China’s Yunnan Province is widely regarded as the country’s most culturally diverse and scenically spectacular region. Sharing a common border with Vietnam, Laos and Burma, Yunnan is home to a multitude of fascinating minority groups, each with their own distinct characteristics. The origins of these people are as varied as their languages and costumes. Many migrated from the mountains of Tibet, whilst others came from the Muslim regions along the ancient Silk Route.
The scenery also changes dramatically across the province from the dry, windswept plains of the Tibetan plateau to the spectacular gorges surrounding the early stages of the Yangtze River. This is a superb ten-day adventure that introduces many of the highlights of an amazing region, including a memorable walk through Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Accommodation: Haikun Hotel or similar, Kunming
On arrival in Kunming you are transferred to your hotel, located right in the middle of town. You meet your tour leader and other group members at a pre-tour briefing, then head out for an optional group dinner. Local specialities are a highlight, with dishes such as ‘across-the-bridge' noodles and other similarly intriguing Yunnanese fare.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Accommodation: Lan Lin Ge Hotel or similar, Dali
Kunming is a vibrant and bustling city with a flourishing Muslim area, exciting markets, interesting temples and a strong ethnic minority influence. A half-day walking tour takes us to the more interesting parts of the city, including watching the locals practising taichi in the morning, in People’s Square, and meandering through the Flower and Bird Market, where you are free to wander around and make your own discoveries. Departing Kunming, we catch an afternoon bus to Dali.
Accommodation: Lan Lin Ge Hotel or similar, Dali
Dali is one of the favourite places for travellers in China. Resting near the banks of Er Hai Lake with the Cang Shan mountain range forming an impressive backdrop, the town’s cobblestone streets, ancient stone houses and laid-back charm make it a wonderful place to relax. Dali is home to the proud Bai people, a traditional minority tribe renowned throughout China for their craftsmanship. There is much to explore in our two free days in Dali. There is a chance to go boating on Er Hai Lake and travel across to the village of Wase, or spend a day catching a chairlift up and hiking in the mountains behind Dali (stopping at the occasional monastery along the way). We can also cycle to nearby villages or just stroll around town. Several small stone hamlets lie close to Dali and make for a highly rewarding half-day trip by bicycle or local bus.
Accommodation: Sanhe Naxi Hotel or similar, Lijiang
After a free morning in Dali, a spectacular local bus journey through rambling Bai and Yi hamlets, beneath towering mountains and over lush alpine passes, takes us to Lijiang, former capital of the famed Naxi Kingdom. The Old Town is a maze of cobblestone streets, narrow canals and decorative wooden houses, a wonderful place to wander around and imagine being in a bygone era. A walk up to the Wangu Pagoda on Lion Hill offers an impressive view of the rooftops of the Old Town. Our accommodation is located right in the middle of the Old Town and set up like a local Naxi house, but the rooms contain all facilities that one would expect at home! In the evening, you can witness a performance of the local Naxi orchestra (optional), a unique and entertaining musical experience (please check schedules in Lijiang to see if the show is on during your visit). We may need to repack our luggage in preparation for the trek. Extra luggage can be stored in the vehicle, but remember to pack all your valuables to carry into Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
Accommodation: Tina’s Guest House or similar, TLG
Another breath-taking journey on our private mini-bus takes us past the upper reaches of the Yangtze River to one of the world's deepest gorges and China’s most spectacular natural scenery. Part of the Yangtze River (known here as the Jinsha River) thunders through Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is in turn framed by 5000-metre-high mountains. In the gorge, a sheer cliff face rises from the raging torrents. A memorable walk in the gorge is a wonderful way to take in its awesome beauty, passing local villages such as enchanting Ben Di Wan. The facilities in the village accommodation are extremely basic, as we are visiting a remote area frequented only by adventurous travellers. Please note that this walk is geared towards travellers who like to enjoy some physical activity, but it is not an extreme trek for advanced mountain walkers. The walk can be quite challenging for some people, depending on weather conditions, and good footwear, preferably hiking boots, is essential. It is necessary to bring warm clothing, especially for the evenings, and, in general, for the cooler months. The degree of difficulty on the particular trail that we take will vary greatly, depending on the time of year. Our tour leader may not be able to advise us of the actual trekking itinerary until the last minute.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Shangri-La Olive Noah Inn or similar, Zhongdian
After completing a morning walk, we reunite with our mini-bus and drive to Zhongdian (Shangri-La), a town set on a high plateau with a distinctly Tibetan feel. Home to a range of minority groups from western China, it encapsulates much of the region's fascinating qualities. Yaks are seen grazing on vast alpine plains and the farmhouses are built in a distinctive local style. Due to Zhongdian’s high altitude (3200 metres), it is advisable to bring warm clothing. (Please note that sometimes due to bad road conditions caused by poor weather, it may not be possible to travel to Zhongdian. If that is the case, additional time will be spent in Lijiang.) The highlight of Zhongdian is a visit to the Songzanlin Monastery, restored since the ravages of the Cultural Revolution and once again a place of homage for Tibetan Lamaism. We also visit a Tibetan family and gain an understanding of their unique way of life.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
We fly back to Kunming where the tour ends upon arrival at Kunming Airport.
• The services of Peregrine’s expert English-speaking local tour leader throughout the tour, and local guides at some sites.
• Trek in Tiger Leaping Gorge with overnight stays in local villages.
• Walk in Tibetan-influenced Zhongdian with a visit to a Tibetan family.
• Two free days to explore Dali, home to the Bai minority people.
• Accommodation in Lijiang in a local Naxi house with modern facilities.
• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Kunming and Songzanlin Monastery.
• Local flight from Zhongdian to Kunming.
• Arrival transfer.
Dali is home to the proud Bai people, a traditional minority tribe renowned throughout China for their craftsmanship. Resting near the banks of Er Hai Lake with the Cang Shan mountain range forming an impressive backdrop, the town’s cobblestone streets, ancient stone houses and laid-back charm make Dali a wonderful place to relax and explore at your own pace.
International flights, international and domestic departure taxes, departure transfer, visas, insurance, other meals, any optional tours and activities during free time, tips and items of a personal nature.
We have chosen some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. For group trips, speak to your leader if you are interested in any of the following:
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.Visas and Permits
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
Please note that visa requirements can and do change. It is essential that you confirm requirements with the nearest relevant embassy or check with your travel agent before you travel. At the time of writing, most nationalities require a visa for China. Chinese visas can only by obtained at Chinese Consulates prior to your arrival in China.
Please note if you are travelling from China into Hong Kong (a Special Economic Region) or Kyrgyzstan then back again into China, you will need a double entry Chinese visa. Please be warned that on some occasions people transiting through mainland China on their way to Hong Kong have been made to go through Chinese immigration and had their single entry visa stamped, thus making it invalid. Do not allow your visa to be stamped if you are only going through transit. The Chinese authorities restrict visas for those working in media, government or the military - please contact us for further information.
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.Responsible Travel
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in.
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
There are a number of books which make interesting reading and provide insight in the history, politics and culture of the country. Suggestions are: Wild Swans-Jung Chang The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices-Xinran Riding the Iron Rooster-Paul Theroux From Heaven Lake-Vikram Seth One’s Company-Peter Fleming Red China Blues-Jan Wong Mr China’s Son: A Villager’s Life-He Liuyi China, Renaissance of the Middle Kingdom-Odyssey Guide China-Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrase Book-Lonely Planet. The following are recommended for travellers on the Silk Road: The Great Game-Peter Hopkirk Foreign Devils on the Silk Road-Peter Hopkirk.
Local Tour Leaders
By employing and training local tour leaders to lead our group holidays, there is a two-fold benefit. Firstly, we provide employment opportunities for the local community. Just as importantly is the benefit to you, the traveller. Your tour leader’s friendship, humour, passion and intimate knowledge of the region will be key factors in making your holiday a success.
Adventure in China
This is an ‘adventure’ trip and we hope to expose you to all aspects of the local culture. Please be open-minded. Please note that on your tour, you may link up with passengers booked on other tours in our Asia program.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
12 April 2013