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.
What Our Customers Said
Excellent Tour of Yunnan
China Highlights prepared an excellent trip for us in Yunnan. Murphy, Frank, Lily and Daniel were amazing! They were kind, knowledgeable and went above and beyond to make our trip enjoyable! We had the same driver for our time in Dali to Shangri-La and he was fantastic. He was kind, respectful and focused on the safety of his passengers! I would absolutely book another trip with these guides and driver. Thank you for a wonderful trip!more
Aug 2021, Ashley Meadows
What a memorable and smooth trip with China Highlights! I will most definitely be choosing China Highlights for my next adventure. My friend and I organized two private trips with them back to back, one through Qinghai/Gansu and this one through Yunnan. I give both experiences five stars. As for our Yunnan tour specifically, I believe that this trip is well-worth its value. How awesome is it to just “show up” and have everything organized for you, with friendly guides and drivers to take you where you need to go, explaining all you need to know along the way. The trip was seamless and well-organized, and accommodations were comfortable even when choosing the more economical options. We opted for the 8 day trip (the first and last day of which were arrival and departure, so 6 true days of sightseeing). This included Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-la. If you are okay with a high-paced trip, this is a great option to see the main highlights in a short time.more
Aug 2021, ruth_charity
Christy was our trip coordinator and behind-the-scenes mastermind. She is competent, efficient, helpful with requests, and pleasant to talk to. We were very satisfied with her service.more
Aug 2021, ruth_charity
A great tour of Dali, a beautiful city!
Our China Highlights tour guide, Grace, was very knowledgeable about the local sites, culture, history, and mythology. She was also very helpful in providing information about transportation between the airport and the hotel, and communicating with the hotel staff in Mandarin when we needed help with that. The activities China Highlights arranged were really fun and worthwhile and the car that took us around made it possible to see the key sites but not waste time trying to figure out how to get to the sites by ourselves. A great tour of a beautiful city! We were highly satisfied.more
Jan 2023, Nadav Katz
Stunning nature and beautiful culture
We had a fantastic time traveling with China Highlights to Lijiang, Shaxi and Dali. The dry winter season was perfect without the crowds and with beautiful blue skies most of the time. The first part of the tour we enjoyed with our great guide Lee and for the second part the amazing Daisy took over.more
Dec 2022, Elizabeth H
Dali is Delightful with Nancy
A most delightful 3-day trip to Dali was had this past Golden Week thanks to #ChinaHighlights and our most amazing tour guide Nancy! Nancy was able to navigate and keep our travel group of 16 persons on task with a full itinerary including: Shaxi SiDeng Street, Xinjiao Temple, Erhai Lake cruise, a tour of Xizhou (Bai tie-dying and silk art), a cable car ride to Cangshan Mountain, Three Pagodas, and the Ancient City of Dali. Despite several pre-trip COVID-related challenges that included itinerary changes, we were AGAIN in the best of hands with CH, our driver, Mr. He, and Nancy. Dali was absolutely breathtaking and we were so fortunate to have Nancy leading us on a most memorable journey where we met the people of Dali, enjoyed the local fresh foods, along with the most perfect weather - we couldn’t imagine anyone taking a trip to Dali without Nancy!more
Oct 2022, Erin
Bai-curious in Dali
We had a fantastic time in Dali, our host Alice was very knowledgeable and flexible. She enhanced the good times with her positive and laid back attitude. We learned much about the Bai culture and took part in the torch festival celebration. We had an amazing bike ride round the lake and a memorable trip up the mountain in a cable car. China Highlights and Alice made every part of the tour straightforward and gave us great peace of mind when navigating the COVID rules. We can't wait to visit again in future with family and friends.more
Jul 2022, Michael H
Outstanding days in Dali
We have asked China Highlights to organize our Yunnan vacations. Our experience in Dali was outstanding: the program was good, and our guide Carrie Li was wonderful! She made us feel part of the culture, of the history.more
Jul 2021, Bruno Duarte Alves
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.
Start planning your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.