I've just decided to go in Yunnan this year ! I will be by myself, for a 14 days trip. I have to get my visa very soon, and ... do I have to decide my itinerary, book bus/train/plane tickets inadavnce (and book hotels, too), or will it be possible to decide depending on weather conditions ?
However, the main point of interests I have noticed are :
* The stone forest (Shilin)
* Rice fields terraces (Yuanyang, but where exactly ? and how long shall I stay there ?)
* Tiger leaping gorge. I would like to hike there : shall I have to get a guide ? join a group not to pay an expensive price ?
* Have a look of the towns of Lijiang, Dali, Shaxi, Shangri-La, but I am afraid these are very touristic places.
* I would like to wander around those places because it seems to be very beautiful landscapes, but it's difficult to know where to go (where are the better places ?), how to get there, how long it will take. Is it possible to rent bike ?
* I dont think I can have time enough fo Xishuangbanna
Thank you for your help...
You don't have to decide anything in advance. If your visa application asks you where you are going, just put down the names of 2-3 places in Yunnan.
Yuanyang, one night is enough.
No guide needed, don't join groups.
Dali area has beautiful landscapes. Dali is a good halfday by bus from Kunming, buses running all the time. Bike rentals everywhere.
Thanks Alien !
So, cheap hotels are not full and I can easily find a place to stay, a train or bus or plane to move ?
You say no guide is needed, where can I find informations about the best places to go and hike, where it is easy to do bike or motor bike ?
Will it be a good season for Yuanyang ? Shangri-La ? Dongchuan red land ?
Shall I have to bring lots of warm clothes ? Thanks !!
As long as you are not going at a peak time, which it seems you are not, you don't need to worry about hotels being full or expensive. Yuanyang is kind of a dead end if you are not continuing onto banna (and I would say don't bother with banna). It is pretty but might not be worth the hours and hours on buses. You won't need lots of warm clothes but you will need some layers for the mornings in high places - Yuanyang, Lijiang, Dali, Tiger Leaping Gorge. You don't need a guide to do Tiger Leaping Gorge. Get off the bus at Qiaotou, buy your ticket and walk up hill, looking for the yellow arrows spray painted on rocks. The trail goes steadily up to a height of about 2700m - it's a proper hike but you'll be fine if you are not obese. The towns you mention are very touristy, especially Lijiang. It is scenic but don't pay the entrance fee - say you are staying inside.
@haali and all:
Does it mean, if you stay in Lijiang overnight, you do not have to pay the entrance fee?
Is it the same in other places in yunnan, where they charge entrance fees for cities?
Lijiang old town has hotels on the inside. Those are the reference point to get in free.
Hi AlPage48) Thank you for info. How do you define inside old town? Is - per example - the timeless hostel inside or outside. See www.timelesshostel.com/en-gb/location.htm
Youre expecting too much from run down tourist attractions. mingzu villages is where its all at. quit following premade over priced trails.
@laofengzi) I do not understand, what do you mean, I should better visit 云南民族村 (Yunnan Minzu Cun)?
@Haali : So, you suggest not to go Xishuangbanna ? What do you think about Shangri-La and the surroundings ?
I understand I mention touristy towns, but I will be there as a tourist even if I dont like to be in places overcrowded with tourists... what else would you suggest ?
Is late march and april low season ? Does it mean it's not a good season ?