This tour will take you to the Yuanyang Scenic Area, maybe Yunnan’s most famous UNESCO World Heritage sites. Visit stunning rice fields and a unique minority village, where people manage to practice agriculture in perfect balance with nature for over a thousand years. Visit Tuanshan, which was listed as world monument of architectural heritage in 2006. This small town was founded in the late 14th century, but most of her present buildings were built in the late 19th century. Then proceed to Jianshui, another ancient town, with still the original style of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), where many buildings have withstood weather and time. Drop by the Zhu family garden, a private complex that is downright impressive in its gigantic size and historical importance and the second largest Confucian temple in China. This trip will make you feel like you went over 100 years back in time, back to imperial China.
Day 1 – Kunming – YuanyangAt 9 am your tour guide and driver will pick you up in Kunming and drive about 6 hours (380 km) to one of the most spectacular sceneries in the world, the Yuanyang Scenic Area. It is a big area, with stunning rice terraces spread between several small villages. We will first visit the Bada Rice Terraces, the biggest of all the rice terraces in Yuanyang area, that covers the entire valley like a colorful carpet. Tucked away in this valley also lies Qingkou Village, a typical Hani minority hamlet with ‘mushroom houses’, where primal country life still exists and where forest, village, watering system and fields created a unique working ecosystem. In the evening, we go to Laohuzui, or translated ‘Tiger Mouth’ and see the vivid and iridescent reflections on the water during sunset, her colors changing like a kaleidoscope. Meals: B/LOvernight in Yuanyang Yun’ti Hotel in Sheng Village or similarDay 2 – Yuanyang – JianshuiGet up early and drive through the early twilight hours to Duoyishu Village to find the best place in the area to see the golden sun rise over the mountains and shine her pink and azure light on the shimmering water of the rice paddies. Then the mystic sea of clouds silently approaches and slowly covers the villages and fields. Visit Sheng Village an important trade center where the locals from the villages come to trade wares. Then we drive to Jianshui (3.5 hour, 130 km). On the way we will stop over at Tuanshan Village. If you want an idea of how the rich Chinese used to live a few centuries ago, this Qing-dynasty village is the place to visit. Grand houses with courtyards were built by villagers who earned money from trade made possible by the Yunnan-Vietnam railroad. Then we'll go to Jianshui, where many Ming-dynasty buildings are still intact. Visit the 20.000 square meter Zhu Family Garden, a private complex that was built over 30 years in the late Qing dynasty (1644-1911) by the influential Zhu brothers. The brothers earned their wealth by trading in everything possible from tin to opium until they eventually fell victim to the political chaos in 1911. Meals: B/LOvernight in Jianshui Tongxin Hotel or similarDay 3 - Jianshui – KunmingAfter breakfast we will visit a local tofu workshop (about 30 minutes) as tofu is one of the most important foods of the area. See how they still produce this local product the traditional way, from sweet water from an old well, and have a try at it yourself. Afterwards we visit the Confucius Temple. Built in 1285 and astoundingly well preserved, this temple is a precious architectural and cultural relic. The temple is still used for sacred sacrifice rituals to show respect to Confucius. Then we will go back to Kunming (about 210 km, 3.5 hours) where your tour will end.