Kunming – Stone Forest of Lunan - Lijiang - Dali – Baoshan - Tengchong – Ruili
Day 1: ARRIVAL IN KUNMING (D)
Pick up at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Transfer to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time we make a walking tour through the business district. You will visit the East-West Pagodas and the former city gates of Kunming, the Jin Ma Bi Ji. Dinner at a local Yunnan restaurant.
Day 2: KUNMING - GREEN LAKE PARK – STONE FOREST – NIGHT TRAIN TO LIJIANG (B/L)
In the morning we visit the Green Lake Park where we take a stroll through the busy Park, a popular gathering point for the local population, to see the locals engaged in their morning workouts, practice Tai Chi, show off their birds and enjoy social dancing. Continue to the Stone Forrest near Lunan, where years of rain and erosion left behind a bizarre and impressive landscape of limestone pillars which, with a little imagination, indeed resembles a forest. We have a walk through the maze of paths and walkways leading through this natural wonderland. Drive back to Kunming and board the night train to Lijiang.
Day 3: LIJIANG (B/L)
Arrival at 07h00 at the Lijiang train station. Pick up by our guide and transfer to the old town. In the morning take a stroll through the apparently countless and, on first sight, confusing narrow lanes and canals crisscrossing the picturesque old town. We also learn more about the secrets of the mystic Naxi culture. Lijiang was listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1992. Visit of the wonderful "Black Dragon Pool" Park, from where, weather permitting, one has a spectacular view of the 5'596 Meter high "Jade Dragon Mountain". Visit the Dongba Museum. Drive to the village of Yuhu, a romantic village where the Austrian-American Botanist Joseph Rock used to live from 1922 to 1949. His house has been transformed to a small museum about the live and work of Joseph Rock.
Day 4: LIJIANG - SHAXI - DALI (220km/5 hrs) (B/L)
Drive to Shaxi. The idyllic village of Shaxi is home to the Bai ethnic group and was formerly an important pivotal stop on the Tea and Horse Road from Yunnan to Tibet. The village has been renovated and is preserved with the help of the Swiss government. You visit Shibao Mountain. The impressive rock carvings of Shibao Mountain are over 1300 years old and are testimony of the spread of Mahayana Buddhism from Tibet in the region. We continue our journey through the amazing landscape of Northern Yunnan towards Dali.
Day 5: DALI - BAOSHAN (B/L) (200km/4.5 hrs)
Dali is situated on the eastern shores of the stunning Erhai Lake on the foot of the 4000m Cang Shan mountain range. During the 9th century Dali served as capital of the once powerful Nanzhao and later the Dali Kingdoms, before the town was overrun by the Mongols about 400 years later. After a stroll through the picturesque old town we visit the 3 Pagodas of the San Ta Si Monastery from the 9th century.
From Dali we follow the infamous “Burma Road” through a stunning countryside towards Baoshan. When advancing Japanese troops cut of the American supply lines in southern Myanmar (Burma) during WW 2, the American General Joseph Stillwell took on the enormous task to build a road from Ledo in India via northern Burma into China to Kunming. We cross the Mekong River and drive along the original remaining parts of this legendary road towards Baoshan.
Day 6: BAOSHAN - TENGCHONG (190km / 5 hrs) (B/L)
We pay a visit to an idyllic, rarely visited temple on the outskirts of Baoshan with a magnificent reclining Jade-Buddha. The Buddha was a gift from the Burmese Foreign Minister U Nu who visited the area in the 1960s.
We follow in the footsteps of General Stillwell and “his” Burma Road. The road leads through stunning landscape into the Nujiang Valley before winding its way through the impressive Gaolingong Mountain Range towards Tengchong. Located on the fault lines of the Indian Subcontinent and Asian Continent at an altitude of 1’650 meters, Tengchongs surroundings are dotted with countless ancient volcanoes and numerous natural hot springs. Tengchong played an important role in the defense against the Japanese invaders by the allied forces during WW2.
Day 7: TENGCHONG - RUILI (250 km / ca 5 hrs) (B/L)
After the visit to the hot springs of Tengchong we pay a visit to the Tengchong Museum with an interesting exhibit about the history of the Old Burma Road, General Stilwell and Tengchong’s role in the defense against the Japanese invaders by the allied forces during WW2. We take a stroll through the rustic village of Heshun before continuing our journey south towards the Burmese border in Ruili. For those who have energy left can visit the Ruili Night Market.
Day 8: RUILI - MUSE - LASHIO (B/L)
Transfer to the border, located about 12km from Ruili. Border formalities and crossing the border into Muse. After breakfast, cross the border and meet Myanmar guide on the other side.The guide does the custom clearance and we can visit Muse, a famous trading point between China and Myanmar. The journey continues on one of the most interesting parts of the Burma Road to Lashio. You will arrive in Lashio in the afternoon. LASHIO is particularly beautiful from November to February, the cool months when the trees are in bloom. Visit QUAN YIN SAN Chinese Temple, possibly the largest Chinese temple in Myanmar and always busy with Lashio's many Chinese residents. Continue to THIRI MINGALA MAN KYAUNG, a monastery which people visit from far to see a monk who is believed to be able to predict fortunes very accurately. Dinner is taken on your own account and overnight in Lashio.
DAY 9 LASHIO – HSIPAW
In the early morning visit the local market in Lashio. Drive by road to Hsipaw for approximately 2 hours and check-in at your hotel. Later, embark on a boat for 1 hour ride enjoying the scenery along the Dukhtawaddy River. Continue on foot (30 minutes) through the plantations to visit the 150-years old Shan Monastery. Picnic lunch is served. Return to the boat for the continued boat ride to the confluence of Dukhtawaddy River and Namtu River. Here you will take a brief stop and a swim if one wishes. Later, you will glide down the river and stop at a charming Shan village and discover their simple ways of life and culture. Return to Hsipaw and the balance of the day will be at leisure. Dinner is taken on your own account and overnight in Hsipaw.
DAY 10 HSIPAW – MAYMYO
This morning, you will visit the Palace of former Shan Chieftain (Hsipaw Haw) if the landlord would be at home at time of visit. Later, you will drive from Hsipaw to Kyaukme and, if time permits, you will visit the local market which is a melting pot of Shan, Chinese and Indian traders. Afterward, continue to the train station to enjoy a train rider for approximately 2 hours including a part crossing over the Goikteik Viaduct, built in 1903 by Pennsylvania Steel Company across a 300 meter deep gorge. It was the second highest bridge in the world and the view from the train is fascinating and the scenery is beautiful. The train stops at many local stations and passes, very slowly. Get down at Naung Cho Station and continue by road to Maymyo. If the train is not operated, alternatively we can also take the car all the way to Maymyo. Lunch is served at a local restaurant.
After lunch, visit the Kandawgyi National Garden, which was laid out by Sir Harcourt Butler, the former governor of Burma – flower beds are similar to those one would find in an English country garden. Stop and go for short walks, for example the “jungle” walk; a wooden path which leads through rain forest trees. Drive through this small town on a horse drawn "Stage Coach", giving the chance to admire the brick and timber houses, complete with English style chimneys, gables and turrets. Dinner is taken on your own account and overnight in Maymyo.
DAY 11 MAYMYO - MANDALAY
After breakfast, you will drive to Mandalay airport or your hotel in Mandalay.