Our group of four booked a ten day tour of Yunnan province through WildChina (stops in Dali, Lijiang and Shangri La). All travel arrangements went smoothly. Our accommodations in boutique hotels gave us a sense of living in the community rather than in a sterile large hotel environment. The three hotels (Sky Valley Heritage in Dali, Bivou in Lijiang, and Songstam in Shangri La) were elegant, comfortable, and welcoming. Best of all were our guide Shelly and our driver Joe. They quickly understood our interest in Yunnan's ethnic diversity and shaped our itinerary to match our interests. I suspect that they would help tailor different but equally satisfying itineraries for tourists with different interests. Shelly is a smart, warm, curious, well-informed, attentive and funny woman. She has developed personal friendships and contacts with impressive people from different ethnic groups who were gracious enough to welcome us into their homes. These informal interactions gave us a real flavor of life in Yunnan and its spectacular ethnic diversity. Joe, our driver, also invited us to meet with his family and his uncle, an authority on Naxi pictographs and culture. Although we focused on learning about ethnic minorities, we also had a chance to wander local markets, bicycle alongside rice paddies, hike the Leaping Tiger Gorge, and walk through small villages. Whether your interest is in outdoor activities, learning about religion or culture, or enjoying great local food, we strongly recommend booking with WildChina and traveling with Shelly and Joe - it was a once in a lifetime experience for us!
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