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Overview

Incredible history, ancient cities, stunning landscapes and colourful ethnic groups- this is what Yunnan is all about! Discover it all, and more, with a fabulous train trip from Kunming to Dali and Lijiang. Get up-close Yunnan’s cultural wonders and embrace the scenery with exclusive guided tours on the way.

Trip Highlights

Yunnan Dali & Lijiang by Train

Itinerary

1

Arrival in Kunming (altitude: 1900m)

Kunming airport–Kunming city (28 km): approx. 40 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Welcome to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province!

Upon arrival, an EXO guide will be waiting, ready to provide transport into the city for hotel check in.

Note: 3 separate trains will be taken during this Yunnan by train experience. Local guides (in Kunming, Dali and Lijiang) won’t be on board, but the destination will always be the last station, so there’s no chance of missing the train!

Overnight in Kunming.

2

Kunming - Dali

Train number: D3960 Estimated departure time: 17:46 Estimated arrival time: 19:54

Begin the first full day with a short walk in Green Lake Park (also known as Cuihu Park), providing a unique feel for the atmosphere of Chinese parks in the morning. Early birds start their day with tai chi or qigong, both types of physical exercise considered vital to health and well-being. Others engage in a friendly game of Chinese chess, Go (an ancient Chinese board game), or Mah-jong.

After exploring the park, head to Yuantong Temple (literally meaning “the Temple of understanding everything”). Founded during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the temple is one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in Kunming, known particularly for its unique location.

Follow up with a visit to the Golden Temple, which is ideally located on a small hill surrounded by pine and cypress trees.

Move on to the Yunnan Ethnic Minorities Museum, an essential stop for anyone looking to receive a true understanding of the multi-ethnic nature of this region. Despite housing 56 different officially recognised minority groups, this visit will focus particularly on the Yi (the largest minority in Yunnan), the Hui Muslims, the Buyi, the Bai and the Naxi. The museum has a beautiful collection of finery and traditional dress along with a relatively clear explanation of popular art forms.

Continue the Yunnan by train experience in a high speed train to the trip’s next destination: Dali.

Train Station: Kunming – Dali

Second class tickets are included in the price.

Welcome to Dali! Upon arrival to the station, a guide and driver will be waiting for a transfer to the hotel.

Overnight in Dali.

3

Dali

Home to the Bai minority, Dali was a stronghold of the kingdom of Nanzhao (738-902) and the epicenter of the Dali Kingdom (937-1253). The region, and notably the shores of the Erhai Lake, have played a significant role in the history of Yunnan, with bronze artefacts dating Bai habitation back more than 3,000 years. The Bai are known for their clothing (wearing predominantly white) and their unique homes, many of which are found within the Dali old town.

Begin the day’s explorations with a visit to the weekly market, held in different villages nearby the lake (Shaping on Mondays, Shuanglang on Tuesdays, Shaba on Wednesdays, Yousuo on Fridays or Jiangwei on Saturdays, smaller scale markets are also held in Xizhou and Zhoucheng every day).

Note: some of the villages are located one hour drive away from Dali.

After the market visits, travel along the shores of Erhai Lake (250 km) where the Bai fishermen go about their daily work with a backdrop of the Cangshan Mountains. Life for these locals hasn’t changed much over the years, with a noticeably slower pace compared to Dali.

Continue onwards to the Three Pagodas of the Chongsheng temple, a mystical emblem of the town sitting proudly at the foothills of the Changshan Mountains. The Pagoda of the Thousand Awakenings was built in the ninth century and is characterized by its square layout, similar to that of the imperial capital’s Wild Goose Pagoda. The three pagodas were part of a vast monastic center which, unfortunately, was almost completely destroyed in an earthquake. The remaining temple was restored and transformed into a museum (there is an opportunity to visit for those interested.)

Take a stroll into the old town of Dali, 2km to the south, where typical Bai homes can still be found.

A relaxed and warm atmosphere seems to ooze from these white walled homes, on which beautiful paintings representing mountains, running water, birds and flowers can be found. Their front porches, famous throughout the country, are distinguished by their beautifully carved arches.

Pay a visit to the town’s unique Catholic Church, mixing Bai & European architectural styles. Built by the French in 1938, the church still holds mass every day.

Overnight in Dali.

4

Dali – Lijiang (2500m altitude)

Train Station: Dali - Lijiang Train number: K9621 Estimated departure time: 10:08 Estimated arrival time: 12:47 Dali old town - Dali train station (20 km): approx. 25 min Lijiang train station – Lijiang old town (7 km): approx. 15 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

In the morning, the Yunnan by train experience continues with a morning transfer to the train station for the train to Lijiang.

Soft seat tickets are included in the price.

Welcome to Lijiang! Upon arrival in Lijiang, the guide & driver will be waiting for a transfer to the hotel.

Lijiang is a magnificent labyrinth of traditional redwood and brick houses topped with grey slate roofs. Lined with canals, stone bridges, and cobbled streets, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Small interior courtyards are furnished with flowers and bushes, giving this town it's beautiful, special, aroma; a real paradise at the heart of Naxi culture. Over 300,000 Naxi People live in China, most of which are found in Yunnan and Sichuan.

Begin the day with a quaint stroll in the old town. Crossing over its labyrinth of alleyways, arrive at “Lion Hill,” which offers fantastic views over the village below. At the top, there will be a chance for a quick coffee break on the terrace, perfect for relaxing after the ascent to the top.

Afterwards, pay a visit to the Mu Palace, a vivid example of Ming and Qing architecture, based on the same architectural style as the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Following the visit to the palace, we will head to the edge of the old town where the local market is always bustling, providing a feel for the ‘real’ Lijiang. Watch along as locals dressed in traditional clothing selling teas, vegetables, fruits and even daily tools in a very vibrant and animated atmosphere.

Note: This afternoon will be spent entirely on foot; as the cobbled streets can sometimes be slightly slippery, we recommend wearing sturdy shoes. The order in which we visit the sites may be modified depending on the hotel.

Overnight in Lijiang

5

Lijiang - Jade Dragon mountain – Lijiang - Kunming

Lijiang – Yak meadow (approx. 50 km): 1h30 Yak meadow – Lijiang train station (approx. 55 km): 1h40 *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Begin Day 5 with a trip up Jade Dragon Mountain, standing majestically to the north of the city. The mountain, also called Satseto in the Naxi language, takes its name from the God of War in the Dongba religion. As the number of visitors to the site is rather high, we will instead visit an area less well-known (but quieter and more rural) called the Yak Prairie. The views from here over the glacier are as equally as stunning as from the more popular destinations.

Note: For those looking to get the best vantage point of the mountain (5600m), please consult us for further advice.

On the way back to Lijiang, pass by Lashi lake (elevation of 2500 meters). Continue with a horseback ride along the historic Old Tea Horse Trail. Ride down steep, weathered paths ripe with dense forest, lakes, and waterfalls, as well as a serene temple and Naxi farming village.

Transfer back to Lijiang old town located 10 km away (approx. 30-minute drive).

Transfer back to the hotel (late checkout included) to rest and shower before the evening’s transport.

The final railway encounter on this Yunnan by train experience will conclude with transport to the Lijiang train station for a night train in a sleeper cabin to Kunming.

Train Station: Lijiang - Kunming

Train number: K9688

Estimated departure time: 21:30

Estimated arrival time: 06:29(+1)

Soft sleeper berth tickets are included in the price. Cabins feature soft berths, with 4 berths per cabin. For those who would like to reserve the entire cabin (or change to another class), please contact us directly.  (Tickets and class depend on availability and are subject to change)

6

Kunming departure

Kunming city - Kunming airport (28 km): approx. 40 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Upon arrival, the guide will be waiting for a transfer to the restaurant for breakfast.

After breakfast, a transfer will be provided to Kunming Airport for the departing flight.

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in selected hotel
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).
  • English speaking guide without shopping(for other languages supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits

Our services do not include:

  • Other meals not mentioned
  • Visa of China
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and Domestic Flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance

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