- 12 days cultural excursion in Yunnan, China
- Tour dates: February 18th – March 1st
- Price: $4340
- Maximum group size: 20 travelers.
Day 1: All guests should have arrived in Kunming on this day. We will meet you at the airport and transport you directly to the four star and centrally-located New Era hotel. We will accompany the early-arrives or anyone else who would like to venture into Kunming for shopping, short sightseeing, or to local cafés before retiring. The hotel is located across from the Bank of China for easy money exchange and ATM access. Kunming's most elegant shopping streets are right outside the hotel's front entrance, including the two major antique markets of the region.
Day 2: After a delicious Western buffet breakfast, we will venture out into the three major antique and art markets of Yunnan. The Lindens, who know most of the owners personally, and one of Kunming's leading antique researchers will help answer questions about pieces. After lunch in one Kunming's oldest courtyards, we will attend a workshop on jade and textiles by local scholars. We will have a chance to carefully examine various types of jades, view the different carving techniques and learn about the underground jade trade between Myanmar and Yunnan. A university professor will give a presentation on the textile traditions of some of Yunnan's 25 different ethnic groups. Dinner will be in Kunming's Contemporary Art district and shared with one of the leading gallery owners.
Day 3: After a delicious breakfast, we will visit the Yunnan Museum with its antiquities curators and they will introduce us to the unique decorative elements of the region's antiques and artwork. We will have a chance to go behind-the-scenes to see pieces as they are being prepared for display. An expert will discuss the business of producing fake antiques - how they are produced, by whom and for whom. After lunch in one of Kunming's oldest courtyards, we will take a four hour bus ride through the Yi-inhabited mountain villages to reach the Dali Basin. Dinner will be at the Centre and will include a lecture on the history and traditions of the local Bai people.
Day 4: An early morning lecture will focus on early ceramics in the Yunnan region, followed by a walking tour of the Linden Centre, examining its many antiques placed within the complex, and of Xizhou, its antique shops and hidden attics. The Linden Centre has an extensive English language library of books on Asian antiques and contemporary art. Guests will have a chance to use these books throughout their stay. Dinner will be followed by a performance by a local Bai music group.
Day 5: Today we will visit the largest regional market - Shaping. We will tour the market with local Bai people. The market has a range of collectibles, antiques, foods, dried goods, items for temple offerings and visits some homes that have antiques. A private morning visit to the Dali Provincial Museum to view their extensive collection of Yuan and Ming ceramics and stone carvings. After lunch and the museum visit, we will adventure to the old walled city of Dali, we will explore the town's numerous antique and art galleries. In three galleries, we will receive special presentations on their unique pieces which include: Folk Art, Stone antiquities, and Theravada Buddhist carvings from the regions surrounding Myanmar.
Day 6: After breakfast, we will travel two hours south to visit the ancient monasteries dotting Wei Bao Mountain. We will share lunch with a group of monks in a Taoist temple, and spend late afternoon exploring the old town and antique shops in the Muslim town of Weishan below the mountain. Wonderful Muslim breads will accompany our trip back to Xizhou for an evening dinner.
Day 7: Today will be a day to personally explore the surrounding villages of Xizhou. The Lindens will be able to accompany guests to the renowned batik making village of Zhoucheng to observe centuries' old courtyards used for batik making. Guests can also revisit some of the surrounding attics, shops or temples. All guests are also encouraged to work with our renowned chefs, follow them to the market to buy vegetables, watch them as they prepare each meal. A late afternoon horse cart ride will take us to the Lake Er Hai for wine and snacks before dinner.
Day 8: Today we will travel to the World Heritage Site- Lijiang Village. We will stop for lunch in the old Tea Horse Road village of He Qin to explore the little-known antique shops nestled among its ancient alleys. We will make our way through the winding streets of Lijiang to arrive at the Dong Ba Cultural Center. The Lindens' close friend, a long-time student of the Naxi's Dong Ba religion, will guide us through the only remaining teaching center for this UNESCO protected tradition. The Dong Ba pictographs are one of the few remaining picture scripts still in use in the world. The Dong Ba are priests who oversee the religious traditions of the Naxi people. We will stay in the 4-star Wang Fu Hotel and have a wonderful dinner alongside one of Lijiang's crystal-clear streams and continue to explore the many galleries and antique shops.
Day 9: Today we will take a short trip south of Lijiang, taking another route to the great bend of the Yangtze River for wonderful photos at Shigu crossing. We will cross through the Jianchuan Valley, having lunch at a fish farm nestled alongside a pristine spring below the mountains. We will walk through the old city of Jianchuan, receiving a lecture on the renowned wood carving and black pottery traditions of the valley. We will also visit an old kiln site still in use. We will spend the evening in Shaxi village, one of the major caravan stops along the old Tea Horse Road, in a restored merchant's courtyard.
Day 10: After a morning visit to the famous Buddhist grottoes at Shibao Mountain, we will drive back to Xizhou arriving in time to spend a relaxing early afternoon lunch at the Centre. We will spend the rest of our day back in Old Dali, purveying the stone and marble cutters that are famous worldwide and learn how marble has impacted Bai culture. For dinner, we will have a delicious tea tasting and vegetarian dinner in a pristine courtyard establishment, followed by a night out on the town for those who wish it.
Day 11: This is our last day in the Centre. As you take the time to reflect and organize your discoveries and purchases, we will organize private in-room massages in the afternoon and small, final walking tours of Xizhou. A farewell dinner will be cooked by our chefs with your favorite foods that you have sampled throughout the tour and some new ones too. We will have a question and answer session and be able to share our photos and stories over wine and tea. There will also be a final traditional Bai music accompaniment with our evening reception.
Day 12: On this day, our program ends. After breakfast, guests will be driven to the Dali airport in time for your connecting flight through Kunming to your origin or next destination.
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