I've just come up with an itinerary for my upcoming trip to Yunnan with two friends. I speak pretty good Mandarin which should help us get around. I'm curious whether people think this is feasible or if is there any way to improve it. Thanks.
Wed 6/13/2018 Arrive at airport at 9pm. Sleep: Kunming Hostel
Thu 6/14/2018 Sleeper train to Dali (8.5 hrs)
Fri 6/15/2018 Dali Hostel
Sat 6/16/2018 Dali Hostel
Sun 6/17/2018 Sleeper bus to Fugong (9hrs)
Mon 6/18/2018 Fugong Hostel
Tue 6/19/2018 Fugong Hostel
Wed 6/20/2018 Day bus to Bingzhongluo (3hrs). Bingzhongluo Hostel
Thu 6/21/2018 Bingzhongluo Hostel
Fri 6/22/2018 Bingzhongluo Hostel
Sat 6/23/2018 Hire ride to Deqen. Deqen hostel
Sun 6/24/2018 Deqen hostel
Mon 6/25/2018 Deqen hostel
Tue 6/26/2018 Fly to KM (1 hr). Depart from KM at 9pm
Looks okay for your time period but it's a shame to travel through country you've never seen before by night. Saves on hostel bills, of course.
@alien: I agree. Riding the train or bus in the day time is a good way to appreciate the country. I would use the ride to plan additional trips based on what I saw.
Planning can be over done as well. Speaking pretty good Mandarin can be (or was 20-25 years ago) pretty useless in the hinterlands. I would start with a list of stops and then just go for two or three weeks. I found flexibility reduced stress and disappointment.
I got to over 90 cities in China with few problems by going alone and just going.
Thanks for the advice. I'm not planning to book any hostels or buses in advanced so the schedule can remain flexible.
And regarding traveling at night, my thinking was that taking sleepers would give us more time during the day to go and do things. But I'm open to traveling during the day if everyone recommends that.
@Stevula If you haven't already done so, check precisely what a sleeper bus is here. If you're the right size and not claustrophobic then you'll be ok. Oh, and the occasional smoker lighting up. I shudder every time I see one but others find them bearable.
Sleeper trains 2d class, fine. But I've about had it with sleeper buses.
I would disagree with Geezer about the uselessness of Mandarin (Putonghua) in the hinterlands - should get you what you need, but perhaps not many long interesting conversations with a lot of local people.
I agree. Mandarin is much more useful that English for sure.
Good to know about sleeper buses. I think I will try to avoid them. Also, I had an idea to fly from Kunming to Tengchong and spend a few days there, maybe hike in the Gaoligong mountains. From there take a bus to liuku and head up to Fugong. I think I'd rather spend time in tengchong rather than Dali. How does that sound?
Also, can anyone can confirm whether the road from Gongshan to Deqen is open? I read that it had opened last december but I haven't been able to confirm this. This whole itinerary kind of depends on that. Assuming it's open, does anyone know how I could hire a ride from Gongshan (or Bingzhongluo) to Deqen?
Also, are we going to be hit by heavy monsoon rains in this area in June?
We don't get monsoon as such, but sometimes the tail effects of the monsoons that hit southern China. Those are unpredictable, but it is quite possible; although far from definite.