Day 1: Stone Forest & Yuanyang
Your driver and tour guide will pick you up and drive about 1.5 hours to the Stone Forest. This wonder of nature, a forest made of stone, used to be an ocean about 270 million years ago. Then the earth’s crust rose and limestone pierced through. Weather and time have sculpted a huge karst labyrinth that feels like you are walking through a forest, with ancient stone trees looking down on you. The natives belong to the Sani minority, a branch of the Yi ethnic minority. You can find many beautiful girls in traditional clothing and maybe even cute grandma’s jamming together singing folk songs as they create embroidery.
After lunch go to Yuanyang terraces and visit the Lengdun local market on the road. Then we will go to the Duoyishu area and check into our hotel.
Day 2: Yuanyang
Today we get up very early and drive through the early twilight hours to Duoyishu Village. Here you will find the best place in the area to see the golden sun rise over the mountains and shine her pink and azure light on the shimmering water of the rice paddies. Then the mystic sea of clouds silently approaches and slowly devours the villages and fields in her white soft ribbons. Then we will return to the hotel to have breakfast and visit the Bada Rice Terraces, the biggest of all the rice terraces in Yuanyang area, that covers the entire valley like a colorful carpet. Tucked away in this valley also lies Qingkou Village, a typical Hani minority hamlet with ‘mushroom houses’, where primal country life still exists in this place where forest, village, watering system and fields created a unique working ecosystem. Afterwards we will start hiking to another nearby ethnic minority village.
Later in the evening, we’ll head to the rice terraces at Laohuzui, or translated ‘Tiger Mouth’. A fierce name that reflects the in tenseness of magnificence of the terraced valley, with vivid and iridescent reflections on the water during sunset, her colors changing like a kaleidoscope.
Day 3: Sheng and Xingmeng Village
After breakfast we will go to Sheng Village, an important trade center where the locals from the villages come to trade wares. Every 5 days there’s a bustling market where you can find Hani and Yi minorities, many of them dressed in their traditional clothing, weave baskets, sell fruits, homemade alcohol, livestock and fresh meat or smoke their bamboo bongs. Then we continue to back to Kunming and halfway, we will also stop to visit Xingmeng Mongolian village, which is the only place with the Mongolian ethnic group in Yunnan. They descent from the Mongolian conquerors that came with to Yunnan about 700 years ago. Then we’ll finish the journey to Kunming.