5 Days Kunming & Shangri-La Essence Tour

From City of Spring to Lost Horizon

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Kunming is served as a popular gateway city to Shangri-La with several daily flights connected. In this tour, you'll travel from the "City of Eternal Spring" - Kunming to "Fairyland on Earth" - Shangri-La by flight. You'll get the chance to enjoy natural wonders/beauties of Stone Forest, Western Hills, Pudacuo National Park, as well as explore unique ethnic culture by visiting Yunnan Nationalities Museum, Dukezong Old Town, local Tibetan family in Shangri-La, and have a better understanding the Tibetan Buddhism when pay a visit to Ganden Sumtseling Monastery…all are in 5 days!

Highlights of this tour

  • Visit the renowned Stone Forest, the Wonder of the World;
  • Admire colorful minority costumes and exotic tradition cultures in both Kunming and Shangri-La;
  • Visit the “Little Potala Palace” & the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan;
  • See the most beautiful part of Shangri-La, the true paradise in Pudacuo National Park.

Basic Trip Information

Price:
from Request
  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Kunming / Shangri-La
Travel Length:
5 Days and 4 Nights
Tour Code:
CD-KMST-05
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCulturePhotographReligious
Departure:
Any day you want

Full Itinerary Day by day (Can Be Customized)

Day 1 Kunming Arrival

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Welcome to Kunming, the Spring City of China! Upon arrival at the Kunming airport/train station, the local tour guide and driver will meet you in the arrival hall and escort you to your hotel. After a short rest, you’ll start a tour to Western Hills which is called “Sleeping Beauty Hills”, looking like a beautiful young lady lying beside Dian Lake (the largest freshwater in Yunnan and famed as the “Pearl on the Plateau”). It will be a perfectly lovely trip to walk in this long wedge of parkland and explore the famous temples (Huating Temple and Taihua Temple included) and other cultural relics. There is a saying: If you do not visit Western Hill, you haven't visited Kunming; if you do not come to Dragon Gate, you haven't been to Western Hills. Make some effort to climb up to magic Dragon Gate where you’ll appreciate the panoramic view of Dian Lake as well as see a group of grottoes and sculptures.

Then, continue your trip to Yunnan Nationalities Museum, the largest minority museum in China. You’ll lift the mysterious veil of China’s 52 ethnic groups and learn through many interesting exhibits like ethnic clothing, textiles, musical instruments, folk masks, folk arts and folk pottery, literature and so on.

After the tour, drive back to your hotel for a good rest. 

Dianchi LakeYunnan Nationalities Museum
Day 2 Kunming (B, L)

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After breakfast, drive 85 km to the typical Karst landform - Stone Forest. Walk into the Greater Stone Forest, marvel at groups of gray-black stone peaks and climb up a pavilion to have a panoramic view of the intricate stone forest. Visit the Lesser Stone Forest and listen to the legendary story of “Ashima”. It will be a real treat to visit the extraordinary natural stone forest. You feel like come into a "stone world".

Later, drive back to Kunming City and take a walk to the most picturesque park in Kunming urban area - the Green Lake Park. Here you can share the happiness of local people’s doing tai chi, performing local opera, and other vibrant activities. If you visit the park in November or December, you will see the grandeur of huge flocks of black-headed gulls that migrate there from Siberia.

If time permits, be followed a trip to visit the Flowers & Birds Market to witness Kunming is a city of "flower". (Please note: the Flowers & Birds Market will be closed at around 17:00, if time allows, you can take an enjoyable visit to this lively place.)

Stone Forest
Day 3 Kunming - Shangri-La (B, L)

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On this day, you will be picked up at your hotel and escorted to Kunming Changshui International Airport for a flight to Shangri-La (about 1.5 hours).

Welcome to Shangri-La (Zhongdian, altitude: 3459 meters), the Garden of Eden! Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by our local guide at the arrival hall of the airport who is holding a sign on which says your name. A comfortable vehicle (non-smoking) with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel. After a rest, you’ll drive about 5km to visit Songzanlin Monastery (Ganden Sumtseling Gompa), reputed as the “Little Potala Palace”. Established by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1679, the monastery belongs to Gelug sect of Buddhism, and it is also the largest Buddhist monastery in Yunnan Province with around 600 monks.

Walk 143 steps to get atop of the monastery and pay clockwise visit to the three main lamasery buildings where you can not only see the Buddhism treasures, but also enjoy large number of monks of all ages going about their daily routines, praying, chanting, cooking and resting. It should a nice trip to get in-depth understanding about Tibetan Buddhism. If time permits, take some quiet time to walk around the peaceful Lamuyangcuo Lake and take photo of the breathtaking scenery of this pure land.

After the tour, drive back to Dukezong Old Town with 1300-year-old history. Climb up to the top of Guishan Hill (or Tortoise Hill) to have a panoramic view of the old town and Shangri-La County and join in the tourists to turn the largest Prayer Wheel in the world. (Please note: In Jan.2014, a huge fire broke out destroying most of the town. After several years’ restoration, you can visit the area around Guishan Hill and most part of the town.)

Evening Time Suggestion: The main square of the Duzekong Old Town has dancing from the locals at nights between 7:30pm and 9:00pm which is nice to watch and listen to or even to try and join in. 

Songzanlin MonasteryDukezong Old Town
Day 4 Shangri-La (B, L)

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Today is full day to explore the earthly paradise described in the famous novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton.

In the morning, drive to the first national park in China - Pudacuo National Park which is mainly comprised of Shudu Lake, Militang Grassland, Bita Lake. Shudu Lake is a famous pasture, herds of yak and goat grazing beside the lake. Militang Grassland is located between Shudu Lake and Bita Lake with lush grass in meadow. Bitahai Lake, regarded as a pearl of the Plateau, is an intact natural attraction with outstanding landscapes.

Visit the spots by clockwise and throw yourselves into the lush green forest with diverse species of flora and fauna, walk along the plank road to catch the gorgeous scenery of Shudu Lake (hike 3.3 km, about 1 hr) and Bita Lake (hike 4.2 km, about 1.5hrs), stand at the viewing spot to enjoy Militang Grassland stretching to the horizon and seek for a real paradise in this natural wonderland. (Note: the altitude of Pudacuo is at 3500m-4150m and you should avoid strong activities. There’s no problem to hike in the park.)

After the merry time in the park, pay a visit to a local Tibetan family to experience the highly-praised hospitality of Tibetan people and taste some special Tibetan snacks and butter tea. (Optional Experience: If you are interested in the Tibetan people’s daily drinks, you can follow the locals to involve in the process of making butter tea.)

Important Notice: Militang Pasture (弥里塘草场) and Bita Lake (碧塔海) in Pudacuo National Park are closed for tourists due to maintenance from 3th September, 2017. The administrative office of Pudacuo National Park hasn't confirmed when they will be open exactly. Shudu Lake Scenic Area (属都湖) is still open for tourists. Please contact your travel consultant to adjust your itinerary.

Shudu Lake of Pudacuo National Park Tibetan People in Shangri-LaPudacuo National Park
Day 5 Shangri-La/Zhongdian Departure (B)

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On this day, you will be free until your tour guide escorts you to the airport for your flight to your next destination. Service ends!

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Recommended Add-on Options

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