Yunnan China Summary Itinerary

Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La are the top places in Yunnan.  All has it specialities.  In Yunnan, go learn about the 18 oddities when you dine at restaurants or walk on the streets in the ancient town.

1. Kunming 昆明

Yunnan China Summary Itinerary

  • Jiuxiang Scenic Area / 九乡风景区 – you will find museum of karst caves with colorful lights.
  • Famous Dish in Yunnan : Crossing Bridge Rice Noodles / 过桥米线 – You will have to transfer white noodles with bean curd, sprouts and chickecn into a huge giant bowl with hot soup.  If you never tasted this dish, you have never been to Yunnan.
  • 三只蚊子炒盘菜/Three mosquitoes make up a meal! – Just like Thai and Laos, try this insects meals while in Yunnan.
  • Yu nnan Stone Forest – 石林 Shilin– Just 90km away from Kunming city, you will find the Stone Forest has very unique landscape as it is mountain full of different shapes of rocks everywhere.
  • Gamble on Rocks/赌石 in Yunnan – Learn about “gamble of rocks” in Yunnan. How?  Visit a jade factory and get a free tour.  Do ask what is the meaning of “gamble of rocks” in China.

2. Lufeng/禄丰 Dinosaur Valley 世界恐龙谷

Yunnan China Summary Itinerary

Lufeng/禄丰 is located west of Yunnan, about 1.5 hours drive from Kunming, the capital. It is known as “Hometown of Dinosaurs”. Dinosaur Valley in Lufeng Yunnan has the largest collection of dinosaurs in China or even the world!

Trust me, you would never seen so many set of complete Disasours skeleton in  your life!

3. Dali 大理

Yunnan China Summary Itinerary

Dali/大理 is a famous city to visit in Yunnan. The name of Dali is coming from a local regime in history called Kingdom Dali, meaning a state of great order. Many of the buildings of the city were build of marble /Dali Stone that is why it is also called a city of Dali Stone. Both Chinese writing and pronunciation of “great order’ and “marble”/大理 are the same.

  • Dali Ancient City – visit the old city which was built during Ming Dynasty.
  • Yunnan 18 oddities – There are 18 oddities in Yunnan, you may find some in the old town.
  • Small streams in Dali – Pay extra attention at these small streams run throughtout the city, one of the unique features in the old town of Dali
  • Wuhua Tower
  • Visit a marble factory 
  • Visit a silver factory
  • Things to buy in Dali
    -Tuo Cha/The bowl shape Compressed Tea
    -Handmade tie-dyeing souvenir by Bai Minority
    -Dali Snow Pear only in the month of August and September
    -Dali Marble
    -Silver ware

4. Lijiang 丽江

Yunnan China Summary Itinerary

After visiting Dali, the next stop is Lijiang.  This is a popular place to find romance. Many would rush here, especially those who have broken heart, came here to heal and hoping to find a new romance.

  • Visit the Old Town – wait for an expected romance
  • Hiring a photographer in Lijiang with costume provided, very affordable
  • Learn about Naxi/纳西 minority
  • Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山)Watch Impression Lijiang, directed by the world famous Director Zhang Yimou – also the guy who directed Beijing Olympic 2008.
  • Jade Water Village/玉水寨
  • Trekking in Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

5. Shangri La/香格里拉

Yunnan China Summary Itinerary

Shangri La is located at very high altitude, above 4000 m high.  It is descibed as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun.

  • Witness Walking Marriage Tradition 走婚
  • Check out the white yaks in the mountain to Shangri La
  • Shika Snow Mountain – Beware of altitude sickness
  • Get oxygen mask ready
  • Learn about Zang Zu/Tibetan culture, buddhism and colorful grounds for prayers
  • Sky burials funeral.  – Only if you dare! You will see vultures coming down the burial site to take away the dead body during the sky burial funerals.
  • Old Town & Songzanlin Lamasery & Guishan Park – largest Tibetan Buddhism monastery!
  • Note : Don’t run while in Shangri-La as the air is very thin.  Walk slowly instead.

Final thoughts

Yunnan province is larger than the size of Germany and home to 25 ethnic minorities out of the 55 (for whole China). Quite a big portion of minorities in China stay in Yunnan. This place is to learn about the minority, such as Bai/white people from Dali, Naxi people from Lijiang and Mosuo minority who lived near Lugu Lake where their famous specilities are the “walking marriage” tradition.  Finally Shangri La is the place to learn about Tibetan culture, check out their sky burials funeral if you dare!

Other places in China you may be interested :

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15 Replies to “Yunnan China Summary Itinerary”

  1. You provided some really great places to visit when visiting China. Your itinerary is sure to help anyone visiting plan some really great experiences.

  2. I have visited China. Loved its colorful culture and heritage. But not been to this beautiful destination in China. Wonderful post with equally wonderful pics.

    1. China is too big and has too many provinces and each place has different culture. Yunnan is near the border of Burma, Vietnam and Laos so the culture has little similaries with these neighboring countries.

  3. What a wonderful itinerary in Yunnan! I am at awe at the dinosaur skeleton, that’s so amazing, my children would be crazy happy to go there!

    1. Your children would love the disasour valley which is also the biggest in the world. There are still an estimation of 400+ set of dinosaur skeletons down in the ground below in Lufeng area waiting to be unearthed.

  4. Sounds and looks like a really nice place. I have never been to China but would love to. This itinerary looks so helpful, bookmarking this post.

  5. Omg! Some of this sceneries are unreal! I’m just blown away! I especially love the Open Air Theater in Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Stunning with the mountain back drop. What an itinerary! So helpful, so much information. Beautifully written. Just love it xxx

  6. This post is inspiration for me to travel to the Yunnan District of China. Even though this is a totally exotic location, the commonalities of the Dinosaur Valley and stories of romance, funerals and marriage traditions are totally intriguing. Love the links to other summary itineraries. Xo, Evelyn, PathofPresence

  7. What a fascinating glimpse into an area of China I had never heard of before – thanks for sharing! I will make a point of visiting these places someday when I visit China.

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