Follow the Yunnan-Vietnam railway and visit the one of the oldest train stations on this line at Bisezhai village for a fascinating glimpse into history. Explore idyllic Yuangyang on a guided half-day walk, snapping photos of the spectacular rice terrace landscapes and learning a thing or two about their makers, the Hani people. Discover the Ming and Qing marvels of Jianshui Ancient Town on a guided walk. Visit Zhu’s Family Garden, the Confucius temple and the amazingly preserved Tuanshan village. Kunming is yours for the taking. Enjoy plenty of free time in the liveable, laid-back ‘Spring City’ to make your own discoveries
Discover the spectacular southern reaches of China on this adventure through the past. Start in Vietnam’s jewel of the north, and delve further into the region’s French heritage over the border, with a stop in Mengzi. Explore Yuanyang, the picture-perfect home of the Hani people, where eye-popping terraced landscapes stretch as far as the eye can see. Step back in time among the Qing and Ming dynasty masterpieces in Jianshui, and wander the busy streets of Kunming. Finish with an epic rail trip to Hong Kong, where neon lights strike a contrast with the splendour of the harbour.
TRIP CHANGES FOR 2019:
From 1st January 2019 this trip will finish in Kunming instead of Hong Kong and will decrease in length to 9 days. This is to enable the trip to connect with our popular Yunnan & Tiger Leaping Gorge (CBSP) trip. The trip name will also change to Hanoi to Kunming.
Breakfast Included: Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early in Hanoi, there’s plenty to see and do. Consider booking the Hanoi Highlights Urban Adventure with an expert local guide to introduce you to the city. Start by visiting the Temple of Literature, drop into a traditional tea house, learn the stories of the Hoa Lo Prison museum and finish among the temples at Hoan Kiem Lake. Alternatively, take it at your own pace and wander the Old Quarter and admire the city’s French-colonial architecture, relax in a park, or enjoy some street food.
Today is a long travelling day. First you will take a private bus from Hanoi to Lao Cai, near the border with China. Say goodbye to your Vietnamese leader and meet your Chinese leader at the Hekou border crossing. From there, take a taxi to the bus station and board your bus to Menzgi. Transfer to your hotel and settle in. Spend your free evening kicking back and relaxing – or perhaps head out for a taste of the famous Yunnan rice noodles which originated here.
As well as noodles, this town is known for its remnants French architecture - a rarity in today's China. Spot the simple, stately aesthetic of the European style buildings, with their soft yellow facades and tiled roofs which set them apart from the modern structures around them. Visit Bisezhai Station, the finest surviving station on the French-built Vietnam-Kunming railway. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you please. This is a town rarely visited by foreigners. The Nanhu Park area is great for a wander and meeting locals.
Travel by private bus to Yuanyang (approximately 3 hours). If you're a keen photographer, you're in luck, as this is one picturesque destination. This place is famous for its beautiful rice terraces, idyllic rural scenery and unique ethnic minority culture. Some 88% of Yuanyang County belongs to ethnic minorities; the Hani and Yi people created the ornate rice terraces that impress so many visitors. We are staying right inside the Duoyishu Scenic Area. The terraces here are considered a superior spot to photograph the sunrise.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes today for your hike around the rice terraces with a local guide (approximately 4 hours). You'll be able to take it at a leisurely pace and enjoy the scenery. Most of the paths go through villages, which makes it easy to stop for a break.
Travel by private bus to Jianshui (approximately 3.5 hours). With a 1,200-year history and a distinct cultural heritage, the ancient town is a veritable outdoor museum of magnificent buildings. Many of these date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. You will set out on a walking tour of the city and visit the Zhu Family Garden, as well as the incredible Confucius Temple.
Visit Tuanshan Village, a cultural echo of the Qing Dynasty that's still intact. You'll learn a little more about the Yi minority as you explore. It's a fascinating window to the China of the past. Visiting the village is like travelling to the China of the past. Small, cobbled lanes leave you with impressions of timelessness, art and architecture. In the afternoon and evening, enjoy some free time.
Today we travel to Kunming (approximately 3-4 hours). Stop at the geological wonder of the Stone Forest on the way. The Forest covers an area of 400 square kilometres (96,000 acres) and includes both large and small clusters of towering limestone pillars, as well as many other scenic spots. An old local saying says that 'If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time'. Truly, the site is one of the most important attractions of Yunnan.
Free time to explore this large but laidback city today. The 1,000-year-old Yuantong temple is most definitely worth a visit, or find the traces of old Kunming at Lingguang street. You can also take a day tour out to Dianchi Lake or the West mountain if the weather is good. Perhaps head to Green Lake Park where you can see locals spending their leisure time on all kinds of activities and games. Check out The Loft, a disused factory area west of the city centre, home to many small galleries and cafes.
An early start this morning to catch the high-speed train from Kunming to Shenzhen (approx 7 hours). The fast train network is key to China's fast development and the most common way for locals to travel now. Watch the world speed by, read a book or learn a few words from others on the train. We'll arrive at Shenzhen around 3pm and then take the metro to the border for our crossing into Hong Kong. The time for the border crossing depends on the volume of people, so some patience and flexibility will help ease the process. The night is yours, so perhaps bargain your heart out at Temple Street Night Market or try out the great food that the city has to offer.
Reclaimed by China from Britain in 1997, Hong Kong remains an intriguing place to explore, with a spectacular, fast-paced cityscape, and islands and beaches on its doorstep. Enjoy a walking tour of the city and take a scenic journey across to Hong Kong Island on the famous Star Ferry. This gives you beautiful views of the harbour and surrounding areas. The rest of the day is yours. Perhaps ride the Peak Tram – the only way to truly experience Hong Kong's wonders. In the evening, gather your group to celebrate your final night and watch the harbour's spectacular light show – a spectacle of laser beams and searchlights synchronised to music and narration.
Your trip comes to an end today, with no further activities planned.