Destinations Magazine

Yunnan, China Budget Guide and Itinerary

By Wanderingjoshua

I've been mulling over going to China since college, I finally got the chance to do so. However, my first trip to the rising dragon wasn't in the usual places such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or even Xiamen. I decided to visit Yunnan first because of the things I discovered online.

Yunnan, China Budget Guide and Itinerary


Budget Guide
The currency used is in Chinese Yuan (RMB), which is CNY 1 = PHP 7 (conversion rates may vary).
Kunming

Yunnan, China Budget Guide and Itinerary

Yunnan, China Budget Guide and Itinerary

245.5 - Food
50 - Round trip airport shuttle from
69 - Transportation
150 - 4 nights at Cloudland Youth Hostel
88 - Combo ticket for the Dragon Gate and West Hill
25 - Combo ticket for Huating and Taihua Temples
30 - Entrance fee for the Golden Temple
70 - Utilities
223 - Overnight bus to Shangri-La
68 - Round trip express bus to Stone Forest from Kunming
175 - Entrance fee for Stone Forest
25 - Car transportation in Stone Forest
1,218.5 - Total

Yunnan, China Budget Guide and Itinerary


118.5 - Food
54 - Transportation
105 - Entrance fee for Sumatseiling Monastery
70 - 2 nights at N's Kitchen
49 - Round trip bus to white water terrace
30 - Entrance fee to white water terrace
80 - Souvenirs
58 - Bus to Lijiang
564.5 - Total
Lijiang

Yunnan, China Budget Guide and Itinerary

Yunnan, China Budget Guide and Itinerary


177.5 - Food
34 - Transportation
125 - 3 nights at Garden Inn
15 - Laundry
50 - Van to Yulong Snow Mountain
25 - Return van from Yulong
130 - Entrance fee for Yulong Snow Mountain
20 - Round trip bus to Blue Moon Valley
80 - Fee for Black Dragon Pool Park and Old Town
40 - Shuttle to Qiaotou
696.5 - Total
Tiger Leaping Gorge

Yunnan, China Budget Guide and Itinerary


93 - Food
65 - Entrance fee
10 - Fee for the view
40 - 1 night at Halfway Lodge
55 - Bus back to Lijiang
35 - Fees for the lower part of the gorge
298 - Total

Yunnan, China Budget Guide and Itinerary

56 - Bus to Dali from Lijiang
137 - Food
20 - Transportation
50 - 2 nights at Jade Emu Hostel
10 - Souvenir
110 - Grand Lake Tour
120 - Bus back to Kunming
503 - Total

I spent a total of 3,280.5 for 14 days while in Yunnan, China. Accommodations and food are cheap in this region, but moving around from place to place and fees for attractions are expensive and these add up. There is a definite language barrier in this part of the country as very few people spoke or understood English, even if they did, their grasp is rudimentary and you're stuck with making hand gestures, weird noises and pointing at characters. Thankfully, I could speak a bit of Chinese, and understood a few characters and used context clues.

Itinerary
When I planned my trip I had to show an itinerary to the embassy, I knew what cities I would be going to but not really the things I'd do in them. I wanted a bit of leeway despite only having two weeks in the country.

Kunming
My trip started and ended in Kunming, which was the biggest city in Yunnan. There were quite a handful of things to do in the city, such as visiting a few temples and heading to Xi Shan (West Hill) to see the Black Dragon Gate and explore the mountain. I also did a day trip to the Stone Forest from here, which was convenient, you don't need to rent a car since there is a public transport option.

Shangri-La

After Kunming I went to the furthest place on my itinerary then just work my way down from there. I took the overnight bus to Shangri-La. I explored the old town and the monastery nearby, and went on a day trip to the white water terraces. There are national parks of note in the area, but I just didn't have time.

Lijiang and Tiger Leaping Gorge
After Shangri-La I boarded the bus down to Lijiang, which is the place I liked the most despite the commercialization of the old town. I did day trips to the Black Dragon Pool Pond and Park and the Blue Moon Valley in Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. I did the 2 days 1 night high trail trek for Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Dali

I just went around the old town of Dali and made this place a rest stop where I didn't do much. The old town had a hippie and chill vibe, the weather during that time was nice and cool, not too cold like in Shangri-La.

I enjoyed Yunnan and would like to return since two weeks isn't really enough to experience a place or see what you want to see. China's undergoing massive changes as seen by the construction taking place in Kunming and other places, was expecting something more rural when I went out of the big city. It turns out a lot of modernization and commercialization is taking place. However, I still felt that the China I was looking for was still there, under a layer of concrete, kitschy souvenirs and attractions filled with tourists.


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