D01 -- KUNMING ARRIVAL (Dinner)
After airport formalities, meet your guide and transfer to hotel.
Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan, is well known as the City of Eternal Spring. Take a city tour to the Flowers and Birds Market, which, along with old houses well kept in its immediate neighborhood, are now under the city’s protection plan as the Old Town Quarter. Beside flowers and birds, the market offers also traditional Chinese arts, wooden sculptures, China knots, and more.
D02 -- KUNMING – STONE FOREST (Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner)
The Western Hill, whose skyline resembles a sleeping beauty, lies by the western shore of the Dianchi Lake, offering the best scenery and the finest temple in the region: the Dragon Gate, a grotto complex of rooms, sculptures, archway and tunnel chiseled along sheer cliff by local stonemasons from 1781to 1853, and the Huating Temple, the biggest Buddhist complex in Kunming.
After lunch, drive to the Stone Forest (85 km, 1.5 h). An extremely rare geological phenomenon dating back to 270 million years ago, the Stone Forest is 80 hectares of karst limestone pillars in fantastic shapes that resemble a forest viewed from a distance. It is also home to the Sani tribe, a branch of the diverse Yi minority renowned for their diligence, embroidery and dancing.
D03 -- STONE FOREST – YUANYANG (Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner)
Drive 300 kilometers, or 6 hours to Yuanyang. En route, stops and visits of Yi and Hani villages.
Populated 1.3 million in Yunnan, Hani minority single out themselves in their traditional costumes with silver accessories and mud brick house roofed with pine leaves that look like mushrooms from a distance. Set near China-Vietnam border and with Yuanjiang River flowing through, Yuanyang is now attracting more and more attention of overseas tourists for its unparalleled terraced paddies and diversified ethnic cultures of the Hani, Yi, Dai and Yao. Photographing time will be arranged when the sun sets.
D04 -- YUANYANG – JIANSHUI (Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner)
In Yuanyang, paddy fields are terraced from the foot of the mountains onto the very top. In spring and autumn, when water is filled in the paddies after harvests, a natural grandeur of thousands of mirrors are formed when the sun is low near the horizon at both ends of the day (05:00 – 06:30 and 17:00 – 18:30). You will be photographing sun rising, sea of clouds and rice terraced paddies.
Then drive for 3 hours to Jianshui. More or less a living museum of old buildings or residences, Jianshui boasts more than 100 architectures built in Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. Explore in the Family Zhu’s Garden, a complex of nearly 100-year-old buildings of 42 courtyards, covering a total area of over 20,000 square meters. It’s a typical private garden with local touch.
D05 -- JIANSHUI (Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner)
Today, explore the old town of Jianshui with visits to the Chaoyang Tower, the one nicknamed as Lesser Tian’an Men and was built in the Ming Dynasty towering southern Yunnan for centuries, and the Confucius Temple, China’s second largest Confucius temple built in 1285 and with a 625-meter-long axis connecting six courtyards and 31 buildings.
In the afternoon, visit the Family Zhang’s Garden, currently with 237 households and over 90 percent still bear a common family name of Zhang, and the Double Dragon Bridge. With 17 arches, the pavilion-style Double Dragon Bridge is a Qing Dynasty masterpiece built of stone and one of the best examples of its type all over China.
D06 -- JIANSHUI – SHIPING – TONGHAI – KUNMING (Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner)
Overland drive 3.5 hours to Kunming. Stop at Zhengying village and Xingmeng village.
Nestling between forests and the Yilong Lake, Zhengying has pretty good fengshui that are believed and practiced by Chinese when choosing a residence. It possesses groups of old structures, among which the Chen’s Ancestor’s Hall is a good example.
The Mongolian minority at the Xingmeng village trace their ancestors back to the soldiers and followers of Khublai Khan who conquered Yunnan in the early years of Yuan Dynasty some 7 centuries ago. They still keep their minority traditions in costumes and language and pray annually to the statue of Khublai Khan at a small temple at the back of the village.
D07 -- KUNMING DEPARTURE (Breakfast)
Transfer to airport for the departure flight.
Conditions: Minimum 2 persons to travel together and 2 persons to a room
Private tour price per person -- CNY 6035