Terraced rice fields in Yuanyang County

China’s Wild Yunnan

14 days
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4.3 / 5 from 4 reviews >
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Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
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A comprehensive itinerary covering the north and south areas of Yunnan province

The South West province of Yunnan is arguably one of the most diverse regions in China. Dramatic high altitude vistas, panoramic views across kaleidoscopic rice terraces and beautifully preserved Chinese architecture are just a taste of the many highlights this area has to offer. On this trip we’ll discover the mountainous region of the north with an opportunity to experience Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the most scenic one-day hikes in the country. We’ll spend time at the rice paddies of Yuanyang county, before ending at the capital Kunming, the ‘Capital of Eternal Spring’.  This trip offers a real insight into the culture of the Yunnan people, home to over 50 different ethnic minorities unique to this region. There are plenty of opportunities to sample the mouth-watering cuisine, which takes its flavours from the neighbouring countries of Tibet, Laos, Burma and Vietnam.


  • Discover Kunming; 'City of Eternal Spring'
  • Snow-capped mountains and panoramic rice terraces
  • Trek through the stunning Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Visit ethnic villages and local markets
  • Sample the famous 'Crossing the Bridge' noodles
  • Visit the heritage towns of Lijiang and Dali

Key information

  • 13 days land only/ 14 flight inclusive
  • Travel by private minibus and internal flight
  • 10 nights comfortable hotels and 2 nights guesthouses
  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners included
  • Optional single supplement, available on request
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Countries visited: China

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers 

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) 
  • Vaccinations
  • Chinese Visa - GBP201 with Travcour or GBP151 plus GBP18 special delivery direct with Embassy
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Lijiang, Yunnan Province

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Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

    Depart London

  • Day 2

    Start Chengdu; Sichuan hot pot dinner

    The group flight generally arrives in the late afternoon/early evening. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province, which is renowned for it's tasty cuisine, and so a hotpot dinner is included this evening. If you prefer to opt out of dinner and rest after the flight however, please let your tour leader know. There will be a short welcome briefing this evening but the main briefing will be done tomorrow evening in Lijiang when there is more time.

    Should you wish to have more time in Chengdu, Exodus offers a two night pre-tour extension (trip code XTNACJ), which includes a visit to the nearby Giant Panda Breeding & Research Centre - full details of which are available below the itinerary.

    Garden City Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 3

    Fly to Lijiang; walking tour and street food sampling

    A short flight (approx. 1hr 35mins), followed by a transfer (approx. 1hr) bring us to our beautiful hilltop hotel overlooking the historic old town of Lijiang, often termed 'Oriental Venice'. This UNESCO World Heritage town is located at an elevation of 2,400 metres, with the incredibly scenic 'Jade Dragon Snow Mountain' as its backdrop (visible from one of our hotel's terraces). The architecture in the town is particularly noteworthy as it blends elements from several cultures that have come together over hundreds of years. The Lijiang area is home to the Naxi people who are related to Tibetans but have their own language and culture and can only be found in this region.

    We will take a walking tour of the old town to discover it's network of narow cobbled lanes, waterways, some of its 350 small bridges and innumerable willow trees. As we pass local eateries and martkets we'll sample some local street food and traditional snacks. 


    Dinner in a local restaurant is included tonight to try the delicious Yunnan cuisine, which with it's melting pot of cultures and flavours is arguably one of China's top culinary destinations. 

    Lijiang Qianxuelou Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Visit Black Dragon Pool Park and Wangu Pagoda; transfer to Tiger Leaping Gorge

    We'll visit the Black Dragon Pool Park first thing, as locals gather here in the mornings to practice tai chi, square-dancing and to exercise together. The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is beautifully framed by the gardens, the central lake, and colourful pagodas. Next, (weather permitting) we climb up Lion Hill to the five-tier Wangu Pagoda, which offers stunning panoramic views of Lijiang town and the nearby mountains. 

    After some free time and perhaps some shopping for handicrafts, we drive to our guesthouse in Tiger Leaping Gorge (approx 2 hours driving). The guesthouse itself is simple but all rooms are fully equipped and have en-suite facilities. There are beautiful views of the nearby mountains.

    Tea Horse Guesthouse or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Half day trek through Tiger Leaping Gorge

    Today we will trek along arguably one of the best hiking routes in South-West China. Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest on the planet and the surrounding valley is part of a UNESCO natural preservation area, with an unusually large number of different plants and animals in a relatively small region. Legend says that a tiger, in order to escape a hunter, jumped across the gorge at the narrowest point (approx. 25 metres), hence the name.

    We walk door to door from one guesthouse to the next. The first half of the walk is relatively easy, following a gently undulating trail to Halfway Guesthouse, where we stop for tea. The latter part of the walk involves a long descent (a few hundred metres) on a fairly steep and rocky zig-zag path and requires careful footwork. Our walk will take us approximately 4-5 hours (around 11km), allowing for plenty of stops to admire the spectacular scenery and towering mountains. If anyone does not want to partake in the walk today, you can transfer to the next guesthouse by road. 

    This evening we stay in another simple guesthouse with views of the sheer rock wall of the opposite side of the gorge. On a clear night, the stars are phenomenal.

    Tina's Guesthouse or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Transfer to Dali; walking tour of the ancient town; optional Three Pagodas visit

    We begin driving towards Dali this morning. About 20 minutes into the journey we make a stop at the Tiger Leaping Gorge visitor centre and walk down the staircases to the raging river. This is the narrowest part of the gorge and the site where the legendary tiger is said to have leapt across. Continuing on, it's roughly three hours drive to Dali so we should arrive at lunchtime (lunch in a local restaurant is included today). 

    This ancient town is popular with tourists; its combination of beautiful scenery, authentic local culture and good food meant that a two-day stay could easily turn into two weeks. Today, Dali has retained the small-town charm it grew famous for, and visitors can enjoy the thousand-year-old architecture in the town alongside the beautiful Cangshan Mountain Range and the sparkling Erhai Lake; one of the seven biggest freshwater lakes in China. After lumch, we will take a walking tour to experience the highlights of this pretty place, walking from the South to North Gate as well as seeing the traditional folk houses of the Bai people, which give this town a truly distinctive feel. There will also be time for an optional visit to the iconic Three Pagodas. 

    Landscape Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Morning market tour with cheese tasting; free time to visit Cangshan Mountain or Erhai Lake (optional)

    We will take a short morning tour of one of the local produce markets which often rotate between nearby villages. It's a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the region's produce and ingredients, as our senses are awakened by a sea of colours, and the smell of tea, herbs and spices. There'll be the chance to taste a peculiar local cheese which is unique to this area, called 'ru shan'. This cows' milk cheese is presented in the shape of a fan, generally cooked on a bamboo stick, and is often served alongside different meat and vegetable dishes. The market is organised into different sections - vegetarians of the more squeamish may wish to bypass certain aisles. 

    Landscape Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Drive to Kunming; walking tour including the flower market

    It's about five hour drive to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. Known locally as the 'City of Eternal Spring', it boasts a mild and pleasant year-round climate and this is reflected in the flowers that seem to bloom all through the year. This afternoon we'll have a walking tour of the city and visit the Flower Market. Kunming was once a stop on the caravan routes to South East Asia, India and Tibet and this influence remains in the city in the form of its culture, heritage and excellent food. A well-known local delicacy here is 'crossing the bridge noodles'.

    There is the opportunity to go to the theatre to see the Yunnan Impression Cultural Show (optional) this evening, which is highly recommended.

    Golden Spring Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Drive to Yuanyang County; sunset viewpoint

    We will have an early start today as we drive (for approx. 8 hours including a lunch stop) into Yuanyang County, known throughout China for its never-ending rice terraces built on the southern slopes of the Ailao mountain, over an area of over 28 thousand acres. Yuanyang is frequently visited by national and international photographers who come to capture the terraces in their different states (filled with water or rice depending on the time of year), and the iconic sunrise scene is surely the Holy Grail of photographs! We will visit Lao Hu Zui, meaning 'Tiger's Mouth' scenic viewpoint this evening, in the hope of witnessing a photo-worthy sunset over the spectacular rice terraces.

    Yun Ti Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Sunrise viewing at Duoyishu; short walk amidst rice terraces with traditional farmer's lunch; free afternoon

    Depending on the weather, there will be the option of visiting a different viewpoint at Duoyishu to watch the sunrise over the ancient terraces. We'll then take a morning walk (3-3.5 hours) passing firstly through a small village, learning more about the Hani and Yi minority people of this area, who are responsible for the creation of the beautiful rice terraces. We then descend down a rocky path to walk among the terraces themselves and view them from a different perspective. Contouring along the terraces, we pass the occasional farmhouse and see locals working the land, before climbing back up to the road on a paved path and heading for a traditional 'farmer's lunch'. This culinary adventure will typically involve fish, chicken and vegetables along with some more unexpected delicacies such as snails and insects! The rest of the afternoon is free to relax, before another sunset opportunity this evening at Bada Viewpoint.

    Yun Ti Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 11

    To Tuanshan, a traditional walled Yunnan village

    This morning we will drive to Tuanshan (approx. 4 hours), which is a rare example of a traditional walled Yunnan village, inhabited by the Yi minority people. Tuanshan once prospered from trade with South East Asia, which was made possible by the Yunnan - Vietnam railroad. Today, it is like stepping back in time as we visit the well-preserved (though somewhat neglected) highlights including old mansions, gardens, temples, gateways and a graveyard. This evening we can enjoy some luxury at our hotel in Jinshui.

    Lin An Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Admire the architechture, cultural relics and art at the Zhu Family Garden; visit local Confucius temple

    Today we will make a trip to the Zhu Family Garden in Jianshui. The Garden is a huge residential complex which was built in the late 19th century by a very rich family. Today it is open to the public and whilst wandering we can appreciate the intricate artwork, elaborate rooms and elegant courtyards, and of course the beautiful and well-preserved gardens. There will also be time to visit the second largest Confucius temple in China, built in the Yuan Dynasty (13th century). This temple is an incredibly peaceful spot with extensive grounds, and we may see locals playing cards or mah-jong in the gardens, or practising ancient Chinese folk songs on their musical instruments.

    Lin An Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Visit the incredible 'Stone Forest' of Shilin before driving back to Kunming; evening farewell dinner

    This morning we will drive back to Kunming via the incredible 'Stone Forest' of Shilin. This magnificent landscape covers an area of 300 square kilometres and is an impressive collection of karst rock formations more than 270 million years old. The area became a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 2007 and has special features with a huge range of shape and colours. In high season it can be busy here so be prepared for some crowds. 

    We will then continue on to the capital and enjoy some free time to relax, or to partake in some last-minute souvenir shopping in one of Kunming's many markets. Our farewell dinner tonight will be a final opportunity to taste some more delicious Yunnan dishes before we say our goodbyes tomorrow.

    Golden Spring Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 14

    Fly to London

    The tour ends today. The group flight is a daytime flight departing Kunming and arriving into London the same day. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

Chengdu Giant Panda Extension


Our Yunnan tour spends limited time in Chengdu, and therefore if you would like to visit the nearby Giant Panda Breeding & Research Centre and have some time to explore the city, we offer a short two night/three day extension BEFORE joining the main Exodus tour. It is not available after the main tour as it ends in Kunming. The itinerary is as follows:

Day 1: An arrival transfer is included from Chengdu Airport to the hotel. (Garden City Hotel, Chengdu).

Day 2: You will be picked up from your hotel after breakfast (around 9am) and driven by private transfer to the Giant Panda Breeding & Research Centre. The drive takes approximately 45 minutes. You will have free time to explore the centre and observe these beautiful furry creatures until around midday. These intriguing and rare animals spend much of their time sleeping but are most active at feeding time. Afterwards you will be transferred back towards the city - we recommend that you have lunch before your walking tour of Tianfu Square. You will explore the People's Park and enjoy a tea tasting experience before heading back to the hotel for a short rest. This evening, a ticket to the Chengdu Opera is included - you won't get back to the hotel until around 9pm so you may want to opt for an early dinner. (Garden City Hotel, Chengdu) (Breakfast)

Day 3: Your extension ends after breakfast today. (Breakfast) (This evening you will join your main Exodus tour, 'China's Wild Yunnan' - the group flights for which usually arrive in the evening. Tonight's accommodation and dinner are included as part of day 1 of your main tour.)

Please note that extensions are on an unaccompanied basis (there is no tour leader) and whilst there is no group as such, services may be shared with other Exodus clients who have booked the extension starting on the same date as you. You will have the services of drivers and local guides where needed. 

Price from: £169 (compulsory single supplement from £60 for single travellers). If only you are the only person booked on the extension on your date, then a sole traveller supplement from £110 is applicable (this is instead of a single supplement, not on top).

Essential Info



Nearly all nationalities require a visa to enter China, which must be obtained prior to departure. The Chinese authorities now require a letter from Exodus, confirming all your accommodation details. Along with this, you need to supply a copy of your flight details, which are on your invoice if you have booked directly through Exodus. For further information see here. It is also essential that we have a clear copy of the details page of your passport. This is required to book certain ground services in China and we cannot confirm your details with our local partners until it has been received. This must be emailed as an electronic scan to [email protected] a minimum of 8 weeks prior to your trip.

IMPORTANT: Please note that all visa applicants aged between 14 and 70 will need to visit one of the Chinese Visa Application Service Centres in person (appointment required) where biometric data will be taken as part of the visa application process.



There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

If your trip visits Hong Kong, dengue fever is a known risk - this is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten: apply insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers.

Eating and Drinking

This trip includes the following: all breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners.

One of the major draws of China is its exciting and varied cuisine. On this trip, you will be able to try many dishes that will be carefully selected with your leader's guidance and based on the group's dietary requirements and preferences. Meals generally consist of shared dishes, which is the best way to experience many different ingredients, and try things you might not ordinarily choose! Cuisine in Yunnan is typically referred to as Dian cuisine, and takes its flavours from the neighbouring countries of Tibet, Sichuan, Burma, Laos and Vietnam. Examples of popular dishes include the famous 'Crossing the Bridge' noodles (rice noodle soup), steamed-pot chicken, which includes herbs native to Yunnan, and Xuanwei ham (dry cured). Baba is a type of bread that is cooked over hot coals and eaten as a snack or side, and the local cheese 'rubbing' is a fresh goat cheese often served pan-fried with salt and chilli.

There is an abundance of tea as Yunnan is one of the main tea-producing regions in China. 

There are many dishes to try and the leader will always try and accommodate tastes, but if you do tire of Chinese food there are usually opportunities to eat Western-style dishes in the cities you visit. For vegetarians or those with dietary requirements, many of the traditional dishes can be amended to omit the meat products.

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. Please bring a reusable water bottle with you. There are kettles in most, if not all, hotel rooms and we encourage you to boil tap water at night so that it is cool and ready to drink by morning. Where available, your tour leader will buy large containers of drinking water for you to refill from during the day.


Generally speaking, Yunnan enjoys a mild climate with pleasant weather. The province has distinct dry and rainy seasons; November to April is the dry season (and is cooler), with most of the rainfall occurring between June and August. As many of the places visited on this itinerary are at a relatively high elevation, the temperature can change significantly between day and night so we recommend that this is taken into consideration when packing. Evenings and mornings can be really quite chilly so you'll need a fleece or some warm layers, whilst daytimes can be hot so come prepared with sun protection too.

Weather Chart Kunming

Weather Chart Kunming

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded 2: Leisurely/Moderate

This holiday is designed that so you can see the highlights of Yunnan Province and is generally fairly fast-paced. There is a lot to see, but everything is scheduled so that it doesn’t feel too rushed. There are a few drives of 3-5 hours and the longest drive on the itinerary is approx. 8 hrs on day 7 (Kunming to Yuangyang Country).

You should come ready for an intrepid experience. China can sometimes be hard work and when it is hotter some of the busier sights can be a little overwhelming, however, this itinerary mainly focuses on more rural areas so there is plenty of time to find some peace and quiet and see a different side to the country.

Good mobility and a degree of fitness are required for the walking tours of the historic towns, steps to the viewpoints in Yuangyang Country (around 500 steps) and for the walks in Tiger Leaping Gorge and the rice terraces in Yuangyang Country.

The walk in Tiger Leaping Gorge will take approximately 4-5 hours (the distance is around 11km / 7 miles) and is not recommended for those who suffer from vertigo as it is cut into the side of the gorge. The last half of the walk involves a long descent of several hundred metres on a rocky trail, which is steep in parts. There is no rush and we will take our time and enjoy the spectacular scenery. Please be aware that the region surrounding Tiger Leaping Gorge is subject to dramatic weather changes. If you prefer not to do the gorge walk, it is posible to transfer straight to the next guesthouse by road instead. 

The maximum altitude on this trip is 2700m and in rare instances, some passengers may experience minor discomfort. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotels and Guesthouses

On this trip you will spend 10 nights in comfortable hotels and 2 nights in simple guesthouses.

The hotels normally used are indicated within the itinerary, however, accommodation may differ from those stated depending on your departure date. Most of the accommodation is in traditional characterful buildings and some of these have pretty gardens, terraces or courtyards. In a couple of locations, such as Kunming and Tuanshan, we stay in modern high-rise buildings to take advantage of the central location. The accommodation in the most remote part of our trip, in Yuangyang Country is a little more basic and the restaurant service in particular is not of international standard. All of the hotels are comfortable however and are generally rated locally as 4-star or above. In Tiger Leaping Gorge we stay in family-run guesthouses - whilst comparably simple, they are not too basic, have fantastic views and are equipped with everything that you should need.

All of the hotels are centrally located but please be aware that in some of the historic towns, the coach/minibus may not be able to park directly outside the hotel and in this event you will need to be able to carry or wheel your own luggage for a few hundred metres.

Please also be aware that beds/mattresses in this region are often harder than you may be used to, but it is always possible to request an extra quilt or bedding at the hotel if this is an issue. 

Additional Accommodation

Should you wish to extend your stay in China, it is possible to book extra nights accommodation before the tour in Chengdu, or after the tour in Kunming, through Exodus - please enquire for details. 

Single Supplement (optional)

A limited number of single supplements are available throughout the tour and these are allocated on a first come first served basis. Please request this at the time of booking  if you would like to have your own room. 

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed May 2019
    Lindsey Stone

    It's interesting but misrepresented by the nomenclature!

    The rapid expansion of the Chinese domestic travel industry is rendering this trip as far from 'Wild' in many elements. An expanded hike through the Tiger Leaping Gorge and the hike through the paddy fields were the only 'wild' bits. The rest of the trip often felt like a coach trip in over populated tourist areas. A guide with many limitations and a final destination, sold as a Unesco World Heritage Site, which was more like Disneyland, leads me not to recommend this trip for the average Exodus traveller.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The social economic situation in China is fascinating. It's a beautiful place but often seeks to deceive (read ancient towns that look like they were built in 1980!). So whilst the crowds spoiled it for me, I did find it a very interesting place. The paddy fields are beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not up to the usual Exodus standard. Well meaning, helpful and very sweet but lacking in understanding of the needs of an Exodus traveller. Understandable in some ways, but Exodus should be managing this if they are selling 'off the beaten track' trips - it's not! Walking tours were a disaster. No information and a route march through interesting areas in pursuit of a panda attached to a car aerial! To be fair, a group of 16 is too big but even so they were badly managed. Sometimes less is more.......frequent confusion caused. I often felt that Chin failed to absorb the needs and interests of her travellers. Frequent changes in the itinerary were made without explanation or apparent justification. EG: changing the day of a sunset or sunrise trip without checking the weather forecast (especially with many keen photographers in the group).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the crowds and their behaviour. Keep an open mind and embrace the rapid development of the Chinese domestic tourism industry. It's not going to be as wild as it perhaps presents itself, but many of the elements will be overrun very soon. So if you're going, do it sooner rather than later and keep an open mind! Service levels in China is different from the rest of S.E Asia. Be prepared to carry bags up staircases. Many of the hotels don't have lifts. English is hardly spoken so a translation app is a must.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus - please rename this trip. It's misleading.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Graham and Celia Bryan

    What's wild about Yunnan

    As a first visit to China, this trip is perfect. There's not much about it that is 'wild' - it seems that everything in China has been turned into an amenity and is carefully managed and controlled as part of a growing tourist industry. So if you're looking for untouched natural environments this isn't the trip for you. The local ethnic minorities are still holding onto their culture and this contrasts with the vibrant modernity of the cities. The food is very much part of the experience! We had just 8 clients in our group which was perfect. What the experience would be like with 16 is difficult to imagine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Extending the trip to visit the Giant Panda Centre is well worth while. Truly iconic animals - adored by the Chinese. The grandeur of Tiger Leaping Gorge is worth experiencing. The rice terraces of Yuanyang are a full-blown, carefully managed tourist experience which is rather curious and detracts somewhat from the authenticity. However, if you 'go with the flow' they are well worth seeing! The architecture and cultural sites visited are all very interesting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was charming. He spoke good English and was good-humoured throughout. He was sensitive to the needs of clients in the group and willing to engage in conversations about Chinese history and culture.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go to China with an open mind. It is was it is - changing fast! If you want to see something of China but don't want to do the 'usual' tourist high-lights, this is an excellent trip. We came back feeling we had learned a lot and have a better 'handle' on Chinese culture and history. It's a busy trip with some very long drives, so not for the 'faint-hearted'. We went end of February and the first week of the trip was pretty cold, so go prepared. We stayed off-line throughout: go on - be brave - it's such fun just watching the Chinese obsession with their smart phones instead!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you Exodus for adding another trip to your 'portfolio'.
  • Reviewed June 2018

    Highly recommended. Fantastic scenery, culture and food!

    I was blown away by the variety of this trip, from the sheer walls of Tiger Leaping Gorge which we did a day trek through (not many companies offer this), to the historic towns of Dali and Lijiang, the UNESCO rice terraces stretching to the horizon in Yuangyang Country, and contemporary Kunming. I was expecting grand scenery but the unexpected highlights for me were the people and the food - we met people from at least five different ethnic minority groups, dressed in their traditional clothes. Visiting the local markets was an experience and a half, the noise, smells and hustle and bustle - just nice seeing people going about their daily life. The food was incredible - lots of fresh produce, different delicacies as you move from north to south Yunnan. I was also impressed by the quality of the hotels - some were modern international properties but we also stayed in some beautiful historic hotels full of rustic charm too, and all were centrally located.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to list! If I had to pick.. probably an unplanned visit the local market in Yuangyang Country.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader (Leon) was exceptional - he was highly efficient and organised - nothing was too much trouble. His personality came out more and more as the trip went on and he had us all in stitches (not always intentionally I don't think) as he took to the microphone on the bus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take some warm clothing for the evenings.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Gillian and Donald Wilson

    Wild Yunnan

    Thanks to our fantastic guide, Jane, we had a real insight into the culture and history of Yunnan. She filled our days (completely!) with a taste of real life. Tiger Leaping Gorge was not so intimidating as we had thought, no particular narrow paths or sheer drops to worry about. Part of the hike was blocked, but Jane took us on an exhilarating walk from our guest house down to the river below. The cities of Dali and Jianshui were very interesting and we all enjoyed these very much, and of course the sureal scenery of the rice terraces, and meeting freindly locals in their villages. Food was excellent, lots of fresh unusual vegetables, and such a variety...we ate very well. All in all a fabulous trip, full of variey and interest all the way through, and definately recommended.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking through the rice terraces and the villages, and also Tiger Leaping Gorge and watching the sun go down from the terrace on Tina's Guest House.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, passionate and enthusiastic about her country, very knowledgeable, loved to take us to various markets and to sample lots of different and unusual foods.She had a good rapport with the locals and ourselves, and we enjoyed her company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In Dali we tried to change Stirling in a bank, but could only do this if we opened and account...not sure if this is the case thoughout the province, so would suggest changing at the airports or hotels where this facility is available. ATMs are numerous, but we did not use them as we had stirling with us.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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