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Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang & Shangri-la; how many days?

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Feb 15th, 2012, 09:15 AM
  #1
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Yunnan: Dali, Lijiang & Shangri-la; how many days?

Hi,
OK Fodorites, you might have talked me into doing China on our own, instead of with a tour operator. I'm looking at the Yunnan area and want to visit these three areas but need help figuring out how much time to spend in each. My first guess is Dali, three nights at Linden Centre; Lijiang, three nights at Crowne Plaza, Pullman Lijiang Resort or Banyan Tree Lijiang; and two nights at Shangri-la, Songstam Retreat. I was really trying to see this area in 7 days, if possible, but this is 8 days...and I really would have liked 3 nights at Shangri La as well. Hopefully, some of you have been here and know how many activities, sights to see there are in each area....and please offer any comments you have on where to stay or guides that you used. This is our first trip to China...we'll be flying into Dali from Beijing, and continuing on a flight from Shangr-la to Guilin for several days and then Shanghai.
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Feb 15th, 2012, 09:55 AM
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I don't think you need three nights at Dali, what were you thinking of doing there? Are you planning to see Tiger Leaping Gorge? What about Kunming?
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Feb 15th, 2012, 11:39 AM
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Don't want to see Kunming. In Dali, if we stay at the Linden Centre that's actually in Xizhou Village, we'd be doing more cultural immersion type things in local villages. I do want to visit Tiger Leaping Gorge, which I expected to do on drive from Lijiang to Shangri La. But now, i'm thinking of cutting out Shangri La since it's such a long drive from Lijiang and it seems like there's only one site, the monastery, and the altitude probably would bother my husband. I'd add more days around Lijiang then. Any thoughts on this?
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Feb 15th, 2012, 01:59 PM
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Lijiang is totally touristy (many Chinese tour groups), but the surroundings are very scenic. Having read up on the Linden center I might stay longer there rather than in Lijiang, but make sure you get to some of the village markets. (And I don't care what their brochure says, treat anything claimed to be authentically old with deep suspicion.)
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Feb 15th, 2012, 02:42 PM
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thursdaysd,
what if we stayed outside of Lijiang, like at the Banyan Tree Lijiang, so that we could tour the countryside from there...and just visit the old part of Lijiang for a couple of hours?
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Feb 15th, 2012, 03:07 PM
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Personally I'd rather stay in Lijiang itself, but that resort looks like it's way out my price range in any case. BTW, why not Kunming? Have you been there before? It's a pleasant city, and much less touristy than the other places you're planning to visit in Yunnan.
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Feb 15th, 2012, 04:35 PM
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We stayed at both the Banyan Tree resorts in the area and it was wonderful. We met another couple while we were visiting in Lijiang and they were staying in town but when they saw our resort they were so mad that they did not choose to stay at the Banyan. Not far from town, beautiful grounds, rooms and a fantastic view of the Jade Dragon mountain. We stayed there for 3 nights before moving on to Shangri La(Zhongdian) staying at the very beautiful Banyan Tree Ringha.

Kunming is just another industrial town in China and we have stayed there a few times mostly fr transit before moving to other destinations in the area. Dali is suppose to be nice but we have never been.
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Feb 15th, 2012, 05:55 PM
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Thanks, Hanuman! BTW, I read your earlier posts where you provided a link to your photos on Smugmug...but when I clicked, they require a password. Is there another way to view them? Do you think that the Shangri La area is worth the drive? I was looking at staying next door to the monastery at the Songstam Retreat, rather than the Banyan Tree Ringha. I may go with the Banyan Tree Lijiang, altho it is rather expensive, because I want to experience the beauty of the countryside and they did offer a number of excursions.

I also had read that Kunming is just a large city and I want scenic beauty.
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Feb 15th, 2012, 07:16 PM
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Barefoot,

I've reset the password, see at the end of this post. The town of Shangri La or Zhongdian was nothing spectacular and IMO they tried to copy Lijiang but did not do a very good job. The surrounding area was very nice and the best part of Shangri La was the spectacular monestary.

Then Banyan in Lijiang is well worth the price and the the basic villa with the Jacuzzi is the best option IMO. We stayed in the pool villa but that was not worth it because the water was too cold.


Password: Fodors

Lijiang: http://khun-pook.smugmug.com/Travel/...7_pe9wo-X3.jpg

Shangrila: http://khun-pook.smugmug.com/Travel/...0_gqN7c-X3.jpg

Banyan Tree: http://khun-pook.smugmug.com/Travel/...2_qp9n5-X3.jpg
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Feb 15th, 2012, 07:22 PM
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Oops wrong link. Password is the same but click on these links instead.

Lijiang: http://khun-pook.smugmug.com/Travel/...502137&k=pe9wo

Shangri La: http://khun-pook.smugmug.com/Travel/...737020&k=gqN7c

Banyan Tree: http://khun-pook.smugmug.com/Travel/...501902&k=qp9n5
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Feb 16th, 2012, 03:48 AM
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Hanuman, Thanks so much for sending a new link. The pictures are gorgeous and you were lucky to have such beautiful weather! The Shangri La monastery looks beautiful, as does Ringha, but I think I will spend more time in Lijiang area rather than drive up to Shangri La....and try to nab a better price at the Banyan Tree.

If anyone has more info on the Dali area, I'd love to hear it!
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Feb 16th, 2012, 06:49 PM
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Have you considered Jinghong in the south? It's in an area called Xixuangbanna, a tropical area with small towns, tea growing areas that are the home of pu-erh tea and a great weekly hill tribe market near the Burma border.

I spent a month in Yunnan and liked Dali and Lijiang but especially liked the south. Jinghong is on the Mekong River and there are boats one can take from the area south to Laos & Thailand which I did.
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Feb 17th, 2012, 05:41 AM
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MmePerdu,
No I haven't looked at this area. I'm finding that it's not that easy to find decent flights into Dali or Lijiang that don't involve a long or overnight layover, so I'd think it also might be hard to get to this area. I'm trying to plan the "easiest" trip possible with no bus or trains and not a lot of time transferring from place to place.
But, thanks for the recom and I will look at this. I did check out a new resort that just opened in this area...pretty pricey like the Banyan Tree.
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Feb 17th, 2012, 06:14 AM
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Buses to Dali from Kunming & on to Lijiang are not at all bad. Then we flew from Lijiang to Jinghong. All quite simple, no overnights. I cannot bear long bus rides, would scratch a destination before I'd do it.

I find the most accurate information of this sort can often be gotten on a forum called the Oriental List, frequently answered by expats in China, moderated by Peter Neville-Hadley.
http://members.shaw.ca/pnhpublic/China.html
http://www.hmssurprise.org/wa.cgi?SU...ental-list&A=1
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Feb 17th, 2012, 06:21 PM
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MmePerdu,
Thank you so much for sharing those links. I'll look right into that.
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Feb 20th, 2012, 01:49 PM
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I'm trying to get into the above links but don't seem to be able to figure out where the info is after I subscribed. Help please!
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Feb 20th, 2012, 02:55 PM
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dgunbug, I had the same problem, altho today I got a health alert email stating that the pollution in China increases the risk of heart attacks. On the site, I couldn't seem to get past all the posting requirements.
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Feb 20th, 2012, 03:21 PM
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It's not a forum like this is a forum. Many fewer posters and they come sequentially by email rather than being available on a website. You can get them as they're sent out or in digest form, periodically. Post a question and wait for replies. It's just about China so obviously the traffic will be much less. But the participants tend to be either living in China or go often so the information is specific and up to the minute. Just not the deluge of general Q&A like this one but excellent information.

I'm used to it so didn't think to point out the differences. Sorry about that. But do send in your questions and make them as specific to your requirements as you can.
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Feb 20th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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That is, email your questions to the address supplied.

[email protected]
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Feb 20th, 2012, 04:57 PM
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MmePerdu's link to a competing web site to Fodors, completing for your "clicks", is allowed and my mentioning that the moderator is the same guy known over here as Peter NH is "removed" - go figure!
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