China - Yunnan (云南)

latest updates:

  • 2012/04/01 - first photos from the trip published
  • 2012/09/02 - i logged around 450km of mostly treks but also a bit of cross country skiing trips in the past 3 months as part of the preparations for the trip.
  • 2012/01/01 - plan of the trip.
  • 2011/20/09 - decision was made, tickets were bought.
  • 2011/19/09 - found out Lufthansa has sale. one day left to buy tickets.

Prerelease notes

You hear about China every day, mostly in regards of how fast they grow economically. Not so often you hear about bigger and bigger social differences of the local people. I'd like to see for myself how is the life of the most ordinary people of China - the tribal people. Yunnan province in the south west of China is the perfect place to do that. Not only has it nice climate year around, its also the place where 26 ethnic minorities out of total 56 in live.


Wuha Gate In The Night, Dali And Erhai Lake, ChinaSmoking Pipe, Jianshui, ChinaLuoping Scenery, Luoping, China

More photos from China, the gallery is still being updated.


Check out list of articles which I published (mostly in czech language).


This is my final itinerary
  • Beijing (北京) -> Kunming (Yunnan, 云南)
  • Kunming -> Yuanyang (元阳县) - Hani (Akha) tribe, trekking, rice terraces
  • Yuanyang (元阳县) -> Xishuangbanna (西双版纳傣族自治州) - tribal minorities (Lahu, Akha, Bulang, Dai), trekking
  • Dali - Bai minority
  • Luoping (罗平县)
  • Kunming (Yunnan, 云南) -> Beijing (北京) -> Oslo

Useful information


  • the people are in general very helpful, but be prepared that VERY FEW speak english - don't count even on taxi drivers or hotel staff
  • always have the place you want to visit written in Chinese, the english names or addresses will not be any help
  • paying by international credit card in shops / restaurants is in 95% impossible, even in Beijing
  • public transport in Yunnan province is surprisingly reliable


  • Kunming: Camelia hotel, 160Y incl. breakfast buffé, OK
  • Jianshui: Lin'an Inn, 130Y, great
  • Yuanyang: Jacky's hostel at Duoyishu village. 160Y, breakfast 15, lunch 15, dinner 20. Very nice rooms right by rice terraces
  • Jinghong, Xishuangbanna: Many trees int. hostel, 80Y, nothing special
  • Xiding, Xishuangbanna: "hotel" at the bus station, 50Y, OK
  • Dali: Jade Emu, 120Y, nice
  • ShuangLang (Erhai Lake, Dali): 160Y, great, right by lake, nice common area

Xishuangbanna Trekking

If you are up to discovering tribal culture, I'll have to disappoint you - the area is now quite developed with all villages having electricity, families watching TV-sets in the evening. But with some luck, you can still find few people living the traditional way. The landscape is quite nice.

Here is a tip for three day trek, starting from Bada and ending in Xiding:

  • to get to Bada, take one of frequent busses to Menghai, then take bus to Bada at 14:30pm
  • trek to Manwa (2hrs), sleep over
  • trek further to Zhanglang (5hrs), sleep over.
  • trek to Xiding (4hrs), take bus at 13:30 or hire a "local taxi" (around 150Y) to Menghai.
  • you can download and print the chinese names for the villages, otherwise, ask someone to write the chinese names of the villages for you, you will need it as well as at least some basics in chinese language
  • if you would like to visit the Xiding market, taking place on Thursday from early morning till around 2pm, its best to arrive one day ahead and sleep over in Xiding, "hotel" right at the bus station (50Y). To get to Xiding, you take one of many busses to Menghai and then one of two daily busses at 10:30am or 15:30pm to Xiding. You can do some decent walking around Xiding with mostly Akha / Hani villages around. Bus back from Xiding leaves 13:30pm, book ahead.

If you are up to more trekking, visit Mekong Cafe in Jinghong and ask the owner, he and his wife are very helpful. I also visited Forest cafe, which is supposed to be highly recommended but I only met there an extremely annoying brother of the owner so I left after few hopeless attempts to ask what kind of treks they have on offer.


Don't stay in Xinjie, take a shared van straight away to Duoyishu (15Y). You can stay at Jacky's guesthouse right by rice fields. He can also drive you to the different viewpoints (150Y for whole van, 7 people). Trek to Tiger Mouth possible - easy - in 4-6 hours depending on how often you stop.


You can safely skip Dali, its a disneyland. Instead, when you arrive by bus to the New Dali City, take a taxi to north bus station and head by bus (10Y) to ShuangLang. Much more authentic, great Bai people, great sleeping options, very relaxing. you can split the hour or so trip from new dali city and stop by at Putuo island.