10 Days Beautiful Yunnan Tour with Dongchuan Red Land

Golden Route Plus God’s Magic Palette


Kunming - Dali - Lijiang - Shangri-La route is called the golden route when traveling in Yunnan. If you have two more days, it is highly recommended to extend to Dongchuan Red Land from Kunming. The red land, called "God's Magic Palette" is the most typical and featured red land in the world, being the paradise for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts. In this 10 days tour, you can not only capture Yi, Bai, Naxi and Tibetan ethnic groups' most authentic lifestyle and folk culture, but feast your eyes with breathtaking natural scenery.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Visit the extraordinary natural stone forest and listen to the story of Yi minority;
  • Drive to Dongchuan Red Land to shoot sunrise, sunset and colorful red fields and rural village scenery;
  • Explore old capital city of Nanzhao & Dali Kingdom sandwiched between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake;
  • Feel the true charm of Lijiang Ancient Town and seek for Naxi Dongba culture on your own feet;
  • Lose yourselves in Shangri-La, an earthly paradise with Snow Mountain, Buddhist monastery, forest park, and hospitable Tibetan people...

Basic Trip Information

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 / Dongchuan / Kunming / Stone Forest / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La
Travel Length:
10 Days & 9 Nights
Tour Code:
Group Size:
You, your family & friends
Any day you want

Your tour - at a glance

Day 1 Kunming Arrival

Arrival in Kunming, the Spring City of China. If you have more time, visit Yunnan Nationalities Museum.

Day 2~3 Dongchuan Red Land Tour

Transfer to Dongchuan Red Land from Kunming. Shoot amazing sunset at Luoxiagou Valley, sunrise at Damakan. Visit other spots like Qicai Slope, Yuepuao, Jiuxiu Garden to feast your eyes.

Day 4 Kunming Tour

Visit Stone Forest and Green Lake on this day.

Day 5~6 High Speed Train to Dali & Dali Tour

Take morning high speed train to Dali from Kunming. Visit the landmarks of Dali - Three Pagodas and Chongsheng Temple, Erhai Lake and Dali Old Town. Learn Bai culture in Xizhou Ancient Town and Zhoucheng. Drive to Lijiang for in depth visit in Lijiang Old Town.

Day 7~8 Lijiang Tour

In the Naxi kingdom, you are going to visit Yuhu Village to the Former Residence of Joseph Rock, see Baisha Mural Painting in Baisha Village, explore freely in Shuhe Ancient Town and Lijiang Old Town. Take one day to see the First Bend of Yangtze River and hike to Tiger Leaping Gorge before head to Shangri-La.

Day 9~10 Shangri-La Tour & Departure

In this earthly paradise Shangri-La, you’ll explore Songzanlin Monastery, Pudacuo National Park (Bita Lake and Shudu Lake), and pay a visit to local Tibetan Family. Explore Dukezong Old Town before departure.

Full Itinerary Day by Day

Day 1 Kunming Arrival

Ni Hao, welcome to Kunming, City of Eternal Spring! You will be met by local tour guide at the arrival hall of Kunming Changshui Airport and escorted to check in your hotel in downtown by a private comfortable vehicle. If you want to explore nearly, feel free to get some practical suggestions from your tour guide.

Arrival Ideas: Travelers from more than 140 cities (international and domestic cities included) can take flights to Kunming. Also, travelers can take high speed trains to Kunming from Guangzhou (about 6hrs), Shenzhen (about 7hrs), Changsha (about 6hrs), Shanghai (about 12hrs) and Beijing (about 12hrs), etc.

Free Time Ideas: If time permits, enjoy a 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.

  • Yunnan Nationalities Museum Yunnan Nationalities Museum

Day 2 Kunming - Dongchuan Red Land (B, L)

In this morning, your guide and driver will pick you up at hotel. Then, transfer to Dongchuan with 3 hours’ drive (about 180 kilometers northeast of Kunming). Dongchuan Red Land is the most typical and featured red land in the world, located at 1800~2600 meters above the sea level. Azure sky, white clouds, unpredictable light and the red land form the dazzling colors and spectacular scenery.

In this afternoon, you will first enjoy a trip to Shuipingzi. It features endless layers of rice terraces, stretching itself to the horizon. In spring, you can shoot the irrigation scenery of the paddy fields, while autumn is great time to shoot the golden paddy fields. Then, have a close look at the thousand-year-old Ancient Tree which is regarded as the holy tree by local people. Later, head to Luoxiagou Valley to enjoy magnificent view onto the villages and farmlands surrounded by red land. The sunset atmosphere in the late afternoon turns the splendid views to an even more remarkable event, offering almost endless opportunities to photographers. Shoot the amazing sunset view at a good location at Luoxiagou Valley. 

  • Luoxiagou Valley, Best Site for Sunset Luoxiagou Valley, Best Site for Sunset
  • Local People at Dongchuan Red Land Local People at Dongchuan Red Land

Day 3 Dongchuan Red Land - Kunming (B, L)

On this day, you will get up early to take awesome pictures of the sunrise at Damakan. In the early morning, smoke curling up from the chimney, the rosy sunglow spreading all over the sky, it takes you into a dreamland. Standing on the highway and you can overlook the red land and the beautiful sunrise. (Please note: you’d better get up early and reach there before 06:30. The sunrise may stretch out the horizon around 07:00.)

After that, continue your trip for photography. You will reach Jinxiu Garden, a vast expanse of many rolling hills with red fields. Then, get to Qicai Slope, a place gets its name from seven fields with seven different colors. It is a great site to shoot the colorful Dongchuan Red Land. Later, pay a visit to Yuepuao. You won’t miss the breathtaking view of Yuepuao with elegant lines just like musical notation. Several hundred meters away Yuepuao, it is Luoshiwan (River Snail Bay) and Wafangliangzi (Tiled House Bridge) where you could capture the complete view of Yuepuao and folk houses on the land.

After the tour, drive back to Kunming and transfer to your hotel.

  • Qicai Slope Scenery in October ~ November Qicai Slope Scenery in October ~ November
  • Dongchuan Red Land Amazing Color in May Dongchuan Red Land Amazing Color in May

Day 4 Kunming - Stone Forest - Kunming (B, L)

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 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.

Later, transfer back to Kunming city and take a leisure visit 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.

  • Green Lake Winter Scene Green Lake Winter Scene
  • Stone Forest Stone Forest

Day 5 High Speed Train to Dali from Kunming (B, L)

On this day, be escorted to train station in Kunming and take a morning high speed train to Dali (about 2 hours). Welcome to Dali, a historical and cultural city for Bai ethnic group. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by the local tour guide and transferred to begin today’s sightseeing.

Begin your visit to the symbol of Dali - Three Pagodas and Chongsheng Temple. Built in 10thcentury in Nanzhao Kingdom, Three Pagodas is made of one big pagoda and two small pagodas forming a symmetric triangle. If you look at it from a distance, the pagodas are like three giant ballpoint pens breaking up the landscape of the never-ending mountains. Here, you’ll get close to look at the pagodas to know more history and stories, visit the royal temple in Dali - Chongsheng Temple, take awesome photos of Three Pagodas and the reflections…

Later, it will be a relaxing boat trip on the vast Erhai Lake (Ear-shaped Sea) with crystal clear water and charming landscape. On Erhai Lake cruise, you’ll enjoy the green Cangshan Mountain and Three Pagodas from afar as well as lots of birds and seagulls flying over the lake. Enjoy an excursion to one of the famous islands for an in-depth look at the peaceful Bai fishing village and other sites on island.

After the peaceful time, be followed a trip to explore Dali Old Town. Used to be the ancient capital of Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms, Dali Old Town is formed the square-shaped structure, laid out on a typical north-south, east-west axis with five north-south and eight east-west streets. Wander leisurely through the elegant streets with weeping willows dancing and colorful flowers blooming in the sunshine, if you like have a cup of coffee when visiting the famous Foreigner Street, visit the bustling shops selling Yunnan specialties, get on the city wall or gate tower for a bird’s eye view of the large old town area. You will feel like going back to old times.

  • Dali Old Town Dali Old Town
  • Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Monastery Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Monastery

Day 6 Dali - Xizhou Ancient Town - Lijiang (B, L)

After breakfast, you’ll be driven 18 kilometers to Xizhou Ancient Town, an authentic old town where local Bai people really live and work. Walk into the “the Museum of Bai Architecture” and appreciate the exquisite residential complexes decorated fabulous sculptures, paintings, pointed eaves and wall screens. Taste Bai’s Three-Course Tea and experience the tea ceremony. Set eyes on the local morning market - a place for local people trading daily supplies, including fresh vegetable, fruits, meats, and many kinds of food and daily necessities. It is a great opportunity for getting close to local living conditions.

Then, transfer to “Hometown of Bai People’s Tie-dye Art” for an appreciation of Tie-dye. Tie-dye is a typical feature to present the Bai’s excellent handcraft with various colors and elegant designs. You’ll visit local Indigo workshop in Zhoucheng and know the way of making. (Optional experience: If you are interested, you can follow the local Bai people to learn some traditional skills of how to knot and view your works to be dyed into different colors with beautiful designs. This whole experience takes about 1.5 hours.)

Later, transfer to Lijiang with 2-hour driving. Upon arrival, you’ll start a memorable tour from Lijiang Ancient Town (Dayan Ancient Town). Pay a visit to Ming-dynasty style Mufu Palace, the “Forbidden City” of Lijiang to know Tusi’s ruling history and appreciate Naxi people’s brilliant culture and fine arts. Then, wander through the old alleys, old bridges, featured shops and bars to Sifang Street Square, a mingling ground to enjoy lively atmosphere and unwind yourself. If time permits, join the Naxi people and tourists to dance happily in a round. 

  • Xizhou Ancient Town Xizhou Ancient Town
  • Zhoucheng Tie-dye Zhoucheng Tie-dye
  • Mufu Palace, the “Forbidden City” of Lijiang Mufu Palace, the “Forbidden City” of Lijiang

Day 7 Lijiang (B, L)

After breakfast, drive 20 km to Yuhu Village which is located at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. When walking into this authentic Naxi Village, you’ll see unique stone houses, Naxi ladies dressing in traditional clothes, kids playing, a tranquil Yuhu Lake…explore leisurely around the village and then get to the Former Residence of Joseph Rock, who was an Austrian-American Botanist came to Lijiang and stayed in Yuhu Village for 27 years and made huge research work on Naxi minority.

Later, head to Baisha Village and appreciate the ancient Baisha Mural Paintings. Visit Dabaoji Palace and Liuli Temple to view murals painted over 1000 years ago which is a combination of Tibetan Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. Then, it is followed by a trip to Shuhe Ancient Town - one of the earliest settlements of Naxi people as well as the well-preserved stop of the Ancient Tea Horse Route. 

After that, transfer to Dongba Culture Museum where more than 10,000 Dongba cultural relics show mysterious Dongba culture of the Naxi people. Take a gentle walk to Black Dragon Pool Park to enjoy gorgeous view and peaceful surroundings.

  • Black Dragon Pool Park Black Dragon Pool Park
  • Former Residence of Joseph Rock Former Residence of Joseph Rock
  • Baisha Mural Paintings Baisha Mural Paintings

Day 8 Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Shangri-La (B, L)

After breakfast, drive 45 km to view the First Bend of Yangtze River, an extraordinary turn nearly about 180 degrees with beautiful and marvelous views like a wonderful landscape painting unfolding before you. Visit Iron Chain Bridge in Shigu (Stone Drum) Town.

Later, transfer to visit the one of the deepest and most spectacular river canyons in the world - Tiger Leaping Gorge. It measures 16 km in length and is a giddy 3900m from the waters of Jinsha River to Haba Snow Mountain and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. You’ll walk about 1,000 stairs along the plank road from the entrance to the Tiger Leaping Rock. Take a moment to enjoy the magnificent gorge view and rolling waves.

After the hiking tour, you’ll be driven to Shangri-La, about 2 hours. Enjoy the enchanting natural scenery along the way. Upon arrival, check in your hotel and feel free to explore Shangri-La on your own.

  • First Bend of the Yangtze River First Bend of the Yangtze River
  • Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge

Day 9 Shangri-La (B, L)

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

You’ll first visit Songzanlin Monastery, 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. Walk 143 steps to get atop of the monastery and pay clockwise visit to the major lamasery buildings and get in-depth understanding about Tibetan Buddhism. If time permits, take some quiet time to walk around the peaceful Lamuyangcuo Lake and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of this pure land.

Later, drive to the first national park in China - Pudacuo National Park. 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 ) 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 and experience the highly-praised hospitality of Tibetan people.

Optional Activity: You could take a boat sailing on Shudu Lake or Bita Lake to save energy and time instead of walking all the way.

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 maintainance 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.

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

Day 10 Shangri-La & Shangri-La Departure (B)

In the morning, cherish your time in Shangri-La to explore Dukezong Old Town by climbing 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.)

After the tour, be escorted to the Shangri-La Zhongdian Airport for your flight to next destination.

Departure Ideas: Travelers can take flights from Shangri-La to Kunming, Lhasa, Chengdu, Chongqing, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and more cities.

  • Dukezong Old Town Dukezong Old Town
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