Kunming - Lijiang - Maybe Shangri-La - Dali - Kunming


Big Kahuna

Senior Member
Dec 15, 2004
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Singapore, Singapore, Singapor
#1
Hi Guys, I am planning a DIY 12days trip end of this mth with wify and baby.

Hotel booking looks alright with Agoda.com but I have some concern on the local transport, any bros/sis here done that before?

For the intra city transfer, is it better to do domestic flight or train or express bus? Any experience and the cost like? I was thinking of doing hybrid, i.e arrival in Kunming, next day fly to Lijiang, a few days later take bus/train to Dali, and a few days later take bus/train back to Kunming.

Many thanks for your input.
 

paapoopa

Senior Member
May 25, 2006
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#3
i did a similar route last dec,

there is train from kunming to lijiang now, its much more comfortable than taking the bus..
i took the night train to lijiang

check out the temp in shangrila, it can get really cold in early morning and night.

as for lodging, stay in lijiang old town... it might be a little more ex as compare to staying outside the old town, but its a better experience..

oh and last thing, wake up very early to see the beauty of lijiang old town in the morning before its gets really crowded and pack with tourist.

have fun!!
 

Big Kahuna

Senior Member
Dec 15, 2004
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#4
Thanks for the tips from the 2 bros above...anymore to come?

Btw in view of the harst condition, I guess I should drop the Shangri-la leg.

So, for the remaining 3 cities, is altiture sickness an issue? I simply have no idea how my baby will coupe :) ... but as some say, you will never know until you try....she is tough....and can be considered a road/air trip veteran, she is 23mths btw :)

Also, read that those old town pavement are mainly cobbler stone and uneven, does that means that it will not be pram friendly? I am weighting whether I should bring one for her noon nap in case we are out full day :lovegrin:
 

sweeper

New Member
Mar 25, 2005
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#5
Thanks for the tips from the 2 bros above...anymore to come?

Btw in view of the harst condition, I guess I should drop the Shangri-la leg.

So, for the remaining 3 cities, is altiture sickness an issue? I simply have no idea how my baby will coupe :) ... but as some say, you will never know until you try....she is tough....and can be considered a road/air trip veteran, she is 23mths btw :)

Also, read that those old town pavement are mainly cobbler stone and uneven, does that means that it will not be pram friendly? I am weighting whether I should bring one for her noon nap in case we are out full day :lovegrin:
Remaining cities altitude is around 2200m, so should be OK
Old town pavement , should be ok - see and decide for yourself :)
http://weesiong.zenfolio.com/p975543868
 

Oct 8, 2010
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#6
i suggest you do hybrid the other way... take bus from Kunming to Shangrila and at Shangrila, take a flight back to Kunming..
this way, your family (esp baby) may acclimatise to the high attitude better...

Kunming is about 2000m above sea-level,
Dali 2200m
Lijiang 2500m
Shangrila 3000m

If you fly from Kunming to Shangrila, you may not have sufficient time to acclimatise...
whereas if you take bus up from Kunming, stopping at Dali, Lijiang and Shangrila, it allows you to gradually ascend over a few days...
from shangrila, you can take a flight back to Kunming...


to add on, the bus trip from Dali To Lijiang has very nice scenery... and it's only 4-5 hours journey, with bus departing every hour or so...




from Lijiang to Shangrila, the scenery is even nicer, passing near Hu Tiao Xia and pass rolling green pastures...






If possible, go to Shangrila cos it is so much nicer... Dali and Lijiang are overly commercialised, i feel....
In Shangrila, the Song Zan Ling Monastry is a highlight... plus a simple day-trip by bus to Bai Shui Tai is also possible...
Na Po Hai is also good, esp in winter when there'll be many migratory birds...

Bai Shui Tai


Song Zan Ling Monastry
 

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Big Kahuna

Senior Member
Dec 15, 2004
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#8
Bro Sweeper: Thanks for the great pics....by looking at it, I am still not quite sure my Mclaren can take the beating...might need to upgrade to bigger wheeler....have you seen anyone pushing a pram around those area? I don't want to be the goon one...decision...decision...decision..

Bro Askaboutlife: After reading your post...I felt it's like going to Beijing but not visiting Great Wall....So I am now more incline to go Shangri-la instead, probably will cut short the rest or drop Dali entirely :lovegrin:

Bro Astro: Thanks for the write up...for the Mr.Wang...is he a full time or part time? Do we need to make booking now? How is his service like, e,g, if I want to go Shangrila for 3 days, will he will bring us there from Lijiang and back? Or he is only doing day trip within Lijiang? What is his charges like?
 

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astroboy

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2005
545
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#9
Mr Wang is full-time driver with his own MPV and yes, he specialises in long distance from Lijiang to anywhere and back. Within Lijiang u can take any taxis, don't need him. There are many others soliciting for business but most of them are middlemen, they will earn a commission and half the time, you dunno who the driver is or they may "fly aeroplane." His MPV is 8-seater, Hyundai, if I m not mistaken. Some drivers will charge u super cheap but they use mini-MPVs (xiao mian bao che) which are China-made vans and very dangerous for cross-country.

We were lucky to find Wang and negotiate directly with him for his rates. Should be between ¥800 - 1K per day, up to u to bargain, pls tip him if u like his services (S'poreans tend to have a "kiamsap" reputation when travelling). What we liked about Wang is, he is patient and understands the needs of the photographer - sometimes we made him get up at 5am to chase the sunset and he willingly obliged. Other ppl will grumble or be reluctant.

If u decide to use him, just say u were recommended by fellow photographers. It's best to call his mobile in advance to "block" the dates that you want his services. Earlier the better in case he has other clients.

Bro Astro: Thanks for the write up...for the Mr.Wang...is he a full time or part time? Do we need to make booking now? How is his service like, e,g, if I want to go Shangrila for 3 days, will he will bring us there from Lijiang and back? Or he is only doing day trip within Lijiang? What is his charges like?
 

Daoyin

Senior Member
Nov 25, 2008
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#10
Dear TS, many others have voiced their feedback about the conditions. I can only add that you seriously consider the case of bringing a 23 month old child along. At that age, can she or he inform you what may be troubling her? Some people have been known to still get altitide sickness (mild) at 3,000m. What are your anxiety tolerence levels and backup plan?

Good luck and Yunnan has nice scenery indeed.
 

sweeper

New Member
Mar 25, 2005
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#11
Bro Sweeper: Thanks for the great pics....by looking at it, I am still not quite sure my Mclaren can take the beating...might need to upgrade to bigger wheeler....have you seen anyone pushing a pram around those area? I don't want to be the goon one...decision...decision...decision..

Bro Askaboutlife: After reading your post...I felt it's like going to Beijing but not visiting Great Wall....So I am now more incline to go Shangri-la instead, probably will cut short the rest or drop Dali entirely :lovegrin:

Bro Astro: Thanks for the write up...for the Mr.Wang...is he a full time or part time? Do we need to make booking now? How is his service like, e,g, if I want to go Shangrila for 3 days, will he will bring us there from Lijiang and back? Or he is only doing day trip within Lijiang? What is his charges like?
- not many , except the "Ang Mo"s ,
saw alot of them also using the "pack back" style carrier

- as for Shangri-la
the road from Yunan -> Shanri-la is nice, but
other then the AMS, its rather cold there now, dun think its easy for the baby
night / morning is already zero degree during summer at 3500m
also , the harsh sunlight
- quite a risk for babies , my 2 cents
 

Big Kahuna

Senior Member
Dec 15, 2004
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Singapore, Singapore, Singapor
#12
Dear TS, many others have voiced their feedback about the conditions. I can only add that you seriously consider the case of bringing a 23 month old child along. At that age, can she or he inform you what may be troubling her? Some people have been known to still get altitide sickness (mild) at 3,000m. What are your anxiety tolerence levels and backup plan?

Good luck and Yunnan has nice scenery indeed.
Hi Bro Daoyin, thanks for your advice. Honestly speaking, I do not know if my kid can take it, some say kid can adapt better, I have to find out myself.

That's also why I have to DIY the trip so that the itenary is more flexible, when we are there, there is no backup plan really, so if things turn bad, we have to abort and back to Kunming or come home liao.
 

soken

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Mar 5, 2009
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#13
As a local from China, I have been to Lijiang and Tali for quite a few times, and definitely i will go there again in future.
Considering it is a 12 days trip, I don't recommend you take buses from kumming to Lijiang, it takes 8-9 hrs!!! just take the direct flight to save some time.
Personally I don't think there will many things to see in Kunming city, you should probably skip it and stay longer in Lijiang and Tali area.
It is true that Lijiang is getting more and more commercialized, there are lots of non-locals coming to do business, but you can always find those locals, the Nakhi people, they can speak decent mandarin. It will be fun to know their culture and even make friends with them.

Last time I spent 14 days with my wife in the Lijiang ancient town and didn’t go anywhere, I don’t regret. I think it is a good place to rest, get up late, imagine that you can get up late, bring our family and slr, have some local food by the river, what a pleasure it is. Of coz it is recommended to go the Yulong Ice mount, Lugu lake, and even Shangri-La, however, it is not easy for your couple with a baby. I never join those groups even in my first time to Lijiang. It is easy to find a good hotel and explore by yourself.
There is always so much to discover in Lijiang, whether you are first time and know there very well. And you will find your own peacefulness there.
 

Big Kahuna

Senior Member
Dec 15, 2004
2,126
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#14
Bro Astro: Wow...I guess I don't have ecomonic of scales....RMB800~1k is pretty ex considering we are only party of 2-1/2....last year I paid RMB400 for full day in Beijing...icluding tip is only RMB500, and he droved a pretty new Volwagon Jetta :) Anyhow I don't intend to cheong, most likely do one of 2 attractions per day...photography wise....I have not been serious ever since by princess arrived....so I am ok with snapshop kind....I guess I will have to find out my self when I am there....for the Shangrila leg...most likely we will take bus and DIY from there again.

Bro sweeper: Yeah...I tot about that too...but this chap is 10+kg now and growing....so it will be a good training if I do so...my wife will have to carry the rest including my cam bag which should add up to 3~4 kgs

Bro Soken: Yeah....that's what my ideal plan is....I am ok to do nothing and laz around....to me...it's more for family bonding and get away from work and city life....sleep is luxury now as I have an automatic alarm clock(my baby) that will rang around 7.30am every morning without fail :D
 

Big Kahuna

Senior Member
Dec 15, 2004
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#15
Btw guys, for the domestic flight or bus/train, do I need to buy in advance now or I can get it over the counter or throught the local travel agent on the spot? I prefer later since I can change plan anytime without incurring penalties or unnecessary phone calls..

How about hotel booking? Is walk in a common practice there?
 

Oct 8, 2010
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#17
for bus, it's advisable to buy one day before...
buses plying between kunming, dali, lijiang and shangrila are very frequent (hourly or so), and you can even buy tickets just before departure...
i did that for my lijiang-shangrila leg... just turned up at the bus station, asked when the next bus would be, bought tix and waited at the lounge for the bus gate to open...

to me, bus offers the best flexibility and is inexpensive...
dali to lijiang - 66RMB
lijiang to shangrila - 61RMB
shangrila to bai shui tai (day-trip) - 22RMB one way

btw, when buying tix, the counter staff will usually add RMB2 to the tix price for the so-called "transport insurance"... you can tell the counter staff that you don't want to buy the "insurance"...
 

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astroboy

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2005
545
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#19
Don't think u should compare a city taxi with a cross-country 4WD MPV. U can also take the public buses like what some suggested if u don't mind holding up the whole busload of ppl while they wait for u to fold your pram. Other than Beijing, have u ever travelled China's countryside before? For the public buses, it's all fight and rush - rush to pee, rush to eat etc. I have seen some local ladies no time to queue up just pee by the roadside. Can your wife do that? And what if your baby feel unwell? Do u expect the public bus to stop somewhere for u?

Don't mind my saying so, but u could be biting off more than u can chew. If you only have budget to take public buses, I wld suggest you stay put in Lijiang to save your family the stress. Just my opinion. Lijiang-Shuhe itself is quite a nice place. :)


Bro Astro: Wow...I guess I don't have ecomonic of scales....RMB800~1k is pretty ex considering we are only party of 2-1/2....last year I paid RMB400 for full day in Beijing...icluding tip is only RMB500, and he droved a pretty new Volwagon Jetta :) Anyhow I don't intend to cheong, most likely do one of 2 attractions per day...photography wise....I have not been serious ever since by princess arrived....so I am ok with snapshop kind....I guess I will have to find out my self when I am there....for the Shangrila leg...most likely we will take bus and DIY from there again.
 

w_chiang

New Member
Jul 29, 2005
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#20
Hi,
I just went on a 8 day trip to Yunnan with wife and 3 kids aged 6 to 12 years old.
Only went to Lijiang and Yunan though.
Did not want to rush especially with 3 kids.
My advice is to take it easy especially since you are travelling with a little baby.
We took the domestic flight from Kunming to Lijiang and back. Its definitely more expensive than train/bus but much faster and more comfortable. There are many flights a day. Booked through CTRIP.
http://english.ctrip.com/
Stayed at New Era Hotel in Kunming. I highly recommend staying here. Rates are quite reasonable 500 - 600 yuan a night. They provide complimentary drop off and pick up from airport. Location is central next to pedestrian shopping mall.

As for Lijiang, I think the cobbled streets would pose a challenge for your pram unless you have the prams with the big wheels.
There are drivers in Lijiang who can do day trips to Dali and Shangri-la. They also do the nearer attractions like Jade Dragon Snow mountain, La Shi lake for horse riding etc. The cost for car hire for the nearer attractions is not too expensive. (if I remember correctly 300 -400 yuan for Jade dragon snow mountain and about 200 yuan to La Shi Lake)

As for public buses, it might be a challenge with your little one. The people in these rural towns are quite aggressive. They do not understand the concept of queuing.

As for altitude sickness. We did not have any problems in Kunming and Lijiang. The only problem was at the top of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain 4500m above sea level. My youngest one felt light headed and was whining and weeping for the one hour we were up there.

Very few places accept VISA/Mastercard, even tourist attractions. Only the big hotels accept VISA/Mastercard. So bring lots of cash.
 

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