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Kunming  – On the Tea Horse Trail


 A self drive tour in Yunnan, in fully equipped, new 4 wheel drive cars.









Departures                   01 to 09 November 2013                      9 days trip.



Explore rural Yunnan and see a beautiful, unexpected side of China…


On the Tea Horse Trail is a wonderful introduction to the magic of driving journeys in China – drive down country lanes, stay in historic houses en route, eat local foods made from the freshest ingredients and see a side of China that is worlds away from the polluted cities of the eastern seaboard.


Starting from Kunming, one of China’s most pleasant provincial capitals, you will drive west to Xizhou on the western shore of Lake Erhai.  After staying the night in a lovingly restored Bai minority mansion, you will drive over the Cangshan Mountains to the village of Shaxi.  While Shaxi is now well off the beaten path, in years gone by it was an important stop on the ancient ‘Tea Horse Road’, a trade route from Yunnan to Tibet.  Finally, from Shaxi, you will continue north to Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain…


There will usually be a fleet of 4 cars on each departure, but as all are fitted with satellite navigation and a route map, it is not necessary to travel in convoy.







Day 1         

Arrive in Kunming & complete driving license applications
Welcome to Yunnan! Meet Ron and brush up your technical skills ready for the trip.

Hotel: Green Lake Hotel,Kunming (4*)


Day 2


Drive from Kunming to Dali Old Town & Xizhou
Enjoy a smooth introduction to driving in China on Yunnan's excellent roads and join a portrait workshop.

Hotel: Linden Centre, Xizhou (4*)


Day 3


Exploring the shores of Lake Erhai
Visit the beautiful shores of Lake Erhai as well as a traditional handicraft workshop to capture scenes of local life.

Hotel: Linden Centre, Xizhou (4*)


Day 4


On the road to Lijiang and the Nakhi Kingdom
After a leisurely morning working with Ron in Xizhou and surroundings, drive to Lijiang in time for capturing the bustling old town at dusk.

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Lijiang, Lijiang (5*)


Day 5


In and around Lijiang
Enjoy Lijiang Old Town in the quiet of early morning, then visit Yuhu village for a portrait workshop with Naxi villagers...followed by a BBQ (Shaokao) in one of the villager's homes.

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Lijiang, Lijiang (5*)


Day 6


Along the Yangtse, toward the edge of Tibet
Drive from Lijiang along the Yangtze into Tacheng where a gem of a hotel awaits you (extended itinerary).

Hotel: Songtsam Lodge, Tacheng (4*) - extended itinerary only


Day 7


Up and Up and into Shangri-La
In the morning, visit the Yunnan Golden Stub-Nosed Monkey reserve...what a treat for wild-life photographers! Then journey on to Shangri-La! (extended itinerary).

Hotel: Songtsam Retreat Hotel, Shangri-La (5*) - extended itinerary only


Day 8


In and around Shangri-La
Photograph the monks at Sumtseling Monastery in a unique workshop, then explore Shangri-La's old town (extended itinerary).

Hotel: Songtsam Retreat Hotel, Shangri-La (4*)


Day 9


Departure from Shangri-La
Domestic economy-class flight to Kunming included in journey.



However, if you are able to spend a few more days exploring Yunnan, why not continue up to Shangri-La, a Tibetan town high up in the hills that tumble off the Himalayas’ eastern edge, or extend your stay in Lijiang?  Please contact us for more details of these and other options.



This is a complete Itinerary in its own right; however, it can be adjusted to suit your vacation dates and times and can include other destinations in China or elsewhere in Asia.