Yunnan travel guide & travel ideas

Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan province, also called 'the Everspring City', generally would be a traveler's the first stop of Yunnan tour. For those traveling to Kunming, it’s not very likely to face burning summer and harsh winter here, but the opportunity to wear both t-shirts and down coat on the same day.

Though the temperature here stays quite the same all the year round, Kunming is where many ethnic minority people live and home to diversified culture, folklore and religion. As a major entry/exit city in western China, Kunming is just the starting point for those who eager to unveil the mystery of Yunnan.


1. Thanks to high latitude, Kunming has different weather from those in plain, make sure appreciate cloth and sunscreens are packed before you set out.

2. There are thousands of red-beak gulls fly from Siberia to Kunming to spend winter between November to next March each year. If you happen to be in Kunming this time period, don't forget to check it out.

3. Though the most indigenous Yunnan rice noodle is not in Kunming, 'the most authentic rice noodle in China' at Qiaoxiangyuan Restaurant will also please your tongue once you are here.

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Travel ideas about Yunnan

Classic Yunnan

Step back in time in the ancient town of Lijiang, Trek along the Tiger Leaping Gorge, Ascend to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Take a cruise on the picturesque Erhai Lake… hit all the highlights of Yunnan and you know it is a colorful land. 8 days are perfect for a typical Yunnan itinerary covering these highlights.

Recommended tours: Yunnan Tour: Kunming, Dali, Lijiang & Shangri-La

Kunming Highlights

I bet you are looking for more than just Kunming if you make it to Yunnan, but it's not bad to take a fresh-up here before going further. Hang out around the Green Lake in downtown, try the delicacy of the Cross Bridge Rice Noodles or climb the Western Hills for an inspiring view of the Dian Lake...most important, remember to figure out how the astonishing Stone Forest is like in person!

Recommended tours: Classic Kunming City Tour China Tour with Mighty Yangtze and Colorful Yunnan

Yuanyang Rice Terrace

What else? The Yuanyang Rice Terrace, a perfect blend of natural beauty and human creativity, you can expect nothing but spectacle, and perhaps an interesting encounter with a Hani people.

Tips for photography:

1. November to next April is a good time for great pictures, January and February are the best. A kind remind that January and February are also the season of Chinese Spring Festival, meaning herds of tourists and tight hotel rooms, so make sure you have rooms secured beforehand if you travel during this period.

2. Don't let the rice terrace consume all the memory card of your camera; the unique folklore and folk clothes are quite photogenic too.

Recommended tours: Yuanyang Terraced Fields and China's Remote Southwest

Photography Tour to Dongchuan's Red Land

For shutterbugs, Dongchuan's red land can be intriguing. Just 3 hours from Kunming, the "God's Palette" is easy to access and always get visitors overwhelmed by a variety of stunning views throughout the year. Actually, it is regarded as the most spectacular red land in the world besides the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, definitely deserve several days in your plan.

May, June, September to December are the best seasons for a Dongchuan trip. Dongchuan is an off-the-beaten-track destination and relatively poor in accommodation and food. If you decided to go after its beauty, patience and understanding should also be included when packing.

Recommended tours: Kunming Tour with Dongchuan Extension

Yunnan Extension

Once you're in Yunnan, it will be very easy for you to extend your trip to other places such as Guilin, Chengdu, Tibet and even to Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam. You're going to harvest more diversified cultures and natural scenery. Find out more tour ideas of Yunnan Extension.

Recommended tours: Family Tour to China with Panda & Yunnan

Yunnan Optional Tours

When you have had enough of the most-visited cities of Lijiang, Kunming, Dali, and Zhongdian, an optional tour to Yuanyang, Jianshui or Dongchuan will offer you the chance to enjoy stunning views of rice terraces and photogenic red land.

Recommended tours: Yuanyang Terraced Fields and China's Remote Southwest

Ethnic Minorities Kaleidoscope

How many minority groups are there in Yunnan? Bai people and their 3-course tea in Dali, Naxi and Yi people famed for murals in Lijiang and Tibetan believing in Buddhism in Shangri-La, just name it. Want to check out all of them? Sure, 8 days will be enough.

Recommended tours: In-Depth Yunnan Discovery

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