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Northwest Yunnan Tour

Route: Kunming/Dali/Lijiang/Zhongdian (Shangri-la)/Kunming
Duration: 9 days/ 8 nights
Tips: The programs given on this webpage is only for reference; any tour program is subject to the contracts concluded by travel agents and their clients.

Day 01: Kunming Arrival      
*Arrive in Kunming by air (your own tickets, flight details to be advised). After airport formalities, meet your guide and be transferred to hotel.

Serving as the capital of Yunnan, Kunming is historically and culturally renowned throughout the country. With an annual average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius, it is well known as the City of Eternal Spring without bitter cold in winter and intense heat in summer. Visit to Yunnan Provincial Museum.
As a monumental Russian-style building, Yunnan Provincial Museum houses a collection of textiles, costumes, handcrafts and artifacts of Yunnan's ethnic minority groups.
*Dinner at leisure
*Overnight in Kunming

Day 02: Kunming       
*In the morning, we drive to visit the Jiu Xiang Scenic Area. Jiuxiang Scenic Area is located in Jiuxiang Yi and Hui Autonomous Township of Yiliang County in Southeast Kunming. It is 90 kilometers away from Kunming downtown and 30 kilometers from the Stone Forest. As one of the state 4A-level scenic attractions in Kunming, Jiuxiang appears to be a comprehensive scenic area famous for its underground Karst caves, intoxicating natural landscapes, humanity sights and ethnic culture of the Yi Minority.

Continue to visit the Stone Forest. The Stone Forest Scenic Area is approximately 80 kilometers away from the downtown of Kunming. Covering 400 square kilometers, it has been a State 5A-level Scenic Attraction, National Geo Park, World Geo Park, National Key Scenic Area as well as a World Natural Heritage Site accepted by UNESCO in 2007. The Stone Forest is famous for the Karst landform and the ethnic culture of the Sani People (a branch of the Yi ethnic minority).

*Lunch en tour at local restaurant
*Overnight in Kunming

Day 03: Kunming/Dali       
*Transfer to Kunming Airport for morning flight to Dali [40 minutes].
After arrival in Dali, visit the Three Pagodas. The Three Pagodas in the north of Dali Old Town were constructed in about 850 and 1050 following the model of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an. For centuries, they are considered landmarks of Dali.

Then, take a small boat and cruise on Erhai Lake to the eastern shore of the Lake to visit Bai ethnic villages of Wase and Shuanglang. Balance of the day will be at leisure for your own discovery of the old town of Dali.
*Lunch en tour at local restaurant
*Overnight in Dali

Day 04: Dali-Lijiang    
*Proceed to an overland drive of 200 km (5 hours) to Lijiang along the old Yunnan-Tibet Road. The highlight today will be the grottos of Shibaoshan Mt and Sideng Street of Shaxi Town on the way to Lijiang.

Shibaoshan Mt in Jianchuang County is hidden in a remote mountain region some 130 km north of Dali. The grottoes there are outstanding for their presentation of life under the Nanzhao Kingdom (748-902). The works with artistic accomplishment are regarded as the best in South China.
Shaxi is home to ethnic groups of Han, Bai, Yi and Lisu etc. Having enjoyed a long history, Shaxi was a metallurgic centre of bronze about 2,400 years ago thus is one of the origins of bronze culture of Yunnan Province. Sideng Street, a heritage from the Ancient Tea-Horse Trail (Road) in Shaxi Town, has been dubbed as "the Only Surviving Market on the Tea-Horse Trail" and listed into "the World Endangered Architectures".

Upon arrival in Lijiang, check in at hotel. As the gathering place of the Naxi ethnic minority, Lijiang is a small mountain town laced with swift canals, which has been listed as a world cultural heritage site by the UNESCO.

*Lunch en tour at local restaurant
*Overnight in Lijiang

Day 05: Lijiang        
*We will take a first visit of the old town to the Zhong Yi Market, where we may see vegetables freshly harvested from fields and quite a few copperwares. Lijiang Old Town has enjoyed a long history of over 800 years. Unlike most old towns in China, there is no city wall. Wooden structures, mounts, rivulets and lanes integrate harmoniously in the old town. Then climb up to the Lion Hill to visit the Wangu Pavilion and take birds-eye views of the old town.

Visit also to the Black Dragon Pond with the Wufeng Temple (Five Phoenix Pavilion) and Dongba Museum. The Pool provides you opportunity of taking great pictures of the crystal clear pond with backdrop of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance.

In the evening, attend the Naxi Orchestra conducted by Mr. Xuan Ke. Also known as Dongjing Music, the Naxi Orchestra is a Taoist ceremonial instrumental music accompanied with chanting that was introduced to Yunnan from mainland China in the Tang Dynasty some 1200 years ago.
*Lunch en tour at local restaurant
*Overnight in Lijiang

Day 06: Lijiang        
*In the morning, drive out to the Yak Meadow of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Take chairlift (roundtrip) ride up with elevated views of the mountains and valleys. Good weather permitting, you will be able to see snow-capped thirteen peaks.

On the way back to Lijiang, visit Yufeng Monastery, the Naxi villages, Baisha Fresco and Yuhu Naxi Village.
11 km northwest of Lijiang, the Yufeng (Jade Peak) Monastery is famous for a 500-year-old camellia tree that bears ten thousands of flowers from December to next March.
The North of Lijiang lie Liulidian Temple and Daobaoji Temple at Baisha Village, housing 558 mural paintings on 12 walls that can date back to the Ming Dynasty. Buddhism, Taoism and Lamaism manifest in integration in styles of the Han Chinese, the Tibetan, the Bai and the Naxi people on the murals, a proof of exchange on politics, economy, culture and religion between the mainland and China frontiers. They are now listed as key cultural relics under state protection.

Yuhu is a simple village of Naxi minority with the former residence of Dr. Joseph Rock. Dr. Rock, an Austro-American botanist and explorer who lived here off and on from 1922-1949. In Yuhu Village, we may also visit the Primary School.

*Lunch en tour at local restaurant
*Overnight in Lijiang

Day 07: Lijiang/Zhongdian (Shangri-la)     
*Today, overland drive of 200 km (4 hours) to Zhongdian. En route, we will take stops to visit the First Bend of the Yangzi River and the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

The village of Shigu (Stone Drum) stands at the First Bend of the Yangzi River, some 70 km west of Lijiang. The Stone Drum offers a dramatic view of the Yangzi's 180-degree turn, where the swift waters stage a miraculous about-face. For nearly 20 km the river, first flowing southwards, then northwards, runs on parallel to itself.
The Tiger Leaping Gorge is a well-known gorge on the Yangtze River. Flanked by the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain the gorge exhibits an elevation difference of nearly 3,000 meters in some places. Fly back to Kunming the same day after the tour is over.
At 3,300 meters above sea level, Zhongdian (Shangri-La) features rolling hills, snow-capped peaks, virgin forests and grasslands dotted with wild flowers and tranquil lakes. The old town of Jiantang in Tibetan style is in the south of Zhongdian county seat.
*Lunch en tour at local restaurant
*Overnight in Shangri-la
Day 08: Zhongdian (Shangri-la)      
*In the morning, visit the Ganden-songzanglin Monastery and Pudacuo National Park.
Being the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan Province, Gedan-songzanlin Monastery, also known as "Guihua Monastery", is one of the famous monasteries in the Kang region (referring to the Tibetan areas of Yunnan and Sichuan); it is located at 3 kilometers north of Shangri-la County, at the foot of Foping Mountain. Construction of the monastery began from 1679 to 1681, in the Kangxi period of the Qing Dynasty. In 1679, the fifth Dalai Lama chose this place by divination, and it went on to become the uppermost public place in Yunnan which features the peculiar local characteristics.

As the first national park on Chinese mainland, Pudacuo was open to visitors in 2007. It is about 22 kilometers east from Shangri-la county seat. Pudacuo is the transliteration of "Mandala" or "Putuo" which refers to a sacred mountain of Avalokiteshvara (Goddess of Mercy). "Putuo" or "Puda" means a boat to ferry people from sufferings. "Cuo" or "Tso" in Tibetan refers to a lake; so Pudacuo together means "Boat Lake". Pudacuo used to be the original Tibetan name for Bita Lake where we can see an isle called Mandala or Mantuluo. Pudacuo is an unearthly world without pollution, far away from the bustle and hustle world. Time permitted, visit also to a local Tibetan family and a local market.

*Lunch en tour at local restaurant
*Overnight in Shangri-la

Day 09: Zhongdian/Kunming    
*Transfer to Zhongdian Airport for morning flight back to Kunming [60 minutes]. Departure or extend your tour in Kunming to visit other Tourist Sites.

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