Yunnan special Heijing & Yuanmou: undiscovered pearls 3 days

Yuanmou earth forestHeijing & Yuanmou are two undiscovered pearls of Yunnan. A beautiful non touristy trip back in time that gives you a rare view on China.

Heijing is a small ancient town along a river in a narrow valley surrounded by steep hillsides. It was a prosperous town in the Ming and Qing dynasties because of its salt wells. Business was so good that for many years Heijing accounted for half of Yunnan’s tax income. From Heijing the valuable salt was transported by horse caravans along ancient mountain trails. Nowadays Heijing is a sleepy town with friendly locals, slowly discovering the tourism market. The atmosphere in the cobbled Heijing streets is quiet and laidback. This is what Lijiang old town used to feel like before it got transformed by mass tourism. Besides that Heijing is interesting because of its old mansions built in Qing dynasty style, once owned by rich merchants. They are all lived in by local families but open for the public. The most beautiful one has become a small boutique hotel with only a few rooms grouped around a spacious courtyard which will be your accomodation for the night. Besides discovering the old town you can climb up the hills to hike up to the various temples and for a good view on the town. Just a little out of town there is a former salt workshop which shows the history of Heijing, the waterwheels used for the salt and you can can see how they used to dry the salt over a woodfire. A nice extra for children is that they can dry their own salt and inscribe their name in it, a great souvenir!

Yuanmou is a different story alltogether: a place where millions of years ago dinosaurs were its main inhabitants. Walking through Yuanmou earth forest shows a surprise around every corner, a fairytale landscape with magical castle towers and intriguing shaped sandstone sculptures everywhere. Yuanmou is a great experience especially at the end of the afternoon where you almost have the place to yourself. Yuanmou feels like the end of the world, a desert where you can easily get lost if you wander off the paths. The ride up to Yuanmou is also interesting as it’s mainly Yi minority area with small villages along the road, made up by their typical large farmhouses. The area however is so dry and arid it’s difficult to imagine how anybody can make a living there, somehow they manage though…

Trip from Dali or Kunming

Day 1

Drive from Kunming to Yuanmou


Drive from Yuanmou to Heijing

Day 3

Drive from Heijing to Dali


2 people- 3780 Chinese RMB per person

4 people- 2790 Chinese RMB per person
Included: Private car and driver for 3 days, accomodation for Yuanmou and Heijing (2 nights)
Excluded: Guide, meals, entrance fees, tip for driver, accomodation in Kunming

More photos on Facebook of Yuanmou and Heijing

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