Yunnan: South of the Clouds

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6 Days (2 optional days extension)
Spring, Fall

Discover China’s rich ethnic diversity as you travel the Ancient Tea and Horse Road between Dali, Shaxi and Lijiang. En route you’ll encounter Naxi and Bai people, bike beside pristine lakes, sample country cooking, and succumb to the charms of this unique corner of China.

About this Journey

Yunnan, which literally means “South of the Clouds,” is home to some of the most diverse cultures, ecology, and landscape in China. With verdant low-lying valleys, spectacular white-capped mountains, rustic towns and villages and vibrant ethnic minority communities, Yunnan has long inspired both poets and travelers. As a very distinct part of China, Yunnan is home to the “Eighteen Oddities,” eighteen aspects of life that distinguish it from other provinces. On this journey south of the clouds, you’ll explore Yunnan’s stunning landscapes, experience minority culture, and travel along part of the Ancient Tea and Horse Road.

What we love
  • Experiencing a traditional Bai tea ceremony, which uses three flavors of tea to symbolize the three stages of life
  • Follow in the footsteps of traders long gone by traveling along part of the Ancient Tea & Horse Road
Where you're going
dali and lijiang map

Day 1Dali

Learn the process of making China’s most famous drink in a tea plantation at the foot of the soaring Cang Mountain • Travel back in time by walking around Dali’s picturesque old town, a mixture of pagodas, red lanterns and mountains • Attend a traditional Bai minority “Three Cup Tea” ceremony and dinner

Day 2Dali

Immerse yourself in the traditional Bai architecture of Xizhou, characterized by ornate gateways and honeycomb patterns • Learn the secrets of making rushan, a local cheese • Bike through Erhai Lake’s verdant surroundings • Hone your cooking skills in a cooking lesson in a local home

Day 3Dali

Hike up Taoist Weibao (“Magnificent Treasure”) Mountain, where you will learn to meditate with a Taoist master • Travel along part of the Ancient Tea and Horse Road to a Hui Muslim village

Day 4Lijiang

Continue along the Ancient Tea and Horse Road to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lijiang, taking a break in the historical market town of Shaxi

Day 5 - 6Lijiang

Explore the small paths and canals that weave through Lijiang Old Town • Head over to the Dongba Culture Museum for a closer look at local minority culture and history • Travel to Yuhu village, located in the Lijiang basin • Visit the former residence of Austrian-American botanist Joseph Rock • Enjoy a leisurely hike around the scenic surrounding countryside

Day 7 - 8Shangri-la (Optional Extenstion)

Pass by Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world’s deepest river canyons, on the way to the fabled Shangri-La • Wander through the gilded pillars and incense-filled rooms of Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan lamasery in Yunnan • Spend the afternoon hiking through pristine grasslands of Napahai Valley, with seasonal birds soaring overhead


Banyan Tree Lijiang

Luxury Boutique

Blending traditional Naxi ethnic minority architecture with modern elegance and luxurious amenities, Banyan Tree Lijiang is a refuge of calm amidst the city’s hustle and bustle.

Indigo Lijiang

5 star

The Indigo, located in Lijiang’s old town, has tastefully decorated rooms infused with local Naxi elements.


Recommended seasons



What’s Included

  • All overland transfers with private chauffeur and in-transport refreshments
  • All admission fees and activity expenses, as noted in the itinerary
  • All meals as noted in the itinerary with complimentary drinking water
  • Private chauffeur service to and from airport at start and end of your trip
  • All services of WildChina English-speaking guide(s) and expert
  • All accommodations, based on double-occupancy and including breakfast, service charge, and government tax

What’s Excluded

  • International and domestic flights, domestic trains, plus relevant taxes
  • Chinese tourist visa, which is required for most foreign passport holders
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Meals, apart from those included in the itinerary, and alcohol
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Excursions and activities not included in the itinerary
  • Discretionary gratuities for guides and drivers
Why WildChina

We’re on the ground with you

Our team of advisors will design every detail of the trip with you through close consultation, then orchestrate your entire journey while on the ground. We’re in the same time zone as you, so we can fulfill requests and handle issues without a hitch. With over 40 staff in Beijing and an expansive network of operational partners across the country, we have the manpower to ensure your journey is safe, reliable and comfortable from beginning to end.

Your trip, your way

Flexibility is our highest-ranking compliment. We pull off journeys for pioneers with a 6-hour layover to Hollywood’s elite, and everywhere in between. Our team regularly pulls off unprecedented logistical feats; nearly any time frame or budget is within our realm. No matter how you wish to experience China, we are here to bring that dream to life.

We embody passion

WildChina guides are carefully handpicked for their knowledge and charisma, then meticulously trained to maintain our exceptional service standards. They are expert storytellers and passionate natives of the regions where they guide, having the perfect combination of local insights and service know-how to bring you seamless once-in-a- lifetime moments all across China.

The little things, the big picture

Supporting inspired local economies allows you to experience the soul of the destination, while also protecting and cultivating China’s artisanal culture. From watching artisans hand make shoes in Yunnan, to picking organic vegetables for dinner on a local farm in Fujian, our tours are designed to showcase and protect China’s heritage, both natural and human.