This tour will take you to Dali, Shaxi and Lijiang, with reliable transportation during the whole trip. You will visit the less touristic Xizhou and Zhoucheng to witness authentic ethnic minority customs and cruise the wonderful Erhai lake. In Shaxi old town you can wander through the cobbled streets and feel the 1000 years of history of the old Tea-Horse road. In Lijiang, Naxi culture is an enduring part of life in the region that you simply cannot miss. Go on horseback to Yunhu Village, famous for its unique architecture and culture.Xizhou: morning market and Bai housesZhoucheng: learn how to tie-dye Erhai Lake: cruise to a local fishing villageShaxi: Sidengjie and Xingjiao TemplesShibaoshan: ancient stone carvings and Buddhist artBlack Dragon Pool: one of the most iconic views in ChinaDongba Museum: exhibits about the unique Dongba cultureYunhu Village: horse-back view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Day 1: Dali (L)In the morning, you'll be picked up from your hotel in Dali Old Town and brought to Xizhou to visit the morning market, where locals dressed in minority clothing sell local fruits, freshly cut meat, piles of fragrant spices and so on. See Bai-style traditional architectural courtyards, before going to Zhoucheng to see how grandmothers handover their tie-dye tradition to mothers and daughters. And don’t be fooled by the tie-dye we know in the west; the Bai people knot together true pieces of art!Take a cruise on Erhai Lake to Jinsuo Island to see the cormorant-bird fishing village. Enjoy views of the green and clouded Cangshan Mountains looming over the Three Pagodas, while swarms of birds fly around you over the tranquil lake. Then your guide will take you to your hotel. Use your free-time in the evening to have a drink in one of Dali’s many cozy little bars or stroll around its lively main streets where local artists sell beautiful handicrafts.Day 2: Shaxi (B, L)After breakfast your driver will drive you to Shaxi, passing beautiful farmlands and villages along the way. Visit Shibao mountain, home to some of the most important stone carvings in China: depictions of the court of the Nanzhao Empire from the 8th century, and magnificent examples of early Buddhist art.Then you'll go back to Shaxi and check-in to your hotel. On your way to the Sidengjie and Xingjiao Temples, you can stroll through the streets and feel like you went a 1000 years back in time. Visit the Yunjin Bridge and Heihui River which was a key stop on the Old Tea-horse Road. Day 3: Lijiang (B, L)Enjoy people-watching at the Shaxi Friday market (on Fridays), before your driver will take you to Lijiang. Visit the Black Dragon Pool to see one of the most iconic views in China of the impressive Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the background of a traditional Chinese garden. Continue to the Dongba Museum to learn about the unique Dongba and matriarch Naxi minority culture. Then we'll go to Yuhu village, which is located in the southern valley with a full view of the majestic Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Visit the previous residence of Joseph Rock, who was a Victorian National Geographic explorer who spend over 20 years of his life in this area, recording Naxi culture and risking his life exploring the far corners of Yunnan. You then have the opportunity to feel like an explorer yourself on a guided horse trek leading you along the mountain slopes. Afterwards your driver will bring you back to Lijiang Ancient Town, with pretty streams winding through a maze of enchanting back alleys. This is where your tour will end.