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South of the Clouds - Delve into China's Yunnan Province

11 days from £6,610 per person

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South of the Clouds is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Family-friendly Itineraries.

Yunnan - which literally means "South of the Clouds", due to its location just south of the Tibetan Plateau - is home to some of the most diverse cultures, ecology and terrain in China. With verdant low-lying valleys, spectacular white-capped mountains, rustic towns and villages, and a lively mix of ethnic minority communities, Yunnan has long inspired poets and travellers alike.

Fly into Beijing and take in some of the famous sights that this ever evolving city has to offer. Then fly on to the less frequently visited western fringes of China, to Dali, where you will begin your tour. Tucked between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake, Dali is a Ming-era town that has retained much through the ages. Here you will explore the Old Town, take a boat ride around Erhai Lake and take part in a traditional Bai Tea Ceremony. Drive on to spend one night in the small town of Shaxi to visit the town and have a delicious authentic dinner.

Next, you will continue north to Lijiang, know as the Venice of the East, which lies in the shadow of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. This is an ideal place for trekking, cycling and even horse riding or simply enjoying nature whilst staying at the luxurious Banyan Tree. Drive further north via the first bend of the Yangtze River & Tiger Leaping Gorge to the infamous Shangri-La. There is another chance for hiking and visiting remote villages in the area. Then fly on to the ultra modern metropolis of Shanghai for your final stop before your onwards flight home. There are many other options in Yunnan, please ask for further details.

This luxury holiday is purely a suggested itinerary. It can be booked as is or alternatively used as a starting point for creating your own ideal tailor-made trip to China.


Itinerary details

11 days from £6,610 per person

  • Day 1 - In Transit
    Overnight flight to Beijing.
  • Day 2 - Aman Summer Palace - Beijing
    Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and Summer Palace. Walk around the Hutong neighbourhoods.
  • Day 3 - The Linden Centre - Dali
    Morning flight to Kunming and transfer by car to Dali. Explore Dali Old Town and experience the Bai Tea Ceremony
  • Day 4 - The Linden Centre - Dali
    Visit Xizhou Village and it’s local markets. Take a boat ride on or cycle around Erhai Lake, stopping at the local ethnic Bai villages.
  • Day 5 - LUX* Tea Horse Road - Lijiang
    Drive to Lijang via Shaxi Village, connecting Tibet and Eastern China during the Tea and Horse Caravan Road era. Arrive in Lijang and spend the evening at your leisure.
  • Day 6 - Songtsam Retreat - Shangri-La
    Spend the day sightseeing around Shangri – La. Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Gorge.
  • Day 7 - Songtsam Retreat - Shangri-La
    Visit Songzanlin Monastery, before exploring Shangri-la Old Town. Dinner in the Old Town before joining the locals’ evening festivities.
  • Day 8 - Songtsam Retreat - Shangri-La
    Hiking in the Napahai Valley and visit the Nixi artisan village. Horse riding across the neighboring wetland if desired.
  • Day 9 - The Peninsula Shanghai - Shanghai
    Transfer to airport for your onwards flight to Shanghai.
  • Day 10 - The Peninsula Shanghai - Shanghai
    Your choice of sightseeing in Shanghai.
  • Day 11 - In Transit
    Morning flight back to the UK.
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To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
Bill Bryson

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- Susan Ford, India
Ampersand’s details preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet/direct booking age. Shalmali was a delight to work with – before and during our trip.
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So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
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Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
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Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
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I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
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