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5 Days Kunming Exploration & Paradise Trip to Shangri-La

From City of Spring to Lost Horizon in Shangri-La

Kunming is served as a popular gateway city to Shangri-La with several daily flights connected. In this 5 days tour, you'll explore from the "City of Eternal Spring" - Kunming to "Earthly Paradise" - Shangri-La by flight within 1.5 hours.

You may wonder why should you put Shangri-La tour into the travel bucket list? Shangri-La, called “Little Tibet”, is where you really start to breathe in the Tibetan world, with a population of 82 percent is Tibetan. As what James Hilton wrote in his book Lost Horizon, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, lush green forests and beautiful blue lakes, so harmonious and fairness, it’s a real Shangri-la, a true paradise existed in the world. Traveling from the warm, bustling Kunming and reaching the utopia world with dreaming of peace, you’ll find your Shangri-La and experience the myth for yourselves.

Extend Your Trip: If you have one more day for planning your Yunnan vacation, it is a good idea to cover your Kunming Shangri-La tour with Lijiang. Have a look at our 6 Days Best of Yunnan Tour (Lijiang - Shangri-La - Kunming) with classic discovery in the three destinations. Just feel free to select your likes and tell us your ideas.

  • Type : Private Tour
  • Tour Code : CD-KMST-05
  • 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.
  • Trip Length : 5D/4N
  • Theme : Nature / Culture / Photography

HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS TOUR

  • Have a good visit to the renowned Stone Forest, the Wonder of the World and catch a panoramic view of the 12-sq-km karst landform to marvel at the peculiar stones;
  • Get a basic understanding of 25 brilliant ethnic groups and admire colorful minority costumes and exotic tradition cultures in both Kunming and Shangri-La;
  • Enjoy great peace on the high plateau and purify your spirit in the earthly paradise Shangri-La, with exploration to Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, villages and lakes;
  • Throw yourselves into the Little Tibet where you can experience their true lifestyle and traditional craftsmanship and if you like, you can involve in the process...
Itinerary Day by Day (Can Be Customized)
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Day 1 Kunming Arrival & Kunming

Yunnan Nationalities Museum - Western Hills

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 and help you check in. (Please note: to take the afternoon itinerary, you'd better arrange flight or train landing in Kunming before 10:00.)

In this afternoon, you’ll take a visit to Yunnan Nationalities Museum for a wonderful understanding of the 25 ethnic minority groups in vast Yunnan. This largest minority museum in whole Asia boasts a collection of over 20 thousand pieces (units) of precious cultural relics to show you the beautiful costumes, diverse ethnic festivals, daily life scenes, exquisite musical instruments, brilliant cultural texts, and so on to know the essence of Yunnan culture!

Later, visit the famous 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 is a particularly pleasant experience to walk in such verdant forest mountain park with elegant sightseeing and a series of cultural relics and sites, including some old temples. You will not miss the symbolic visit to the magic Dragon Gate as it says “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”, where to admire the colorful old grottoes on the wall and catch the panoramic view of the large peaceful Dianchi Lake and Kunming City. (You can visit the temples if interested. Huating Temple and Taihua Temple are included in the ticket.)

After the tour, drive back to your hotel.

  • Western Hill & Dragon Gate Kunming Western Hill
  • Yunnan Nationalities Museum Yunnan Nationalities Museum

Day 2 Kunming (B, L)

Stone Forest - Yuantong Temple - Green Lake Park

After breakfast, your local guide and driver will meet you at your hotel and then escort you to discover Stone Forest first for about 1.5 hours’ riding (85km)!

Kunming Stone Forest as the “Essence of World Karst Landform” has been listed as the UNESCO World Natural Heritage with the incomparable coverage of 12 square kilometers’ stone pinnacle groups. Take the sightseeing bus to visit the Greater Stone Forest Scenic Area to admire the typical concentrating cinerous stone pinnacles by walking through the maze of stone peaks and jumping high for the panorama of the forest of protruding stone peaks. Also, you will see the famous peak on many photos and even stones towering over 40 meters. Then, continue to ride the bus to explore the Lesser Stone Forest to closely look at the iconic stone “Ashima” like a young lady, listen to the touching love story of Ashima, and fill your eyes with the emerald garden-like park of wilder stone peaks surrounded by lush green plants and blossoms. Take the sightseeing bus to exit the scenic park.

After the discovering, drive back to Kunming downtown and enjoy a cultural visit to Yuantong Temple that is one of the top oldest Buddhist temples in Kunming with more than 1,200 years’ history. Take your stroll there to feel the rich Buddhist atmosphere of three Buddhist sects filling the antique halls and houses specially designed into a traditional Chinese garden layout for a quite different appreciation of temple in China.

Then, walk to Kunming Green Lake nearby. This pretty park with a lovely lake, old-styled pavilions, corridors, flowers, etc. is the most popular place for an authentic feeling of local Kunming people’s leisure life with citizens singing, dancing, talking, exercising, etc. During November to the next March, Black-headed Gulls from Siberian will never be late to fly there for their expecting comfortable warm winter holiday. Do not miss playing with those adorable and vigorous elfin during your relaxing roam!

After today’s visiting, be escorted back to your hotel. Have a good sleep!

  • Kunming Green Lake Winter Scenery Kunming Green Lake Winter Scenery
  • Major Stone Forest Major Stone Forest

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

Nixi Pottery Village - Dukezong Old Town

In the morning, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel and escort to Kunming Changshui International Airport for a flight to Shangri-La (about 1-1.5 hours). Welcome to Shangri-La (Zhongdian, altitude: 3459meters), the Garden of Eden! Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by our local guide at the arrival hall who is holding a sign on which says your name. Then our guide and driver will transfer you directly to your hotel in Shangri-La by our comfortable private car (non-smoking), and the guide will help you check in.

The following trip of today is a drive (33 km, about 50mins) to Nixi Pottery Village, the most “Shangri-La” of Shangri-La. Nixi Tangdui Village is a Tibetan village well known for the two-thousand-year-old art - black pottery (also listed as National Intangible Cultural Heritage). Around 70 out of the 100 families in the village are engaged in this traditional art. Pay a visit to a Tibetan family’s workshop and watch how they make different items of black pottery. (Optional experience: If you want to involve in the pottery making, you can follow the local master to make one by your own hands. It takes about 30-40 minutes. After that, you can view the firing process.)

After the tour, drive back to Dukezong Old Town for further exploration. With a history over 1300 years, Dukezong Old Town is the largest and the best preserved Tibetan community in China. Climb up to the top of Guishan Hill (or Tortoise Hill) to have a panoramic view of both the endless snow-capped mountains surrounded the pure land and the large scale of the old town with countless Tibetan dwellings. Join in the tourists to turn the largest Prayer Wheel in the world in clockwise direction. (Optional experience: If you show interest in making traditional Tibetan Thangka, you can learn at Shangri-la Thangka Institute. Programs here include Thangka painting, chanting, Tibetan language and calligraphy. You can choose your like.)

Evening Time Suggestion: The main square of the Duzekong Old Town has dancing performance organized by the local Tibetan at night between 19:30 and 21:00 which is nice to watch or even join in. 

  • Songzanlin Monastery Songzanlin Monastery
  • Dukezong Old Town Dukezong Old Town

Day 4 Shangri-La (B, L)

Songzanlin Monastery - Pudacuo National Park - Local Tibetan Family Visiting

After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. Today, you’ll enjoy your time to explore the earthly paradise described in the famous novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton.

First, you’ll be transferred with 7 kilometers’ driving to Songzanlin Monastery (Ganden Sumtseling Gompa), reputed as the “Little Potala Palace” for it was built according to the complex of Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Established by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1679, the monastery belongs to Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and it is also the largest Buddhist monastery in Yunnan Province with around 700 monks and lamas. Walk 147 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 shoot panorama view of Songzanlin Monastery with reflection in the clear water.

Then, drive about 27 kilometers to Pudacuo National Park. This 1,300-square-kilometer national park is notable as the first first national park in China to meet International Union for Conservation of Nature standards. It is renowned for well-preserved primitive landscape, which is endowed with lakes, wetlands, forests, meadows, streams, brooks, rare plants and animals. 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 hour). (Note: the altitude of Pudacuo is at 3500m-4150m and you should avoid strong activities. There’s no problem to hike in the park.)

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. If you want to adjust todays itinerary, please contact your travel consultant. 

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.)

  • Shudu Lake of Pudacuo National Park Shudu Lake of Pudacuo National Park
  • Tibetan People in Shangri-La Tibetan People in Shangri-La
  • Pudacuo National Park Pudacuo National Park

Day 5 Shangri-La/Zhongdian Departure (B)

See you off at the airport

After breakfast, your will be escorted to the airport for your flight to next destination. Service ends!

    No documents found.

Recommended Add-on Options

The quotation for this trip is from Request Per Person

1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one standard double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling with our private tour in low seasons.
2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities in your itinerary and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate. If you want a lower price, you can get more people to join you, or use economy class hotels.
3. This price is only valid to March 31, 2021.
4. Reference exchange rate of USD 1= RMB 6.45. The final quote is based on current exchange rate. It may change according to the currency fluctuation, while the RMB quotation will be remained the same.

What's included?

  • Professional licensed English-speaking guide;
  • Admission tickets for all attractions listed in the itinerary;
  • Accommodation as listed in the itinerary (4-star standard);
  • Necessary vehicle transfers as listed in the itinerary;
  • Domestic flights (economy class) and high-speed trains (second class) as listed in the itinerary;
  • Airport (and train station) pick up and drop off;
  • Luggage Transfers: between airports (railway station) and hotels;
  • All meals as listed( “B” for Chinese and Western breakfast buffet in your hotel; “L” for Chinese Lunch in local restaurant; “D” for Chinese dinner in local restaurant.);
  • Accident insurance;
  • Our service charge, including tour planning, handling, operational and communication charges.

What's excluded?

  • China visa;
  • Personal expenses;
  • Accommodation not listed in the itinerary;
  • Single Room Supplement;
  • Tourist sites which are not listed in the itinerary;
  • Recommended optional activities;
  • Flights or trains not listed in the itinerary;
  • Excess Baggage Charges;
  • Optional tips to guides, drivers, etc.

Check What our Customers Say...

Hi Lyn:

We are enjoying this very much.

Yes everything has been very good! Thank you.

Gloria - 2020.08.10‚ , August 10, 2020

Hi Leo,

I’m back in Chengdu... the trip was a very nice experience! Yes, both of them. I liked Jacky more, she is more authentic... I understand she actually is from CITS, right?

Bjoern Ehlbeck - 2020.08.10‚ Germany, August 10, 2020

The trip was good today, the guide is also nice. Thank you.

Ranjan Kurian Periakottil - 2020.08.10‚ India, August 10, 2020

Hello Echo,

We enjoyed the trip very much.  My wife did complete a survey at the end of the trip with comments/suggestions.

We have already recommended your company to another person that is thinking of going to Hohhot.

Best Regards,

Chris

 

Chris - 2020.08.06‚ USA, August 6, 2020

Hello Wing,

Adam did a great job. We learned a lot from him.

Thanks for the fruits. We will certainly enjoy them. My complaints last night were towards the hotel not you. And I know that it can't be help.

I will contact you again about our next trip, most likely to Yunnan.

Werawan - 2020.08.03‚ Japan, August 3, 2020
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"Highest Standards of Quality and Honesty" is the core value of each specialized team at China Discovery.

Eveyone in our company is working hard for only one goal, which is to ensure the highest level of service, luxury, and attention to detail from the minute you begin planning your trip, to the day you return home.

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Our travel consultants are professional, experienced and responsible, helping you from the very beginning to the end of your China trip!

After sending us an inquiry, one of our travel consultants will get back to you within 0.5~23.5 hrs. In the next few days, he/she will be working closely with you to formulate a customized tour plan, as well as providing professional suggestions based on your travel interests, time, and budget.

Beside, he/she will keep in contact with you during your entire tour in China, continually checking if everything is going well as planned.

We're working at Chengdu Bamboo International Tours, local based in Chengdu.

Local Tour Guides

China Tour

Our local guide in every destination is not only very friendly, enthusiastic but also very informative and knowledgeable.

Once you arrive in the destination, the patient and punctual guides will pick you up and take you to get under skin of the city at your own pace. By in-depth discovery and explanation, they’ll show you more about the history, culture, customs and authentic local life. Throughout the journey, they're not only expert guides who take care of all the details but also fellow travelers who are dedicated to help you explore in comfort and style.

Our guides are passionate about what they do, and it shows all the way!

Local Drivers & Vehicle

Using our private transfer service makes you comfortable, relaxed and worry free all the way!

Our private service includes licensed drivers with many years’ driving experience and air-conditioned, non-smoking, clean and well-maintained cars/vans. Drivers are local, polite, friendly and helpful, taking you to your tourist sites, hotels, airport/train stations in safety. All kinds of vehicle are offered, and yours depends on the size of your group. Usually, we offer sedan cars, SUVs, business vans (MPV) and different types of buses, all with extra space for your luggage.

Our private transfer service guarantees you the highest comfort!

Comfortable & Homelike Hotels

China Tour

In each destination, you’ll enjoy a comfortable stay in a great location!

The hotels we choose are based on star rating, great locations, well-equipped facilities, cozy bed, high quality service and guests’ feedbacks. Choices are a lot ranging from luxury 5 star, comfortable 4 star to budget 3 star. You could decide where to stay to best suit for your budget and likes. Generally, the hotels have both Western and Chinese breakfast with a wide choices.

If you have already got an ideal hotel, please feel free to tell our travel consultants and they'll book the hotel for you.

Have good sleep in our well-selected hotels in all the destinations of China.

Meals & Dining

China Tour

We can satisfy all the dietary requirements no matter you want Chinese local food, western food, vegetarian food or muslin food.

The restaurants we will take you for lunch or dinner are all designated tourist restaurants approved by local tourist administration bureau. They have very good sanitary conditions and the food is prepared fresh and clean.

There will be some meals excluded in your itinerary as you like, and your private guide will be delighted to give you some suggestions and take you to the local restaurants to taste like Beijing Roast Duck, Xian Dumpling Dinner, Sichuan Hotpot, etc., if you are interested in local food tasting.

All the dining options will satisfy your stomach!

Here are recent candid photos of this China trip

  • Western Hill & Dragon Gate Western Hill & Dragon Gate
  • Yunnan Nationalities Museum Yunnan Nationalities Museum
  • Kunming Green Lake Winter Scenery Kunming Green Lake Winter Scenery
  • Major Stone Forest Major Stone Forest
  • Songzanlin Monastery Songzanlin Monastery
  • Dukezong Old Town Dukezong Old Town
  • Shudu Lake of Pudacuo National Park Shudu Lake of Pudacuo National Park
  • Tibetan People in Shangri-La Tibetan People in Shangri-La
  • Pudacuo National Park Pudacuo National Park
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >