For the very first time, The Bivou has put together the Mother-of-All-trips, covering all the classic sights in the area so you can go back to boast to your friends and relatives: “Of course I saw that!” … Here you go…starting from and ending in Kunming, where most international flights as well as those from big cities fly into…
Day 1: Arrival in Kunming
Depending on time you arrive in Kunming, transfer to hotel and spend evening exploring on your own Kunming’s old streets and night market. Suggested dinner (DIY): Crossing-the-Bridge-Noodles.
D2:Kunming – Dali – Three Pagodas Temple – Dali Ancient Town
You will take the morning train to Dali by yourself (it takes about 2-2.5 hours). Your tour guide and driver will pick you up at the Dali train station according to your train time. Our first stop is the postcard scenic Three Pagodas Temple where we can stop for some pictures and you will hear the fascinating story of the many Dali Kings who turned towards Buddhism. After Three Pagodas Temple, visit Dali Gusheng Village (大理古生村), a less visited part of Erhai lake where you can enjoy a slow walk to appreciate the scenery of Erhai up-close. (You can also rent bicycles to circle the lake at your own expense). Then we will go to Dali or Xizhou Old Town and stay overnight. In the evening, you can explore around the town by yourself.
D3: Hike Cangshan Mountain – Erhai Lake – Xizhou Old Town – Shaxi
After breakfast, we will start hiking around 2-3 hours along Cangshan Mountain that you will have a beautiful view of streams, waterfalls, Erhai Lake and Dali ancient town, before taking another cable car down. You will go to Dali museum and old buildings in Dali Ancient Town. Then take a horse carriage through Bai minority villages and rice fields to Erhai lake for a visit. Next, take another 20mins drive to reach Xizhou old town, where we will walk into a local Bai family to enjoy the traditional Three-course tea, Bai music, folk songs and dances. If time permits, you can experience traditional Bai wood-printing and tie-dye craft. Finally drive around 1.5 hours to Shaxi, said to be the best preserved market town along the Tea Horse Trail, where we will stay overnight.
D4: Shibaoshan – Shaxi Old Town – Lijiang
After breakfast, we will drive for around 30-45 mins to Shibaoshan, which is a stunning and important complex of old temples and ancient Buddhist grottoes set in a rocky landscape. After a shuttle bus ride from the main entrance, we begin climbing some stone steps before reaching Baoxiang Temple, a Yuan dynasty Buddhist temple built directly onto the rocky hillside. There are more than 200 mischievous monkeys living around the temple. From here, we will go on to visit the other important site, Shizhong Temple, before heading back to Shaxi Old Town, where we will visit the local markets, the old bridge, the surrounding farmlands, and also Shaxi’s Main Town Square which seems to be trapped in time.
Finally , we will drive about 2 hours to Lijiang . If time permits, you can go to Lijiang’s Dayan Old Town to explore the night scene. Stay one night at The Bivou.
D5: Lijiang: Wenhai Lake, Snowflake Yi Minority & Fuguo Temple Guided Hiking Tour
Leave at 9am, drive 40 minutes to Fuguo Monastery. Enjoy a visit of 40 – 50 minutes at this traditional Tibetan monastery tucked in the valley of Baisha. After, continue driving for another 40 minutes to Snowflake village (Xuehua village); take a walk in this Yi minority community, visit Yi families and enjoy the colourful costumes. A further drive of 30 minutes will bring us to a Naxi family for a local lunch. From here we can walk in the Wenhai meadow – a beautiful wetland area of Wenhai and walk by the Lake. Here we can find livestock such as yak, horse, the regional black pig, goats and sheep. Now we start our journey and hiking about 2 hours to minutes to Yulong village, on the way, we can enjoy a panoramic view of the Lijiang Basin and get to know many kinds of alpine vegetation. About 5pm we will drive to hotel where the trip will end.
Stay one night at The Bivou.
Day 6: 1-day Guided trip to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
We will leave the hotel at 8:30am, driving for around 40-45 minutes to reach Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Scenic Park. Once we arrive, depending on the ticket timings, we will take an internal shuttle bus to reach the cable car station, where we can take a 2km long cable car for about 30mins to reach the first attraction, Glacier Park, at 4506 metres. JDSM itself stands at 5596 metres and consists of 13 peaks. It has the southernmost glacier in the northern Hemisphere. Once you get up, there are stairs for you to climb to reach a higher peak at an altitude of 4,680 meters (15,354 feet). This short climb is difficult, but you will be rewarded by the beautiful panoramic view. After about an hour or so of enjoying the view, we will descend to watch famous Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s outdoor performance Impression Lijiang (around 1 hour), with a cast of over 500 amateur actors. We will end the visit with a trip to see the turquoise crystal clear waters of Blue Moon Valley before leaving the park. From there, it is another 30 minutes drive to get to Baisha Village where we will have a late lunch and if you like, visit the fascinating Baisha Naxi Embroidery School. At around 4pm, we will drive back to the hotel where the trip will end.Stay one night at The Bivou.
Day 7: Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour
Leaving at 8.30am, we will drive 1.5 hours to Tiger Leaping Gorge. We will stop to view the famous Upper Gorge, descending via wooden steps into the gorge, enjoying the spectacular scenery and the surging waters. An easier option is to take the elevator up and down (an additional fee of 70 RMB is required). Next we will carry on driving another 30 minutes to Bendiwan village (located along the High trail), where we will have a short rest at Halfway Guesthouse to enjoy a stunning view of the whole range of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain before we start hiking along the high trail, enjoying the beautiful waterfall and gorge scenery. After 2 hours we will arrive at the Middle gorge, where we will enjoy lunch in a local family restaurant before continuing our hike for another 3 hours, going down to the spectacular Middle Gorge to view the choppy waves and spectacular Yangtze River, before reaching Walnut Grove village, where we will overnight in a Tibetan inn.
Day 8: Tiger Leaping Gorge – Baishuitai – Pudacuo National Park – Shangri-La
After breakfast, we will drive about 1.5 hours to Baishuitai ( White Water Terraces ), where we will walk up a series of wooden steps to visit this beautiful and special place, famous for being the birthplace of the Naxi Dongba religious culture. We will have lunch at a local Naxi family restaurant, then carry on driving 2 hours to Pudacuo National Park, China’s first National Park. We will spend some time walking along the wooden walkways to enjoy the charming highland lake, surrounded by lush alpine vegetation before carrying on our journey. At about 6pm, we will arrive at Shangri-La, where we will overnight in Dukezong Old Town. Tonight, if you like, you can enjoy a walk in the quiet old town and climb a hill to see the world’s largest Tibetan prayer wheel. Stay overnight in Shangri-La.
Day 9: Songtsam Monastery- Napa Lake- Xiaozhongdian- Lijiang
The next day, we will leave our hotel at 8am and we will go to Songzanlin Monastery known as the “Little Potala Palace”, the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan. We will have a chance to learn about the extensive and profound Tibetan Buddhist culture. Then we will go to the tranquil Napa Wetland and Yila Grassland. At Napa Lake, we can find livestock such as yak, horses, black pigs, goats and sheep, and also many migratory birds between the months of November and March. At about 4-5 pm, we will leave Shangri-La and go to Xiao Zhongdian to enjoy the sea of rhododendrons in summer, or snow in winter along the way. Then we take about 2 hours to come back to Lijiang. Stay overnight at The Bivou.
D10: Lijiang – Kunming by High-Speed Rail
We will arrange a transfer to Lijiang train station according to your train schedule. You will have some time for Free & Easy activities in Kunming where you can visit Green Lake Park, the Yunnan Provincial Museum or Yunnan Minorities Village. Stay overnight in Kunming.
D11: 1 Day Kunming – Zhuanxin Farmer’s Market and Shilin Stone Forest Park
According to the agreed time, meet with the driver and guide at your hotel, and visit Kunming’s famous Zhuanxin Farmers’ Market this morning. Built in 1998 and after more than 20 years, Zhuanxin is still bustling with both locals and tourists, showcasing the rich diversity of Yunnan produce from all across the province. Great photography opportunities abound and there are stalls where you can try local snacks and delicacies. In the afternoon, we will drive about 1.5 hours to Stone Forest. Stone Forest Global Geopark, containing nature-shaped karst-formations was included as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 2017. Formed by natural forces 270 million years ago, it is known for its spectacular pinnacle karst topography with tree-shaped rocks rising up from the ground like stalagmites. It is is an eye feast that will truly boggle your mind. After the visit, return to Kunming for the night.
D12： Leave for Airport
We can arrange drop-off service according to your flight.
- Accommodation in a Farm/Garden Yard Twin/Double Room at the Bivou, including breakfast for 2
- 2-way Airport Transfers
- All above tours including the tickets, transportation, English speaking guide, breakfasts, accommodation.
Add-on: Self-Guided trip to Dayan Old Town, Black Dragon Pool and Zhongyi Market
A self-guided exploration of Lijiang’s 800-year old Dayan Old Town using our unique Bivou hand-drawn Explorer map.