Eastern Yunnan ~ a Photographer’s Paradise
With its wild, tropical climate, rolling landscapes and rich human history, Yunnan province is truly a photographer’s paradise. This 8-day adventure offers shutterbugs the chance to travel across this remote region, snapping a wonderful array of scenes.
Trips to places known as ‘Red Earth’, ‘Golden Rooster Peak’ and ‘The Tiger’s Mouth’ offer a glimpse into the natural wonders on offer, while visits to traditional ethnic villages, bustling markets and ancient temples uncover Yunnan’s human side.
This immersive experience also includes visits to the Stone Forest and the terraced rice fields of Yuanyang – two natural wonders so precious they have been protected by UNESCO. Against the backdrop of such beauty, guests will be able to snap away to their hearts’ content, while travelling by road, boat, cable car and bicycle.
Eastern Yunnan ~ A Photographer's Paradise
Depart Kunming for Hongtudi, literally translated as “red earth”, which is found around 200 kilometres to the northeast of Kunming. It takes its name from the rich minerals found in the earth that gives this region its characteristic red-orange coloured soil. En route you will stop off in Tangxun at a Hui Muslim minority restaurant. Today you will also visit Yuepu’ao, Damaka and finish the day watching the sunset in Luoxiagou.
Optional sunrise viewing at Jinxiyuan. Although guests will have arrived the night before, the landscape transforms in the blue dawn light. Warm clothing is recommended - the nights and early mornings are particularly fresh in this region.
Before noon we set off for Luoping, stopping at Yueliangtian en-route. Upon arrival at Luoping, we will either visit the town of the nearby village of Jinji, or you will climb the steps to the top of Golden Rooster Peak, which takes its name from the village it surrounds. You will firstly visit the small Lingyi Temple which is more of an improvised place of worship for the locals than an official Buddhist site.
Overnight in Luoping.
After breakfast you will take a walk to the colza fields before visiting a factory specializing in the production of Canola Honey.
Then continue to Niujie to see the snail-shell shaped fields. Afterwards we will head to the Jiulong Waterfalls and into a region populated by the Buyi Minority who number at around 3 million and are mostly concentrated in the province of Guizhou.
We will then travel on to Puzhehei where a vast lake marks the centre of this area.
We will spend the night in a typical village in the heart of the countryside just a few kilometres away.
Start the day with a bike ride through the countryside, choosing between a traditional bicycle, tandem or three-seater bike. We stop at a local peach farm while on the way to Puzhehei. Here we take a boat trip on a lake covered during the summer in blooming lilies. Your day will end with a walk along the embankment admiring the sun gently setting over the lake and reflecting the ‘sugar loaf’ hills. Arched bridges and traditional wooden houses where people come to play Mah-jong punctuate this memorable walk through a beautiful natural setting.
Overnight in Puzhehei.
We will set off in the morning for the rice terraces at Yuanyang. From here we will visit a Hani Minority Village. The Hani, otherwise known as the Akha in Southeast Asia, number around 1.5 million and are mainly to be found in Yunnan. The Hani, also found in Xishuanbanna in the Southwest of the region, are well known for their tea culture. For the more adventurous in the group you will be able to savour the local delicacy of eel, easily found in many local restaurants, and which are used in the rice production process.
Overnight in Yuanyang.
We will set off extremely early to admire the sunrise at Laohuzui, literally ‘The Tiger’s Mouth’. Here the rice terraces continue as far as the eye can see with breath-taking panoramas. Afterwards we head to the viewpoint at Duoyishu where the rice paddies appear to melt into the valley floor. It is sometimes difficult to see the hilltops, especially when the cloud base is low and they mix with the crops in their terraces, giving photographers the chance to snap one of nature’s real masterpieces.
You’ll then walk through the rice terraces starting at Duoyishu and finishing at Bada, taking around 3 hours depending on your speed. You will be able to see, without disturbing their toil, some of the local men and the buffalo working the fields while the women pick the rice.
Overnight in Yuanyang.
We will travel to the ancient Chinese garrison town of Jianshui in Yunnan province. You will visit the Confucius Temple, still considered to be one of the most beautiful in the country. It is particularly known for its green lotus pool which poetically symbolises the immense scale of knowledge. We then head to the residences of two family estates built in the 19th century, The Zhang Family and The Zhu Family Estate.
Before returning to Jianshui we will visit the Twin Dragon Bridge, taking its name from the two rivers which weave dragon-like through its 17 arches. It is one of the oldest bridges in all of China, and is a wonderful piece of stonework. After this stop we will head to the hotel.
Overnight in Jianshui.
Next on our itinerary will be the county of Lunan where we will discover one of the major attractions of the region and a must see, ‘Shilin’ or literally ‘The Stone Forest’. Depending on the weather, we will set up a picnic lunch in the middle of the ‘forest’.
En route to the Kunming aiport (around 100km away), you will be able to see some of the old French train tracks. These are significant traces of the French presence in China, and you may have the chance at the end of your trip to ride on a portion of this line still in use by freight trains to this day.
First Class Hotels
- Hongtudi - Hongtu Yinxiang Hotel
- Luoping - Xinyuan Hotel
- Puzhehei - Cristal Guesthouse
- Yuanyang - Jacky Guesthouse
- Jianshui - Lin An Guesthouse
- Hongtudi - Tailong Hotel
- Luoping - Xinyuan Hotel
- Puzhehei - Yinhu Hotel
- Yuanyang - Yunti Hotel
- Jianshui - Hongmantian Hotel
- Accommodation in Standard Twin Room in selected hotels with daily breakfast
- All meals as indicated in the itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner) at local restaurants
- Admission fees to sights and mentioned visits
- Private air-conditioned vehicle for land transportation
- English-speaking guide & driver for the land tour
- China Visa and visa application fees, where applicable
- Air passage to/from Kunming
- Airport transfers and pre/post accommodation in Kunming
- Travel insurance
- Beverages in the restaurants where meals are included
- Personal expenses such as phone calls, internet access, laundry, bar bills
- Tips & gratuities to guide and driver