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Yunnan is located in the southern China, bordering Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam as well as Chinese provinces and regions of Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan and Tibet. It is the most diverse province in all China, both in its extraordinary mix of peoples and in the splendor of its landscape.
Knowing Yunnan is an amazing place to visit but still have many questions to plan your Yunnan tour? Doing detailed research before your Yunnan tour will make you travel smoothly and in a well-organized way. We have listed some essential travel information, like best to go, how to get to and within Yunnan, top places to visit, brilliant ethnic culture, festivals & traditional handcraft to experience, where to stay, for your Yunnan trip. Hope to help you make a more reasonable and useful trip plan. Check now!
Yunnan generally belongs to subtropical plateau monsoon climate. The highest temperature is in July with an average around 19°C～22°C and the lowest temperature is in January around 6°C～8°C. It is cool in the morning and at night; and warm or hot at noon.
To travel in Yunnan, you should make clear the best time in different regions - Northwestern Yunnan and Southwestern/Southern Yunnan. (a) Come during May to October to Northwestern Yunnan is highly recommended when various kinds of flowers are in blossom on the plateau and other natural scenery could be breathtaking. (b) To visit Southwestern or Southern Yunnan, it is better to come during October to next April when sky is azure and weather is cool.
Below are the recommended best time to visit the popular destinations in Yunnan and you can check for reference.
To know more info about Yunnan Climate and Weather, please check our Yunnan Weather, Seasons & Best Time to Go in 2021.
How to get to Yunnan and transfer within this amazing vast land? You can take direct flights, high speed trains, normal trains, coaches, and so forth making your travel there without any blocks no matter from the famous domestic cities, places in other countries and regions, or the famous destinations in Yunnan.
After landing in Yunnan, how to transfer between the top favored destinations, like Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La, Yuanyang, Lugu Lake, etc.? Within this province, convenient flights, distance coaches and trains would escort you among them with great efficiency.
To have more detailed transportation plan or travel to other places, please read our Yunnan Transportation Guide.
You have already made clear how to get to and transfer within Yunnan province. To plan your trip well and travel smoothly, it is recommended to start or end your Yunnan tour in Kunming or Lijiang.
Kunming is served as the gateway cities to many destinations, like heading to Dongchuan Red Land, visiting Yuanyang Rice Terraces or Jinahsui Old City, viewing lotus flowers in Puzhehei and Xanadu Bamei, or even getting to Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La from many domestic cities and international countries and regions. While, if you choose Kunming to start your tour, you can select Lijiang as your last stop. It also connects many cities in China and international cities/regions by flight.
That’s to say, you can do Kunming - Dali - Shangri-La - Lijiang route, Lijiang - Shangri-La - Kunming route, or extend longer to do Kunming - Dongchuan - Dali - Shangri-La - Lijiang route, or Kunming - Yuanyang - Jianhsui - Kunming - Dali - Shangri-La - Lijiang route. To see more possibilities of traveling in Yunnan, please check our Top Yunnan Tours.
Yunnan is an earthly paradise with many stunning places to visit. Its beauty lies in the high mountains, emerald lakes, thrilling gorges, red fields, rice paddies, Ancient Tea-Horse Road, ancient towns, old streets, exquisite pagodas, traditional folk houses, featured inns, brilliant ethnic minority culture…Actually, it is more than these, every step on this land will surprise you to the most even travel on the road. After the trip, you can say “I have been to a place better than a paradise”.
Someone said Lijiang has been commercialized recent years, but, it still should be listed as the top one destination in Yunnan. You can fully feel its charm in the morning or at midnight when Lijiang Old Town becomes quiet. Besides, different kinds of experience are offered, from the traditional Naxi ancient music to exotic cafe’ and bars; from challenging Jade Dragon Snow Mountain climbing to relaxing horse riding…life is romantic, slow-paced and cultural enlightening.
With the convenient transportation network, Kunming is the gateway city for reaching different places. To have one or two days more, you can feel the true charm of “City of Eternal Spring” by visiting Western Hills aside Dianchi Lake, Green Lake, Birds & Flowers Market, as well learn colorful ethnic culture in Yunnan Nationalities Museum and of course, you won’t miss Stone Forest which is 90 kilometers away.
Some other places are called themselves the Last Shangri-La, but, Shangri-La in Yunnan is the real one which is depicted in James Hilton’s novel “Lost Horizon”. Snow mountains, beautiful lakes, meadow, Buddhist temples and hospitable Tibetan people…are the highlights for your coming. All the sites are within 1 hour transfer. It is recommended to go with Lijiang and you can travel via Tiger Leaping Gorge where you can appreciate breathtaking gorge view located between Haba Snow Mountain and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
The time-honored old towns sandwiched between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake, enchanting weather with azure sky and white clouds, historical sites with profound history and legendary stories…these are the reasons to Dali. Spend one to three days relaxing on the banks Erhai Lake and exploring the interesting Bai culture. If you like, you can enter an ancient trading town on the Ancient Tea-Horse Road between Dali and Lijiang, to witness the living scene of trading when attending the Friday Market in Shaxi Ancient Town.
Yuanyang Rice Terrace is the masterpiece of god as well as the local industrious and intelligent Hani ethnic minority. You are going to love this beautiful land with fulfilled with spirituality and mystery. It is marked by spectacular terraces that cascade down the slopes of towering Aliao Mountain to the banks of the Hong River. Over the past 1300 years, the Hani people have developed a complex system of channels to bring water from the forested mountaintops to terraces. The rice terrace is a testimonial to demonstrate extraordinary harmony between Hani people and their environment. Yuanyang Rice Terrace is wildly scattered, mainly composed of Bada Scenic Spot, Duoyishu Scenic Spot and Laohuzui Scenic Spot.
Besides, you can have nice exploration in Xishuangbanna, Puzheihei, Puer, Tengchong, Baoshan and more places. Want to know deeply? Check our Top 10 Places to Visit in Yunnan.
Seeing different ethnic minorities who work in the old towns or walk on the road, ethnic facts presented in the museum are not enough. Besides for basic understanding, you have the chance to deeply know them, talk with them and learn their lifestyle where they really live.
There are many festivals held in different regions of Yunnan. If time permits, you can experience their grand festivals and share jollification and happiness together.
Yunnan can be called “A Cultural Museum of Human Being” and there are 13 items of traditional handcrafts listed as National Intangible Cultural Heritages. Slower your space when traveling in Yunnan, you can get under the skin and know better about its people with traditional skills on the amazing land.
>> 7 Days Dali Lijiang Shangri-La Inspiring Tour with Ethnic Culture Seeking (Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)
For most travelers, they usually spend one to two weeks in Yunnan to cover the highlighted destinations. It takes around 4 days to visit two destinations, 6 days to visit three destinations, 8 days for four destinations, 10 days for five destinations and 11 days for six places.
Kunming Dali Lijiang Shangri-La route is regarded as the golden route in Yunnan, taking 8 days. You can add two days to extend to Dongchuan Red Land from Kunming and continue your trip northwest to Shangri-La. Or, turn to southern Yunnan to Yuanyang/Jianshui from Kunming for around 4 days and then get back to Kunming to finish the Golden route. Check the following sample itineraries for reference. Or, you can contact our professional travel consultant to customize your trip based on your time, date and likes.
>> 8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)
>> 10 Days Beautiful Yunnan Tour with Dongchuan Red Land (Kunming / Dongchuan / Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)
>> 11 Days Amazing Yunnan Tour (Kunming / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La)
There is no need to worry your accommodation choices in Yunnan. In most of the destinations, you can choose from 3 star hotels to luxury hotels in good locations which are mostly close to downtown area or scenic spots. If you want to stay in a boutique hotel, or featured hostels, you will get an ideal choice. Please check different hotels in Kunming, Lijiang, Shangri-al, Dali and Yuanyang for a look.
Have your own accommodation ideas? Please contact us for reservation and we will design a trip well matched with your likes.
Only a Yunnan tour is not complete for your visiting in China. It is a great idea to cover Yunnan with more places around China to savor more amazing landscape, culture, history, ethnic minority customs, food, etc. in one go, such as Guilin with Karst landform wonders, Guizhou with wonderful ethnic beauties, Chengdu with adorable giant pandas, Beijing with profound ancient royal Forbidden City, Shanghai with modern cityscape, Xian with impressing Terracotta Warriors, Zhangjiajie with incredible Avatar Mountains, and more like Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Yangtze River, Lhasa, etc.
10 Days Classic Sichuan & Yunnan Highlights Tour (Chengdu / Leshan / Mount Emei / Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming)
9 Days Guilin Karst Landscape & Diverse Yunnan Tour (Guilin / Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming)
8 Days Brilliant Yunnan & Zhangjiajie Avatar Mountains Tour (Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming / Zhangjiajie)9 Days Meet Yunnan Nature & Culture from Hong Kong by Bullet Train (Hong Kong / Kunming / Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming)
14 Days Wild China Tours from Shanghai to Yunnan on Expresses (Shanghai / Zhangjiajie / Kaili / Kunming / Lijiang / Shangri-la / Kunming)
If you have other travel ideas or any questions, please feel free to contact us and our experienced travel consultants will customize a satisfactory for you.
Top 3 Yunnan tours chosen by most customers to explore Yunnan in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming
Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La
Kunming / Stone Forest / Yuanyang / Jianshui / Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.Customize a Trip
[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 >