Small group tour of Yunnan, China

“A 12 day small group holiday, starting and ending in Kunming, with treks and cultural visits of this remote mountain area. Staying in small, locally owned accommodation. ”


Kunming | Stone Forest | Weishan Town | Bai villages | Shibao Mountain | Lijiang | Jade Dragon Snow Mountain | Tiger Leaping Gorge | Zhongdian/ Shangri La

Description of Small group tour of Yunnan, China

This small group tour of Yunnan is a twelve day odyssey around China’s exquisite mountain region which, to date, remains very untouched by time. The name of this province translates as ‘south of the clouds’ a name referring to the cloud engulfed mountains that separate it from Sichuan Province to the north.

Indeed the place names capture just how diverse and dramatic the landscapes are in Yunnan Province, and why hikers and cultural adventurers love it so much. Starting in Kunming, meaning ‘City of Eternal Spring’, so called because it is milder than the other more elevated regions, however, it makes a wonderful start to a Yunnan holiday, with photographers in particular lapping up its multi ethnic cultures, surrounding snow capped mountains, red hills and karst limestone terrain. The most famous karst region is at the Stone Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our next main stop is the medieval town of Dali, with a stunning location surrounded by the Cang Shan mountains and shimmering Er Hai lake, just one of several in the region. It is considered by the Chinese as real ‘old world’ China and has become quite touristy as a result. However, it is also a real home to the Bai people who live in villages around this area, several of which we will pass through and stop to visit.

Travelling further north to Lijian, we visit the cliff top temple at Shibao Mountain, a stunning and also sacred spot, with its giant granite boulders resembling a collection of stone animals carved out by nature, the Buddhist Haiyunju Temple built at the foot of Shisan Hill and the Taoist Baoxiang Temple, built on a steep cliff. Add the Shizhongshan Grottoes which were built by the Bai Minority and you have a very memorable day out.

You really start to feel the Tibetan influences at the city of Lijian, a charming location overlooked by Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and where mountain streams trickle through the ancient cobbled streets. This really is one town to visit before mass tourism really takes hold. We also take a day to go hiking in the stupendous Tiger Leaping Gorge, this 16km-long, 3,000m deep canyon lying high above the Yangtze River a highlight for many of our guests.

Heading further north into the Tibetan Plateau, our last stop before heading back to Kunming is the town of Zhongdian, now called Shangri La. Not surprisingly, this is a very special town, with a name like that, surrounded by alpine lakes, forest and wildflower meadows, and of course, the obligatory beautiful monastery at Songzanlin as well as temples in the town, including the Golden Temple.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Check dates, prices & availability

19 Sep 2018
£ 2700
including UK flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Sep 2018 departure
Holiday type

Small group holiday

This is a 'small group adventure' - you will be sharing your experiences with like minded people. Group sizes are limited to a maximum of 12 persons, a genuinely small group. Experience has taught us that smaller groups are less intrusive to local cultures and environments whilst allowing more interaction with local people. Furthermore it means greater flexibility on a day to day basis and on a social level it proves to be fun. Whether you are travelling alone or with friends/family its good value, and a great way to meet new people! The intention is to travel as a group of friends rather than a typical tour group, so don't expect stick-on name badges or any following the umbrella.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Small group tour of Yunnan, China


As a tour operator, we are committed to responsible tourism as follows:

Information: Providing suitable, relevant information for our customers; to help them to gain a wider understanding of our style of tourism that focuses on learning, genuine interaction with the local communities, reciprocity and cultural exchange processes. To be aware of the potential impact of tourism on the local society, culture and environment, and to behave and dress appropriately with a respect and appreciation for local customs, mores and traditions and a respect for the ecology of areas visited. Our guides and leaders thus facilitate communication of our values to both travelers and local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices

Group sizes: By limiting groups to small sizes we aim to reduce the impact on both local communities and the environment whilst allowing for greater genuine interaction with said communities. It also results in a higher guide/customer ratio thus greater facility for supervision and individual assistance and allows us to use smaller hotels and restaurants and employ the services of more genuinely ‘local’ operators perhaps not otherwise well equipped for larger groups.

Destinations: We combine the well known tourist sites with many off-the-beaten-track, rarely visited destinations thus diverting tourist revenue and contact with responsible tourism into areas not usually benefiting as well as providing a more authentic view of the region visited.


Local products: As much as possible we aim to employ local personnel, (guides, drivers, agents etc), use local restaurants and smaller privately owned accommodation. Customers are also encouraged to buy and use local products and services as much as possible in order to support and stimulate the local economy.

Local awareness: By explaining our methods and the reasons behind them local agents, guides and hotels are encouraged by us to adopt further responsible tourism practices themselves and guides and drivers are provided with additional training in this respect.

1 Reviews of Small group tour of Yunnan, China

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 11 Dec 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Almost too many to recount! The rice terraces at sunset and dawn, the hike through Tiger Leaping Gorge, the Stone Forest, the lake and mountains and pagodas at Dali, the Jade Dragon Mountain at Lijiang, Shangri-La, the markets and ethnic minorities....

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take some dollars, go (unlike locals) between Nov and April - we had superb weather; take some warm clothing for the Tibetan plateau; take plenty of film/memory cards!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Very much so. We were a group of four plus leader and a local guide for each area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

One of the very best I have been on.

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