Settings -
£
$
¥
$
¥
HomeRoad TripsAsiaEast AsiaChinaYunnan
Lijiang

Yunnan Road Trip

Kunming - Dali - Shaxi - Lijiang - Lugu Lake - Shangri-La - Meili Snow Mountain - Yunling - Tacheng

Expect on your itinerary

Landscape Landscape
Benefit-stress ratio Benefit-stress ratio
Culture Culture
Historical sites Historical sites
Security Security
Wildlife Wildlife
Urban life Urban life
Comfort Comfort
Yunnan Road Trip ACTIVATE MAP Stages13 km1,908 h/stage2.4

Best months to drive

I II III IV V VI
VII VIII IX X XI XII

Road Trip Costs

How much does it cost to go on a Yunnan Road Trip in China?

Economy
Low budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 2,340EUR drive & more 263EUR sleep & more 605EUR eat & more 624EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,492EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 3,832EUR
Standard
Mid budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 7,020EUR drive & more 338EUR sleep & more 1,034EUR eat & more 936EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 2,308EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 9,328EUR
Premium
High budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 9,828EUR drive & more 463EUR sleep & more 2,233EUR eat & more 1,248EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 3,944EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 13,772EUR
Camper
On the road in RV, overnight at camp grounds with self-catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 2,925EUR drive & more 513EUR sleep & more 715EUR eat & more 624EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,852EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 4,777EUR
Car rental Book hotel Flights
Share this link.

Yunnan Road Trip Itinerary

The Yunnan Road Trip is an unforgettable journey through some of the most stunning landscapes and historical sites in China. Starting in Kunming, the journey takes you on a 1908 km route through Dali, Lijiang, Lugu Lake, Shangri-La, Meili Snow Mountain and Yunling, ending in Lijiang. The best time of year to drive this route is from April to October, when the weather is warmer and the roads are in good condition. The journey is full of incredible experiences, from UNESCO Heritage sites such as the Old Town of Lijiang, to the stunning Lugu Lake, and the Meili Snow Mountain, the highest peak in Yunnan province. Along the route, you can also take time to explore the many smaller towns, each with its own unique culture and history. The Yunnan Road Trip is suitable for all drivers, and can be managed on a reasonable budget. With 13 days to complete the journey, there is plenty of time to take in the incredible sights and sounds of this beautiful part of China, creating memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.
number of days 13 number of days
route length 1,908 km route length
budget moderate budget
good for tourist good for
traffic direction on the right traffic direction
accident level moderate accident level

START Kunming

Distance 1,908 km Driving time 31.4 h Pace: modest 496.2 kWh Airports KMG
[detailsContainer]
Kunming, situated in Yunnan province of China, is the perfect starting point for the "Yunnan Road Trip". It is rich in culture, history, and natural beauty and offers a plethora of sights to explore. Kunming is home to the Dianchi Lake, Stone Forest National Park, and Yuantong Temple, which are some of the most popular tourist spots. The city is also known for its beautiful gardens, such as the Green Lake Park and Cuihu Park. For those traveling by air, Kunming Changshui International Airport (IATA: KMG) is the closest international airport. At the airport, there are several car rental companies offering cars for rent, making it easy to travel around the city and explore the region. Kunming is a great place to start a road trip and explore the beauty of Yunnan province. From here, you can visit the incredible landscapes and ancient cities, as well as experience the unique culture of the province.

1 Kunming - Dali

Distance 345 km Driving time 3.8 h Pace: fast 103.5 kWh View map Itinerary
junction of road trips accommodation options
[detailsContainer]
Are you ready for a thrilling road trip from Kunming to Dali? This 345km journey will take you fewer than 4 hours and will allow you to explore some of the most interesting places in China! Start your journey in Kunming, where you can visit the Green Lake Park, a beautiful park with a lake and a temple, and the Western Hills, a mountain range with stunning views of the city. Then, drive to Dali, the old city of the Bai people. Here, you can explore the Three Pagodas, a group of ancient Buddhist pagodas, and the Erhai Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in China. You can also visit the Ancient City of Dali, a walled city with cobbled streets and traditional houses. More information regarding attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route is available in the "Itinerary" of this stage. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and let's hit the road!

2 Dali - Shaxi

Distance 125 km Driving time 2.5 h Pace: modest 32.6 kWh View map Itinerary
[detailsContainer]
Welcome to the amazing road trip from Dali to Shaxi! The 125 km journey will take you less than 3 hours and it is part of a bigger tour. Start your journey in Dali, where you can explore the old town’s narrow lanes and visit the Three Pagodas. Then, you can drive to Xizhou, the home of the Bai people. Here you can explore the ancient town and visit the Xizhou Market, where you can buy traditional handicrafts and sample local snacks. Finally, you will reach Shaxi, a charming village nestled in the mountains. Here you can explore the old theater and visit the Shibaoshan Grottoes. For more information regarding attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, please visit the Itinerary of this stage. Enjoy your trip!

3 Shaxi - Lijiang

Distance 102 km Driving time 1.6 h Pace: fast 30.6 kWh View map Itinerary
UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site
[detailsContainer]
Embark on a 102 km journey from Shaxi to Lijiang, a drive that will take you fewer than two hours! This stage of your road trip will bring you to some of the most interesting places in China. Start off in Shaxi, a small village in the foothills of the Himalayas. Here, you can explore some of China’s oldest temples and traditional markets. Then, make your way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ancient Town of Lijiang, where you can take a stroll through the cobbled streets and explore the old city walls. As you travel along the route, be sure to take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains. End your journey in Lijiang, a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful ancient architecture, vibrant culture, and stunning natural scenery. Here, you can explore the Old Town, visit the Naxi Ancient Music Performance, and take a cable car up to the Tiger Leaping Gorge. For more information about attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, please refer to the Itinerary of this stage. Enjoy your journey!

4 Lijiang - Lijiang

Distance 40 km Driving time 1.1 h Pace: slow 9.3 kWh View map Itinerary
UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site
[detailsContainer]
Embark on a breathtaking journey through the picturesque landscape of Lijiang and Yulong, which is only 40 km and takes less than two hours to drive. This stage of your road trip is a great chance to explore the UNESCO Heritage sites along the way. Start in Lijiang and make your way to Yulong, where you can find the Yulong Snow Mountain and the Baisha Mural. Admire the stunning views of the mountain range and the ancient murals. The Baisha Mural is a great example of the fusion of different cultures in the region. After your visit, head back to Lijiang, where you can explore the Old Town and the Naxi Dongba Culture Museum. The Old Town is a great place to experience the local culture and the museum is an excellent opportunity to learn about the Naxi people. There is more to explore along the route and you can find more information regarding attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites in the Itinerary of this stage. So, get ready to explore the best of Lijiang and Yulong!

5 Lijiang - Lugu Lake

Distance 189 km Driving time 3.2 h Pace: modest 49.2 kWh View map Itinerary
[detailsContainer]
Embark on an unforgettable journey from Lijiang to Lugu Lake! This 189 km drive takes you through some of the most beautiful and captivating regions of China. Along the way, you will be able to visit some of the most interesting places, such as the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the Tiger Leaping Gorge, and the Lugu Lake. The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a stunning natural wonder with a peak of over 5,500 meters. It offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape and is a great place to take a few pictures. The Tiger Leaping Gorge is a deep canyon carved by the Yangtze River and is known for its breathtaking views and its incredible geological formations. Finally, the Lugu Lake is a beautiful and secluded lake surrounded by lush forests and snow-capped mountains. This is just one of the stages of a larger tour, so make sure to check out the "Itinerary" for more information about attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route. With fewer than 4 hours of driving time, this road trip will be an unforgettable experience!

6 Lugu Lake - Lugu Lake

Distance 49 km Driving time 1.3 h Pace: slow 11.3 kWh View map Itinerary
UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site
[detailsContainer]
Embark on an unforgettable road trip starting at Lugu Lake, China and ending back at the same point after a 49 km drive. Along the way, you will get to explore the fascinating sites of Dazu, with its incredible rock carvings, some of which are UNESCO Heritage sites. This journey will take you less than two hours, but you will be able to take in the beauty of the area and enjoy a few stops along the way. From the picturesque landscapes of the lake to the historical sites of Dazu, you will be sure to have a memorable experience. Make sure to take time to admire the incredible rock carvings, as well as the amazing views of the lake. For more information on attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites, please refer to the Itinerary of this stage. Enjoy your journey!

7 Lugu Lake - Lijiang

Distance 187 km Driving time 3.1 h Pace: fast 56.0 kWh View map Itinerary
UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site
[detailsContainer]
Embark on a road trip through the beautiful Chinese countryside, starting at Lugu Lake and ending in Lijiang. This scenic journey takes you on a drive of 187km and takes less than 3 hours. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to explore some of the UNESCO Heritage sites, such as the Old Town of Lijiang and the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas. As you drive, you will be surrounded by stunning landscapes, from lush forests to snow-capped mountains. Make sure to keep your eyes open for other historical sites and attractions that you may find along the way. Once you arrive in Lijiang, you will be able to enjoy the city's unique culture, cuisine, and architecture. For more information about attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, please refer to the Itinerary of this stage. Enjoy your trip!

8 Lijiang - Shangri-La

Distance 191 km Driving time 2.9 h Pace: fast 57.3 kWh View map Itinerary
[detailsContainer]
Embark on an unforgettable road trip from Lijiang to Shangri-La! This 191 km route takes you through one of the most stunning natural landscapes in China - the Tiger Leaping Gorge. This 3 hour journey is part of a larger tour, but you can also enjoy it as a stand-alone experience. Start your journey in Lijiang and make sure to visit the Old Town, with its cobbled streets and traditional Naxi architecture. Then, hit the road and make your way to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the world. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Yangtze River and the snow-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Finally, you will reach Shangri-La, a place of mythical beauty. Explore the old Tibetan town of Dukezong, with its colorful houses and ancient prayer wheels. Don't forget to visit the Songzanlin Monastery, one of the most important monasteries in Yunnan Province. For more information on attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, please check the "Itinerary" of this stage. Enjoy your road trip!

9 Shangri-La - Shangri-La

Distance 12 km Driving time 0.4 h Pace: slow 2.7 kWh View map Itinerary
[detailsContainer]
Embark on an exciting road trip through Shangri-La, China, and its neighboring Songzanlin. Start your journey in Shangri-La, where you can explore the tranquil Pudacuo National Park and the iconic Songzanlin Monastery. Then, take a 12km drive to Songzanlin, where you can marvel at the magnificent architecture of the Dabaoji Palace. Afterward, take a short drive back to Shangri-La, where you can explore the historic Old Town and the majestic Napahai Lake. Along the way, you can take advantage of the many attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites. To get the most out of your trip, make sure to check out the itinerary of this stage for more information. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable road trip through Shangri-La and Songzanlin. With fewer than 1 hours of driving time, you can explore some of the most beautiful places in China.

10 Shangri-La - Meili Snow Mountain

Distance 198 km Driving time 3.3 h Pace: modest 51.5 kWh View map Itinerary
[detailsContainer]
If you’re looking for an unforgettable road trip, Shangri-La to Meili Snow Mountain is the perfect stage for you. This 198 km journey will take you less than 4 hours and will show you some of the most beautiful places in China. Start your journey in Shangri-La, a paradise on earth, where you can visit the Pudacuo National Park and take a cruise on the tranquil Bita Lake. As you drive through the stunning countryside, you will arrive at the Meili Snow Mountain, home to the Kawagebo Peak. Here you can take a cable car up to the mountain and explore the ancient monasteries and temples. You can also take a hike through the forest and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Don’t forget to take a dip in the nearby hot springs. More information regarding attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route is available in the “Itinerary” of this stage. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready for an amazing road trip!

11 Meili Snow Mountain - Yunling

Distance 27 km Driving time 0.6 h Pace: modest 7.1 kWh View map Itinerary
[detailsContainer]
Embark on a captivating journey from Meili Snow Mountain to Yunling! This 27 km stretch will take you less than an hour to complete, so you can take your time to explore the most interesting places. Start your trip in Meili Snow Mountain, one of the most sacred mountains in China, and take in its breathtaking views. Then, make your way to the stunning Yubeng Village, the starting point of the famous Meili Snow Mountain Trek. Continue your journey to Feilai Temple, a place full of cultural significance, and marvel at its intricate architecture. After that, make your way to the picturesque and serene Napahai Lake, where you can take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Then, make a stop at the enchanting Yuhu Village, a traditional Tibetan settlement. Finally, end your trip in Yunling, a small town surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. Here you can take a stroll around the town and explore the local culture. For more information about attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, please check the "Itinerary" of this stage. Enjoy your trip!

12 Yunling - Tacheng

Distance 243 km Driving time 4.5 h Pace: modest 63.1 kWh View map Itinerary
[detailsContainer]
Embark on an exciting road trip from Yunling, China, and explore the stunning landscapes and culture of Cizhong, Weixi, and Tacheng. The journey, spanning 243km and taking less than 5 hours to complete, is a must-do for travelers looking to experience the unique beauty of these three places. Begin your journey in Yunling, where you can enjoy the mesmerizing views of the Yangtze River, the longest river in China. Then, make your way to Cizhong, a small town with a rich history and culture. Here, you can marvel at the ancient churches, explore the local markets, and take in the breathtaking views of the nearby mountains. Next, head to Weixi, a place of stunning beauty and rich culture. Here, you can explore the traditional Tibetan villages and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Mekong River. Finally, end your journey in Tacheng, a small town known for its vibrant culture and stunning nature. Take in the views of the nearby mountains and enjoy the local cuisine. This is just one of the stages of a larger tour. For more information regarding attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, please refer to the "Itinerary" of this stage. Start your journey and explore the unique beauty of Yunling, Cizhong, Weixi, and Tacheng!

13 Tacheng - Lijiang

Distance 200 km Driving time 3.0 h Pace: fast 59.9 kWh View map Itinerary
UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site
[detailsContainer]
Embark on an amazing road trip stage starting in Tacheng, China and ending in Lijiang, just 200 kilometers away. You can reach your destination in less than 3 hours, so make sure you don't miss any of the beautiful places along the way. Start by visiting the Tacheng National Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can spot rare and endangered species of birds and animals. As you drive through the stunning countryside, you'll come across the stunning Tiger Leaping Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can take in the incredible views of the Yangtze River. You'll also pass by the picturesque Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, a must-see for anyone visiting the area. Finally, you'll arrive in Lijiang, a charming city with a rich cultural heritage. Here, you can explore the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and take in the stunning architecture and traditional Chinese culture. Make sure to check out the nearby Black Dragon Pool and the Naxi Ancient Music Show for a truly unique experience. With so much to explore, you won't want to miss a single stop along the way. For more information on attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, be sure to check out the Itinerary of this stage.

  Lijiang

[detailsContainer]
Lijiang, the end of the Yunnan Road Trip, is a beautiful, picturesque city in the Chinese province of Yunnan. Nestled in the foothills of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the old city of Lijiang has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique architecture, cobbled streets and canals. Its cobblestone streets, canals, and bridges have earned it the nickname “Venice of the Orient”. The city’s most famous attraction is the Lion Hill. It is a popular spot to take in the views of the town, mountains and the nearby Black Dragon Pool. Other attractions include the nearby Baisha Village, a centuries-old village that is home to many of Lijiang’s ethnic minority residents, the Dongba Culture Museum, where visitors can learn about the ancient Naxi culture, and the Old Town of Lijiang, a well-preserved old city that is a delight to explore. For those taking the Yunnan Road Trip, the nearest international airport is Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG). From there, you can take a bus or taxi to Lijiang. The journey takes approximately four hours. Lijiang is a city of immense beauty, with its cobbled streets, canals, bridges, and stunning mountain views. It is a great place to end your Yunnan Road Trip, and a must-see destination for anyone traveling to China.

Yunnan Road Trip at a glance

We’d be glad if our adventure idea gave you plenty of inspirations for your future trips.
The plan we’ve prepared can be used as a template that you can recreate in its entirety or only partially and that can be enriched with diverse beauty spots of your choice.
If car travel is a means of travel that you prefer, there are a number of essential road rules to follow and a number of elements to be mindful of to make your adventure safe. These tips will surely become useful for travellers who are considering vehicle hire or camper rental.
In China, there are a number of traffic rules to be remembered while sightseeing. To be on the safe side, try to avoid alcohol at any cost. Remember that the allowed level of alcohol in blood is rather low and equals only 0.2‰. The maximum speed around the city is 60km/h. Outside the cities, travellers can travel at the maximum allowed speed of 80km/h. On highways, 120km/h is the permissible speed that you should be mindful of. Driving with your headlights on at daytime and equipping your vehicle with a first aid kit and fire extinguisher heavily increase the safety of you and your passengers.
But what are the costs of the whole trip. Depending on the budget option that you select, the amount of money that you have to spend during the whole itinerary may vary. Check out the available budget possibilities.
We estimate that the cheapest offer when it comes to gasoline to cover the planned 14 stages while travelling around China may amount to 263 EUR. Economy accommodation options can cost holidayers roughly 605 EUR. Holidaymakers should also remember about the fact that they will spend approximately 624 EUR for food and restaurants in this option. Travellers will have to pay around 2,340 EUR if they aim for the budget rental car option as well. Thus, going for vehicle rental will increase the costs of the road trip from more or less 1,492 EUR to approximately 3,832 EUR.
Holidayers who are looking for greater comfort and the standard option will pay about 338 EUR for the fuel needed to cover the itinerary. If you are into standard accommodation options, expect that the expenses may amount up to more or less 1,034 EUR. Holidaymakers can expect that the standard option in terms of food and restaurants will cost around 936 EUR. Travellers who want to cover the tour in a standard hire vehicle can expect a cost of approximately 7,020 EUR. Summing up the standard offer, the estimated cost of the road trip will total about 9,328 EUR for holidaymakers who would like to try vehicle hire and 2,308 EUR for those who are not interested in rental.
The highest level of comfort of the premium option will live up to the expectations of the most demanding holidaymakers. When it comes to this offer, the estimated cost of the road trip will total roughly 13,772 EUR for holidaymakers who are considering car hire and 2,308 EUR for those who do not need a hire vehicle. Travellers who would like to cover the trip in a premium hire vehicle can expect a cost of around 9,828 EUR. When it comes to the top standard version of the itinerary, the gasoline cost will be up to roughly 463 EUR. Drivers who are interested in top services in all aspects of their itinerary should expect to pay about 1,248 EUR for food and restaurants and more or less 2,233 EUR for overnight stays.
Yunnan Road Trip is also an excellent opportunity for all camper fans. The service of camper rental costs around 2,925 EUR. If you are wondering about the gasoline costs for the whole road trip, they will amount to more or less 513 EUR. Tourists who choose camper hire should expect to pay about 715 EUR for accommodation and around 624 EUR for expenses connected with food.
The section Road Trip Costs shows all the above details in a simple way.
The mentioned 14 stages stages are perfect for exploration in a car or camper between May and September. If Yunnan Road Trip has inspired you, our website is rife with beautiful road adventures. The great versatility of trips will surely meet the expectations of the most demanding tourists.

Facts for safer driving in China

drink drive limit drink drive limit 0.2
max speed urban max speed urban 60 km/h
max speed rural max speed rural 80 km/h
max speed highway max speed highway 120 km/h
headlights at daytime headlights at daytime on
fire extinguisher fire extinguisher yes
tolls tolls yes
seat belts seat belts yes

Recommended trips

West Tibet Road Trip West Tibet Road Trip
West Tibet Road Trip
Asia - China
2,906 km 76 km/h 18 days roadtrip
Tibet Road Trip Tibet Road Trip
Tibet Road Trip
Asia - China
3,322 km 74 km/h 16 days roadtrip
Lanzhou to Kunming East Tibet Road Trip Lanzhou to Kunming East Tibet Road Trip
Lanzhou to Kunming East Tibet Road Trip
Asia - China
2,849 km 80 km/h 14 days roadtrip
Sichuan -Tibet Road Trip Sichuan -Tibet Road Trip
Sichuan -Tibet Road Trip
Asia - China
2,067 km 65 km/h 3 days roadtrip
East Tibet Road Trip East Tibet Road Trip
East Tibet Road Trip
Asia - China
1,985 km 71 km/h 13 days roadtrip
Beijing to Hong Kong Road Trip Beijing to Hong Kong Road Trip
Beijing to Hong Kong Road Trip
Asia - China
6,619 km 89 km/h 28 days roadtrip