From the laid back city of Dali to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at the base of the Himalayas, this tailor-made tour offers an insight into a unique and remote region of China. Discover the blue waters of the ear-shaped Erhai Lake which sits in the shadow of the Cangshan Mountains, travel to Tiger Leaping Gorge, keep an eye out for the rare black-necked crane and explore incredible Tibetan temples and palaces of Shangri-La.
Take an overnight flight to Kunming via Bangkok.
Arrive in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. Take a short flight to Dali and transfer to the hotel for three nights. The rest of the day is free to spend at leisure.
Begin the day with a relaxing cruise on Erhai Lake, home to the famous cormorant fishermen, before exploring Bai ethnic minority village. In the afternoon stroll through the historic Ancient Town, once a gateway to the Silk Road, and visit the Three Pagodas of Chongshen Temple. (B,L)
Travel to the city of Lijiang, an area of outstanding natural beauty located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at the base of the Himalayas. En-route, enjoy a visit to Zhou village to watch the traditional process of tie-dye. On arrival in Lijiang enjoy the afternoon free at leisure. (B,L,D)
Enjoy a guided walk around Lijiang’s Old Town with its cobbled streets and canals, followed by a visit to Lion Hill where wonderful views of the ancient town can be seen. Explore a local market before visiting the iconic Black Dragon Pool Park where mountain reflections can be seen in the lake. (B)
Visit Lashihai Wetland, a nature reserve home to 57 species of birds including the rare black-necked crane. Afterwards visit Naxi minority people and explore the Old Town of Shuhe, a well-preserved town on the ancient tea route. (B,L)
Visit Shigu, a historically important Naxi town on the first bend of the Yangtze River. Continue to the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world located between towering peaks of over 3,000 metres, before travelling on to Shangri-La for three nights. (B,L)
Explore one of Shangri-La’s earliest Tibetan temples, Dabao, built on the rugged green hillside. Take a stroll around some Tibetan villages to meet local families and sample homemade yak-butter tea. Discover Gedan Songzanlin Monastery, the most important monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in Yunnan, known as Little Potala Palace. (B,L,D)
Visit the beautiful Zhongdian Lake District and discover pristine Shudu Lake surrounded by green pastures, admire stunning Bita Lake - known as the Pearl on the Plateau - and visit Napa Lake, a designated wetland area and nature lovers’ paradise. (B,L)
Take a flight to Kunming. Discover Green Lake Park with its brightly painted pavilions and traditional bridges, before visiting the famous Birds and Flowers Market, where orchids and parrots can be bought alongside jewellery and antiques. (B,L)
Drive to Kunming’s famous Stone Forest, a natural wonder where bizarre rock formations created over 270 million years ago create a unique landscape of stone towers and pillars. (B,L)
Transfer to the airport for the indirect flight back to the UK. (B)
12 day tour, from £3395 per person
Return flights in economy class with Thai Airways via Bangkok from London Heathrow
Internal flights as stated in economy class
Meals as specified in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Accommodation in 3 & 4-star hotels with breakfast
All transfers and transportation
Sightseeing with English-speaking guides
Entrance fees on sightseeing tours
Tips and gratuities
Anything not listed above
Click on images to enlarge