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18-Day Shanghai, Huangshan, Wuyishan, Zhangjiajie, Kunming, Dali, Shaxi and Lijiang Tour

China's Famous Mountains and Yunnan Minority Tour

18-Day Private China Tour: Shanghai– Huangshan– Wuyishan–Zhangjiajie–Kunming–Dali–Shaxi–Lijiang

Immerse yourself in the rich culture and breathtaking landscapes of these iconic destinations. Wander through the bustling streets of Shanghai, hike the picturesque Huangshan Mountains, and witness the ancient charm of Wuyishan. Discover the stunning natural beauty of Zhangjiajie's Avatar Mountains, experience the diverse culture of Kunming, and relax by the serene lakes of Dali. Explore the historic village of Shaxi and step back in time in the ancient town of Lijiang.

The itinerary below is only one possibility. Tips to tailor-make your trip are offered as inspiration. Send us details of your preferences and our travel experts will customize this trip to suit your interests, tastes, and budget.

Tour 'Wow' Points

Enjoy a Peaceful Boat Ride Through Zhujiajiao Water Town

Zhujiajiao Water Town

Explore the Famous Yellow Mountain in Huangshan

Yellow Mountain

Witness the Famous Wuyi Mountain

Wuyi Mountain

Marvel at the Famous Hallelujah Mountain in the Movie "Avatar"

Hallelujah Mountain

Embark on a Scenic Cruise on the Tranquil Erhai Lake

Erhai Lake

Experience the Charm of a Minority village in Yunnan

Naxi Minority village

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Itinerary Quick Look

Here is a suggested itinerary. We are happy to customize a tour according to your interests.

DAY 1 Shanghai Arrival

Your private guide will be ready to meet and greet you at the arrival hall in Shanghai. A comfortable private car with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel. Your guide will help you to check-in.

DAY 2 Shanghai| Zhujiajiao Water Town

Jade Buddha Temple - A Spiritual Oasis: Commence your Shanghai adventure with a visit to the revered Jade Buddha Temple, an architectural gem founded in 1918. The temple is a haven for spirituality and culture, housing precious Buddha statues crafted from Burmese jade. As you explore, absorb the tranquil ambiance amidst monks' rituals, devoted worshippers, and captivating surroundings.

Former French Concession - Wandering Through Time: Embark on a leisurely journey through the enchanting Former French Concession district. Wander along historic streets like Huaihai Road, Fuxing Road, and Taikang Road, and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Shanghai's past. You'll encounter iconic landmarks, including the former residences of Sun Yat-sen and Zhou Enlai, the serene Fuxing Park, the splendid Moller Villa, the charming Lilac Garden, and the elegant Notre Dame Cathedral. Most of these architectural treasures are over a century old. On sunny days, the play of shadows beneath Chenar trees lends a romantic air. When evening arrives, the district's cafes, lively bars, and inviting restaurants beckon with the enticing aromas of coffee and delectable cuisine.

Zhujiajiao Water Town - A Step Back in Time: Delve into the timeless allure of Zhujiajiao Water Town, a picturesque destination that unfolds like a fan, steeped in Ming and Qing Dynasty history. Meander along serene lakeshores, cross 36 stone bridges, and explore captivating attractions such as Tongtianhe, an ancient pharmacy, the historic Post Office, tranquil Yuanjin Temple, and the scenic Kezhi Garden.

Zhujiajiao Boat Ride - A Serene River Sojourn: Don't miss the chance to further immerse yourself in Zhujiajiao's beauty with a brief 10-15 minute river cruise. This peaceful boat ride offers a unique perspective of the town's charming architecture and tranquil waterways, providing the perfect conclusion to your exploration.

DAY 3 Shanghai to Huangshan| The Tunxi Ancient Street

Tunxi Ancient Street - Timeless Charm: Start your Tunxi adventure in the heart of Anhui Province with a one-hour visit to the captivating Tunxi Ancient Street. This well-preserved historic gem is adorned with rows of charming old shops that transport you to a bygone era.

Wander amidst the simple yet elegant buildings, each steeped in history. Explore the shops, where you can hunt for unique souvenirs, antiques, and handicrafts. Feel free to haggle for a bargain as you soak in the rich cultural ambiance of this ancient street.

DAY 4 Huangshan | The Yellow Mountains

Yellow Mountains Exploration: Your journey begins with a pick-up from your hotel, railway station, or airport. We'll swiftly transport you to the South Gate of the Yellow Mountains Scenic Area, just an hour's drive away. Known as "the loveliest mountain in China," the Yellow Mountains never cease to amaze, with their towering granite peaks, unique rock formations, ancient trees, hot springs, and a rich tapestry of over 1500 plant species.

Note: Some attractions like the West Sea Grand Canyon, Celestial Capital Peak, and Lotus Peak are closed from December to March due to snow. Your guide will adapt the itinerary accordingly to ensure you don't miss out.

Hiking the Yellow Mountains: After breakfast, gear up for a thrilling day of hiking. We'll drive you to the Yellow Mountains' base, starting your adventure at Yungu Temple. This 10.5-kilometer (6.5-mile) trek takes about six hours. Ascend via the Eastern Steps, passing natural wonders like the Stone Table and the Immortal Pointing the Way. After about three hours, reach the White Goose Ridge, then continue to the Flying-over Rock and Bright Top for another three hours. Don't forget to witness the mesmerizing sunset at the Cloud-dispelling Pavilion, a highlight you won't want to miss.

DAY 5 Huangshan | The West Sea Canyon

West Sea Canyon Adventure - A Spectacular Trek (Approx. 5 Hours): Today's adventure unfolds with a remarkable hike spanning approximately 12.5 kilometers (7.8 miles) and lasting around five hours. Rise early to catch the breathtaking sunrise at the Refreshing Terrace, setting the stage for a day filled with natural wonders.

Embark on your journey as you hike towards the Cloud-dispelling Pavilion and then descend into the enchanting West Sea Grand Canyon. This exhilarating hiking expedition covers the essential highlights of the canyon, including the 1st ring, 2nd ring, Button, Plunk Way, and Fairy-Walking Bridge, offering you a comprehensive experience of this stunning terrain.

DAY 6 Huangshan to Wuyishan | Hongcun Village

Hongcun Village - A Living Painting: Begin your journey with a visit to Hongcun Village, a picturesque ancient hamlet just 10 kilometers northeast of Yixian County. With over 800 years of history, it's like stepping into a natural landscape painting, reminiscent of scenes from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

The village is surrounded by a serene moat and charming bridges, with a captivating half-moon pond at its center. Artists, students, and travelers often stay with local families here to capture its timeless beauty. Designed in the shape of a buffalo, it's one of the area's most enchanting destinations, recognized by UNESCO for its well-preserved traditional streets and houses. Explore halls, residences, and an old school as you soak in the village's heritage.

North Sea and Yungu Cable Car - Embracing Yellow Mountains: Wake early for a sunrise photo op at Refreshing Terrace, highly recommended by previous travelers. After breakfast, embark on a walking tour to Lion Peak, where you'll discover the Dawn Pavilion and Stone Monkey Watching the Sea, all framed by unique pine trees in the North Sea area.

For a panoramic view, climb Beginning-to-Believe Peak to spot the Mushroom Pavilion. Your Yellow Mountains adventure concludes with a memorable Yungu Cable Car ride, providing a dramatic descent from this remarkable natural wonder.

DAY 7 Wuyishan to Changsha and Zhangjiajie | Wuyi Mountains

Wuyi Mountains Arrival - Natural Wonder: Welcome to the stunning Wuyi Mountains, a southeastern Chinese treasure trove of deep canyons, dense forests, waterfalls, and endangered wildlife. In 1999, UNESCO recognized part of Wuyishan City as a World Heritage site. The area is divided into four core sections, each with its unique charm. Whether you're into hiking, bird watching, tea estates, waterfalls, or cultural heritage, Wuyi Mountains has something for everyone.

DAY 8 Zhangjiajie | The National Forest Park

In Zhangjiajie, you will visit the National Forest Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the unique pillar-like formations shaped by erosion over time. Explore the park's vast forest-covered area, including Yuanjiajie, Yangjiajie, Jinbian Stream, and Wulongzhai. Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting nearby villages inhabited by Tujia, Bai, Miao, and Hui people.

Please note that accommodations and meals in mountain areas like Zhangjiajie and Huangshan are simple. Adjust your expectations accordingly for the best experience. Get ready to be captivated by the breathtaking landscapes of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.

DAY 9 Zhangjiajie| The Grand Canyon with Glass Bridge

Today, our guide will lead you to visit Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, which is a stunning natural attraction that has recently been developed into a wonderland for visitors. It offers a combination of majestic mountains, flowing streams, intriguing caves, towering cliffs, and lush forests. One of the highlights of this scenic area is the world's longest and highest glass bridge. Imagine the thrill of walking on this bridge, suspended 300 meters above the ground! It's definitely an experience you wouldn't want to miss during your tour.

If walking on the glass bridge isn't your cup of tea, don't worry. We have an alternative route that allows you to still enjoy the attraction without stepping on the glass bridge. However, if you decide to take on the adventure, please note that for safety reasons, carrying a camera on the bridge is not allowed. You can, however, bring your cellphone or GoPro to capture those unforgettable moments.

DAY 10 Zhangjiajie to Kunming | Tianmen Mountain

Visit the Tianmen Mountain, the awe-inspiring heart of Zhangjiajie! As the highest peak in the area, this majestic mountain offers unrivaled views of ancient trees, stunning karst formations, and scenic roads carved into cliff sides. Hop on the world's longest cable car ride, a thrilling 30-minute journey from the city center, and ascend to the mountain's summit.

At 1430 meters above ground, you'll find the renowned Tianmen Mountain Glass Walkway, a remarkable observation platform that extends from a sheer cliff. This narrow 1.6-meter-wide, 60-meter-long glass walkway offers brave souls not only breathtaking views of the mountains below but also the exhilaration of treading nervously above such heights. Some have even likened this experience to the famous 'skywalk' at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA.

Don't miss the chance to explore this remarkable natural wonder in China. Savor the beauty and thrill of Tianmen Mountain, an experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

DAY 11 Kunming | The Stone Forest

Ancient Stone Forest - Nature's Artistry: Begin your journey at the Ancient Stone Forest (Naigu Shilin), just 13 kilometers north of Shilin. Naigu Shilin, translating to "ancient and black" in the Yi language, covers an expansive area of over 5,000 mu. It offers a distinct experience compared to Shilin's stone forests with unique features and styles.

Green Lake Park - Tranquil Oasis: Explore Green Lake Park, one of Kunming's most picturesque downtown spots. Originally known as "Nine Dragon Pond" due to its nine spring outlets, it provides a peaceful escape. Stroll along its serene paths, observe local culture, and enjoy captivating performances, including Taiji, Mahjong, and traditional opera. The park truly comes alive as locals, adorned in traditional attire, gather to dance and play traditional instruments.

Zhuanxin Wet Market - Local Flavors: Delve into Kunming's local culture at Zhuanxin Wet Market. Founded in 1998, this traditional market has been a vital part of local life for over two decades. It's a bustling hub where residents shop for daily necessities and offers a captivating glimpse into Kunming's everyday life. Explore Yunnan's rich culinary scene and minority culture as you sample local snacks and unique ingredients. Your guide will introduce you to Yunnan's specialties, such as local mushrooms. Don't miss the chance to savor snacks enjoyed by ethnic minorities, and perhaps meet vendors in traditional attire.

DAY 12 Kunming to Dali | Ancient City of Dali

Ancient City of Dali - A Step Back in Time: Your journey commences in the Ancient City of Dali, just 13 kilometers from Xiaguan in Dali City. Built during the Ming Dynasty in 1382 AD, it holds a coveted spot among China's Famous Historic and Cultural Cities. Here, crystal-clear springs meander through the streets, and the warm-hearted Bai people tend to vibrant gardens, adorning their traditional homes. Dali's historic charm and natural beauty await your exploration.

Three Pagodas - Dali's Timeless Landmarks: Next, visit the iconic Three Pagodas, nestled between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake. These towering pagodas, over 1,000 years old, form a striking triangular presence on Dali's horizon. Within their ancient walls, you'll find treasured Buddhist scripts, offering a glimpse into the region's spiritual legacy.

DAY 13 Dali | The Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake

Cangshan Mountain - A Natural Wonderland: Your journey unfolds with a captivating visit to Cangshan Mountain, the centerpiece of the Southern Yun Cordillera, adorned with 19 peaks aligned from north to south. This vast scenic complex is a treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural gems. Explore the harmonious interplay of cloud-kissed summits, pristine snow, lush forests, gushing springs, rugged rock formations, and vibrant flowers. Don't miss the must-see attractions, including Yundai Cloud, Eighteen Peaks, Eighteen Streams, Butterfly Spring, and Horse-washing Pond.

Embark on a memorable cable car ride to the mountaintop, treating yourself to breathtaking vistas of Erhai Lake, the iconic Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple, and the enchanting Dali Ancient Town.

Yunnan Flower Cake Making - A Taste of Local Culture: Delve into the heart of Yunnan's culinary culture with a hands-on experience in making Yunnan Flower Cakes, a beloved local snack crafted by the Bai people. Nestled in a picturesque Bai village garden, you'll receive step-by-step guidance from a skilled teacher. Learn the art of rolling, pinching, wrapping, and cutting to create flower-shaped cakes, using ingredients like dough, flower petals, peanuts, and eggs. After your creative endeavor, savor the delightful cakes, complemented by a cup of soothing flower tea, all while you soak in the serene garden ambiance and gaze at the clouds drifting above Cangshan Mountain.

Biking along the Er'hai Lake Shore: Embark on a scenic biking adventure along the picturesque West Shore of Er'hai Lake. While some parts of the trail may lead you away from the lakeshore, you'll have the opportunity to explore local villages and markets, immersing yourself in the authentic culture of the region.

DAY 14 Dali to Shaxi | The Shaxi Ancient Town

Mt. Shibaoshan - Nature and History: Start your adventure at Mt. Shibaoshan, a sprawling natural wonder spanning 20 kilometers. This majestic mountain harmoniously combines nature's beauty with rich history. Explore pristine creeks, winding waterways, ancient temples, pagodas, and Buddhist caves. Immerse yourself in serene surroundings, evoking a sense of relaxation and meditation in a bygone era.

Shaxi Ancient Town - Timeless Beauty: Discover the timeless charm of Shaxi Ancient Town, a place where fresh mountain air abounds. This historic village's origins date back to ancient times. Stroll through its traditional Bai architecture, including a shimmering wall, a pavilion, the venerable Xijiao Temple, Square Street, and an ancient stage, bridge, and grand courtyard. Shaxi, once a vibrant stop on the Southern Silk Road, still hosts a bustling local market every Friday. Experience the cultural richness as Bai and Yi ethnic people trade goods, from fresh produce to horses.

DAY 15 Shaxi to Lijiang | Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge Adventure: Embark on an unforgettable journey to Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world's deepest and most spectacular gorges. Located in Hutiaoxia Town, a scenic 105 kilometers away from Zhongdian/Shangri-La County, this natural wonder awaits your exploration. Visit during the spring to witness Tiger Leaping Gorge at its peak magnificence. Spring brings melting snow cascading down from the mountains, creating powerful river turbulence and adding to the awe-inspiring beauty of this natural marvel.

DAY 16 Lijiang | Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Spruce Meadow - Nature's Hidden Gem: Begin your journey by ascending Shanzidou, and halfway up this majestic mountain, you'll discover the enchanting Spruce Meadow. Nestled at an altitude of 3,240 meters, this meadow comes to life every spring and summer, blanketing the mountain ridge in vibrant green hues. It's a place steeped in legend, where the tragic tale of star-crossed lovers adds a touch of romance to the scenery. Spruce Meadow is also a haven for photography enthusiasts and a stage for captivating local ethnic dance performances.

Baisha Murals - A Glimpse into Ancient Art and Culture: Visit the Baisha Village to marvel at the Baisha Murals, a priceless artistic treasure that has graced the village for over a millennium. These murals beautifully blend the cultural influences of Han, Tibetan, and Naxi communities, depicting the rich tapestry of life stories from Tibet Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Stroll through Baisha Village to immerse yourself in local life and culture, gaining insight into the daily rhythms of the residents.

DAY 17 Lijiang to Shanghai | Black Dragon Pool

Discovering the Black Dragon Pool: Your journey commences at the picturesque Black Dragon Pool, a serene haven that lends its name to the entire park. Renowned for its breathtaking beauty, the pool has earned a place among the "Collections of Famous Pools of China." Spend 1.5 hours exploring this tranquil oasis, where nature's wonders await at every turn.

DAY 18 Shanghai Departure

Our guide will help you transfer from your hotel to Shanghai Pudong Airport for departure with independentcar/van and guide.

Tour Price

FromUS4,500 p/p Based on a private tour for 2 people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people and chosen hotel

Price includes:

  • Private air-conditioned business car with big windows and ample space
  • English speaking local guide
  • Activities, hotels, and meals listed in the itinerary
  • 24/7 helpline for while you are traveling

Tour code: cht-cx-58

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