Discover China’s Yunnan Province on foot

The Yunnan Province of China is the most south-westerly in the country and is renowned for its striking scenery and excellent walking trails. This is a little-visited corner of China and a wonderful place to get off the beaten track.

To make the organisation of your trip simple – and ensure you have a knowledgeable guide while you’re hiking – consider booking a tour with a company like Explore Worldwide.


Choosing this kind of holiday will give you the chance to discover some truly spectacular landscapes and meet some of the remote hill tribes that inhabit this region of China. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, read on to find out more.

You can book a tour following Yunnan’s tribal trails with Explore Worldwide for £1,629 without flights.

Discovering Dali

The trip will begin in Dali, a city that can trace its origins back for centuries. Dali’s city gate is one of the most striking features, as well as the walls that were constructed to protect the settlement, which was once an important stop on the Silk Road into south-west China.

After walking around the centre and exploring the cobbled streets, you can head out of the city to hike up to the Zhonge Temple, which dates back to the Ming era. This will give you an excellent introduction to the area and means you can enjoy strolling through cedar and eucalyptus woods and seeing an old Daoist temple.

Walk in the Tiger Leaping Gorge

The walk through the Tiger Leaping Gorge is considered to be one of the most beautiful hikes in the country. The trail leads past terraced fields, through small villages and swathes of forest.

Usually, you’ll take two days to complete the trek, stopping at a small guesthouse overnight. As you wander, you’ll have wonderful views of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain ahead of you, as well as the Yangste River. There are also several waterfalls en route that you can admire as you hike.

Trekking in the mountains

One of the most exciting parts of your trip will involve hiking in the mountains between remote hill tribes that are rarely visited by tourists. This is a wonderful chance to get under the skin of the culture in this part of China, as you’ll visit the Yangzhi Laoke Yi village, where members of the tribe wear colourful clothes and large headdresses.

This will be your first stop on an eight-day trek that will lead you towards the Taiziguang Mountains. Among the other places you’ll visit are the stone village of Baoshan and settlements that are inhabited by the Pumi and Mosou tribes, which are ethnically related to the Tibetans.

Exploring Lugu Lake

Lugu Lake is the highest body of water in this part of China, sitting at 2,685 m above sea level. You’ll travel to Lugu Lake after you’ve finished your hiking in the remote mountain regions, but it’s best to discover this landmark by boat, rather than on foot.

One of the highlights of a cruise on the waters is the chance to visit s temple located on an island in the middle of the lake – a truly beautiful sight.


The old town of Lijiang is a must-visit attraction in the Yunnan Province. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and settlement has been established here since the 13th century.

Among its most striking features are the springs and wells that supply the town with water, as well as the network of rivers that crisscross the streets. As a result, there are many bridges – 354 in total – within the town that has led to it also being known as the City of Bridges.

Matt Cook enjoys travelling and cycling which helps in his role of eCommerce Manager for Adventure Travel company Explore.