The Yunnan Provence in China has a lot to offer. Whether you like to explore old cities, love to hike, or just want to relax, Yunnan offers it all. Here you’ll read about our top experiences and hints.
Start exploring the Yunnan province in Dali. Between the mountains and the huge Erhai Lake, Dali is the perfect destination to relax. Walk through its old walled town among hip Chinese youngsters and enjoy to shop at creative boutiques. Visit the city wall gates for a city overview, the Dali Museum and the beautiful Guanyin (Gantong) Temple – all with free admission. Rent an electric motorcycle and explore Dali’s main attraction – the Three Pagodas – or simply cruise through its lush green plantations around the lake. Get a cable car close to Guanyin temple and hike along the Cangshan Mountains – an easy flat hike that provides stunning views of the city and lake from 2600m. Are you coming around the end of July? Then prepare yourself for flaming torches paraded throughout the city during the crazy Torch Festival (not within the city walls for obvious reasons).
Once totally relaxed, get a train to Lijiang (around 39¥). This World Heritage Site receives over eight million tourists a year and it’s the gateway to Tiger Leaping Gorge – it’s extremely busy, so stay only one night here. If you really want to see its beautiful wooden houses and little canals instead of the tourist stream, get up early and walk through the old town before the crowds wake up.
You can easily arrange a bus or mini-van to take you to Qiaotou – Tiger Leaping Gorge at your guesthouse. The gorge hike is pretty tough, even for those who are in good shape. Sleep well the night before, take a good and substantial breakfast, and bring a minimum of three litters of water, bananas and other snacks. It’s a good idea to stop at Naxi Family Guesthouse for a lunch and toilet break. As the hike continues, make sure you are not stunned by the views or you might miss the trail or fall from its narrow path. If you are exhausted and almost giving in, you can overnight at one of the many guest houses along the way. We slept at Halfway Guesthouse – the magnificent views (and good meals) compensates the very basic rooms. On your second day, walk about 1,5/2 hours down till Tina’s Guesthouse – you can also get a van (50¥), but then your victorious feeling will be reduced 😉 Here you can decide to continue down to the middle rapids (another tough hike!) or have lunch and get a bus back to Lijiang. The mix of relaxation and adventure at Dali and Tiger Leaping Gorge was one of our top experiences in China. Unmissable.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
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