Southwest China Discovery

Duration: 11 nights/12 days

We visit: Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Zhongdian, Chengdu

Far away Yunnan in the southwest corner of China is a most beautiful and colorful region of China. On this tour you will visit five famous and beautiful cities: Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Zhongdian and Chengdu. Along the way, you will visit such amazing topographical wonders as the Stone Forest, Lake Erhai, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the mighty Yangtze River in its upper reaches and the remarkable Tiger Leaping Gorge. Ordinary life will open to you through visits to flower and bird markets, visits to parks where locals congregate, and observation of the many different minority peoples and their customs. You will also visit areas rich in artistic, cultural and architectural delights – old cobble streeted towns; pagodas, famed Buddhist monasteries and Lamaseries; canals and stone bridges reminiscent of a Chinese painting; Chinese mansions; beautiful murals, sculpture and woodcavings; and colorful Sichuan Opera. And to cap all of this you will visit the Giant Panda and see parents and cubs. This is a truly remarkable tour.


  • Kunming - Stone Forest
  • Dali - Three Pagodas, Zhonghe Temple, Ancient City, Xizhou Morning Market, Bai Architecture, Cruise on Erhai Lake, Villages on Eastern Shore
  • Shibaoshan
  • Lijiang - Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Baisha Mural, Yuhu Village, Balck Dragon Pool Park, Mu House
  • Tiger Leaper Gorge
  • Zhongdian - Sungtzeling Monastery, Tibetan Village, Old Quarter of Zhongdian, Napa Lake, Ringhsa Temple
  • Chengdu - Chengdu Pandas Research Institute, Leshan Excursion

Arrive Kunming

Transfer to your hotel. 


On a one day excursion you will take a picturesque drive through the countryside today to the Stone Forest, situated 75 miles southeast of the city. Covering a huge area, the Stone Forest is an impressive collection of limestone pillars eroded by wind and rain. Like the mountains around Guilin, this is another of China’s natural wonders. (B/L)


You will fly to Dali and transfer to your hotel. Dali is a 600-year-old walled town picturesquely situated on the edge of Erhai Lake at the foot of the dramatic Cangshan Range. After your arrival you will visit Chongshen Monastery with its three tall pagodas for which Dali is famous. These pagodas date from the 9th century and are splendidly situated against the towering mountains. Another excursion worth undertaking is to take the cable part way up the Cangshan to visit the Zhonghe Temple. For a bird’s-eye view of the scenery. (B/L)


The Dali region is the home of the Bai minority and after your arrival you will visit Xizhou village, and see something of Bai life. Xizhou has a fascinating market. You will also take a boat trip across the Erhai Lake affording wonderful views of the mountains and including a visit to a lakeside village. (B/L)


By road you will travel through the mountains to Lijiang, visiting Shibaoshan en route.  Lijiang, lying at 2400m at the foot of the imposing Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which rises to 7874ft. This region is the home of the Naxi people, descendants of Tibetan nomads, and the old part of Lijiang, criss-crossed with cobbled streets, canals and bridges, is now a World Heritage area. (B/L)


This morning you ascend the stunning Jade Dragon Snow Mountain by chairlift or cable car with time for exploration on foot. It is the southernmost mountain in the Northern Hemisphere that is snow-capped year round. The scenery is dramatic and the vegetation fascinating. Then go on to tour around the small town of Baisha. Here there are several buildings with fascinating murals depicting Buddhist and Daoist scenes painted in the 15th and 16th centuries in a style that fuses Tibetan, Nxi and mainstream Chinese elements. You will also visit Yuhu Village to see examples of authentic ethnic cultures. (B/L)


This morning you will visit the Black Dragon Pool Park. You will visit MU’s Mansion in Lijiang. Terraced on the side of Lion Hill this interesting palace, is where the Naxi Mu Clan ruled over the town for over 400 years. Six main halls are separated by courtyards, mirroring the architectural layout of the Forbidden City. It’s an impressive palace, and worth exploration. This afternoon is at your leisure. (B)


After breakfast you will experience a spectacular, all day drive alongside the Yangtze to Zhongdian. On the way you will visit the awesome Tiger Leaping Gorge. With a drop of 12795ft it is said to be the world’s deepest gorge. (B/L)


Your day trip to Sungtzeling Monastery, a Tibetan village and the old quarter of Zhongdian. Sungtzeling Monastery, built in 1679, is a large Tibetan Buddhism complex richly decorated with murals and woodcarvings. (B/L/D)


Visit Napa Lake and Ringsha Temple before fly to Chengdu.

Transfer to the hotel. (B/L)


Endowed with fertile land, Chengdu’s nickname is China’s breadbasket.  There are more than 40 ethnic minorities living in the province (Sichuan). This morning you will visit the Panda Research Institute. The visit provides an opportunity to see a large number of the endangered giant pandas, both adults and cubs. Then you will travel south west, 103 miels to Leshan to visit the Giant Buddha Statue. Carved into a cliff on the bank of the Min River between 713 and 803 AD in the hope that its presence would exert an influence to subdue flooding, the famed statue is 232ft high. (B/L)

Depart Chengdu

You will be transfered to the airport for your onward flight. (B)


Superior Hotels

Price (per person) Twin Single
September - October 15 $3450 $4165
November 15 $3335 $3998
December 15 $3370 $4060
January - February 16 $3370 $4060

Luxury Hotels

Price (per person) Twin Single
September - October 15 $3990 $5090
November 15 $3890 $5020
December 15 $3785 $4855
January - February 16 $3785 $4855


The prices of above tour are based on the basis of a minimum of 2 persons traveling together

For 6 or more travellers or to customize this itinerary, please contact us



Flights-Internal flights and regional flights are included (refer to individual itineraries for included cities).

Accommodations- We use centrally located 4-5 star hotels. In the more remote areas we use the best available hotels.

The hotels we use are a combination of the premier properties and boutique hotels. In each city our hotels are centrally located to ensure you can step out of your hotel door and absorb the atmosphere of the local destination.

Sightseeing- sightseeing is included at every destination to ensure you make the most of your time in each region; there are no “surprise” additional cost tours.

On most tours we also include flexible options, enabling you to tailor your holiday to your personal desires. In each destination we use local English speaking guides who provide information on the history, culture, geography and modern way of life.

Each day whilst sightseeing bottled water is provided.

Dining- Feature dinners with regional entertainment are included on most tours, enabling you to absorb the local culture.

Bottled or purified water accompanies all meals and is provided to you each day whilst sightseeing.