Yunnan, Kunming-Dali-Lijiang by train

Discover Yunnan on an incredible train journey from Kunming to Dali and Lijiang. Explore Yunnan’s cultural wonders, travel through timeless landscapes, visit minority ethnic tribes, and immerse yourselves in the local traditions. 

Touring style: Unaccompanied train journeys with local private guides during the sightseeing and walking tours.

Best time for this tour is from March and May / October and November

 

Yunnan, Kunming-Dali-Lijiang by train at a glance
  • Day 1: Arrival in Kunming
  • Day 2: Kunming walking tour. Overnight train to Dali
  • Day 3: Dali walking tour
  • Day 4: Dali to Lijiang by train
  • Day 5: LIjiang to Jade Dragon Mountain and train to overnight train to Kunming
  • Day 6: Departure from Kunming
Yunnan, Kunming-Dali-Lijiang by train Image 1

Day 1: Arrival in Kunming (altitude 1900 m)

On your arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight in Kunming.

Distance and journey time:

Kunming airport – Kunming city (approx. 30km): approx. 40 min

Yunnan, Kunming-Dali-Lijiang by train Image 2

Day 2: Kunming walking tour. Overnight train to Dali

Begin your day with a short walk in Green Lake Park (also known as Cuihu Park), letting you get a feel for the atmosphere of Chinese parks in the morning.

Afterwards, visit the Yuantong Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in Kunming and is known for its unique location. It is situated in a natural valley, contributing to the peaceful atmosphere of the temple. Visit the Taoist Golden Temple located on a small hill surrounded by pine and cypress trees.

Move on to the Yunnan Provincial Museum, an essential stop for anyone wishing to truly understand the characteristically multi-ethnic nature of this region. China has 56 different officially recognised minority groups, but during this trip, you will mainly learn about the Yi (the largest minority in Yunnan), the Hui Muslims, the Buyi, the Bai, the Hani and the Naxi. The museum has a beautiful collection of finery and traditional dress.

Station: Kunming - Dali Train number: K9692
Estimated departure time: 23:15
Estimated arrival time: 07:35(+1)

Second class tickets are included in the price. Cabins feature soft berths, with 4 berths per cabin. For those who would like to reserve the entire cabin (or change to another class), please contact us.

Yunnan, Kunming-Dali-Lijiang by train Image 3

Day 3: Dali touring

Upon arrival at the station, your personal guide and driver will be waiting for a transfer to the hotel for breakfast.

Dali, home to the Bai minority and was a stronghold of the kingdom of Nanzhao (738-902) and the epicentre of the Dali Kingdom. The Bai first settled in the region more than 3000 years ago and their first dwellings surrounded the lake. Following their victory against the Tang Empire in the 8th Century, they founded the Kingdom of Nanzhao. The Bai are most distinguishable by their clothing - predominantly white and by their homes.

Visit the Three Pagodas at the Chongsheng temple. The three pagodas were part of a vast monastic centre which unfortunately was almost completely destroyed in an earthquake. The remaining temple was restored and transformed into a museum.

Head back to the old town of Dali, where you can still find some typical Bai homes. A relaxed and warm atmosphere seems to ooze from these white-walled homes, on which you can find paintings representing mountains, running water, birds and flowers. Their front porches, famous throughout the country, are distinguished by their beautifully carved arches.

Optional: Spend the evening in a famous local artist’s house in a village nearby Erhai Lake.

Overnight in Dali.

Distance and journey time: Dali train station–Dali old town (20 km): approx. 25 min

Yunnan, Kunming-Dali-Lijiang by train Image 4

Day 4: Dali to Lijiang by train (altitude 2500 m)

Morning transfer to the train station for the train to Lijiang.

Train Station: Dali - Lijiang
Train number: K9629
Estimated departure time: 09:15
Estimated arrival time: 12:18

On arrival in Lijiang, your personal guide & driver will be waiting to transfer you to the hotel.

Crossing over the labyrinth of alleyways you will arrive at the “Lion Hill” which offers you a fantastic view over the village below. Afterwards, visit the Mu Palace which is named after the Chinese Empire warlords who ruled from this magnificent residence in this region during the Mongol Dynasty (13th century). The palace is a vivid example of Ming and Qing architecture, based on the same style of architecture as the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Head to the edge of the old town where you will be able to enjoy the local market and get a feel for the ‘real’ Lijiang, where you will see locals still dressed in traditional clothing selling teas, vegetables, fruits and even daily tools in a very vibrant and animated atmosphere.

From here walk to the Black Dragon Pond Park in the north of the town which offers, on a clear day, a panoramic view of the famous Jade Dragon Mountain.

Overnight in Lijiang

Distance and journey times:

Dali old town - Dali train station (20 km): approx. 25 min

Lijiang train station – Lijiang old town (7 km): approx. 15 min

Yunnan, Kunming-Dali-Lijiang by train Image 5

Day 5: Lijiang to Jade Dragon Mountain. Overnight train to Kunming

Depart with your personal guide to the Jade Dragon Mountain, standing majestically to the north of the city. On the way back to Lijiang, pass by Lashi Lake (elevation of 2500 meters). You may take an optional horseback ride along the historic Old Tea Horse Trail. back to Lijiang old town located 10 km away (approx. 30-minute drive).

Return to your hotel. Afternoon at leisure.

Late evening, transfer to Lijiang train station for a night train to Kunming.

Train Station: Lijiang - Kunming
Train number: K9614
Estimated departure time: 21:10
Estimated arrival time: 05:48(+1)

Distance and journey times:

Lijiang – Yak meadow (approx. 50km): 1h30 

Yak meadow – Lijiang train station (approx. 55km): 1h40

Yunnan, Kunming-Dali-Lijiang by train Image 6

.Day 6: Kunming departure

On arrival, your personal guide will be waiting to transfer you to Kunming Airport for your departing flight.

Distance and journey time: Kunming city - Kunming airport (28 km): approx. 40 min

 

Not quite right or still need some more inspiration? Please get in touch. We welcome your questions. We're here to help!

Highlights

Dali: home to the Bai minority

Set on a fertile plain between the picturesque Erhai Lake and the imposing Cangshan Mountains, the ancient Bai capital retains much of its period charm.

Read more

Kunming: the City of Spring

Immerse yourself in the cosmopolitan mix of dress, cuisine and customs of up to 28 distinct Yunnanese tribal groups living and working in the city, and the vibrancy and rich cultural diversity

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Lijiang: home to the Naxi people

Lijiang is set in within an idyllic rural landscape of snow-fed mountain streams, lush green pine forests and rustic agrarian architecture

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Yunnan: ethnic minority tribes and unique cultures

Immerse yourself in the dialects and cuisines and distinct ethnic styles of Dai and Bai people, of Wa, Lahu, Hani, Jingpo, Nu, Naxi and Lisu, unchanged through centuries.

Read more

Accommodation

Dali, Superior Class
The Linden Centre

A timber and stone structure of great charm and historic importance, dating to the Ming period and widely held to be one of the finest examples of vernacular architecture remaining in China.

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Dali, Simple
The Landscape Hotel

Set idyllically among traditional Chinese courtyard gardens, and facing the beautiful Erhai Lake, the hotel enjoys a prime location in the centre of the Old City.

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Kunming, Deluxe Class
Grand Park Kunming

Distinctly styled and rising 21 storeys above the city, this luxury international-standard hotel is one of Kunming’s landmark properties.

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Lijiang, Deluxe Class
InterContinental Lijiang Ancient Town Resort

An international standard 5-star property set among watercourses and courtyards in a vernacular style, the hotel blends seamlessly with its historic surroundings and reflects in its décor and furnishings the influences of the local Naxi and Dongba cultures.

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Lijiang, Superior Class
Blossom Hill, Joyland

A culturally significant boutique property comprising 5 separate inns, is set charmingly around a central courtyard.

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Lijiang, Standard Class
Zen Garden Hotel - Wuyi Yard

A charming boutique timber and stone property arranged around a tranquil courtyard of bonsai, flowers, and koi ponds.

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