Tagged yunnan

yunnan paradise – october holiday 2019

Are you dreaming of a land of blue skies, colorful clouds, people living a quiet traditional life? A place where you can stretch your legs, climb green mountains, wade amongst wildflowers, and discover temples, new friends and always a bit of adventure? Sounds like a fairy tale, some kind of Shangri-La, you say?

You would be right. And you can find your own paradise in the northwest corner of Yunnan province.

Come with Greta Bilek, author of China Tea Leaves travel guides and explorer of China, on your dream trip to Yunnan province.

Yunnan province is located in southwestern China, tucked between Tibet, Sichuan and Guangxi provinces, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and is one of the most diverse provinces in China, with dozens of ethnic minorities; flowers, mushrooms and other wildlife; and dramatic landscapes with the weather of eternal spring.

We’ll be visiting the Shaxi valley; Shuhe and Baisha, outside of Lijiang; Shangri-La; and the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

We will fly from Shenzhen direct to Lijiang (丽江 elev. 7900ft/2400m). There we will be picked up by private shuttle to head to Shaxi (沙溪 elev. 6890ft/2100m), a pristine valley with a well preserved Bai minority village and world class historical sites. The Bai people are a Sino-Tibetan ethnic group, known throughout Yunnan for their intricately carved architecture and fine cooking with local ingredients. Shaxi was an important trading post on the ancient Tea Horse Road, which connected Tibet to southern Yunnan and beyond, for centuries of trade of horses (from Tibet) and tea (from southern Yunnan).

Our hotel for two nights will be located right inside a temple/theatre that served entertainment for the gods of the Bai people. We will visit the market area, with its temple and theatre complex, recognized by UNESCO for its articulate restoration. On our full day in Shaxi, we will journey into the rolling hills to find a secluded temple and the fascinating sculptural grotto of Shizhongshan.

On our last day in Shaxi we’ll be able to catch the action at the Sideng market, frequented by villagers who come down from the hills for their weekly supplies.

From Shaxi we will head back to Shuhe (束河 elev. 7900ft/2400m) near Lijiang, another town located on the ancient Tea Horse Road. On the day of our arrival, we will stroll the colorful streets of Shuhe, in the view of the imposing Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Shuhe and Lijiang were stops on the old Tea Horse Road, which connected Tibet to southern Yunnan and beyond, for centuries of trade of horses (from Tibet) and tea (from southern Yunnan). This area is the home of the Naxi minority, with their own writing system and religion.

We’ll visit Baisha (白沙 elev. 8170ft/2490m), the capital of the region’s former Naxi kingdom, and today a small village that still holds its authentic, traditional feeling. We can chat with locals, taste local street food, and hunt antiques and fabrics in the shops of the old town.

After unwinding in Shuhe, we will head north towards to Shangri-La (香格里拉 elev. 10,370ft/3160m), the center of the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan province. You will really feel like we’re in Tibetan country, even though we won’t have crossed the border. Ladies in traditional pink headwear do their shopping and older folks grasp their prayer beads throughout the streets. We will visit a lively market, the old town of Dukezong, the largest prayer wheel in the world, and the Songzanlin monastery, which is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan.

If your holiday schedule allows, what better way to finish off your time in Yunnan than with a stunning 2-day hike in the Tiger Leaping Gorge?  (虎跳峡 elev. 6230-8690-6890ft/1900-2650-2100m). This is one of the most renowned hikes in the world, following a deep gorge along the Jinsha River, which becomes the Yangtze River as it flows from here through Sichuan province. Every view is breathtaking, gazing up at snow mountains so close you think you could reach out and touch them.

After one tough day of hiking, we will stay overnight in a guesthouse on the trail, and wake up to silent mountains looking on outside our window. We will continue hiking through farming enclaves, waterfalls and vistas to reach our shuttle back to Lijiang.

Our final night will be spent in Shuhe, before your departure flight back from Lijiang to Shenzhen.

After days dreaming in the heights amongst a rainbow of wildflowers and prayer flags, you will return to Shenzhen with a vision of paradise in your mind’s eye and a burning desire to come back to Yunnan province.

October 2: Arrive Lijiang, transfer to Shaxi
October 3: Shaxi Shibaoshan temple and hiking, stay Shaxi
October 4: Transfer to Shuhe, stay Shuhe
October 5: Visit Baisha, Tibetan temple hike
October 6: Transfer to Shangri-La, visit old town and monastery, stay Shangri-La
October 7: End, arrange your flight out from Lijiang or Shangri-La

Optional:
October 8: Transfer to Tiger Leaping Gorge, day one of hiking, stay TLG
October 9: Day two of Tiger Leaping Gorge, return to Shuhe
October 10: Flight out from Lijiang

Golden Week only October 2-7: 4680RMB
Extended with Tiger Leaping Gorge October 2-10: 5890RMB
Hotels (double occupancy), Private Ground Transportation, Entrance Tickets, Meals, Travel Insurance, and guide by Greta

(Note: Much of this trip is at high elevation – 7900ft/2400m and higher. Travelers will feel the effects of the elevation, but can usually adjust to normal activity level within 1-2 days. The Tiger Leaping Gorge hike has some steep inclines and is at high elevation. Hiking at this elevation is tough and incurs a real risk of altitude sickness. There are donkeys available on the trail for those who feel uncomfortable, for an additional fee.The trail is in good condition, and no special prior hiking experience is necessary. But this hike is best suited for those in good physical shape. Please notify us of any health conditions when booking. China Tea Leaves is not responsible for any injuries or accidents sustained during the trip.)

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Yunnan in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

a gourmet tour of yunnan – july 24-28

Lofty mountains and flowing waters, a wildflower for your hair and a mushroom for your umbrella. Yunnan in summer is wet with dew and rain, but it is the perfect playground to discover all the wonderful things coming to life in fields and mountainsides! Come along with China Tea Leaves on this unique Yunnan tour, Summer of Mushrooms edition!

This five day tour celebrates the mighty mushroom, and all the many varieties which can be found in Yunnan province. Yunnan is wonderfully biodiverse, with microclimates, forests, and mountains harboring thousands of flora and fauna not found anywhere else on earth, including many, many varieties of mushrooms. Actually, epicureans from around the world source their funghi from Yunnan, including as much as 2,000 tons of matsutake which make their way to Japan every year (in China called 松茸 song rong).

We will fly from Shenzhen direct to Lijiang (丽江 elev. 7900ft/2400m). There we will be picked up by private shuttle to head to Shaxi (沙溪 elev. 6890ft/2100m), a pristine valley with a well preserved Bai minority village and world class historical sites. Our hotel for two nights will be the Old Theatre Inn, located right inside a temple/theatre that served entertainment for the gods of the Bai people. Here we will be treated to a tour by a local guide to pick wild mushrooms, and for lunch we will cook a few dishes based on local produce and our own foraged mushrooms. We can also visit the famous Sideng market in the village, where your eyes can savor a rainbow of edibles, teas, herbs, as well as the diverse minorities of the region.

From Shaxi we will head back to Shuhe (束河 elev. 8000ft/2440m) near Lijiang, an old town located on the ancient Tea Horse Road. We will continue to eat our way through Yunnan, savoring mushroom hot pot with the summer’s bounty, fresh fruit, local walnuts and more. We can shop the markets of Shuhe and Lijiang for matsutake and black truffles to bring to friends and family back home. We’ll take a short hike on the Tea Horse Road itself, peeking in on wildflowers and mushrooms growing along our path. At last, mushrooming complete, we can lay back and relax in our courtyard home, sipping tea and letting the mesmerizing guqin take us on a mind-bending journey.

Wednesday, July 24: Morning flight Shenzhen to Lijiang, shuttle to Shaxi
Thursday, July 25: Local mushroom tour in Shaxi
Friday, July 26: Visit Sideng market in Shaxi, shuttle to Shuhe
Saturday, July 27: Tea Horse road hike in Shuhe, visit market in Lijiang (or Shuhe as weather alternate)
Sunday, July 28: Afternoon flight Lijiang to Shenzhen

Price: 3808 per adult (double occupancy), child price on request

Price includes: Local ground transportation in Yunnan, four nights (double occupancy) at quality courtyard hotels, meals, local guide fee, entrance tickets, travel insurance, and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves. Does not include airfare to Lijiang. Contact me for current airfare and booking info.

Payment: by cash, WeChat or Alipay. Deposit of 1800 due at time of booking.

Reserve by July 5 and get a free limited edition Summer of Mushrooms t-shirt!

Minimum 5 people, maximum 8

Note: On this trip we are only picking and eating safe mushrooms, nothing hallucinogenic or dangerous. Puns are for literary purposes only. 🙂 Please pay attention to our local guide in Shaxi, who will advise us which mushrooms are safe to pick and consume.

Note: Much of this trip is at high elevation – 6890ft/2100m and higher. Travelers may feel effects of the elevation, but can usually adjust to normal activity level within 1-2 days. This itinerary does not include intensive hiking, but please notify us of any health conditions when booking. China Tea Leaves is not responsible for any injuries or accidents sustained during the trip.

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Yunnan in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

summer trips – jun-jul 2019

Ready to travel to the China you have been dreaming of? China Tea Leaves is here with countryside jaunts, seaside escapes, hiking adventures and more, all starting from Shenzhen, going on through the summer. All trips are organized and run by me, Greta Bilek, American in Shenzhen for over 6 years. Browse the rest of this site for more information about our trips and approach to travel in China, and a special thanks to our media partner Shenzhen Party for featuring China Tea Leaves trips. 

zhuhai june 7 (dragon boat festival)

Beach or mountain? Zhuhai treats you to both and much more, in a one day jaunt from Shenzhen. We’ll start out by taking the ferry from Shekou to Zhuhai. From there, we’ll use public transportation to tour around some of Zhuhai’s top sights.

We’ll walk along the Lover’s Road, with swaying palms above and the delta’s lapping waters stretching out to the horizon. We’ll visit the symbol of the city, the Fisher Girl, standing stately in the waves of the delta, and her lover the Fisher Boy, who looks on from the top of Jingshan Park, a small mountain park. After lunch at a nearby restaurant, we’ll have the option of free time on the beach or heading to a historical curiosity of Zhuhai, the recreated Old Summer Palace of Beijing. (Adult: 405RMB/Child: 245RMB)

macau june 11 (tuesday)

Beyond the glittering lights and tourist-flooded streets, you can discover another side of Macau. Ornate temples wafting with incense, traditional bakeries, craftsman’s studios, and chapels and shrines with curious history can be found if you take the time to explore this tiny city’s winding alleys. 

On this insider tour of Macau, we’ll see a relic of a Christian saint, a secret garden inside a public library, the most beautiful black-and-white mosaic street in Macau, and a temple dedicated to the snake goddess held to be creator of the Chinese universe. In the afternoon we’ll stop by a cozy wine bar for a glass of Portuguese wine. After the end of the tour, you can stay on in Macau to enjoy its nightlife and fine dining. (Adult: 550RMB/Child: 280RMB)


watertown june 15 (saturday)

You don’t have to travel to Suzhou and Shanghai to see the Venice of China, since we have such a quaint village right in our backyard across the Pearl River Delta.

On this day trip, we’ll head by private shuttle bus to the outer villages of Shunde district, part of Foshan city, famous for Cantonese culture and culinary excellence.

We will experience the landscape and lifestyle of two water towns, where shaded streets line the water ways connecting the many rivers of the region. Locals still base their lives around the central clan house and a relaxed game of Chinese chess. Simple dumplings and fisherman’s noodles make up lunch, and in foodie town Shunde, local desserts and sampling the tasty snacks are a must. Round out your day by hiring a boat to paddle you around the canals. (Adult: 330RMB/Child: 235RMB)

dapeng june 18 (tuesday)

Shenzhen has its own share of distinctive destinations, prime of which is its eastern bookend of Dapeng Ancient Fortress. Dapeng is a fortified village that dates back to the Ming dynasty, predating the urbanization of Shenzhen, and was in charge of controlling pirates off the coast of China. Today it still retains many narrow alleys to walk, with people living a quiet life in the village and shops selling traditional foods and gifts.

First we’ll visit a grand Buddhist temple with a history equal to the neighboring fortress, under the misty hills which ancient cartographers first marked this area for. After touring the streets and homes of the generals inside the fortress, we’ll head to the beachside town of Jiaochangwei. Now it takes the form of a young Chinese surf town, with many restaurants, cafes, and hostels in its colorful blocks. There we’ll enjoy lunch and some free time on the beach. (Adult: 200RMB/Child: 150RMB)

guizhou june 22-24 (weekend)

One of the most beautiful villages in China, hiking, rice terraces, minority culture…all on a quick trip from Shenzhen? Yes, and you can come join an easy escape to the smoke ringed mountains of Guizhou province.

We will be whisked away by high speed train to southeast Guizhou province, known as Qiandongnan, an autonomous region of the Miao and Dong minorities. This trip will focus on the area of Congjiang, where we will encounter one of the most beautiful villages in all of China. 

We’ll stroll the charming village, crossing covered bridges and ducking under drum towers rising out of the tangle of the hidden village. The town’s museums will also inform about the local Dong culture, their grand song tradition, and textile arts. On the second day, we will journey up the valley to a neighboring village for a view over the rice terraces, and hike back through the misty fields and other village clusters. With a third day (Monday), we can visit yet another area, a Miao village that has kept its unique customs since the Qing dynasty. It is also possible to attend only day one and two of this trip and return to Shenzhen on Sunday. (Adult: 1680RMB/Child: 980RMB)

kaiping july 6 (saturday)


Come with China Tea Leaves to Kaiping (开平), for a one day getaway to a place with stunning architecture and pleasant villages, not far from Shenzhen. 

Kaiping is part of the five counties known as the hometown of overseas Chinese. It is also the home of diaolou (碉楼), a unique building type that acted as a fortress, watchtower, and clan house. Thousands of diaolou are sprinkled throughout Kaiping’s districts, often rising seven, eight, or nine stories from low-lying villages. These architectural wonders combine elements of vernacular buildings with Western designs the overseas Chinese encountered abroad. This building phenomenon put Kaiping on the map as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, and makes it a must-see in Guangdong province today. We will visit three of the UNESCO listed sites, all fantastic scenes with villas and castles sprouting out of the rice fields. (Adult: 545RMB/Child: 295RMB)

zhuhai bridge and tai o july 9 (tuesday)

Come experience a modern marvel of China, the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, and see the Pearl River Delta from the cutting edge to the traditional, a snapshot of China in one seaside adventure.

One of the main features of this trip will be to cross the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. This mega structure is 55 kilometers in total length, and is now the longest sea crossing in the world. This is one of the greatest engineering feats of our time, and it is right in our backyard!

We will travel by official bridge shuttle from Zhuhai to Hong Kong. After we arrive in Tung Chung Hong Kong, we will journey on to Tai O, the quintessential fishing village of Hong Kong. Scarcely a kilometer away from the modern marvel of the HZM Bridge lies this quiet port, where life in many corners has not changed for centuries. Wander amongst the fisherman’s houses teetering on stilts over the water. We will also take a short cruise to get a closer look at the stilt houses and venture out into the bay in search of the famous pink dolphins of this side of Hong Kong. Head back to Tung Chung for dinner or stay on for a sunset drink over Tai O’s quiet bay. (Adult: 458RMB/Child: 328RMB)

watertown july 13 (saturday)

You don’t have to travel to Suzhou and Shanghai to see the Venice of China, since we have such a quaint village right in our backyard across the Pearl River Delta.

On this day trip, we’ll head by private shuttle bus to the outer villages of Shunde district, part of Foshan city, famous for Cantonese culture and culinary excellence.

We will experience the landscape and lifestyle of two water towns, where shaded streets line the water ways connecting the many rivers of the region. Locals still base their lives around the central clan house and a relaxed game of Chinese chess. Simple dumplings and fisherman’s noodles make up lunch, and in foodie town Shunde, local desserts and sampling the tasty snacks are a must. Round out your day by hiring a boat to paddle you around the canals. (Adult: 330RMB/Child: 235RMB)

dapeng july 16 (tuesday)

Shenzhen has its own share of distinctive destinations, prime of which is its eastern bookend of Dapeng Ancient Fortress. Dapeng is a fortified village that dates back to the Ming dynasty, predating the urbanization of Shenzhen, and was in charge of controlling pirates off the coast of China. Today it still retains many narrow alleys to walk, with people living a quiet life in the village and shops selling traditional foods and gifts.

First we’ll visit a grand Buddhist temple with a history equal to the neighboring fortress, under the misty hills which ancient cartographers first marked this area for. After touring the streets and homes of the generals inside the fortress, we’ll head to the beachside town of Jiaochangwei. Now it takes the form of a young Chinese surf town, with many restaurants, cafes, and hostels in its colorful blocks. There we’ll enjoy lunch and some free time on the beach. (Adult: 200RMB/Child: 150RMB)

yunnan mushrooms july 24-28

Yunnan in summer is wet with dew and rain, but it is the perfect playground to discover all the wonderful things coming to life in its hills and valleys! This five day tour celebrates the mighty mushroom, and all the many varieties which can be found in Yunnan province. Yunnan is wonderfully biodiverse, with microclimates, forests, and mountains harboring thousands of flora and fauna not found anywhere else on earth, including many, many varieties of mushrooms.

We will visit the regions of Shaxi, and Shuhe of the Lijiang area. Both were important trading towns on the ancient Tea Horse Road running between Burma and Tibet through Yunnan province. The town markets in July will be brimming with local fruit, nuts, and of course funghi of all kinds, just brought in from the wild mountainsides. Take a custom mushroom foraging tour, and immerse yourself in Bai style cooking and Naxi courtyards back in the villages. Massive mountains, grand temples, fields of green and gold—Yunnan’s treats will have you coming back for more. (Adult: 3808RMB plus airfare/Child: price on request)

foshan august 3 (saturday)

Come on a day trip to see Foshan, the colorful hometown of Cantonese traditions! Enjoy a day out to learn about kung fu, lion dancing, ancient ceramics and traditional culture.

On this day trip, first we will visit the Nanfeng Ancient Kiln, a ceramics kiln that has been in continuous operation since the Ming dynasty, for over 500 years. From here, we’ll head to lunch in Lingnan Tiandi, a historic district developed with many restaurants and quaint cafes.

After lunch, we will explore the Ancestral Temple, which has been a central part of Foshan people’s religion for centuries. The highlight of the day is the heart-pumping kung fu and lion dance demonstration. And don’t miss the heart of the Ancestral Temple, the ornate halls of Beidi, the northern emperor god, to whom locals pray to watch over Foshan. A day in Foshan is a must when living in Guangdong province! (Adult: 360RMB/Child: 270RMB)

Note: posted prices typically are all inclusive: transportation, meals, guide, tickets. Contact Greta for exact details for each trip and for information about partner discounts.

custom travel planning

Besides joining the set date group trips above, I can also offer custom plans for your group to many destinations throughout China. I draw on my own experience and resources to create a plan tailored to your group, interests, and timeframe, whether you are a couple wanting to get away from the city for a weekend, or a family coming to the Middle Kingdom from abroad for a two week adventure. I am able to coordinate and arrange everything in advance, providing you with maps and illustrated guides so that your experience is as smooth and informative as a guided tour, even if I am not with you. I have arranged for custom travel to Guilin, Yangshuo, Yunnan, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Zhangjiajie, plus even more destinations available – just let me know what you’d like to see in China!

For booking and more information:

Contact Greta on WeChat:

or contact by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

also featured on Shenzhen Party at: http://www.shenzhenparty.com/events/elsewhere-china/summer-travel-china-tea-leaves

dragon clouds so high above – yunnan may 27-31

Lofty mountains and flowing waters, a wildflower for your hair and a mushroom for your umbrella. Yunnan in May has sprung to life, expanses of playful clouds drifting by snow mountains and river valleys. Come along with China Tea Leaves to discover some of our favorite places in colorful Yunnan.

Yunnan province is located in southwestern China, tucked between Tibet, Sichuan and Guangxi provinces, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and is one of the most diverse provinces in China, with dozens of ethnic minorities; flowers, mushrooms and other wildlife; and dramatic landscapes with the weather of eternal spring. This five day tour celebrates two distinctive cultures of Yunnan, that of the Bai people in Shaxi, and the Naxi people of Lijiang and Shuhe.

We will fly from Shenzhen direct to Lijiang (丽江 elev. 7900ft/2400m). There we will be picked up by private shuttle to head to Shaxi (沙溪 elev. 6890ft/2100m), a pristine valley with a well preserved Bai minority village and world class historical sites. The Bai people are a Sino-Tibetan ethnic group, known throughout Yunnan for their intricately carved architecture and fine cooking with local ingredients. Shaxi was an important trading post on the ancient Tea Horse Road, which connected Tibet to southern Yunnan and beyond, for centuries of trade of horses (from Tibet) and tea (from southern Yunnan).

Our hotel for two nights will be the Old Theatre Inn (alternative Miss May Hotel), located right inside a temple/theatre that served entertainment for the gods of the Bai people. We will visit the market area, with its temple and theatre complex, recognized by UNESCO for its articulate restoration. On our full day in Shaxi, we will journey into the rolling hills to find a secluded temple and the fascinating sculptural grotto of Shizhongshan.

From Shaxi we will head back to Shuhe (束河 elev. 8000ft/2440m) near Lijiang, another town located on the ancient Tea Horse Road. On the day of our arrival, we will stroll the colorful streets of Shuhe, in the view of the imposing Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, sampling the bounty of spring, while locals offer fresh berries, foraged walnuts and more.

On our full day in the Shuhe area, we’ll venture yet closer to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to Baisha (白沙 elev. 8170ft/2490m), the capital of the region’s former Naxi kingdom, and today a small village that still holds its authentic, traditional feeling. We can chat with locals, taste unique street food, and hunt antiques and fabrics in the shops of the old town. We can also take a smooth hike from Baisha up to the Fuguosi temple, an active Tibetan Buddhist monastery, with grand views over the mountains and peaceful valley.

After one more night at our courtyard home at the Lazy Tiger Inn, we will visit one of the most classic sights of the Lijiang area, the Black Dragon Pool in Lijiang, before setting out on our return flight to Shenzhen.

After days dreaming in the heights amongst a rainbow of wildflowers and curling dragon clouds, you will return to Shenzhen with a vision of paradise in your mind’s eye and a burning desire to come back to Yunnan province.

Monday, May 27: Morning flight Shenzhen to Lijiang, shuttle to Shaxi
Tuesday, May 28: Hike and temple visit in Shaxi
Wednesday, May 29: Shuttle to Shuhe, visit Shuhe
Thursday, May 30: Visit Baisha, hike to Tibetan Buddhist monastery
Friday, May 31: Visit Lijiang, Afternoon flight Lijiang to Shenzhen

Price: 5280 per person (double occupancy)
Discount of 250 available for SWIC or ABNet members

Price includes: Round trip airfare from Shenzhen, local ground transportation in Yunnan, four nights (double occupancy) at quality courtyard hotels, meals, entrance tickets, travel insurance, and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves.

(price based on current airfare Shenzhen-Lijiang; if airfare increases total price will be adjusted. so book early with Greta to get the best fares)
Not in Shenzhen? No problem. Contact me to find out the required arrival time in Lijiang airport to join the group.

Payment: by cash, or WeChat, deposit of 2500 at time of booking

Note: Much of this trip is at high elevation – 6890ft/2100m and higher. Travelers may feel slight effects of the elevation, but can usually adjust to normal activity level within 1-2 days. This itinerary includes some light hiking, but can be adjusted according to the level of the group. Please notify us of any health conditions when booking. China Tea Leaves is not responsible for any injuries or accidents sustained during the trip.

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Yunnan in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

october holiday adventure – 5-8 days in yunnan

 

Looking for an adventure for your October holiday? We’re gathering a group of intrepid travelers to venture to one of my favorite places in China, the northwest region of Yunnan province. This is a five-day trip taking place during the golden week in October 2018, extendable to 8 days including an optional hike.

Yunnan is the China of your dreams, with blue skies, colorful clouds, cobblestone villages, and mountain vistas. I’ve designed the trip to get to some lesser known places and skip the most crowded days of the national holiday, so you don’t have to worry about the crowds.

Yunnan province is located in southwestern China, tucked between Tibet, Sichuan and Guangxi provinces, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and is one of the most diverse provinces in China, with dozens of ethnic minorities; flowers, mushrooms and other wildlife; and dramatic landscapes with the weather of eternal spring.

We will fly into Lijiang (丽江 elev. 7900ft/2400m) to start our adventuring. First we’ll travel down to the Dali (大理 elev. 6480ft/1975m) region near the famous Erhai Lake. The Bai minority are the most populous in this area, with elegant ladies in colorful headdress working the markets, restaurants featuring local vegetables and even the Bai people’s own kind of cheese, and of course narrow lanes made lively with hand painted entrances and distinctive tie dyed fabrics.

We’ll also visit nearby Xizhou (喜洲), another Bai town, known for its daily market, ornate courtyard homes, and well known embroidery shops.

On our third day we will venture up to the Shaxi (沙溪 elev. 6890ft/2100m) valley, where green rice paddies and blue hills encircle the special town of Shaxi. The preservation of its central opera stage, temple and other distinctive buildings won an award from UNESCO. We’ll arrive here on Friday in time to catch the action at its market, frequented by villagers who come down from the hills for their weekly supplies.

On the fourth day we’ll head northward ascending to Shuhe and Baisha (束河,白沙 elev. 7900ft/2400m), in the region of Lijiang. Shuhe and Lijiang were stops on the old Tea Horse Road, which connected Tibet to southern Yunnan and beyond, for centuries of trade of horses (from Tibet) and tea (from southern Yunnan). This area is the home of the Naxi minority, with their own writing system and religion. We’ll stay in the relatively quiet town of Baisha, which was the former capital of the Naxi kingdom.

If departing on the 5th day (October 7), we’ll visit the Tea Horse Road museum in Shuhe in the morning before your flight, to send you off dreaming of wildflowers, clear running streams and mountain adventures.

If your holiday schedule allows, what better way to finish off your time in Yunnan than with a stunning 2-day hike in the Tiger Leaping Gorge?  (虎跳峡 elev. 6230-8690-6890ft/1900-2650-2100m). This is one of the most renowned hikes in the world, following a deep gorge along the Jinsha River, which becomes the Yangtze River as it flows from here through Sichuan province. Every view is breathtaking, gazing up at snow mountains so close you think you could reach out and touch them.

After one tough day of hiking, we will stay overnight in a guesthouse on the trail, and wake up to silent mountains looking on outside our window. We will continue hiking through farming enclaves, waterfalls and vistas to reach our shuttle back to Lijiang.

Our final night will be spent in Baisha, before we fly back from Lijiang to Shenzhen.

After days dreaming in the heights amongst a rainbow of wildflowers and prayer flags, you will return to Shenzhen with a vision of paradise in your mind’s eye and a burning desire to come back to Yunnan province.

Day 1: Fly to Lijiang, travel to Dali, visit Dali old town
Day 2: Visit Xizhou, market and crafts
Day 3: Travel to Shaxi, Sideng market and hiking
Day 4: Travel to Baisha
Day 5: Fly Lijiang to Shenzhen, or visit Shuhe
(optional Day 6: Tiger Leaping Gorge
(optional Day 7: Tiger Leaping Gorge
(optional Day 8: Fly from Lijiang)

Group size: 6-10 people

(Note: Much of this trip is at high elevation – 7900ft/2400m and higher. Travelers will feel the effects of the elevation, but can usually adjust to normal activity level within 1-2 days. The Tiger Leaping Gorge hike has some steep inclines and is at high elevation. Hiking at this elevation is tough and incurs a real risk of altitude sickness. There are donkeys available on the trail for those who feel uncomfortable, for an additional fee. The trail is in good condition, and no special prior hiking experience is necessary. But this hike is best suited for those in good physical shape. Please notify us of any health conditions when booking. China Tea Leaves is not responsible for any injuries or accidents sustained during the trip.)

Announcement: This trip has already been launched in agile mode to accommodate a group early bookers! If you are interested in joining this trip, just contact me and I will do my best to add you to our group! Please note some exclusions in the price due to ongoing registration.

This trip is already confirmed, so registering will remain open until Thursday September 27

Price:

3800RMB per person for 5 days, 4800RMB per person for 8 days.
Contact me for current price

Does not include airfare or meals. Price includes hotels (double occupancy), private shuttle transportation for 5 days, travel insurance, and personal English speaking guide. Price based on hotels available at time of writing; please contact me for current price and inclusions.

Recommended flights: Oct 3: CZ8581 SZX-LJG, Oct 10: CZ8582 LJG-SJX. Approximately 3100RMB. If you need help booking your flight, just contact me. I can book it for you for a small fee.

discounts available for ABNet members or SWIC members

Single supplement: 500RMB for 5 days, 750RMB for 8 days option

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Yunnan in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

best of colorful yunnan – 5 days

Are you dreaming of a land of blue skies, colorful clouds, people living a quiet traditional life? A place where you can stretch your legs, climb green mountains, wade amongst wildflowers, and discover temples, new friends and always a bit of adventure? Sounds like a fairy tale, some kind of Shangri-La, you say?

You would be right. And you can find your own paradise in the northwest corner of Yunnan province.

This is a condensed tour featuring the best of Lijiang and Shangri-La areas in 5 days. No extended hiking, so it’s great for families and kids!

Yunnan province is located in southwestern China, tucked between Tibet, Sichuan and Guangxi provinces, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and is one of the most diverse provinces in China, with dozens of ethnic minorities; flowers, mushrooms and other wildlife; and dramatic landscapes with the weather of eternal spring.

We will fly into Lijiang (丽江 elev. 7900ft/2400m), a major stop on the ancient Tea Horse Road in western China. Our home base will be the old town of Shuhe, a village on the old Tea Horse Road, which connected Tibet to southern Yunnan and beyond, for centuries of trade of horses (from Tibet) and tea (from southern Yunnan). We’ll also visit Baisha, the former capital of the Naxi kingdom.

On our third day, we will head north towards to Shangri-La (香格里拉 elev. 10,370ft/3160m), the center of the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan province. You will really feel like we’re in Tibetan country, even though we won’t have crossed the border. Ladies in traditional pink headwear do their shopping and older folks grasp their prayer beads throughout the streets. We will visit a lively market, the old town of Dukezong, the largest prayer wheel in the world, and the Songzanlin monastery, which is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan.

We’ll come back down for our last night in Shuhe before flying out from Lijiang with colors and memories alive in our hearts.

Day 1: Fly to Lijiang, visit Shuhe
Day 2: Visit Baisha, former capital of Naxi kingdom
Day 3: Travel to Shangri-La, visit old town and prayer wheel
Day 4: Visit Songzanlin Tibetan Buddhist monastery, return to Shuhe
Day 5: Fly from Lijiang

Dates:

June 27 – July 1

or

July 2 – July 6

Stay tuned for available dates for this route in August and September.

 

Price:

3680RMB

3380RMB discounted partner price – available for ABNet members, SWIC members, and students of Purple Peony Studio

 

Includes:
3 nights in a high quality Naxi courtyard guesthouse, 1 night in a 5 star hotel in Shangri-La, (both double occupancy), private shuttle transportation, meals, entrance tickets, and travel insurance.
Not included:
Airfare (I can help book for a small booking fee)

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Yunnan in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

yunnan paradise – october skies edition

 
 For a limited time we can offer 1000 RMB off the above price – due to a drop in airfares. Contact us now to reserve your spot – chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com or via the WeChat QR Code below.

China Tea Leaves Guided Tour – Yunnan 9-Days 

Shuhe, Baisha, Lugu Lake, Shangri-La and Tiger Leaping Gorge

October 21-29, 2017

Personal Tour with Greta Bilek

Are you dreaming of a land of blue skies, colorful clouds, people living a quiet traditional life? A place where you can stretch your legs, climb green mountains, wade amongst wildflowers, and discover temples, new friends and always a bit of adventure? Sounds like a fairy tale, some kind of Shangri-La, you say?

You would be right. And you can find your own paradise in the northwest corner of Yunnan province.

Come with Greta Bilek, author of China Tea Leaves travel guides and explorer of China, on your dream trip to Yunnan province.

Yunnan province is located in southwestern China, tucked between Tibet, Sichuan and Guangxi provinces, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and is one of the most diverse provinces in China, with dozens of ethnic minorities; flowers, mushrooms and other wildlife; and dramatic landscapes with the weather of eternal spring.

I’m Greta Bilek, and I’ve lived in Shenzhen for nearly five years. During my time here, I’ve often traveled to Yunnan province, among other places, writing and discovering the hidden treasures of China. I’ll be your personal guide, taking you to my favorite places and sharing stories that open up the symbols, history and culture we will encounter. This is a small group tour (6-10 people), so we can relax into the pace of Yunnan life and discover places off the beaten track.

We’ll be visiting Shuhe and Baisha, outside of Lijiang; Lugu Lake; Shangri-La; and the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

We will fly into Lijiang (丽江 elev. 7900ft/2400m), a major stop on the ancient Tea Horse Road in western China. Our home base will be the old town of Shuhe, a village on the old Tea Horse Road, which connected Tibet to southern Yunnan and beyond, for centuries of trade of horses (from Tibet) and tea (from southern Yunnan).

Once we check into our courtyard hotel in Shuhe (束河 elev. 8000ft/2440m), all the knots of your hectic modern life will start to melt away, as we sip tea, listen to the ancient guqin played by Liping, and fall into a slow rhythm of life.

We’ll visit Baisha (白沙 elev. 8170ft/2490m), the capital of the region’s former Naxi kingdom, and today a small village that still holds its authentic, traditional feeling. We can chat with locals, taste local street food, and hunt antiques and fabrics in the shops of the old town.

Then we’ll hit the road to head to Lugu Lake (泸沽湖 elev. 9095ft/2770m), a clear lake in the mountains on the border between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. This is the home of the Mosuo people, also known as the “kingdom of women” due to their specific matrilineal customs still practiced today. The clear blue waters dancing under your wooden boat and the Tibetan religion of the area will also leave their impression on you.

After going back through Baisha, we will head north towards to Shangri-La (香格里拉 elev. 10,370ft/3160m), the center of the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan province. You will really feel like we’re in Tibetan country, even though we won’t have crossed the border. Ladies in traditional pink headwear do their shopping and older folks grasp their prayer beads throughout the streets. We will visit a lively market, the old town of Dukezong, the largest prayer wheel in the world, and the Songzanlin monastery, which is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan.

From Shangri-La, we will head back south to start our two-day hike of the Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡 elev. 6230-8690-6890ft/1900-2650-2100m). This is one of the most renowned hikes in the world, a deep gorge along the Jinsha River, which becomes the Yangtze River as it flows through Sichuan province. Every view is breathtaking, gazing up at snow mountains so close you think you could reach out and touch them.

After one tough day of hiking, we will stay overnight in a guesthouse on the trail, and wake up to silent mountains looking on outside our window. We will continue hiking through farming enclaves, waterfalls and vistas to reach our shuttle back to Lijiang.

Our final night will be spent in Shuhe, before we fly back from Lijiang to Shenzhen.

After days dreaming in the heights amongst a rainbow of wildflowers and prayer flags, you will return to Shenzhen with a vision of paradise in your mind’s eye and a burning desire to come back to Yunnan province.

Day 1: Evening flight Shenzhen – Lijiang, stay Shuhe

Day 2: Visit Shuhe and Baisha, stay Shuhe

Day 3: Shuhe to Lugu Lake, stay Lugu Lake

Day 4: Lugu Lake visit, Lugu Lake to Baisha, stay Baisha

Day 5: Baisha to Shangri-La, Old Town visit, stay Shangri-La

Day 6: Visit Songzanlin Monastery, stay Shangri-La

Day 7: Shangri-La to Tiger Leaping Gorge, hike, stay TLG

Day 8: Finish hike TLG, return to stay in Shuhe

Day 9: Afternoon flight Lijiang – Shenzhen

All-Inclusive: Round trip Airfare (direct flight on Shenzhen Airlines), Ground Transportation, Hotels 8 nights (double occupancy), Entrance Tickets, Meals, Travel Insurance

10580RMB

(Note: Much of this trip is at high elevation – 7900ft/2400m and higher. Travelers will feel the effects of the elevation, but can usually adjust to normal activity level within 1-2 days. The Tiger Leaping Gorge hike has some steep inclines and is at high elevation. Hiking at this elevation is tough and incurs a real risk of altitude sickness. There are donkeys available on the trail for those who feel uncomfortable, for an additional fee.The trail is in good condition, and no special prior hiking experience is necessary. But this hike is best suited for those in good physical shape. Please notify us of any health conditions when booking. China Tea Leaves is not responsible for any injuries or accidents sustained during the trip.)

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Yunnan in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

putting the fun in funghi – a gourmet tour of yunnan

Lofty mountains and flowing waters, a wildflower for your hair and a mushroom for your umbrella. Yunnan in summer is wet with dew and rain, but it is the perfect playground to discover all the wonderful things coming to life in fields and mountainsides! Come along with China Tea Leaves on this unique Yunnan tour, Summer of Mushrooms edition!

This five day tour celebrates the mighty mushroom, and all the many varieties which can be found in Yunnan province. Yunnan is wonderfully biodiverse, with microclimates, forests, and mountains harboring thousands of flora and fauna not found anywhere else on earth, including many, many varieties of mushrooms. Actually, epicureans from around the world source their funghi from Yunnan, including as much as 2,000 tons of matsutake which make their way to Japan every year (in China called 松茸 song rong).

 

We will fly from Shenzhen direct to Lijiang (丽江 elev. 7900ft/2400m). There we will be picked up by private shuttle to head to Shaxi (沙溪 elev. 6890ft/2100m), a pristine valley with a well preserved Bai minority village and world class historical sites. Our hotel for two nights will be the Old Theatre Inn, located right inside a temple/theatre that served entertainment for the gods of the Bai people. Here we will be treated to a tour by a local guide to pick wild mushrooms, and for lunch we will cook a few dishes based on local produce and our own foraged mushrooms. We can also visit the famous Sideng market in the village, where your eyes can savor a rainbow of edibles, teas, herbs, as well as the diverse minorities of the region.

 

From Shaxi we will head back to Shuhe (束河 elev. 8000ft/2440m) near Lijiang, an old town located on the ancient Tea Horse Road. We will continue to eat our way through Yunnan, savoring mushroom hot pot with the summer’s bounty, fresh fruit, local walnuts and more. We can shop the markets of Shuhe and Lijiang for matsutake and black truffles to bring to friends and family back home. We’ll take a short hike on the Tea Horse Road itself, peeking in on wildflowers and mushrooms growing along our path. At last, mushrooming complete, we can lay back and relax in our courtyard home at the Lazy Tiger Inn, sipping tea and letting the mesmerizing guqin take us on a mind-bending journey.

 

Wednesday, August 30: Morning flight Shenzhen to Lijiang, shuttle to Shaxi
Thursday, August 31: Local mushroom tour in Shaxi
Friday, September 1: Visit Sideng market in Shaxi, shuttle to Shuhe
Saturday, September 2: Tea Horse road hike in Shuhe, visit market in Lijiang (or Shuhe as weather alternate)
Sunday, September 3: Afternoon flight Lijiang to Shenzhen

Price: 6988 per person (double occupancy)

Plus – If you book 2 or more people together, receive 100RMB off per person in your group!
For example – book 2 together, 200RMB off for you and your friend. Book 4 together, 400RMB off for each person! Maximum 600RMB off the original price.

(price above if booked by August 16. after August 16 dependent on current airfare and other last minute fees)

Price includes: Round trip airfare from Shenzhen, local ground transportation in Yunnan, four nights (double occupancy) at quality courtyard hotels, meals, local guide fee, entrance tickets, travel insurance, and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves.

Payment: by cash, payment to be made by August 16

Minimum 6 people, maximum 8

Contact Greta on WeChat (lilies-of-the-valley) or by email (chinatealeaves@yahoo.com) to book your spot.

 

Note: On this trip we are only picking and eating safe mushrooms, nothing hallucinogenic or dangerous. Puns are for literary purposes only. 🙂 Please pay attention to our local guide in Shaxi, who will advise us which mushrooms are safe to pick and consume.

Note: Much of this trip is at high elevation – 6890ft/2100m and higher. Travelers may feel effects of the elevation, but can usually adjust to normal activity level within 1-2 days. This itinerary does not include intensive hiking, but please notify us of any health conditions when booking. China Tea Leaves is not responsible for any injuries or accidents sustained during the trip.

 

 

yunnan paradise – china tea leaves tour of lijiang and shangri-la

China Tea Leaves First Guided Tour – Yunnan 9-Days 

Shuhe, Baisha, Lugu Lake, Shangri-La and Tiger Leaping Gorge

April 22-30, 2017

Personal Tour with Greta Bilek

Are you dreaming of a land of blue skies, colorful clouds, people living a quiet traditional life? A place where you can stretch your legs, climb green mountains, wade amongst wildflowers, and discover temples, new friends and always a bit of adventure? Sounds like a fairy tale, some kind of Shangri-La, you say?

You would be right. And you can find your own paradise in the northwest corner of Yunnan province.

Come with Greta Bilek, author of China Tea Leaves travel guides and explorer of China, on your dream trip to Yunnan province.

Yunnan province is located in southwestern China, tucked between Tibet, Sichuan and Guangxi provinces, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and is one of the most diverse provinces in China, with dozens of ethnic minorities; flowers, mushrooms and other wildlife; and dramatic landscapes with the weather of eternal spring.

I’m Greta Bilek, and I’ve lived in Shenzhen for nearly five years. During my time here, I’ve often traveled to Yunnan province, among other places, writing and discovering the hidden treasures of China. I’ll be your personal guide, taking you to my favorite places and sharing stories that open up the symbols, history and culture we will encounter. This is a small group tour (6-10 people), so we can relax into the pace of Yunnan life and discover places off the beaten track.

We’ll be visiting Shuhe and Baisha, outside of Lijiang; Lugu Lake; Shangri-La; and the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

We will fly into Lijiang (丽江 elev. 7900ft/2400m), a major stop on the ancient Tea Horse Road in western China. Our home base will be the old town of Shuhe, a village on the old Tea Horse Road, which connected Tibet to southern Yunnan and beyond, for centuries of trade of horses (from Tibet) and tea (from southern Yunnan).

Once we check into our courtyard hotel in Shuhe (束河 elev. 8000ft/2440m), all the knots of your hectic modern life will start to melt away, as we sip tea, listen to the ancient guqin played by Liping, and fall into a slow rhythm of life.

We’ll visit Baisha (白沙 elev. 8170ft/2490m), the capital of the region’s former Naxi kingdom, and today a small village that still holds its authentic, traditional feeling. We can chat with locals, taste local street food, and hunt antiques and fabrics in the shops of the old town.

Then we’ll hit the road to head to Lugu Lake (泸沽湖 elev. 9095ft/2770m), a clear lake in the mountains on the border between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. This is the home of the Mosuo people, also known as the “kingdom of women” due to their specific matrilineal customs still practiced today. The clear blue waters dancing under your wooden boat and the Tibetan religion of the area will also leave their impression on you.

After going back through Baisha, we will head north towards to Shangri-La (香格里拉 elev. 10,370ft/3160m), the center of the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan province. You will really feel like we’re in Tibetan country, even though we won’t have crossed the border. Ladies in traditional pink headwear do their shopping and older folks grasp their prayer beads throughout the streets. We will visit a lively market, the old town of Dukezong, the largest prayer wheel in the world, and the Songzanlin monastery, which is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan.

From Shangri-La, we will head back south to start our two-day hike of the Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡 elev. 6230-8690-6890ft/1900-2650-2100m). This is one of the most renowned hikes in the world, a deep gorge along the Jinsha River, which becomes the Yangtze River as it flows through Sichuan province. Every view is breathtaking, gazing up at snow mountains so close you think you could reach out and touch them.

After one tough day of hiking, we will stay overnight in a guesthouse on the trail, and wake up to silent mountains looking on outside our window. We will continue hiking through farming enclaves, waterfalls and vistas to reach our shuttle back to Lijiang.

Our final night will be spent in Shuhe, before we fly back from Lijiang to Shenzhen.

After days dreaming in the heights amongst a rainbow of wildflowers and prayer flags, you will return to Shenzhen with a vision of paradise in your mind’s eye and a burning desire to come back to Yunnan province.

Day 1: Evening flight Shenzhen – Lijiang, stay Shuhe

Day 2: Visit Shuhe and Baisha, stay Shuhe

Day 3: Shuhe to Lugu Lake, stay Lugu Lake

Day 4: Lugu Lake visit, Lugu Lake to Baisha, stay Baisha

Day 5: Baisha to Shangri-La, Old Town visit, stay Shangri-La

Day 6: Visit Songzanlin Monastery, stay Shangri-La

Day 7: Shangri-La to Tiger Leaping Gorge, hike, stay TLG

Day 8: Finish hike TLG, return to stay in Shuhe

Day 9: Afternoon flight Lijiang – Shenzhen

All-Inclusive: Round trip Airfare (direct flight on Shenzhen Airlines), Ground Transportation, Hotels 8 nights (double occupancy), Entrance Tickets, Meals

7128RMB

(Note: Much of this trip is at high elevation – 7900ft/2400m and higher. Travelers will feel the effects of the elevation, but can usually adjust to normal activity level within 1-2 days. The Tiger Leaping Gorge hike has some steep inclines and is at high elevation. Hiking at this elevation is tough and incurs a real risk of altitude sickness. There are donkeys available on the trail for those who feel uncomfortable, for an additional fee. But this hike is best suited for those in good physical shape. The trail is in good condition, and no special prior hiking experience is necessary.)

an evening along erhai lake

On one of our last evenings in Yunnan, I took a short walk at dusk around the Xiangyangxi Village (向阳溪村) where we were staying on the Erhai Lake of Dali prefecture. As Yunnan is located relatively well west in the single Beijing Standard Time zone of China, the sun wouldn’t set until well past eight o’clock. This made for very leisurely dinners around the communal table of the guest houses we stayed in, allowing time to chat with the owners and our traveling companions as the blue skies tinged violet, then rose, and then were taken over in a dazzling sunset filling the heavens with a multitude of colors.

erhai

The name of Erhai Lake (洱海) describes it as a sea shaped like an ear (耳), and its north-south elongation makes it look like a Daoist immortal’s drooping earlobes from above. Xiangyangxi Village lies towards the northern tip of the lake, closer to the old Bai market town of Xizhou than to Dali Old Town. Dali prefecture includes the entire region of the lake, with more than a dozen villages circling the famed waters of Erhai.

During the day the lake ring road buzzes with vespas rented by holidaying twenty-somethings. But in the evening, the village streets turn serene again—a few kids goofing off with musical instruments, Bai women in petunia pink kerchiefs chatting on a doorstep, a man finishes his cigarette before returning home. The east gate of Bai homes is traditionally the grandest, decorated with beautiful stenciling and fantastically intricate stone carvings. I admired many of these in the dimming light—blue and ochre paintings against white stucco and grey stone. A temple protruded from the street out into the rice paddies. Since its gates were already locked, I could only admire the wind diverting wall, the 屏风 (pingfeng), an element in feng shui design, across from the main entrance. It was covered in symbols and mythical creatures, some of which I recognized and some of which may only be understood by the Bai people of this very village. Back in the guest house, I watched the last light of the sunset fade to stars behind a tile roof decoration, the clay cat of the Bai house, which absorbs bad energy. A few hours left in Yunnan, to spend between the stars and the quiet lapping of the ink dark lake.