9 days in Yunnan for Y200 a day. My Report
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Oct 22, 2012 6:10 AM Last Post By: Ansileran
Oct 17, 2012 10:13 PM
9 days in Yunnan for Y200 a day. My ReportOne thing I always think is really useful on this forum is trawling over old topics on issues I'm interested in, and in the interest of sharing (I will want info on Vietnam soon :P), I want to share our holiday to Yunnan with you, which also includes some tricky bus routes and general costings (accurate as of Sept 2012). Within Yunnan, we spend Y3000 for 10 days (each, including one Y1000 flight), so around Y200 a day for the trip, including travel. Some of this trip was in Golden Week, when rooms were Y60 each, so I'm sure you could save a little if you tried, and the flight bumped the price up some as well.
Day One - Lijiang surrounding villages
After coming on the night train from Kunming (around Y145, and excellent), we turned up early to our hostel, dropped our bags and went off to find some bikes. Got a couple of Giant bikes from a rental place (5 mins north of the old town, next to the giant Mao statue) and headed due north. We got a little lost, somehow, but you can't get that lost to be honest. Even with a crude map, we found Shuhe old town, and Baisha village (where we met Dr. Ho. You must meet this guy! Wonderfully friendly and going strong at 90 years old). We spent the day exploring this area, before returning to the Old Town in the evening, to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere. The chinese bars weren't for us, but the area was very nice.
Hostel - Panba Hostel. Y49 for a dorm bed. Large and comfortable, with an ensuite. Cheaper without, family dinner for Y20.
Bike Rental - Y30 each, although could have been cheaper. Bikes were excellent.
Day Two - Shaxi Oasis Town
An absolute highlight of the trip. We got up super early, and took a taxi to the bus station (the hostel knew the name). The first thing you have to do is take a bus to Jianchuan, a nearby town. It takes 2 1/2 hours, costs Y25 ish. Go as early as you can, so you can get there at around 11am. It means that you can take a mini-bus (located in front of Jianchaun bus station, very easy to see) for 1 hour (Y10) and get to Shaxi at lunch time.
One thing we did here, was book a bus to Qiaotou (Tiger Leaping Gorge town) for the next day. It seemed it would have been no problem to have booked it on the day, but it leaves twice daily (8:30 and 9:30) and costs surprisingly little (Y25?) It's the bus that goes to Zhongdian/Shangrila, so make sure you get one of those two, it'll save you time later.
In Shaxi, we saw the Market (only on Fridays), then went hiking/walking in the stunning valley for the day. We had a wonderful time here, as it's a gorgeous place just to stroll around. We stayed in Hostel Pen46, and had dinner at a little cafe around the corner. The curry bowl was undoubtedly the best curry I have had in China.
Hostel - Horse Pen 46. Private room (hilariously the toilet is at the bottom of the room, separated by a curtain from the beds), with very thin walls, but completely quiet at night and a comfortable sleep. Y30 each for a private room (Y60 total).
Day Three - First Half of Tiger Leaping Gorge - MUST SEE
What a stunning place. See our current blog (www.richardjangus.wordpress.com) for some pictures, with the rest of Yunnan to follow.
We took that early bus we had pre-booked, and were let off at a fairly random place in Qiaotou. There was a woman there to help us a little, but I think you have to get off in the middle, and walk backwards. As the road curls right away from Qiaotou, there is a road leading up to the left. Take that one.
From there, we paid Y65 to get in (Half price if you have a student/teacher card), and dumped our bags at Jane''s Guesthouse (pay when you get back, Y5-10). We had breakfast there too, as it was raining. It was a delicious Yak's meat, goat's cheese and baba bread for Y30. Honestly, if you can wait for the rain to stop, it's recommended. It was wet underfoot, and we think it would have been pretty miserable if it was wet overhead too! it's not worth wasting the stunning view and experience.
We brought snacks for lunch, and pushed on to the Halfway Guesthouse. Private bedroom with stunning view (no bathroom) for Y80 (40 per person), and cheap food for breakfast and dinner.
Day Four - Finish Tiger Leaping Gorge, Tiger Leaping Stone and on to Shangrila
So we finished our walk, and went to Tina's Guesthouse to see what was happening. She offered a bus that went back to Jane's first (to pick up backs), and then to Shangrila for a very reasonable Y55. Considering how much it can cost just to get back to Qiaotou, we were very happy with that. It left at 3 o' clock, and arrived in Shangrila at 7.
So, we went to Tiger Leaping Stone. Very close, just over the bridge and around the corner, it costs Y10 to get in. This trail is more punishing than the TLG Proper, steeper and not recommended in the rain, but we absolutely loved it, and the view at the bottom of the gorge was fabulous. Picked up some cheap saffron on the way up, too.
Came back, bought some food at Tina's (average, but cheap and lots of options), then got on the bus. You'll have to change at the landslide, and some rocks fell on our bus when it started raining, but try not to worry!
When we got to Shangrila (we phoned ahead to confirm later arrival, no problems there), we went to the hostel, had some dinner with some travellers we had met, and then went to bed.
Day 5,6,7 - Shangri-la
During this time, we relaxed. This is a good area to explore the region on bikes, see a pretty cool Tibetan monastery too, but it can be a little expensive around here. The food is still cheap though, and there are lots of people BBQ-ing tasty grub in the town centre for very little too. We bought plenty of souvenirs at this point, and stayed in budget too.
Hostel - Tavern 47. Excellent hostel, usually Y30 a night for a dorm bed, but Y60 during peak times. Run by a lovely Korean family with wonderful kids.
Recommended Restaurant - Somewhere else cafe (on the corner of the main square) is a little Western restaurant tucked away. After a little sickness from Chinese food, an excellent Y26 Schwarma with chips and a Y12 brownie helped me out. Very warm atmosphere too.
Day 8 - Kunming
This was primarily to fly home again (To Shanghai). It cost Y25 to get to the city centre from the airport, and the park and monastery are recommended. There's a neat restaurant street near the park too, which is also recommended.
My budget also includes travel to Shanghai from our working town, and back again the next day. I feel that Y200 is easily do-able, and we ate very well on the whole trip and came away with good souvenirs.
If anyone has any more questions, please ask. Will have Yunnan pics up on www.richardjangus.wordpress.com shortly!
* Helpful/Obvious Tip*
Make sure you have the names of the towns and cities in Chinese characters. Many of the smaller towns will have bus timetables and mini vans that only have characters, and no pin yin. Often, they will tell you were you are going, but I felt much more at ease with characters to hand too, even if we can speak decent enough Chinese.
Oct 18, 2012 12:00 AM
Oct 18, 2012 4:53 AM
Oct 19, 2012 5:45 AM
3Thank you for the report. Where did you get the names and contact information for the hostels? Did you use the LP Southwest China Guidebook or another one. Did you speak Mandarin or Cantonese in Yunnan Province?
Oct 22, 2012 5:45 AM
5#1, the only bus route we were worried about was the one from Lijiang to Shaxi, then Shaxi straight to Qiaotou. I've detailed those above.
2# In Shangri-La, we enjoyed taking it a little easy. There is a superb Tibetan Monastery an hour's walk north of the old town, and some nice grasslands around the Napa Lake area. We rented bikes for Y20 and didn't encounter any entrance fees in this bit, although there were areas if you felt you hadn't seen enough. My girlfriend was ill one of the days, so we took it easy. Other than that, we were souvenir shopping and resting up from a busy holiday before then.
I don't think the town itself it fabulously interesting, although the chicken temple and giant golden prayer wheel is worth a look. The food is excellent in the town, though.
#3, Mandarin is the language everyone understands and can speak back, although many people use their own local dialects (which are almost intelligible from the Mandarin we know) to each other. The route isn't an unpopular one, so it was fine on the language front.
We found hostels on Hostelworld, I prefer to use it over LP Hostel guides these days, although I'll see if they are there too. The Book we use is the 'China' one.
Oct 22, 2012 6:06 AM
6Thank you for the information. I assumed that you are using Cantonese in Shanghai, unless you are teaching at a private school which focuses on Mandarin as the national language of China. I learned not to use the LP guidebook suggestions for hostels/hotels, especially in the Galapagos, Ecuador. I have used Hostelworld.com in Spain and Africa. I stayed in expensive hotels during my last trip to China with a tour, so this next trip will be on a tighter budget.
Oct 22, 2012 6:10 AM
7Thanks for the update!
So you stayed around the northern part of the city (Napa grassland & Songzanglin monastery)? Did you go further north (Nixi, Benzilan, great canyon), east (Pudacuo park, Baishuitai), west (the name of the mountain with the cable car is currently escaping me), or simply relaxed in the city?
Which hostel did you stayed at? Would you recommend it? I've found one at the Napa grassland that looks nice... At least, nicely located.
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