Days
14
Price from
£2,140GBP

From Hong Kong to Kunming, explore Yunnan, China's most diverse province

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 Yangzi River. This is a superb fourteen day adventure that introduces many of the highlights of an amazing region, including a memorable day trip to the Tiger Leaping Gorge.


Start
Hong Kong, China
Finish
Kunming, China
Country
China
Style
Peregrine
Code
PCYE
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
7 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Spend time with a local family in Xizhou and learn about their traditional way of life. Try your hand at cheese making and share a local lunch.

  • Explore the dramatic limestone karst scenery of Yangshuo, immortalised in endless traditional Chinese paintings

  • Get a hands-on insight into Chinese dishes and ingredients with a cooking class in Yangshuo

  • Explore the lesser-visited town of Xizhou, home to the traditional Bai tribe and their unique, photogenic architecture

  • Spend the night in a guesthouse in the lovingly restored town of Shaxi, visit the dizzying Friday Market and be transported back to when it was a significant stop on the Tea Horse Trail

  • Enjoy a day trip to see the memorable dramatic scenery of Tiger Leaping Gorge

  • Stay in the centre of Lijiang’s Old Town and get happily lost in its culture and jumble of shop and temple-filled alleyways

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip uses a mix of transport for a local experience, including fast train, plane, private bus, and public bus.

  • We suggest packing relatively lightly for this trip, as you’ll need to be able to comfortably carry your luggage for the duration of the trip. This includes to and from accommodation, and on and off flights, trains and buses.

  • Accommodation on this trip is on a twin-share basis, unless booking a Single Supplement.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 12 April 2016 - 31 December 2016

Nimen Hao! Welcome to China. Start this Chinese splendours discovery in the energetic city of Hong Kong. There’s so much to do in this fusion of East and West that we recommend arriving early to explore the sights. An airport arrival transfer is included, please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or no later than 14 days prior to travel. Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm this evening. Meet with your group in the evening and perhaps enjoy a first Chinese meal together.

Notes: Should you arrive early perhaps take a scenic journey around the islands of Hong Kong on the famous passenger ferry service, the Star Ferry, watch the harbour's spectacular light show or ride the peak tram to Victoria Peak for incredible views of the Hong Kong skyline.
Accommodation
  • Metropark Kowloon Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hong Kong - Victoria Peak & Tram - HKD40
  • Hong Kong - Old vs New Hong Kong Urban Adventure - USD49
  • Hong Kong - Around Kowloon in 8 Markets Urban Adventure - USD49
  • Hong Kong - The Story of Hong Kong Urban Adventure - USD49
  • Hong Kong - Star Ferry - HKD15
  • Hong Kong - Nightly Light Show - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
After a delicious Dim Sum breakfast this morning you begin your journey into the Chinese mainland. Be prepared for a long day of travel today. From 2015 China cancelled the overnight trains between Shenzhen & Guilin, so our only option is to travel overland by high-speed rail and bus. You’ll take a taxi from the hotel to Mongkok Station and board the bus to Shenzhen North. Complete the immigration procedures (be patient as this could take some time) and then walk the short distance from the border to the train station. You’ll then cross border from Hong Kong to China. Travel by high-speed G train to Guilin North Station (approximately 3.5 hours). When you arrive in Guilin you’ll be met by your private transfer to continue on to Yangshuo (approximately 1.5 hours), where you’ll stay for the night. Soak up the charm of this sleepy little town, popular with the Chinese and Westerns alike, who come for the beautiful landscape and stay for the great cafe and bar culture.
Accommodation
  • Yangshuo Starway Xinfu'an Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The countryside around Yangshuo is immortalized in many traditional Chinese paintings – picture immense limestone karsts dotting the rural landscape and towering spectacularly over rice paddies and the meandering Li River, all celebrated on every 20 Yuan note. It's also one of the best places in the country to get a feel for local culture and traditions, while having plenty of fun at the same time. Today you'll visit the market to shop with the locals and get a feel for the regional produce. You can then put this new knowledge to use in a cooking class at the Yangshuo Cooking School. Learn to cook Chinese dishes with recipes that are easy to make and ingredients readily available outside of China, so that you’ll soon be wowing friends and family back at home. The evening is free for you to explore Yangshuo's lively cafe and bar scene.
Accommodation
  • Yangshuo Starway Xinfu'an Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yangshuo - Cooking School & Market Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Begin the day by focusing your body and mind with a morning Tai Chi class and then maybe continue the active theme by hiring a bike. Gaining an insight into rural Chinese life on a cycle where each turn in the road brings you to another picture-postcard location. You could climb up to Moon Hill – a limestone pinnacle with a moon-shaped hole penetrating the hill – or simply stroll along the river and be immersed in the natural beauty of the valley. For something a little less energetic you could simply sit back and relax as you enjoy a relaxing cruise down the Li or Yulong River. Later, perhaps watch an outdoor light show staged by 2008 Beijing Olympics’ Opening Ceremony director Zhang Yimou.
Accommodation
  • Yangshuo Starway Xinfu'an Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yangshuo - Tai Chi/Kung Fu class
Optional Activities
  • Yangshuo - Li River Cruise - CNY100
  • Yangshuo - Bike hire - CNY20
  • Yangshuo - Zhang Yimou's Impressions Show - CNY198
  • Yangshuo - Moon Hill - CNY15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll return to Guilin (approximately 1.5 hours) and then fly from Guilin to Kunming (approximately 1.5 hours). Kunming, known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ for its year-round temperate climate, is an increasingly modern city, but it still holds pockets of old-world charm in a relaxed atmosphere. After you arrive, in the afternoon maybe delve into local culture at the ancient temples and intriguing museums dotted around the area – the Buddhist Yuantony Temple dates back 1,200 years and you will uniquely enter the complex from above and descend down into the elegant garden and halls. Meanwhile, the Yunnan University Wu Mayao Museum of Anthropology has a number of interesting displays on artefacts of the Han and Yi people.
Accommodation
  • Kunming Longteng Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kunming - Yuantong Temple - CNY6
  • Kunming - Green Lake Park - Free
  • Kunming - Tang Dynasty Pagodas - CNY2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart Kunming by private bus and prepare for the adventure ahead as you travel through the countryside to Dali. Kunming to Dali is 340km and the drive can take up to 7 hours. You’ll travel through the foothills of the Himalayas, driving through the mountains (some tunnels are kilometres long) that it used to take weeks to pass. When you arrive you’ll stretch your legs on an orientation walk with your leader, who’ll introduce the options for you during your stay here. Dali is a favourite among travellers in China, a place where you can soak up the (rare) fresh mountain air. 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 also home to the proud Bai people, a traditional minority tribe renowned throughout China for their craftsmanship. The town is overflowing with places to eat and drink, so you will not have trouble finding a good meal this evening.
Accommodation
  • Dali Lan Lin Ge Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dali - Ancient Town Walking Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll take a trip to the nearby lesser-visited town of Xizhou (approximately 1 hour), an authentic town of the Bai – a traditional minority tribe renowned throughout the country for their craftsmanship. Be guided around this photogenic town filled with Bai architecture, characterised by ornate gateways with elegant detailing. The town was long a stop on the Silk Road, home to wealthy merchants, officials and scholars, and during World War II, many of China’s universities decamped to this remote part of Yunnan to continue their studies. Wander around this unique town and don’t forget to try the local treat 'Xizhou Baba' – a warm baked cake filled with savoury or sweet filling. For lunch you'll enjoy a unique experience, when you visit a local family and learn about their traditional way of life. You'll try cheese making with them and have lunch together. You’ll then return to Dali for the night.
Accommodation
  • Dali Lan Lin Ge Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Xizhou - Cheese making
  • Xizhou - Bai family lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Travel to Shaxi from Dali today (approximately 4 hours). What makes Shaxi so special is that unlike many other ancient towns in Yunnan, it has been restored rather than rebuilt, and being off the main highways it hasn't seen the rapid development of the tourist industry as other places like Lijiang and Dali have. Here you can still find the Yi and Bai ethnic minorities living their traditional lives, farmhouses lining the country roads, and the cobblestone streets, original walled town gates and market square showing that Shaxi was once an important stop on the old Tea Horse Trail. After you settled in, take a walking tour of the township.
Accommodation
  • Huishui Guesthouse or similiar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll join a local guide to walk the Shibaoshan Trek to Shizong Temple (4-5 hours return), perhaps taking a picnic lunch along to make the most of the beautiful “danxia” landscape along the way (the beautiful multi-coloured rocks formed by millions of years of sandstone and mineral deposits). The hike climbs up to around 2,400 metres above sea level and is accessible to all travellers with a reasonable level of fitness. Bring your walking poles if you have them, as these will also be useful for the more challenging Tiger Leaping Gorge hike. For those travellers who wish to sit out this activity there is the option to stay in Shaxi for the day instead. In the evening, take the opportunity to mix with the locals on the town square, where it's not rare to see impromptu dancing, singing and games happen (feel free to join in or just observe).
Accommodation
  • Huishui Guesthouse or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shaxi - Shibaoshan trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Before we depart for Lijiang today we will have a chance to visit the Friday Market, said to have been held in Shaxi continuously since 1415. Beginning back in the days of the Tea Horse Road, it's now a huge gathering and seems there is nothing that isn't for sale here! Stalls include food vendors, livestock, produce, clothing, electronics and even roadside dentists and hairdressers!

Continue to Lijiang and explore the former capital of the Naxi kingdom (approximately 3 hours). Lijiang is a former capital of the famed Naxi Kingdom. The Old Town is a maze of cobblestone streets and decorated wooden houses, a wonderful place to wander around and imagine being part of a bygone era. Take a walking tour of the ancient town and wander up to the Wangu Pagoda on Lion Hill, which offers an impressive view of the rooftops of the Old Town. In the evening, maybe take the opportunity to witness a performance of the local Naxi orchestra, a unique and entertaining musical experience. The musicians play Taoist temple music, a style that has been lost to the rest of the country. This was due in no small part to the Cultural Revolution, with instruments having to the buried to hide them from authorities.
Accommodation
  • Metropark Holiday Hotel Lijiang or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lijiang - Ancient Town Walking Tour
  • Lijiang - Wangu Pagoda
  • Shaxi - Friday Market
Optional Activities
  • Lijiang - Naxi Orchestra - CNY120
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a private bus to Tiger Leaping Gorge for a day trip with a local guide. Part of the Yangzi River (known here as the Jinsha River) thunders through Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is in turn framed by 5,000-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. About 15 kilometres in length, the gorge is named after a legendary tiger that leapt across the gorge to escape the clutches of a hunter. No mean feat considering the canyon’s narrowest point is still a staggering 25 metres wide! Take in the incredible views of one of the world’s deepest river canyons and one of Asia’s most dramatic and photogenic hiking trails before returning to Lijiang to for the night.
Accommodation
  • Metropark Holiday Hotel Lijiang or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tiger Leaping Gorge - Guided Trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Fly from Lijiang back to Kunming (approximately 1 hour) and explore any sights you might have missed the first time around with a walking tour of the area. Soak up the unique atmosphere by wandering the ‘Old Town’ areas and maybe people-watching in Green Lake Park. There are a number of fascinating little markets hidden in the backstreets of the old warehouse area. Kunming is a perfect place to relax as your journey draws to an end.
Accommodation
  • Kunming Longteng Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a day trip outside of Kunming to the geological wonder of the Kunming Stone Forest (approximately 120 km). The stone forest covers an area of 400 square kilometres (96,000 acres) and includes both large and small forests of towering limestone pillars, as well as many other scenic spots. An old local saying says that 'If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time'. Truly, the site is one of the most important attractions of Yunnan. Return to Kunming – this evening maybe join the rest of your group for a final farewell dinner to celebrate the end of your China adventure.
Accommodation
  • Kunming Lonteng Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kunming - Stone Forest
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There are no activities planned for the today and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

13 breakfasts, 3 lunches

Transport

Plane, Private bus, Public bus, High speed train, Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel (13 nights)

Included Activities

  • Yangshuo - Cooking School & Market Tour
  • Yangshuo - Tai Chi/Kung Fu class
  • Dali - Ancient Town Walking Tour
  • Xizhou - Cheese making
  • Xizhou - Bai family lunch
  • Shaxi - Shibaoshan trek
  • Lijiang - Ancient Town Walking Tour
  • Lijiang - Wangu Pagoda
  • Shaxi - Friday Market
  • Tiger Leaping Gorge - Guided Trek
  • Kunming - Stone Forest

Reviews

Our South West China trips score an average of 4.71 out of 5 based on 7 reviews in the last year.

South West China, May 2016

Phillip Hammer

Yunnan Explorer, May 2016

Kathryn McMahon

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A complimentary arrival transfer is included.
2. A Single Supplement is available for this trip.
3. Gratuities included for the essential services only that you will receive as part of your tour package. Please see our Tipping section of these trip notes for more information. .
4. A challenging form is required to be filled out by all passengers, due to high altitudes reached on this trip. Maximum altitude on this trip will be 2650m above sea level.
5. In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Peregrine's Beijing office can be reached on Tel: +861064067328
6. Please make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.