Yunnan & Sichuan

As two of the most fascinating, diverse and colourful provinces in China, Yunnan and Sichuan are utopias of wonder, from the lofty peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to the colourful calcite pools of Huanglong, to the lovable nature of the Giant Panda.

Places Visited

New Zealand - Kunming (2N) - Dali (1N) - Lijiang (3N) - Wulong (2N) - Leshan (1N) - Emeishan (2N) - Chengdu (2N) - New Zealand

Days 1-2: Fly to Kunming
Fly to the relaxed city of Kunming. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Day 3: Stone Forest
Meander through the formations of the UNESCO-listed Stone Forest, where towering limestone pillars stand tree-like in a fascinating illusion of woodland. Return to Kunming where you can sample the local delicacy, Across the Bridge noodles, for dinner. Tonight there is also the option to see a colourful showcase of Yunnan’s performing arts (at your own expense).
Day 3: Stone Forest
Day 4: Discover Dali
Drive to Dali, a charming town that offers a glimpse at the China of times-gone-by. Begin your touring in the local atmosphere of the fascinating old quarter and lively market. Next visit the age-old Three Pagodas and later this evening, take a stroll down Foreigners’ Street.
Day 4: Discover Dali
Day 5: Erhai Cuise
Spend the morning cruising the mirror-like waters of Erhai Lake, admiring the spectacular scenery provided by the Cang Mountains – keep an eye out for cormorant fishermen. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure, with the option of riding up into the Cang Mountains, an area noted for its diverse flora and fauna, by cable car (at own expense).
Day 5: Erhai Cuise
Day 6: Travel to Lijiang
Pop over to Xizhou village to browse the local market. Drive to Lijiang set in the foothills of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Visit the Black Dragon Pool, where there are wonderful views of the mountains, before mingling with traditionally dressed Naxi women in the bustling backstreet markets.
Day 6:  Travel to Lijiang
Day 7: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
The magnificent Jade Dragon Snow Mountain incorporates several peaks, the tallest of which soars 5,500 metres. Taking a chairlift, explore one of the gorgeous high meadows and enjoy the amazing vistas. On the way back to Lijiang, admire the fascinating Ming Dynasty frescoes at Baisha and visit the Mu Family Embroidery School.
Day 7: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Day 8: Tiger Leaping Gorge
Over 3,000 metres deep, Tiger Leaping Gorge, with its backdrop of snow-capped mountains, is one of China’s most extraordinary sights. The whole area is spectacular – prepare for breathtaking views. Return to Lijiang and explore the old quarter. The quintessential Chinese ‘old town’ wander the jumble of cobbled streets, precarious wooden buildings and rustic stone bridges.
Day 8: Tiger Leaping Gorge
Day 9: Lijiang - Chongqing – Wulong
Fly nearly 2 hours to Chongqing. On arrival, you will be transferred by coach around 3 hours to Wulong Karst National Geology Park, an area with stunning natural scenery, including towering limestone karsts, deep gorges, caves and natural bridges.
Day 9: Lijiang - Chongqing – Wulong
Day 10: Three Bridges National Park & Longshuixia
This morning you will visit Three Natural Bridges National Park, a rare geological wonder consisting of three natural karst bridges: Tianlong Bridge, Qinglong Bridge and Heilong Bridge. Continue to Longshuixia Fissure, a narrow fault line that has been carved out by the river. The gorge is 5km long and 500m deep. You will climb down several hundred steps, then travel further down by elevator before walking several hundred steps to the bottom of the gorge.
Day 10: Three Bridges National Park & Longshuixia
Day 11: Wulong to Leshan
Travel around 6 hours west to Leshan, home of the world’s largest stone-carved Buddhist monument, the Leshan Grand Buddha. The remainder of the day is free at leisure.
Day 11: Wulong to Leshan
Day 12: Grand Buddha to Emeishan
Today you will visit the Leshan Grand Buddha, the world’s largest stone-carved Buddhist monument. Drive around 30 minutes before taking a short boat ride in front of the statue to grasp the size of this structure. You will spend around 1 hour at Leshan and will need to get on and off the boat. Continue approximately 1 hour to Emeishan, one of the earliest sources of Buddhism in China.
Day 12: Grand Buddha to Emeishan
Day 13: Explore Mount Emei
Spend a full day exploring spiritual Emeishan. There are many pathways to allow exploration of the steep cliffs, lofty peaks and towering trees. Take the cable car up to the golden summit from Jieyin Temple. You will walk for approximately 2 and a half hours from Wannian Temple to the Wuxian Gang Parking lot. From here you will be transferred back to your hotel in the evening.
Day 13: Explore Mount Emei
Day 14: Emeishan to Chengdu
In the morning, depart for Chengdu, a drive of approximately 2 hours. On arrival, you will be transferred to the famous snack street in Chengdu – Jinli Street.
Day 14: Emeishan to Chengdu
Day 15: Giant Pandas
A visit to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding allows you to see and learn about China’s celebrated icons. See them up close in surroundings that mirror their natural habitat as they chomp through piles of bamboo. A look around the informative museum gives an overview of the reserve’s breeding programme. Later take a stroll through People's Park to see Matchmaker's Corner and choose to take tea in a traditional tea house. This evening dine on mouth-watering Sichuan cuisine.
Day 15: Giant Pandas
Day 16: Depart Chengdu
This morning is at your leisure before you are transferred to Chengdu airport to board your overnight flight to New Zealand.
Day 16: Depart Chengdu
Day 17: Arrive New Zealand
Arrive home today.

Also Available

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 936 3998 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Tour prices are per person, twin share departing Auckland. Regional departures available on request. Additional charges: Tipping is payable on arrival in destination (see Additional Price Information below).

Additional Price Information:

Single Supplement from $800
Land Only (Kunming to Chengdu) 15 days from $5,150 per person
Additional charges: Customary tipping - RMB620 per person (subject to change) payable on arrival.
02 May 2020 departure coincides with Golden Week celebrations and sightseeing may be affected.
Tour availability is updated each Monday. While every effort is made to ensure availability status is current, it is advisable to contact our reservations department on 0800 936 3998. Limited seats denotes 4 seats or less available.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call New Zealand – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 64, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number.
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in China and you will find high quality coverage. China has active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure.

Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and China is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount (in US Dollars) to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size and services used during the trip.
For independent passengers, or group passengers with pre/post tour arrangements, you should allow USD5-10 per person per day.
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure, and China has a vast array of shopping opportunities for those who love to seek out a bargain. From hand carved jade to local silk products or pearls from the South China Sea – the variety and choice can seem endless.
In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost.
Breakfast is served in the hotel and usually includes western dishes. As is traditional in China, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on a ‘Lazy Susan’ so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. In China all the dishes are served in various styles and brought out to the table for everyone to share. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
Each individual place setting will consist of a bowl of fan (rice), a pair of chopsticks (you may request western cutlery if you prefer), a flat bottomed soup spoon and a saucer. Chinese food is usually served in courses where a typical meal will consist of rice, one to four meat or fish dishes, two vegetable dishes, and one soup dish. Almost all food is cut into bite sized pieces. The centre of the meal is the fan or rice. The meats and vegetables that we think of as the focus of the meal are known as ts’ai, which roughly translates as ‘side dishes’. Fish is not always available, particularly outside of the bigger cities.
The Chinese are also not big on desserts with meals normally complemented with fruit to clean and refresh the palate.
Sichuan cuisine is distinguished by its use of ginger, chilli and the ‘Sichuan peppercorn’ called the fagara. Each meal will usually have some mild dishes but many of the local speciality dishes will be hot. If your group find there are not enough mild dishes served, please inform your National Escort/Local Guide so that they may resolve the problem for the next meal.
If you would like to drink beer, soft drink or bottled water with your meals, payment is to be made directly to the restaurant staff. Beer is traditionally consumed in small glasses; not the larger pints glasses that you may be used to.
Green tea is sometimes provided complimentary. All other drinks will be at your own expense.
If you have booked a tour that does not include all meals, your local guides will be able to recommend a variety of restaurants to meet your taste and budget.
It is possible to buy snacks in supermarkets within major towns or cities. Alternatively, you may also like to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars, and tea/coffee from home.
Any food/diet requests MUST be specified at the time of booking and you should mention it again to the National Escort/ Local Guides when you meet them – they will do their utmost to cater for any special requests, such as vegetarian meals or food to be avoided in case of allergies.

Why Book This Tour?

As Two of the most fascinating, diverse and colourful provinces in China, Yunnan and Sichuan are incredibly diverse and unique in their own way. A good level of fitness is required in Wulong National Park