Essence of China
Travel deep into Yunnan province, home to a wide range of ethnic groups who maintain the traditions and cultures that has set them apart as national treasures. Shielded by the unruly mountains of Sichuan and Guizhou, Yunnan is unmatched in the complexity and scope of its history, landscape and peoples. The fairly flat, productive northeast of the province is home to the attractive capital, Kunming, whose mild climate earned Yunnan its name, meaning literally “south of the Clouds”.
UNLEASH YOUR MOJO: EXPLORING THE ‘FEMALE KINGDOM’ OF THE NAXI CULTURE
The tour starts in Beijing, the ancient imperial capital of China. With your private guide and driver, you will visit the historical sites of Beijing before travelling to the famous city of Xian. This city was the hotspot of the ancient Silk Road, linking the East to the West. Today, it is one of the most important cradles of ancient Chinese civilization. Here we will see the widely acclaimed, the eighth wonder of the world, the Army of Terracotta Warriors.
Next visit Guilin, one of China's best known cities, famed for its beautiful landscape of limestone mountains, clear waters, caves and rocks. Standing lofty and firm, the hills in Guilin seem to rise up into the sky. It is enchanting to take a boat cruise on the Li River passing picturesque scenery punctuated with bizarrely - shaped pinnacles, sprays of bamboo lining up the riverbanks, fishermen with their cormorants and buffaloes bathing in the sun.
Continue to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province with a history of more than 2,400 years. The natural beauty of Yunnan Province defies description. There are mountains, deep virgin forests, lakes and hot springs. The landscape is alpine with beautiful farmlands, mountain rivers and floral splendour that blooms throughout the year.
Drive to Dali, close to the shores of the Erhai Lake in the Cangshan Mountains and once the capital of the fierce Nanzhao Kingdom. Dali is also home of the Naxi culture, the ‘female kingdom’ where men and women are not united by wedlock but keep a casual cohabitation relationship. Of course, the tourism boom has changed the city but it’s still common to find traditional wooden Naxi houses now converted into shops and run by Han Chinese.
Nestled in a high mountain valley lies Lijiang city, a charming old town that has long been a centre of Naxi culture and now a World Heritage site. Beyond Lijiang, the beautiful countryside beckons. Not far from the city you'll find the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge, monasteries, Naxi villages and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The tour ends in Lijiang.
Max your Awim Chinese people celebrate a lot of festivals each year. Most of these festivals take place on important dates in the Chinese lunar calendar. It is important to know which festivals to avoid, like the Chinese New Year when travel is difficult and which ones to attend, like the Dragon Boat and Shanghai Tea festivals held in May-June. Other festivals include the Shanghai Film festival in mid-Jun and the Shoton Festival, one of the most popular traditional festivals in Tibet held in the month of August.
Beijing Capital International Airport, about 12 miles (19 kilometres) northeast of the city centre, is served by numerous international carriers from the UK. Taxis at the airport are plentiful; the ride into town costs about $20 and can take anywhere from half an hour to an hour and a half, depending on traffic. For the adventuresome there's also a train that whisks you in 23 minutes to a fairly central station in Beijing from which you can cab it to your hotel.