China travel map - Yunnan Ethnic Exploration Tour with Lugu Lake

Take your time with 16-day tour to explore the best of Yunnan! After a taste of Yunnan's capital city, venture west of Kunming and navigate your way through Dali, Shaxi, Lijiang, Lugu Lake, Tiger Leaping Gorge, and Shangrila. This Yunnan tour will take you away from modern highways and large cities to discover the real life where ancient ethnic villages and towns are waiting to be explored.

Duration: 16 days & 15 nights

Destinations: Kunming - Dali - Lijiang - Lugu Lake - Shangrila - Kunming

Starting Point: Kunming

Ending Point: Kunming

Customize Your Tour:
☑  Travel Dates  ☑ Your Interests  ☑ Your Travel Style

You’ll be welcome by your guide at the airport and transferred to hotel check in. the rest of the day is for your leisure. You can spend a lovely night by wander around the city yourself.

Journey to the south of Yunnan Province. 3 highlights of today: first, visit Stone Forest, it is about 120 km from Kunming City and requires only a 1.5-hour drive. It covers an area of 400 square kilometers and includes both large and small forest as well as many other scenic spots. Pay a visit to a minority village to see the traditional lifestyle and handicrafts making. Later, have a stroll around Green Lake.

Meal: B, L

Stone Forest

Pick up at the hotel and transferred to rail station, take high speed train to Dali. Be met at Dali rail station and transfer to check in hotel. Then go to the Three Pagodas, an ensemble of three independent pagodas arranged on the corners of an equilateral triangle, which has been a landmark of Dali City and selected as a national treasure meriting preservation in China. Later, travel around Dali Ancient Town. The town’s layout was uniform, with five main streets from south to north and eight main streets from east to west, while marketplaces were neatly arranged within the town, which has remained unchanged to this date.

Meal: B, L

After a nice breakfast in the morning, you will be escorted to Er’hai. Enjoy the leisure when boating in Er’hai Lake, which is one of the seven biggest fresh water lakes in China. Then go to the fishing village nearby. After that, transfer back to Dali Ancient Town. The rest of the day is for your own exploration, enjoying a relaxing time by staying in a café.

Meal: B, L

Erhai Lake

Check out Dali Hotel and transfer to Shaxi by private car. Situated midway between Dali and Lijiang, Shaxi was one of the important trading centers on the Tea-Horse Caravan Road several hundred years ago. After your arrival and check into the hotel, you will start the exploration by visiting Shaxi Ancient Town: a well-kept habitat and buildings of Bai people. You can also find the influence of Buddhist here, the murals of Ming dynasty are full of local ethnic feature. Walking along Tea-Horse Caravan Road and Sideng Sifang Street, you can hear the historical stories told by your guide.

Meal: B, L, D

Transfer and visit Shibao Mountain, the southern branch of the Laojun Mountain ranges. It is the center part of the “Three Paralleled Rivers”, a UNESCO World Nature Heritage Site. Then pay a visit to Shizhong Temple of Jianchuan, where there are one hundred and thirty-nine statues of Buddha in 16 grottoes are scattered throughout. In the end, drive to Lijiang and hotel check in.

Meal: B, L

After breakfast, stroll around Lijiang Old Town, originally called Dayan, it is a very well preserved old town built by Naxi people with unique cultural background. It was listed as the World Cultural Heritage Sites in 1997.Enjoying Naxi ancient Instrument show, learning Badong culture or stopping by Mu Fu Mansion, slow down your pace here. Then go to Black Dragon Pool Park, also called "Jade Spring Park", it is situated at the foot of Elephant Hill in the north of Lijiang.

Meal: B, L

Drive to see the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the holy mountain of local Naxi People and the soul of Lijiang. Climb up the mountain to catch the sense of holiness where you can also take a cable car to its picturesque Spruce Meadow (including eco-friendly bus). On the way back to Lijiang, pay a visit to Baisha Mural, an interesting co-existence of Buddhism, Taoism and Lamaism in the artworks.

Meal: B, L

Your driver will transfer you to explore the beautiful Lugu Lake with the mysterious Mosuo people--2690 meters above sea level by a long driving (4 hours). After hotel check in, start the discovery for Lugu Lake area. It’s a gem located at the mountainous area on the border of Sichuan and Yunnan Province. Mosuo people live around it. The lake area is an absolutely an undisturbed from the bustling outside world. Stay overnight near Lugu Lake area.

Meal: B, L, D

Full day free at leisure in Lugu Lake area. You can take your time in the nearby ancient village, Small Luoshui Village, or visit temples, couple bridge and so forth. Surprises await you in this idyllic place. (Detailed info you can ask for our travel specialists.)

Meal: B

Drive back to Lijiang by our private car. Have a break or lie in the hotel in Lijiang for the rest time.

Meal: B, L

Drive to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, the canyon on the upper reach of the Yangtze River where offers a pleasant walk through spectacular scenery. Moreover, legend says a tiger could jump across the river at the narrowest point (still 25 meters wide), hence the name. Enjoy your exciting hiking trip in the gorge. In the end, drive to Tina's Hostel in the middle Tiger Leaping gorge, one of the most beautiful valleys in China, connecting with the legendary Tea-horse trading route.

Meal: B, L, D

Tiger Leaping Gorge

In the morning, go on your hiking in Tiger Leaping Gorge by visiting Bendiwan Village, Bamboo Forest, Guanyin Temple and Guanyin Waterfalls along the cliff. After that, transfer to Shangrila, a sacred region with breath-taking scenery.

Meal: B, L, D

Today's sightseeing trip takes you to 2 highlight spots: Songzanlin Monastery, covers an area of 33 hectares (82 acres), it is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province. Pudacuo National Park, it is notable as the first national park in China to meet International Union for Conservation of Nature standards. In this park, you will see Shudu Lake and Bita Lake. Shudu Lake, the largest lake of Shangri-la County, is well known for its crystal clear water and rich resources of marine life. Bita Lake is widely recognized as 'A Pearl on the Plateau' and the most attractive lake in Shangri-La.

Meal: B, L, D

Songzanlin Monastery

After breakfast, pay a visit to a Tibetan family to get close to Tibetan people and their life. Then transfer to the airport and fly to Kunming. Be met and transferred to the hotel. Have a rest after the flight.

Meal: B, L

Your guide will pick you up at the appointed time and transfer to the airport or rail station. Say goodbye to Yunnan and fly to your next destination.

Meal: B

End of service.

What's included

  • 1-on-1 Travel Consultant

    Your China based expert listens to your wishes carefully, provides professional advice, ensures unlimited itinerary revisions before done and 24/7 helpline service while traveling.

  • Private Local Guide and Driver

    Your guides are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and your drivers are professional, polite and patient. They are very flexible to accommodate your personal needs and happy to show you the local attractions, history, culture, foods and real life. 
    Private transfers from hotel to attractions, airport or train station are also included.

  • Accommodation to Suite Your Preference

    In each place, we hand pick hotels ranging from luxury 5 star, superior 4 star to comfortable 3 star. Luxury or cozy boutique hotels and budget guesthouses are also among your choices. You could decide where to stay to meet your taste and budget.

  • Gourmet Meals

    Most of the hotels we select offer both Western and Chinese buffet breakfast. Lunch and dinner included are arranged in selected restaurants to taste authentic Chinese cuisine and local specialties. Thus you may also have a unique food tour.
    Meals specified in itinerary as B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner.

  • Attractions and Activities Listed on the Itinerary

    Our China tour packages have included the (first/main) entry to all attractions and the expenses of activities on the itinerary (except the optional activities).

  • Internal Transportation

    Based on your needs, we could make bookings of internal transportation, including domestic flights, inter-city trains, long-distance bus, etc.

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