to end your holiday with a real feel of Tibetan life.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights $Flight cost from 
$ 5663.25 $ 675
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Chengdu overnight

Day 2

Fly Chengdu to Kunming

Kunming, the capital of the Yunnan Province, has a history of more than 2,400 years and owes its importance to the fact that it was the gateway to the celebrated Silk Road, which facilitated trade with Tibet, Sichuan, Myanmar and India. It is also home to many of China's 55 minority peoples. Today the city is the political, economic and cultural centre of Yunnan.

You will be staying at New Era Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Visit the Yunnan Provincial Museum
The Yunnan Provincial Museum acts as an introduction to the way of life of many of the 26 minorities who live in the province. In addition, it has many fine bronzes of the Dian Kingdom depicting scenes of daily life and animals.

You will be staying at New Era Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 4

Visit Shilin and Limestone rock formations
125 kilometres from Kunming, the Shilin Stone Forest covers an area of 80 hectares and consists of some wonderful and bizarre rock formations. Also visit and see the way of life of Yi people in the nearby village of Qixing. Return to Kunming in the late afternoon.

You will be staying at New Era Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 5

Full Days Sightseeing - Dragon Gate & Bamboo Temple
Travel outside of the city to see some of the outlying points of interest and drive to an area near Lake Dian. Visit Dragon Gate which offers spectacular views of the lake and is reached by ascending over 300 winding stone steps. The last part of the walk involves passing through a number of corridors and paths cut into the rock face by a Taoist Monk and his assistants in the late 18th & early 19th centuries. Also visit the Bamboo Temple which dates back to the Tang Dynasty. It is noted for the 500 bodhisattvas carved in the 19th century by the Sichuanese master sculptor Li Guangxi.

You will be staying at New Era Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 6

Transfer from Kunming to Dali

A journey time of approximately 4 hours.

Dali is a long valley and town on the plains between the Cangshan Mountains and Erhai Lake. The historic home of the Bai people, Dali is the capital of the region and the old town of grey granite stands at 1,900m. The valley is dominated by 19 peaks of the Cangshan mountains, which average 4,000m.

Dali was the capital of the Nanzhao Kingdom during the 8th and 9th centuries and at its height conquered much of Burma, parts of Laos and Thailand and parts of the Sichuan Province. Later Kublai Khan conquered the stone city of pagodas. Dali is well known for its colourful people, its embroidery, rich agriculture, famous marble and excellent breed of horses.

Half Day Sightseeing of Dali
Explore the Old Town of Dali - it is not a large town and has two of its city gates intact. Many of the local shops sell the local tie-dye textiles and many of the old houses survive but most have been converted into shops and restaurants. Also, see the Three Pagodas some of the oldest in this part of China. The tallest, at 70m and with 16 tiers, and the oldest was built in the 9th century. The two other pagodas are 40m tall and have 10 tiers.

You will be staying at Linden Centre, Bed & Breakfast

Day 7

Full Day Sightseeing to Cangshan Mountains and Erhai Lake
Depart for the Cangshan mountain and take a cable car to the Zhonghu Temple with an option to walk 12km to another cable car and descend the mountain. It is a flat walk on a good path hugging the contours of the tree-covered mountain. On a good day there are fine views of Erhai Lake in the distance.

Return to Xizhou and take a boat trip on Erhai Lake for a demonstration of cormorant fishing. This ancient art has been preserved and the cormorants, around 90 birds, are protected.

You will be staying at Linden Centre, Bed & Breakfast

Day 8

Transfer from Dali to Lijiang

The town of Lijiang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled beneath the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain with a wonderfully atmospheric old quarter.

Lijiang is the cultural centre and capital of the Naxi people, a small matriarchal tribe with a rich culture. Lijiang has existed for at least 800 years and has its own Tibeto Burman language with a unique pictographic script and its own unique music. Women run the market and businesses and inherit property through the youngest daughter and men are gardeners, musicians and child rearers. Lijiang was at one end of Tibet's trading route and had trading ties with far flung cities of Burma, Tibet and India.

You will be staying at LUX Tea Horse Road Lijiang, Bed & Breakfast

Day 9

Full day sightseeing
Start with a walk to Puji Temple - a quiet place seldom visited on the outskirts of town. This is an uphill walk on a dirt path for approx 45 minutes to 1 hour. Descend and then you will be driven to Baisha Village for lunch and a walk in the village to see Dabaoji Hall that contains some of the best preserved frescoes dating from the 15th and 16th centuries painted by Tibetans, Naxi, Bai and Han artists.
Return to Lijiang and Black Dragon Pool and the chance of photographing Jade Dragon Mountain reflected in its waters. The nearby Naxi Cultural Museum is well worth a visit before walking to the old town - approx 20 minutes – and its narrow cobbled streets that seems lost in a time warp.

You will be staying at LUX Tea Horse Road Lijiang, Bed & Breakfast

Day 10

Day at Leisure

You will be staying at LUX Tea Horse Road Lijiang, Bed & Breakfast

Day 11

Full Days Drive from Lijiang to Shangri-La via Tiger Leaping Gorge

This morning/afternoon depart for Shangri la, a full day drive, stopping to see the Tiger Leaping Gorge en route. The gorge is one of the deepest and most stunning in the world and is where the Yangtse River is forced through a relatively small crack in the mountains resulting in tremendous downward erosion.

Shangri-La in Northwest Yunnan is often referred to as Zhongdian or Gyalthang in Tibetan and is the capital of the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and the gateway to the ancient Tibetan kingdom. Here it is possible to get a real feel of Tibetan life at the 300 year old Tibetan Monastery of Ganden Sumtseling Gompa which is still home to around 600 monks.

You will be staying at Songtsam Lodge, Shangri-La, Bed & Breakfast

Day 12

Visit Sumsanling Monastery and surrounding area
Today you begin by visiting the Sumsanling Monastery town of Ganden Sumsanling where at least 600 Buddhist monks spend their time engrossed in Buddhist learning. Built in the 17th Century by the 5th Damai Lama, the monastery with its numerous chapels, woodcarving and paintings is a living museum of Tibetan culture. Parts of the monastery are being reconstructed and there is a regeneration of the religious spirit. In the afternoon visit the villages of Talung at the base of the Lanze Mountains. You will also visit Pudacuo National Park, Shudu Lake before finishing the day trying home-made Yak Butter Tea and Tibetan Cheese with a Tibetan family.

You will be staying at Songtsam Lodge, Shangri-La, Bed & Breakfast

Day 13

Walking trip to Rutapo and Ringa
Walk to Rutapo Hill and its meadows with great views of the valley. Continue to the sacred hill of Ringa and the temple of the five wisdom Buddhas. A circumambulation walk of Ringa Hill with picnic lunch and walk back to the hotel. A total of about six hours walking.

You will be staying at Songtsam Lodge, Shangri-La, Bed & Breakfast

Day 14

Fly Shangri-La to Chengdu

Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province, an area renowned for its spicy regional cuisine making dining out here a wonderful experience.

This thriving yet laid back city is probably best known for one of the country's most iconic residents, the Giant Panda and a visit to one of the reserves is the easiest way to catch a glimpse or engage in a more hands on experience. Combine this with ancient temples and tombs and the giant Buddha in nearby Leshan.

Half Day Optional Orientation Tour of Chengdu
Have the opportunity to take part in an orientation tour of Chengdu. Explore the city and visit sights such as the People's Park and the Giant Panda Research Centre.

Opened to the public in 1995, this organization aims to increase the captive population of Giant Pandas, which are an endangered species. The long term goal is the eventual reintroduction of the animals into the wild.

You will be staying at Holiday Inn, Chengdu, Bed & Breakfast

Day 15

Fly Chengdu to London


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Songtsam Lodge, Shangri-La

Songtsam Lodge, Shangri-La

Songtsam Shangri-La is housed in a traditional Tibetan dwelling and situated next to Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan....

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Linden Centre

Linden Centre

The Linden Centre is a traditional courtyard complex set in a Bai minority village, surrounded by mountains and paddy fields....

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LUX Tea Horse Road Lijiang

LUX Tea Horse Road Lijiang

Located in Lijiang’s old town, LUX Lijiang is a charming two-storey timber-framed structure housing 10 contemporary and stylish rooms....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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