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Your Position: HomeChina ToursChina Photography Tours12 Days Photo Tour to Dreamlike and Colorful Yunnan
  • Songzanlin Monastery
  • Stone Forest
  • The Ancient City of Dali
  • Bitahai Nature Reserve
  • Erhai Lake
  • Yulong Snow Mountain
  • First Bend of the Yangtze River
  • The Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple
  • Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Dongba Culture Museum
  • Naxi Ancient Music

You can click to see the attractions included in this tour itinerary.

12 Days Photo Tour to Dreamlike and Colorful Yunnan

Tour Code: CPT03
Tour Duration: 12 Days
Destination: Dali, Diqing(Shangri-La), Kunming, Lijiang
Tour overview: Praised as a dreamy and beautiful place, Yunnan Province of China has been described as the "heaven south of the clouds". City of Eternal Spring-Kunming, Historical Jianshui and Dali, Legendary Lijiang... Both you and your camera will fell in love with this beautiful place-Yunnan!

  • Tour Summary
  • Day by Day Itinerary
  • Reviews
12 Days Photo Tour to Dreamlike and Colorful Yunnan 12 Days Photo Tour to Dreamlike and Colorful Yunnan 12 Days Photo Tour to Dreamlike and Colorful Yunnan 12 Days Photo Tour to Dreamlike and Colorful Yunnan

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Tour Dates Destinations Services Provided Meals Included
Day 1 Kunming Upon arriving at Kunming airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Howard Johnson Tropical Garden Plaza Kunming Kunming Jin Jiang Hotel Yunnan Jinhua International Hotel
/
Day 2 Kunming/Jianshui This morning, we drive to the Stone Forest and have a visit there. Then we drive for three hours to Jianshui. Details... B,L
Day 3 Jianshui Today we will walk around the old town of Jianshui.
Then drive out of town to the village of Tuanshan to admire the ancient town and the Shuanglong Bridge.
Afternoon, we will visit the Confucius Temple and the Zhu Family Garden. Details...
B,L
Day 4 Jianshui/Yuanyang After breakfast, we drive across the mountain and descend into the Red River Valley. Take some photographic opportunities.
Afternoon, we drive to Laohuzui (Tiger's mouth) to gaze upon the sunset over the terraces before we drive back to Yuanyang. Details...
B,L
Day 5 Yuanyang Early this morning, we drive to Shengcun to view the sunrise over the terraces.
Then we will visit the Hani People.
In the afternoon, we drive to Laohuzui (Tiger's Mouth), another site of terraced paddies. Details...
B,L
Day 6 Yuanyang/Jianshui/Kunming Get up early to photo shoot the sunrise over the terraces.
After breakfast, we head back to Jianshui where we have lunch before continuing our drive to Kunming.
Afternoon will be free time for you to explore the town or to take a rest. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Howard Johnson Tropical Garden Plaza Kunming Kunming Jin Jiang Hotel Yunnan Jinhua International Hotel
B,L
Day 7 Kunming/Dali Take morning flight to Dali. Upon our arrival in Dali, you will be met & take a cruise on the Erhai Lake and visit The Ancient City of Dali , The Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Dali Regent Hotel Dali Asia Star Hotel Landscape Courtyard
B,L
Day 8 Dali/Lijiang In the morning, we take a cable car to the top of Cangshan for a bird's eye view of the Erhai Valley. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Lijiang Ancient Town Hexi Hotel, Lijiang Jinhong Villa Hotel
B,L
Day 9 Lijiang Today we will visit and photograph the Yulong Snow Mountain , Dongba Culture Museum .
This evening, we will enjoy the Naxi Ancient Music . Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Crowne Plaza Lijiang Ancient Town Hexi Hotel, Lijiang Jinhong Villa Hotel
B,L
Day 10 Lijiang/Diqing(Shangri-La) After breakfast, we will drive to the First Bend of the Yangtze River and take a stop at the Tiger Leaping Gorge .
Then we keep on driving northwards to Zhongdian. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Shangri-la Paradise Hotel Holy Palace Hotel Pacific Rim Hotel
B,L
Day 11 Diqing(Shangri-La) Today we will drive to the Songzanlin Monastery to photograph the tranquil morning scenery before visiting the monastery.
Afternoon, we will drive to Bitahai Nature Reserve which is surrounded by snowy mountains and alpine lakes. Details...
First Class Deluxe Class Tourist Class
Shangri-la Paradise Hotel Holy Palace Hotel Pacific Rim Hotel
B,L
Day 12 Diqing(Shangri-La)/Kunming Take morning flight back to Kunming and then a connecting flight back home. Details... B,L
1. Normally hotels allow a maximum of 3 adults per room with an extra bed, at extra charge. Some hotels will allow three adults and a small child.
2. Tour price is indicative only, please enquire for a detailed quotation.
3. More people more discounts. Please enquire for more details.

Price Inclusions and Exclusions

Price Include

A. Entrance fees:To scenic spots as listed above in the itinerary.
B. Meals: All meals as specified in the itinerary.
C. Private Transfers: Among airports, hotels and scenic spots while sightseeing in the above cities by the private air conditioned vehicle.
D. Guide and Driver: As outlined in the itinerary, a well selected English-speaking guide and driver will accompany you throughout the entire tour in that city. They do not fly with you from one city to another.
E. Hotels: Hotel Based on two persons sharing one room with twin beds. All hotels as listed in the above itinerary serve daily western or Chinese breakfast. All rooms are air-conditioned with private facilities unless specified.
F. Luggage Transfers: Between airports and hotels.
G. Service Charge & Government Taxes.
H. Travel insurance in mainland China during the above travel period.
I. Arrangements: The tour cost includes planning, handling, operational and communication charges.

Price Exclude

A. Entry or Exit China International Airfare or train tickets.
B. Visa Fees.
C. Excess Baggage Charges.
D. Personal Expenses: Expenses of a purely personal nature such as laundry, drinks, fax, telephone call, optional activities, sightseeing or meals which are not included in the itinerary.
E. Meals: Any meals which are not specified with "B", "L" or "D".
F. Single Room Supplement.
G. Insurance coverage of personal loss, illness or damages incurred during your trip.
H. Gratuities, Tips to Guides and Drivers.

Day 1 Arrive in Kunming

Transfer via: Flight – on your own arrangement

Upon your arrival in Kunming, your local guide will welcome you and transfer you to your hotel. For the rest of the day you will enjoy some leisure time to relax or have a first look at the new surrounding.

Day 2 Kunming to Jianshui (B, L)

Kunming to Jianshui (B, L)

Transfer via: private vehicle on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Stone Forest

Today we will go on a full day trip to Stone forest. Due to a process of weathering and erosion, nature has created an art gallery of stone sculpture here. This typical Karst physiognomy seems like a forest of stone pillars and boulders. You will see fascination natural creations like Lion Arbor, Sword Peak Pond, Lotus Peak, Moon Lake, Jade Lake, and Dadie Waterfall.

Following, we will drive for three hours to Jianshui. Jianshui, is a culturally significant city south of Kunming, historically it has served as the home of many important officials.

Day 3 Jianshui (B, L)

Jianshui (B, L)

Sightseeing: Tuanshan village, Shuanglong Bridge, Confucius Temple, Zhu Family Garden

This morning, we walk around the old town of Jianshui. We then drive out of town to the Tuanshan village to admire the ancient town and the Shuanglong Bridge.

Then, we visit the nearby Confucius Temple. Jianshui Confucius Temple is the biggest one in Yunnan Province, it was first built in 1285, through expansion of more than 40 times, its area measures 114 mu (7.6 hectares) today. Construction is an imitation of the Qufu Confucius Temple,

In the late afternoon, we visit the Zhu Family Garden. It is seated in Jianxin Street, Jianshui County. It was built by Zhu Weiqing, a successful businessman and his brother, in late Qing Dynasty around 100 years ago, construction work brokenly lasted 30 years. Garden covers a total area of 20,000 square meters, this grand complex is a typical local residence with distinctive features, with labyrinth arrangements of yards, pathways and elaborately-furnished rooms and halls, and it enjoys the fame "the Grand View Garden in Southern Yunnan". Zhu Family Garden embodies the combination of inland Chinese.

Day 4 Jianshui to Yuanyang (B, L)

Jianshui to Yuanyang (B, L)

Transfer via: private vehicle on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Photo shoot the sunset at Laohuzui

After leaving Jianshui, we drive across the mountain and descend into the Red River Valley. This subtropical area is quite foggy throughout the whole year. The Rice terraces in Yuanyang present us with some magnificent photographic opportunities.

This afternoon, we drive to Laohuzui (Tiger's mouth) to gaze upon the sunset over the terraces before we drive to Yuanyang.

Day 5 Yuanyang Terrace (B, L)

Yuanyang Terrace (B, L)

Sightseeing: Yuanyang Terrace Filed, Hani Village

Early this morning, we drive to Shengcun to view the sunrise over the terraces. Discover the super gorgeous terraced rice paddies, which have been built and maintained for generations. Yuanyang Terraced Fields has been placed into the preparatory list of World Heritage in China; the Application of Honghe Hani Terraced Fields for World Heritage has been committed to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization by Chinese Government in January, 2002.  

After that, we visit the Hani people in their thatched mushroom houses. The Hani are one of the many unique tribes in Yunnan. Walk in the Hani villages nestled amid the "Mirror of Heaven".

In the afternoon, we drive to Laohuzui (Tiger's Mouth), another site of terraced paddies.

Day 6 Yuanyang to Kunming (B, L)

Transfer via: private vehicle on our arrangement
Sightseeing: photo shoot sunrise over the terraces

Get up early and photo shoot the sunrise over the Hani Terraces.

After breakfast, we head back to Jianshui where we have lunch before continuing our drive to Kunming.

After a long day of driving, after checking in to the hotel, you will have free time to explore the town or just take a rest.

Day 7 Kunming to Dali (B, L)

Kunming to Dali (B, L)

Transfer via: Flight on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Erhai Lake, Ancient City of Dali, Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple

In the morning your local guide will transfer you to the airport where you take the flight to Dali.

Upon your arrival there, you will be greeted by your local guide and then visit Erhai Lake. Erhai Lake is the largest highland lake next to Dianchi and one of the seventh biggest fresh water lakes in China. It means, 'sea shaped like an ear', in Chinese. Implying that the lake is ear shaped and as large as a sea, hence it was so named. The lake covers an area of 250 square kilometers and is located about two kilometers east of Dali. 

The next stop will be the Ancient City of Dali, which is a magnificent ancient city with a perimeter of 6 kilometers. Its former city wall is 7.5 meters high and 6 meters thick. There used to be four city gates, each on one side. On the gates were the gate towers. While Xiaguan, the capital of the Autonomous Region of Dali, depicts you a scene of prosperity and bloom, the Ancient City of Dali will give you a simple, unsophisticated and quiet impression.

Finally you will see the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple. It is a symbol of the history of Dali City, and a record of the development of Buddhism in the area. As its name implies, Three Pagodas are made of three ancient independent pagodas forming a symmetrical triangle. This is unique in China.

Day 8 Dali to Lijiang (B, L)

Transfer via: private vehicle on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Cangshan, Shaxi village

In the morning, we take a cable car to the top of Cangshan for a bird's eye view of the Erhai valley.

After lunch, we will drive to Lijiang. About three hours later, we get to Jianchuan and then take a country road to Shaxi. The Shaxi village is nestled deep within the Parallel Rivers area near Jianchuan between Lijiang and Dali. It is a culturally diverse town home to the Bai and Yi minorities.

Later, we drive to Lijiang and enjoy some free time.

Day 9 Lijiang (B, L)

Lijiang (B, L)

Sightseeing: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Dongba Village

This morning, we visit and photograph the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain along with a bridge and a peaceful lake. It is the southernmost marine glacier in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. Altogether there are 13 peaks along the range, stretching for over 35km from south to north. The summit, Shanzidou, is 5596 meters above sea level. Viewed from afar, the snow-capped range resembles a silver dragon with snow curling up its middle. Rich forest, herb and animal resources thrive on the mountain.

On our way we will stop at Dongba Village in Yushui Stockade, which is built completely according to the traditional life style of Naxi Minority. You can feel the traditional atmosphere of national culture from the layout of its yard, building facilities, tools and details of life.

Evening we will enjoy ancient Naxi Music.

Day 10 Lijiang to Zhongdian (B, L)

Lijiang to Zhongdian (B, L)

Transfer via: private vehicle on our arrangement
Sightseeing: Tiger Leaping Gorge, first Bend of the Yangtze River

In the morning you will be transferred to Zhongdian

On the way, you will fist visit Tiger Leaping Gorge. Being one of Yunnan's most famous spots, the gorge itself is tucked neatly between the Yulong Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain, which surround its two sides.

Secondly, we will see the First Bend of the Yangtze River. It lies in Shigu Town, Lijiang. Rushing down from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, "the roof of the world", the Yangtze surges into Yunnan from its northwest, where it meets Lancang River and Nu River. Then, they go together through the high mountains and deep gorges of Hengduan Mountains. You will be impressed by this natural power.

Day 11 Zhongdian (B, L)

Zhongdian (B, L)

Sightseeing: Song Zanlin Monastery, Bitahai Nature Reserve

This morning, we drive to the Song Zanlin Monastery to photograph the tranquil morning scenery before visiting the monastery. Songzanlin Monastery, which is a typical Lama monastery. Located at the foot of Mt. Foping, four kilometers north of Zhongdian County, a monastery was first built here in 1679 and has been rebuilt many times. The architectural style of the building is a faithful imitation of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

In the afternoon, we drive to Bitahai Nature Reserve, an intact natural attraction with various species of flora and fauna and of course picturesque landscapes. In the reserve itself, century-old pines and cypresses are growing around Bitahai Lake, in which the water is crystal clear. In the middle of the lake there is an islet covered by cedars and azaleas.

Day 12 Zhongdian to Kunming / Departure (B)

Transfer via: Flight on our own arrangement

In the morning, you will be met and transferred to airport to take a flight back to Kunming and then a connecting flight back home.

Comment on our service from Gracie Chan, USA

We had a wonderful trip! You planned and coordinated everything really well. We especially appreciated all your help on the first day when we missed our train and got stranded in Beijing~THANK YOU! Everything went smoothly and our guides were most accommodating. Most of them were quite fluent and we don't have any problem understanding them. I will definitely recommend you to my friends and seek you out if I visit China the future.

 

Hello Sandy,

Hope you had a nice weekend. Thanks for being patient. Here's what we thought of the trip.

Overall, we had a wonderful trip! You planned and coordinated everything really well. We especially appreciated all your help on the first day when we missed our train and got stranded in Beijing~THANK YOU!

Everything went smoothly and our guides were most accommodating. Most of them were quite fluent and we don't have any problem understanding them. It was great to have their help dealing with hotel checking-ins and transportation details. It was very convenient and helpful. Having to move in and out of hotels daily and trying to catch all those train on time are very stressful ~ A big "Thanks" for all their help.  

I want you to know that we consider Jackie Zhang (our guide for Zhangye & Dunhuang) to be the BEST of all the guides we encountered on this trip. She is enthusiastic, meticulous and extremely knowledgeable. You can tell that she enjoys her job tremendously!

         

My observation ~ Most "Foreign Visitors" don't always have a base knowledge of the history of the places they are visiting. A SHORT & CONCISE explanation is better than a long and winding narrative. It should not be assumed that one formula works for everyone. Some visitors are more knowledgeable than others and vice versa.

We enjoyed all the sights we visited on this trip tremendously. That said, there are some room for improvements.

The one disappointment for me was the visit to Qinghai Lake. It was too commercialized. It would have been so much better if we were able to stop by the lake area BEFORE the visitor center where it was much more pristine and unspoiled. After all, we are there to take it the natural beauty of the area after all.

Our guide and driver was most accommodating when we asked them to stop by the side of the road in order for us to photograph herds of YAK and sheep. It was the highlight of the trip for me! I am sure other visitors will feel the same way.

My suggestion ~ Maybe some sort of arrangements can be made with local farmers that owned land along the Qinghai lake for a short stop over in your future tours? This way, your visitors can have wonderful opportunities to photograph and experience the scenery and lifestyle of the local people.

My observation ~ In Turpan, the Turpan Museum would have been a BETTER choice than the visit to the Karez well system (Kan'erjing Museum). There is really nothing much to see here.  

The International Grand Bazaar was also a bit of a disappointment, it was too touristy. I think we would find it much more interesting if we have the opportunity to visit a local street market instead.

We rode a donkey cart at the Flaming Mountains. It was great fun! I think this should be included in the future and its a great way to help the local make some extra money too. You agree?

Hotels ~ We still prefer staying at International Brand hotels. We really liked the Sofitel Hotels (in Xian & Xining) and the Sheraton in Urumqi.  

We find the service and breakfast food selection available at the local brand hotels are still somewhat lacking compared to the International Brand hotels.

Food ~ We had some amazing and some mediocre food on this trip. The quality of the meal is inconsistent. I guess it depended a lot on your local tour coordinators?    

I hope our observations and honest suggestions are helpful to you. Please do not consider this is as criticism of our trip but as suggestions for improvements. We had lots of fun and we hope you'll be able to attract more visitors to your tour. I will definitely recommend you to my friends and seek you out if I visit China the future.

I have attached the "corrected" photo and an extra one taken at the Flaming Mountains. You have our permission to include all three of the photos along with the following review to your website. I will write a review for TripAdvisor.com later.

Regards,

Gracie.


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Comment on our service from Sergey Shunailov, Russia

It is impossible to find any imperfection in the service. Nice guide with good English and nice driver. Thanks a lot. If I'll have free time in my next trip to China I'll use again only your company.

Dear Sandy,

Nice to hear from you. The one day Beijing tour was fine. It is impossible to find any imperfection in the service. Nice guide with good English and nice driver. Thanks a lot.

If I'll have free time in my next trip to China I'll use again only your company.

Best regards,

Sergey


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Comment on our service from Thomas Anthony Lucker, USA

It was great and the guide was tremendous!

Hi Sandy,


It was great and the guide was tremendous.  I had a great time in Kaifeng. I think we have another tour coming up quickly on the 26th to Luoyang.  :)  


Tom

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Comment on our service from Robert William Miller, USA

It was a good trip.  The sites were very interesting and unique.

It was a good trip.  The sites were very interesting and unique.   The Dazu museum was very interesting since did not know there were so many of the grottoes in China and other countries as well. We didn’t take lunch but asked rather to see another grotto.  Would recommend going to the small grotto and then the larger one and then museum in that order.

Rob Miller

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Comment on our service from Caitlin Radich, New Zealand

Overall we loved our tours. Zhangjiajie was fantastic! Our tour was really great and we would recommend it. Beijing - our guide was fantastic! So full of facts, great English and overall fantastic. Overall we have found dealing with your company a very pleasant experience, and we like the individualised aspect of it.

Hi Sandy,

Nice to hear from you. Overall we loved our tours. Zhangjiajie was fantastic! Our tour was really great and we would recommend it. Our tour guide was really lovely in zhangjiajie, but her English was less than perfect, but overall that didn’t hinder anything.

Beijing - our guide was fantastic! So full of facts, great English and overall fantastic. Forrest was his name. Seeing the wall was amazing!!!

Overall we have found dealing with your company a very pleasant experience, and we like the individualised aspect of it.

I hope you find this helpful, and thank you for your help,

Thanks

Caitlin


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Comment on our service from Wolfgang Ernst Kasper, Australia
I want to to thank you again for your good services. Everything worked out as expected ––or better! Getting the gaotie tickets was easy, and the two excursions were most enjoyable.

Dear Sandy,

now that we have returned home after a marvellous trip through China, I want to to thank you again for your good services.

Everything worked out as expected –– or better! Getting the gaotie tickets was easy, and the two excursions were most enjoyable. In particular, the guide at Huangshan – I called her ciao Xue (Little Snow) – was attentive and intelligent, great company!


After the hike up and down on Huangshan, we felt great: we can still do that at our age in the high seventies!


Hakka Country


Finally, it was a pleasant surprise to get your call. That was unexpected, but much appreciated.

Keep selling China to the world!

Best wishes

Wolfgang


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