Essence of Kunming
3-Day Stone Forest and City Essence Tour
Kunming is highly praised as "the spring city", due to its comfortable weather all year round. This tour will allow you to discover the most popular attractions in Kunming, including historical sites and unique natural scenery at the Naigu Stone Forest. Our "no shopping" policy ensures you will have a memorable trip in China.
See the Beauty of Yunnan's Picturesque Peaks and Buddhist and Taoist Architecture
Be amazed at the magical landscape of the Stone Forest.
Visit the largest Buddhist complex in Kunming — Yuantong Temple.
Burn incense and make a wish (prayer) in Yuantong Temple like a local.
Discover the secrets in the Taoist Grottoes at the Dragon Gate.
Immerse Yourself in Local Life and Savor the Local Dishes
Join in a square dance with local people in a popular park.
Try the most famous Yunnan food — over-the-bridge rice noodles.
Experience local life at Zhuanxin Wet Market or the Old Town.
Taste authentic dishes at an old restaurant on Kunming Old Street.
About China Highlights
Since 1998 we've guided everyone ranging from US presidents, Australian Geographic and retired backpackers. Our goal is to create unique trips that take you off-the-beaten path, helping you discover China in a more authentic way. Our motto: "Discovery Your Way!"
Lijiang Trip July 2021
Kudos to Alisa Liu from the agency who I must say was on hand almost 24/7 for requests and queries. Even though our trip was marred with the onset of the Typhoon In Fa with various flight and train cancellations but Alisa was quick to arrange for alternative solutions under the circumstances and made the most effort to make our journey as comfortable as possible whilst we made our way back to Shanghai. As for the itinerary, Alisa understands her clientele’s different needs very well and for the most part my expectations were met. I love private tours with a very relaxed itinerary and comfortable accommodation and some of us prefer more exclusive accommodation vs a packed itinerary trying to go to a hundred location type of tour. more
Your private guide will pick you up outside the luggage claim area and transfer you to your hotel in a professionally-chauffeured vehicle. The rest of the day is for you to acclimatize and explore the city, or relax and recoup ready for the tour tomorrow.
Good to know:
If you arrive early in the morning and have some time to kill, you may consider enriching your day by visiting Yunnan Minority Village, which gives a very quick view of the various minorities in Yunnan and their cultures, costumes, and customs. If you are interested in the history of the American Flying Tigers during World War II, Kunming Museum is recommended.
Kunming New Era Hotel (4-star)/Green Lake Hotel (5-star).
After a 1½-hour drive, visit a fantastic natural phenomenon located 90 kilometers southeast of Kunming — the Stone Forest. The various shapes of limestone were formed due to millions of years' movement of the Earth. The Stone Forest area is the home of the Yi people, and their folk customs have become a spectacular scene. The colorful embroidery and minority dances combined with the natural scenery will surely leave you with a lasting impression. Enjoy a local lunch in a quaint courtyard with the Stone Forest Park in the background.
In the afternoon, transfer back to Kunming and visit the Yuantong Temple, the largest and most ancient Buddhist temple in Kunming, to learn about the differences between the halls of the three denominations of Buddhism.
After the tour, your guide and driver will escort you back to your hotel for a good rest.
Good to know:
For Chinese tourists, the Stone Forest Park is a must-see attraction; therefore, the countless tourist groups there during the peak season rank among travelers' pet peeves. Due to the gigantic size of the park, your guide will help you find quieter, more remote areas to avoid the crowds, especially in the winter months.
Follow the saying and walk pass the Dragon Gate on Xishan (Western Hills) to get prosperity in the future. You will have a bird's-eye view of the Dianchi Lake and appreciate the groups of Taoist sculptures in the grottoes on the cliff in this scenic area.
After lunch in a traditional style restaurant, visit the Jingxing Bird and Flower Market, a building focusing on flowers and pets such as gold fish, birds, and a wide array of knick-knacks. The market retains the feel of a traditional Chinese market and it's a nice place to experience local life.
Sit back and relax as your guide will already have called to confirm your next journey. You will be transferred to your station or the airport in advance.
Good to know:
Round-trip shuttle buses between Xianshan Entrance and Dragon Gate Entrance are included (20 minutes each way). If you would like to save time and energy, you can choose to take chairlift up to the mountain top (20-30 minutes) and walk down the Dragon Gate Plank way (1-2 hours).
1. Tailoring Your Tour
This tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, and extend or shorten it to suit your price, interest, and schedule. Feel free to tell us your requirements, and we will be happy to help you arrange a tour using our professional knowledge and experience. We promise a "No Shopping Policy".
2. Optional Extension
If you are interested in seeing the karst caves, Jiuxiang Cave is recommended after your visit to the Stone Forest and it takes approximately one hour to get there. There are more than 100 karst caves in Jiuxiang scenic area and it is the largest cave group system in China. Climbing up the 336 steps that lead to the Bat Cave could be a challenge for seniors. Please inform your trip advisor about your preferences.
Show and Entertainment
Dynamic Yunnan in Kunming is a large-scale song and dance performance featuring the remarkable and diverse local ethnic culture. It is another masterpiece from the famous Chinese dancer Yangliping who directs and heads the cast.
It is recommended to book with your guide a day before, or on the day, to allow flexibility.
3. Getting There and Traveling Away
Kunming is a convenient transportation hub. There are domestic flights to most of China's major cities, such as Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin, Chengdu and Shanghai. International routes include flights between Kunming and Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Rangoon and Singapore.
Standard hotels with a convenient location and good reviews are recommended in the itinerary. If you prefer other hotel options (boutique hotels, economical choices, or Chinese-style hotels) or would like to book the hotels on your own, please feel free to inform us and we will be happy to adjust the details.
5. More Trip Information
Want to learn more about this trip? Please click here to see details about traveling in China, booking, payment and responsible travel.