China travel map - Yunnan Odyssey Tour along Ancient Tea-horse Road

The Yunnan Odyssey trip in 16 days leads travelers to follow in the footsteps of ancient Tea & Horse caravans to explore the famed Lijiang & Shangri-la, as well as some of the remotest and less visited places in Yunnan.

From Kunming to Yuanyang, take in the breathtaking views of Yuanyang Rice Terraces, before traveling to Pu'er and Xishuangbanna to discover the hundreds year-old tea farms and the historical sites of Tea-horse Road. Continue the journey, getting to Lijiang Old Town and the magical land of Shangri-La for breathtaking scenery, idyllic ethnic villages… You will visit popular scenic spots like Stone Forest, Malipo Miao Ethnic Village, Jianshui Old Town, Zhu Family Garden,  Ganlanba Basin, Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden, Elephant Valley, Black Dragon Pool Park, Shuhe Old Town, Ganden Sumtseling Monastery...

Duration: 16 days & 15 nights

Destinations: Kunming - Yuanyang - Jianshui - Pu'er - Xishuangbanna - Lijiang - Zhongdian - Kunming

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

Fly or take a bullet train into Kunming. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. Free time at leisure for the rest of the day.

Drive 86km to the Stone Forest, the most famous tourist attraction in Kunming. It is a typical formation of Karst topography and a part of South China Karst that has been listed a world heritage by UNESCO. Proceed to go to Mile and check into your hotel. Free at leisure to enjoy the hot spring in Huquan Hot Spring Resort in the evening.

Meal: B, L

Stone Forest

Drive about 4 hours to Yuanyang via Kaiyun and Gejiu. Visit local villages on the way. Drive through the area of Yi people in the mountain and Dai people in the Red River valley where they grow banana and tropical fruits. Visit Malipo Miao Ethnic Village en route. After lunch, continue driving to enjoy the sunset of Laohuzui Rice Terraces and visit some Yi and Hani ethnic villages around the Town. At last, pay a visit to Mengnong Chieftain Palace.

Meal: B, L

Today you have a visit to the terraces created by Hani and Yi people after hundreds of years of hard working. These rice terraces built out of the mountainsides by generations of Hani people are said to be among the most magnificent in the world. Get up very early to see the sunrise over the terraces at Duoyishu village and then visit the local Hani and Yi people to know more about their life. Drive about 3 hours to Jianshui County. Arrive in Jianshui Ancient Town and pay a vist to Zhu Family Garden

Meal: B, L

Hani and Yi people

Drive to Tuanshan Village about 15km away from Jianshui Ancient Town, it has hundred year old houses built by the family of Zhang. See the different standards of houses built by rich and poor families, and also the family temple which plays an important role for education, family history, and Chinese culture, it says that people should always remember their ancestors and maintain community traditions. Visit the Zhang Family Garden, and the Double Dragon Bridge, another two ancient structures in Jianshui. Drive to Shipin County for lunch. Drive to Mojiang for overnight stay.  

Meal: B, L, D

After breakfast, drive to Puer, visit Tropic of Cancer Park in Mojiang en route. Then from Mojiang to Puer City, the formerly called Simao, visit a "Ten-Thousand-Acre Tea Garden", and walk around at the previous tea horse caravan route in the garden, an ancient Yunnan-Tibet Trading Route connecting the South China Silk Route. The tea produced in Puer were transported from Pu'er and Xishuangbanna to North Yunnan, and further to Tibet or Southeast and South Asia countries.

Meal: B, L

Today it is time to experience the tropical flavour of Xishuangbanna. Drive to Menglun via Jinghong City. Visit Dai Ethnic Garden in Ganlanba Basin to get close to Dai people’s life and special customs. Then pay a visit to Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden, where you can learn about varied kinds of tropical plants and have a leisure time. Later, witness the local life in the Dai ethnic villages on the way.

Meal: B, L, D

Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden

Visit Wangtianshu Scenic Area, which is the only oasis at 21 degrees north latitude, and has been recognized internationally as China's unique tropical rainforest. Then walk in the Air Corridor (only the first entrance tickets of Wangtianshu Scenic Area and Air Corridor are included); Drive back to Jinghong for overnight stay. 

Meal: B, L

Visit the Wild Elephant Valley: covering an area of 370 hectares, it is the only place in China where large quantities of wild Asian elephant thrive in nature. The dense tropical forest which is home to many precious and endangered species include wild Asian elephant, Wild Ox, Green Peacock and Macaque,etc. Later, proceed to Lancang-Mekong River and enjoy the Mekong Impression Cruise.

Meal: B, L

In the old times, tea and horse caravans have to walk through the mountains, rivers and valleys to move from Xishuangbanna to the next destination - Lijiang. But today, you can fly from Jinghong Airport to Lijiang directly. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is for your own exploration at the enormous Lijiang Old Town. The former capital of Lijiang Naxi Kingdom, the old town was carefully constructed along the streams, with criss-crossed stone-paved alleyways lined with Naxi style architectures. Enjoy yourself a cup of tea or coffee, soft sunlight and the cozy time.

Meal: B

Lijiang Old Town

After breakfast, go to the Black Dragon Pool Park to enjoy the stunning view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain from it. Then pay a visit to Dongba Museum, which has more than 10000 Dongba cultural relics and various other historical relics and offers the "Dongba Culture Exhibition". Later, go to the Baisha Mural, it was painted in Baisha Old Town in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), an interesting co-existence of Buddhism, Taoism and Lamaism in the artworks. At last, proceed to Shuhe Old Town. Shuhe is the earliest settlement of Naxi people in Lijiang when their ancestors first moved to this region. Compared with Lijiang, the town is less touristy and polished with more original characters. Visit the Ancient Tea Horse Road Museum at Shuhe. 

Meal: B, L

Black Dragon Pool

Transfer to Zhongdian by private car. On the way, visit Shigu Village and the First Bend of Yangtze River. The village is 50 kilometers from Lijiang. It was named after a stone tablet in the shape of a drum. The Jinsha River forms a U-turn at Shigu Town and flows northward, which is known as the "First Bend of Yangtze River". Later, proceed to Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of China's deepest canyons, located on the upper reach of the Yangtze River and offers a pleasant walk through spectacular scenery. After arrival at Shangri-la, check into the hotel.

Meal: B, L

After breakfast, drive to explore Pudacuo National Park, notable as the first national park in China to meet International Union for Conservation of Nature standards. It incorporates the Bita Lake Nature Reserve and the Duhu Scenic Area in the Hongshan region. Then pay a visit to Nixi Pottery Village, a small Tibetan village nestling along the popular adventure route from Shangri-la to Deqin in Northwest Yunnan. End the day with the visit to a Tibetan family where you can get close to Tibetan people and their life.

Meal: B, L

Pudacuo National Park

After breakfast, explore Zhongdian Old Town, named Dukezong or Moonlight City. It brims over with Tibetan cultural facts such as Buddhist paintings and Tibetan residences side by side. Besides, it is an important towm on Tea-horse Road.Then visit Songzanlin Monastery. Covering an area of 33 hectares (82 acres), it is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province. Later, transfer to the airport and fly to Kunming by evening flight. Check in your hotel.

Meal: B, L

Songzanlin Monastery

Visit the Western Hill & Dragon Gate (with one-way cableway), a beautiful forest park located by Dian Lake which features cliff-side grottoes cut out of the sheer stonewalls. Later, pay a visit to Qiongzhu Temple, the first temple where Buddhism was preached to the believers in Kunming while the most spectacular attraction in this temple is the 500 life-size Buddha statues. At last, have a stroll at Green Lake.

Meal: B, L

With a private transfer, your guide will escort you to the airport and assist you in check-in procedures. Fly back home or to your next destination. End of your 16 days Yunnan tour.

Meal: B

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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