Yunnan highlights 7 days

Dali planting rice

Focus on Yunnan and meet colourful people in mountainous landscapes. Maximize your limited time without rushing. Via Kunming you travel to relaxing Dali with its colourful markets and Bai villages around Erhai lake. Stay overnight in Shaxi like the horse caravans once did. Further up north to Lijiang with its wooden houses and canals and passing Shangrila (Zhongdian) with its impressive Tibetan monastery and beautiful grasslands.

This is a great trip as it offers a diversity of different minorities and landscapes. There is also plenty of activity like walking and biking during the daytrips in Dali and Lijiang. Means of transport are varied: boat, bike, train and plane rides. Every season has its own charm, summers are green, warm (not hot though) and wet because of the monsoon rains. Autumn is cooler, less wet and brings beautiful colours in the mountains. Winters have blue, sunny skies but might bring snow too. Spring is cool, dry and nature is recovering from winter.

Trip in days

Day 1

Arrival in Kunming, travel overland by private car (5 hr ride) or arrive in Dali by flight

Day 2

Dali daytrip: visit unspoilt villages & markets in the area of the Yi people. If you’re interested in a boat ride on a peaceful lake we’d recommmend Xihu, a small lake and a perfect place to unwind and enjoy life on the water.

Day 3

Private car to (no guide) to the authentic Bai village Shaxi, on the way you will visit Shibaoshan monastery.

Day 4

Private car to (no guide) to Zhongdian (Shangrila) with a stop in the Tiger leaping gorge. The mountainous ride from Lijiang to Shangrila takes you from the lower Lijiang plain to a high altitude area with grasslands, yaks and the typical white walled Tibetan houses.

If you’re interested in a 2 day hike, the Tiger Leaping gorge comes as a highly recommended trek.

Day 5

Free day in Zhongdian(Shangrila): you can visit the Songzanlin monastery and the old town by yourselves (no guide, no car)

Day 6

Private car (no guide) to Lijiang (about 4-5 hrs ride), free afternoon in Lijiang

For your information: Lijiang old town and nearby villages like Shuhe and Baisha have (almost) completely been taken over by tourist businesses like hotels, bars and shops. If you want to get away from this, we recommend a trip to the red mountains of Liming or Wumu, an authentic Naxi village in the mountains.

Day 7

Lijiang: spend half a day for a countryside trip with bikes and private car. This guided trip will take you around a lake to unspoilt non touristy Naxi villages (incl car, bikes, lunch,guide)

To get back to Kunming you can either take a sleepertrain or flight. If you’d like to shorten the driving hours you can change the order of the trip and do Kunming- Dali- Lijiang- Zhongdian. From Zhongdian you can fly to Kunming or Chengdu.

If you have more time to spend in Yunnan you can get off the beaten track and go to the impressive riceterraces of Yuanyang or visit Heijing (between Kunming and Dali), an old salt town and the moonlandscape of Yuanmou’s beautiful earth forest.


For 2 people 5850 Chinese RMB per person, 4 people- 4550 Chinese RMB per person
Incl: guided daytrip in Dali & Lijiang, traditional style accomodation in hotels or guesthouse (in Shaxi) incl breakfast, private car for mentioned transfers
Excl: transport Kunming- Dali, transport Lijiang-Kunming, all meals and entrance fees, tips for guides and drivers

Other trips

Another day in Dali to make another guided tour to either the Yi or the Bai people
2 day trek through the Tiger Leaping gorge or trek to Wenhai
or a more off the beaten track option 5 day hike from Baoshan Stone city to Lugu lake
from Kunming a trip to colourful minority markets and impressive riceterraces around Yuanyang and Jianshui
South China trip, China highlight trips, Guizhou, Tibet