Day One: Hong Kong/Kunming
Depart from USA to Hong Kong and fly to Kunming, China. Upon arrival in Kunming, you will be met by the local guide and transferred to your hotel.
Kunming, the modern capital city and transportation hub of China’s southern Yunnan province, has a large student population and a temperate year-round climate. Bridges and pavilions cross the islands of Cui Hu (Green Lake), a park designed in the 17th century. Nearby is Yuantong Si. A temple founded by Buddhists in the 8th century, it features a statue hall and a pond with an ornate stone bridge.
Day Two: Kunming – Lijiang by overnight. (B,L,D)
You will take an excursion to the Stone Forrest. As one of the top scenic spots in Kunming, the Stone Forest possesses amazing karst wonders, boasting limestone pillars, screens, waterfalls, underground rivers and caves that nature has sculpted to look like a forest of pine trees from a distance.
Yunnan’s Stone Forest is the only karst stone forest in a subtropical plateau region in the world. It is internationally reputed as the “Stone Forest Museum”. When people say ‘the Stone Forest’, it always refers to the Greater and Lesser Stone Forests. The stones there are oddly shaped, with peaks magnificently standing erect like a forest.
As you walk through them, you will be amazed at the natural stone masterpieces and be bewitched by the intricate stone formations that are in the shapes of columns, cones, pagodas, and mushrooms, as well as animals, plants, and even human figures. The stones are scattered both densely and sparsely, and some look elegant while others are rugged. The magnificent, strange, and steep landscape creates countless sights, including Lotus Peak, Ashima Rock, Sword Peak Pond, Shilin Lake, and ‘a Gleam of Sky’.
You will visit the Green Lake, situated almost in the city center and facing Yunnan University, is one of the most beautiful parks in Kunming. Green Lake Park and used to be a part of Dianchi Lake, but has become an independent lake now because of the water level decreasing of Dianchi.
Stop at the famous Flowers and Birds Market, famous for its year-round mild climate, Kunming is often called Spring City. The Flowers and Birds Market has gradually been built into a comprehensive public spot for leisure, shopping, and trading. Strolling on the street, you can see shops and stalls of all sorts, especially those featuring flowers, birds, and fish.
This evening you will take overnight train from Kunming to Lijiang.
Day Three: Arrive in Lijiang (B,L,D)
This morning we arrive in Lijiang. Lijiang is a popular destination in Yunnan and considered a fairyland blessed with fresh air, clear streams, breathtaking snow mountains and an undisturbed landscape inhabited by a friendly group of Naxi people. It is great to enjoy a quiet and pleasant holiday in Lijiang Old Town which is graced by well-preserved ancient buildings and the Naxi culture.
Pick up from the train station for breakfast.
Option 1：Then you will be transferred to Lashi Lake. Lashi Lake is part of the Lijiang – Lashihai Plateau Wetland Nature Reserve. It is a paradise for migrant birds and thousands of them stay here over winter every year. It is also the origin of the Ancient Tea Horse Road. Lashi is a word in ancient Naxi language, meaning a “new desolate dam”. Now Lashi Lake is designated by The Nature Conservancy as the base of experiencing the Ancient Tea Horse Road on horses.
The smart and unsophisticated Naxi people who have long inhabited Lijiang preserve the unique and profuse Dongba Culture. In fact, a great number of scholars and travelers are attracted to this mysterious place more for the culture than its charming sceneries. Dongba Culture is of a religious nature and make up the most important component of the ancient Naxi cultu re. You will have the great opportunity to learn traditional Dongba characters, Dongba Paintings etc.
You will visit the Jade Water Village Scenic area where is designated by The Nature Conservancy as the inherited base of Dongba Culture and the origins of Lijiang Old Town. You will learn traditional Dongba characters, Dongba Paintings and make your own T-shirt.
After lunch you will visit the Yufeng Lamasery. Originally built in the Qing Dynasty, the temple is one of five significant temples in Lijiang. It is renowned for its ancient forests clustered around and the “King Camellia”. The whole complex of the Yufeng Lamasery sh ows a unique architectural style by co mbining together the beauty of Han Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and the local Naxi Dongba Religions.
Stop at the Black Dragon Pool Park and Dongba Culture Museum.
Day Four: Lijiang (B,L,D)
This morning you will head for the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Mountain). It is a sanctuary for rare animals and wild plants. The 13 peaks, which have the altitudes of at least 4,000 meters, are covered by snow all year round; the mountain is also called the “Natural Glacier Museum” for it has all types of glacier. You will take the cable car up to the Yunshan Meadow and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Stop at the Blue Moon Valley, it actually is an extremely blue river meandering through a lush valley of the mountain.
This afternoon, you will have the opportunity to witness the authentic life of the Naxi people and appreciate their culture by visiting the Baisha Village. The village, at the foot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, is much quieter because it is not commercialized. Here, you can experience the Naxi people’s peaceful daily life. Wandering around the village, you can enjoy the slow lifestyle of the Naxi people and their friendly smiling faces; see happy and satisfied travelers as well as better scenery than that of Lijiang. Heading for this village, the Baisha Murals cannot be missed. These Murals are representative of Lijiang Murals and their creation took about three hundred years, from the early Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911). The paintings were finished by Han, Tibetan and Naxi painters as well as painters from other nationalities, so they are not a symbol of Naxi Culture but a fusion of art from different nationalities. The peak of the Lijiang Murals was at end of the Ming Dynasty. Now only 55 pieces of murals are preserved in religious sites around Lijiang Town.
You will be invited to visit a Naxi family and make exchange activities to know their daily life better and you will learn to make dumplings with the family for dinner, followed by bonfire party with the local Naxi people.
You will visit Baisha Embroidery School where you will learn with the young locals to make embroidery.
Day Five: – Lijiang-Tiger Leaping Gorge-Lijiang (B,L,D)
You will take an excursion to the Tiger Leaping Gorge. The Tiger Leaping Gorge is about 62 miles northwest of Lijiang Old Town lying between the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Sanow Mountain. It is one of the deepest gorges in the world. The students may take a soft hiking journey along the gorge.
Drive back to Lijiang and visit the Ancient Lijiang Old Town. A well-preserved old city of ethnic minorities with brilliant culture, is a central town of the Lijiang Autonomous County of the Naxi Ethnic Minority in Yunnan Province. The Old Town is built along the lie of mountains and the flow of rivers, providing a very precious sample of the research on the old-time architecture. The unique geographical location, historical background and multiracial inhabitants make it one of the most special.
Day Six: Lijiang departure
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Kunming, where you will connect to your flight to Hong Kong and USA.