China - Yunnan
Spectacular scenery and hillsides covered with wildflowers make Yunnan one of the most exciting places to visit in China. Located in western China near Burma and Tibet, Yunnan covers the eastern part of the Himalayan mountains so it has high altitude but also low latitude giving it a unique climate. 19th-20th century plant hunters from Europe and the USA came exploring and brought back many of our favourite garden plants like camellia, rhododendron, magnolia, peony, daphne, iris, primula, jasmine and deutzia. Come with Angus Stewart on a special tour that combines ecotourism with local tribal cultures, ever-changing wildflower displays from May through June, tasty local food and a warm Yunnan welcome.

In the Footsteps of the Plant Hunters to Yunnan, China, with Angus Stewart



If you are interested in a tour that combines ecotourism with experiencing unique local cultures and their gardens, then this tour of Yunnan is for you.

Our tour follow in the footsteps of many English, French and American plant collectors who visited Yunnan province in Southwest China during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The French plant collecting Fathers, Père Delavay and Père David, British botanists George Forrest and Kingdon Ward, and linguist and botanist American Joseph Rock came and spent many years collecting plants, and experiencing and documenting the great variety of ethnic cultures. Their names are remembered in many of our favourite garden plants, like Magnolia delavayi, Davidia involucrata and Rhododendron forrestii.



Day 1 Wed 24 May Australia-Singapore
Fly from your capital city to Singapore.

Day 2 Thu 25 May – Singapore to Kunming
Fly to Kunming. On arrival, you will be met by our local guide and transferred to the hotel. Then we will visit Kunming Botanical Garden before our welcome dinner tonight. (Dinner)

Day 3 Fri 26 May – Kunming to Dali
Today we fly to Dali. After check in, we will visit Chongshen Monastery with the three tall pagodas for which Dali is famous. There are extensive Chinese gardens to explore around the pagodas. We will also take a leisurely walking tour in Dali Old Town in the evening. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Day 4 Sat 27 May – Dali
Cangshan Mountain is one of the richest botanical locations on earth and was a favourite location for 19th century plant hunters, particularly for azaleas and rhododendrons which should be in peak flower. Today we will enjoy a full day scenic and botanic tour with chairlift on Cangshan Mountain. Enjoy a picnic lunch today. (Breakfast/Lunch)

Day 5 Sun 28 May – Dali
Today we will take a different chairlift route and enjoy a half day scenic walking tour in Cangshan Mountain. After a picnic lunch, we will travel to a local tea plantation to learn about the tea plant Camellia sinensis which is native to Yunnan Province. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Day 6 Mon 29 May – Dali to Lijiang
Today we say Zaijian to Dali and drive by coach along the scenic road to Lijiang. Along the way we will visit the Ethnic Bai village and take stops for wild flowers. (Breakfast/Lunch)

Day 7 Tue 30 May – Lijiang
After breakfast, we leave our hotel to visit the Yuhu Village. Situated at the foot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Yuhu Village is the last Naxi minority village of the valley. We will call at the house (which is now a museum) of renowned plant hunter Joseph Rock, who lived here for many years collecting plants and studying the Naxi people. We will also explore the flora (including roses, rhododendrons, pieris and primulas) at the base of the famous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. This magnificent mountain is the southernmost in the Northern Hemisphere that is snow-capped year round. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Day 8 Wed 31 May – Lijiang
Today we will visit the Black Dragon Pool Park with its stunning mountain back drop. The pool itself is of the proportions of a lake, complete with bridge, willow-lined causeways, traditional pavilions and ornamental plantings. Then we visit the Mu’s Mansion with its magnificent Penjing collection (the Chinese equivalent of Bonsai), terraced on the side of Lion Hill. In the afternoon, we will pay a visit to the Yufeng Lamasery to see, amongst other things, the 10,000-flower camellia and ancient michelias. (Breakfast)

Day 9 Thu 01 June – Lijiang
Today is at your leisure for shopping and individual exploration. (Breakfast)

Day 10 Fri 02 June – Lijiang to Tiger Leaping Gorge
After breakfast, it’s a spectacular drive alongside the Yangtze to the awesome Tiger Leaping Gorge. With a drop of 3900 metres it is said to be the world’s deepest gorge. Overnight at Tina’s Guest House at Travertine Pools Town. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Day 11 Sat 03 June – Tiger Leaping Gorge-Shangri-La
Today we will visit the breathtaking geological phenomena – White Water Terrace. Besides being a beautifully scenic spot, the White Water Terrace is also the birthplace of Dongba culture of the Naxi Minority Group. Later we continue travel to Shangri-La. Along the way we will make numerous flora stops. (Breakfast/Lunch)

Day 12 Sun 04 June – Shangri-La
Today in Shangri-La we will get used to the high altitude and visit Sunsanling Monastery, a large complex of Tibetan Buddhism built in 1679, set beside a beautiful lake, a haven for local water birds that we will explore. In the afternoon, there is a visit to the Napa Lake to see yaks grazing amongst the wildflower meadows. (Breakfast)

Day 13 Mon 05 June – Shangri-La to Deqin
A long but exciting day’s drive by the Upper Yangtze Gorge along the Yunnan-Tibet road with spectacular scenery via Baima Pass to Deqin. The Baima nature reserve is the highest reserve in China and an area for alpine medicinal plants and flowers. We pass the reserve on our way to Deqin and stop to walk amongst the spectacular scenery. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Day 14 Tue 06 June – Deqin
We drive to the base of Kawakarpo Mountain to Meilungtse Village and walk to the base of its glacier on foot, this is a strenuous experience but it is well worth it to explore the wildflowers and Buddhist culture. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Day 15 Wed 07 June – Deqin
Today we will continue to explore the Tibetan Buddhist culture and botanical riches of Baima Mountain with a series of short walks visiting a unique local village and small monastery. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Day 16 Thu 08 June – Deqin to Shangri-La
After breakfast, we start our return journey to Shangri-La, stopping at the craftsmen’s village of Nixi Valley. (Breakfast/Lunch)

Day 17 Fri 09 June – Shangri-La to Kunming to Singapore
This morning we transfer to airport for flight to Kunming. Upon arrival, we will visit the Daoist Golden Temple and the famous Flower and Bird Market. Later we transfer back to the airport for our Singapore Airlines flight home. (Breakfast/Lunch)

Day 18 Sat 10 June – Arrival in Australia

To enquire or book this tour, please contact
Opulent Journeys 1300 219 885

  • In the Footsteps of the Planthunters to Yunnan with Angus Stewart 2017 Download

"Yunnan is the most exciting and different place I have been. Hillsides covered with wildflowers, spectacular mountain scenery and people so warmly welcoming to tourists. Our tour to Yunnan with Opulent Journeys, Angus Stewart and local guide Edward He was a truly unique and wonderful experience"
Catherine Stewart - creator, curator, editor of

Price per person twin share $AUD

Land & Air*: $7,890
Land Only**: $6,435
Single Room Supplement $1,790

*Land & Air price includes international flights from Australia.
**Land Only tour starts and finishes in Kunming.

INCLUSIONS: International flights with Singapore Airlines from East coast capital cities to Kunming, internal flights within China, 16 nights’ accommodation in 5 star or boutique hotels, most meals, comprehensive touring, local English Speaking guides in each city, tour manager with the group throughout and Chinese visa fee.

Not Included: Travel insurance, porterage fees, gratuities, personal expenses, anything not mentioned.