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Thread: DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

  1. #1

    Default DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

    Good-day, We are going for a backpacking trip to Yunnan starting from Kunming up to Shangri-La for landscape photography and we are very much appreciate if any senior can provide us with their past experience regarding this photography trip. I had gather some information from foreign & local backpacker regarding local transportation, accommodation and scam experience but nothing from our Singaporean. There are only 2 of us going for this trip. Please advise. Thank

  2. #2
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    Default Re: DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

    Now that you have cast the net, what kind of information are you looking for in particular?

  3. #3
    Senior Member shierwin's Avatar
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    Default Re: DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

    How long will your trip be? Preliminary plans? Expectations?

    Yunnan is a large province and long distance transportation can be daunting.

    The best feedback are those from Chinese nationals, who are avid low cost travellers. Look at their feedbacks and that will help you tremendously. There are many bus stations in the cities/towns you plan to visit. In Kunming, a couple of train stations. Different stations schedules serve only certain areas. Need to be clear as to which staion, bus or train, you need to board from.

    A couple of links to kick start:

    For long distance train and local bus travels:

    8684.cn

    http://www.piaojia.cn/

    www.tielu.org

    for Feedbacks look around iin the link below:

    http://you.ctrip.com/guides/yunnan100007.html

    Hope they are of help.
    Last edited by shierwin; 16th August 2013 at 04:03 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

    Quote Originally Posted by shierwin View Post
    How long will your trip be? Preliminary plans? Expectations?

    Yunnan is a large province and long distance transportation can be daunting.

    The best feedback are those from Chinese nationals, who are avid low cost travellers. Look at their feedbacks and that will help you tremendously. There are many bus stations in the cities/towns you plan to visit. In Kunming, a couple of train stations. Different stations schedules serve only certain areas. Need to be clear as to which staion, bus or train, you need to board from.

    A couple of links to kick start:

    For long distance train and local bus travels:

    8684.cn

    http://www.piaojia.cn/

    www.tielu.org

    for Feedbacks look around iin the link below:

    http://you.ctrip.com/guides/yunnan100007.html

    Hope they are of help.
    Thank for your helping hand. Well I had gather some info from those local website regarding their domestic culture and daily life but they are local Chinese talking about themselves. What I want to know info is from those foreign visitor whose experience unhappy trip or scam. As for travelling and accommodation I think I can manage. My trip this coming sept. first to Kunming then domestic flight to Shangri-La and all the way by road to Lijiang, Dali and back to Kunming. As this is our photo trip we like to go to more landscape places rather than temple or city.

  5. #5

    Default Re: DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

    Hi,

    I went to Kunming-Lijiang-Shangri-La in Sept 2011, same period as you. Gonna breakdown info for you.

    Weather:
    Cooling in KM, cold in Lijang and SL and those high altitude areas.

    Attire:
    Pls bring warm clothing. When you visit the Yulong Snow Mountain, yr tour agency (if using one) shld be able to provide a fleece jacket FOC on the way by bus to the mountain. Might be good to bring hiking footwear for LJ and SL areas.

    Transportation:
    If taking train, do book VIP windowed compartments with bed+pillows+blankets. It comes with either 4 man bunk or 2 man bunk and lockable so its safe.
    Also relatively inexpensive and is gonna be the most comfortable mode of transportation thruout yr trip I believe. IIRC, its about 6 hr train journey bwtn KM & LJ.

    Van-wise I had a pretty horrid time going up those mountainous regions in LJ and SL. Bumpy/sandy/windy roads. Worse if its sunny and ur trapped in a small van. Toilet breaks are rare and yucky so don't expect much sanitarily speaking.

    Safety:
    Be careful in SL. Its a mixed Tibetan-Chinese land and the Tibetan tribal (Zang-zu) men carry small knives on them. I didn't photograph them so maybe if you wanna take a pic, do ask for permission cos they don't look friendly.
    Don't venture out at night. My tour guide, who happens to be from the tribes, warn us not to as he told of a HK woman who went out alone and went missing. Only her body parts were recovered some time later.

    LJ is generally very touristy and quite safe to go out at night. But of course to be wise, pls try to go back to yr accom before 11pm. The old city (gucheng) is pretty eerie when all the tourist shops have closed for the day. Worse is when you lose yr way at night so do memorise yr route back to accom.

    Scams:
    When visiting SL by tour agency, I believe they will make you visit either those 1. Tibetan temples , 2. tribal home visits, 3. tribal herb shops. Let's discuss one by one.

    1. In the temple, you will find monks dressed in those Tibetan robes (ala Dalai Lama) and they have tribal doctors (Zang-yi) avail for "free" consultation. After the diagnosis, the doc will recommend some herbal meds for you to buy to treat yr condition(if any). Its up to you if you wanna purchase. If you do, prepare to be shock by the price. They do accept VISA though.
    fyi: call me mad but I did buy $600+ worth of med for my intoxicated liver. Do take care of yr meds and don't tell anyone (eg. guesthouse owner) that you have purchased tribal meds as they are of high value there. Could be robbed of it.

    2. Tribal home visit. As mentioned earlier, my tour guide comes from the tribes and makes a living by being one. He is a real friendly joker guide and we were entertained by him thru-out the journey. Until the majority of our grp didn't want to make a tribal visit. Anyway, just pay a small token to go (less than 10 sgd per pax) and the tribal ppl will entertain, dance, and hv the chance to sample their wine and some tribal snacks. Didnt turn out so bad after all.

    3. Tribal herb shop. Not scam as no one will force you to buy. But I personally think its good as I see many PRC tourists buying and I heard those herbs are damn rare(hence the high value).

    I shall stop at here cos I not sure if I am leading you correctly. Let me know which categories you need info on and hopefully my brain still can remb. Cheers

  6. #6

    Default Re: DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

    Thank Zig for your info and advise.

  7. #7

    Default Re: DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

    Thank Shierwin

  8. #8
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    Default Re: DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

    Yunnan can be a large province unless you have your own transport. Try to give some buffer time in your schedule since you are going up north from Kunming to Zhongdian and then back down via Dali. Plenty of photo opportunities but you need to move around.

    People in Yunnan are a little more friendly than other provinces but you still need to have your wits around you as usual. Two is better than one but three or four is best.

    Have fun planning your trip and good luck.
    Last edited by Daoyin; 18th August 2013 at 02:03 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

    My suggestions is to ask the lijiang gu Cheng inn owner to recommend, it will be more expensive but safer, yuelong XueShan should be safe and nice, but do carry more water with you, as the weather is very dry, do try to go MeiLi Xue Shan if possible, it very nice. And if possible try to carry some food with you, as the food is not very appealing to most Singaporeans

  10. #10
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    Default Re: DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

    I have done the same route before but I went a little further to Tiibet and on a SUV, vehicle transport cost is the major cost of the whole package.
    flight from SG over the night to Lijiang via Kumning, now budget go Lijiang direct do check it up.

    Lijiang airport out turn right to Dali for around 3~4 days photo the move, should be around ~2hrs to reach the old town.
    Return to Lijiang from Dali and stay in shouhe old town not the dayan old town and stay for 4~5 days
    Drive to Shangri la around 4hrs on speed but do take note the journey no so easy toward the end, you can go by the left or the right HWY to Shangri la.
    Drive west to cross toward Tibet took us around 1 week to reach Lhasa.

    pls keep your old town entrance and HWY ticket if you need to make a return day after else you have pay.
    From Lijiang to jade mountain is about 2 hrs depends how you do it
    Take the cable car to reach ~4000m cable car station on top there is a canteen up there but only have hot tea/coffee and instant noodle, Yes do sell O2 if you need it.

    My vehicle cost is around RMB600 per day.

    Eating in both Dali and Lijiang should be no problem cause they have western food etc etc.

  11. #11

    Default Re: DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

    Quote Originally Posted by longkangman View Post
    I have done the same route before but I went a little further to Tiibet and on a SUV, vehicle transport cost is the major cost of the whole package.
    flight from SG over the night to Lijiang via Kumning, now budget go Lijiang direct do check it up.

    Lijiang airport out turn right to Dali for around 3~4 days photo the move, should be around ~2hrs to reach the old town.
    Return to Lijiang from Dali and stay in shouhe old town not the dayan old town and stay for 4~5 days
    Drive to Shangri la around 4hrs on speed but do take note the journey no so easy toward the end, you can go by the left or the right HWY to Shangri la.
    Drive west to cross toward Tibet took us around 1 week to reach Lhasa.

    pls keep your old town entrance and HWY ticket if you need to make a return day after else you have pay.
    From Lijiang to jade mountain is about 2 hrs depends how you do it
    Take the cable car to reach ~4000m cable car station on top there is a canteen up there but only have hot tea/coffee and instant noodle, Yes do sell O2 if you need it.

    My vehicle cost is around RMB600 per day.

    Eating in both Dali and Lijiang should be no problem cause they have western food etc etc.
    You hardcore, drive one week to Tibet

  12. #12
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    Default Re: DIY trip to Yunnan Kunmimg/Dali/Lijiang and Shangri-la

    Quote Originally Posted by princecharming View Post
    You hardcore, drive one week to Tibet
    My china/Tibet counter part cum driver does it all.

    Tibet/Lhasa to Nyingchi, should be around ~500km depends on the driver and route, can be 6 to 8 hrs or even 10hrs, with new HWY it should be shorter now.

    You can chose to fly into Nyingchi but only on certain route and not available on all seasons. The difficult part is from Lijiang to Shangri-la pass the check point toward Nyingchi.
    Took me around ~2 days by car, be prepare to cook yourself and camp inside the vehicle pls also do check your vehicle fuel if it does operate above 5000m.

    Lijiang to shangri-la should be only 4hrs by car.

    I do have a Lijiang/Shangri-la private driver contact, pls note I bear no responsibilities etc etc.

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