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Yunnan, a province located in southwest China, is characterized by diverse minority cultures, historic sites, and beautiful natural scenery.
If you are planning a tour of Yunnan, read on to get the best from your time and some tips on planning the itinerary.
Generally speaking, the weather in most areas of Yunnan is mild in winter and cool in summer. It is suitable to visit Yunnan all year round. Each season in Yunnan offers visitors plenty of reasons to visit.
If you want to experience the most beautiful scenery, spring and summer are the best times to arrive in Yunnan while winter is a good time to see the snowcapped mountains.
The popular time to go to Yunnan is from March to October.
Inconvenient and Expensive Periods
If you arrive in the above periods, be prepared for huge crowds at the airports, tourist sites, shopping areas, restaurants, and hotels.
Read more about Yunnan weather.
Yunnan is easily accessible by air or train from the main cities in China.
Major tourist cities, such as Kunming, Lijiang, and Shangri-La, are all equipped with airports. Bullet trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou are available to Kunming.
Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, serves as a transport hub. If there are no direct flights or trains from your departure city to your destination in Yunnan, check the transportation to Kunming from which you can transfer to your destination.
Read more information about Yunnan transportation.
Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, is known as “Spring City” because of its pleasant climate all year round.
There, you can lose yourself in a vast sea of jagged rock formations in the Stone Forest Geological Park, and capture a postcard-perfect photo at Dongchuan Red Land, which is praised as "God's palette".
Famous for its beautiful natural scenery and the well-preserved Bai minority culture, Dali is a great place to relax.
You can take a boat ride or bike ride at Erhai Lake, meander through the Bai people's residential housing area in historical Xizhou Village, or find a café to enjoy some leisure time in Dali Ancient City.
Lijiang is a great blend of historical sites, captivating landscapes, and ethnic minority cultures. You can wander around the ancient town to see the best-preserved traditional architectures, hike along the roaring Tiger Leaping Gorge, and take a cable car up to the holy Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
If you have no chance to visit Tibet, pay a visit to Shangri-La. It is a place with continuous snowy mountains, mysterious lamaseries, and Tibetan culture.
If you are a photography enthusiast, you should not miss Yuanyang, which is famed for its rice terraces. You will see thousands of mirrors glittering in the sunlight when the paddies are filled with water.
Yunnan is a destination full of natural sceneries, historical heritages, and ethnic customs. Tourists usually plan a trip of 6–9 days there.
Here are some popular routes for inspiration:
If your time is limited, a short trip in a single city is recommended, usually for 3 or 4 days.
Read about more Yunnan tours with detailed itineraries.
The major tourist cities in Yunnan offer visitors a full range of accommodation options from international 5-star hotels to adorable inns.
In some remote counties, such as Shangri-La, the hotel rooms meet normal Chinese standards, but the general standard of service may be lower than in big cities.
For example, the hotels usually serve more Chinese food and less Western food for breakfast, and fewer hotel employees speak English.
In the ancient cities of Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La, boutique inns are welcomed among tourists, especially young people. The inns are always reconstructed based on traditional houses and feature delicate decorations.
Due to the mild climate in Yunnan, it is common to find that many hostels and inns are not equipped with air-conditioning.
For foreign tourists, Yunnan is a complex destination considering its diverse destination options, traffic connections, and the low level of English.
There are many tourist sites in Yunnan, and many things to do. It is a skill to design an itinerary which covers the highlights, maximizes your time, and cuts corners.
The signs in English are limited in many spots and at train/bus stations. You may encounter the language barrier and get lost.
If you don't want any hassles, we recommend you travel with a professional travel company, such as China Highlights. We will take care of everything. All you need to do is arrive.
Based on years of experience and customer feedback, we have developed many Yunnan tours. Here are some popular tours, for inspiration:
The above tours can be customized to suit your requirements and interests. Please feel free to contact us for help.