Ethnic Minority Photography Tour

Ethnic Minority Photography Tour

CETPH-06: 11-day Photography Tour in Yunnan and Guizhou

In China, there are 55 ethnic minorities, and their population is less than 10% of the total population. Each of them has their own culture, language, costume and living style. Most of the minorities are living in the southwest, northwest, north and northeast of China. This photography tour package will bring you to the remote mountain area in Yunnan and Guizhou Province, southwestern China. The itinerary includes not only minority villages, but also stunning natural landscapes. Travel with us and drive deep into the mountains, you will see a different China!

Trip Highlights

  • Reasonable photography route
  • The best viewing spots to shoot the sunrise and sunset
  • Local villagers as your portrait photography models
  • Well located hotels
Suitable For: Photographers, Photo Lovers

Full itinerary for Ethnic Minority Photography Tour

Day 1
Kunming Arrival

Arrive at Kunming Airport (KMG) or Railway Station. Your guide and driver will pick you up and drive to the hotel in downtown Kunming.

Day 2
Kunming: Kunming city tour (breakfast & lunch)

After breakfast, follow your guide and visit Cuihu Park as the first stop today. Kunming is reputed as "Spring City" because of its perpetual spring-like weather. You may see some locals doing morning exercises in the park. Great flocks of Black-headed Gulls can be seen at Cuihu Lake from October to March every year. Try your best to take some nice photos of the Black-headed Gulls here.


The next stop is Yunnan Nationalities Museum. It is the best place to learn about the culture of the nationalities in Yunnan province. You will be attracted by the historic collections, such as the musical instruments, ethnic minorities' costumes, stone carvings and pottery.


After having lunch in the local restaurant, we will take the cable car to visit the West Hill and Dragon Gate in the afternoon. Entering the scenic area and walking along the trail on the cliff top, you can see hundreds of ancient Taoism carvings and grottoes on the cliff. The hilltop is the best place to have a bird's eye view of the Dianchi Lake and Kunming City.

Day 3
Kunming – Jianshui (breakfast & lunch)

Today, we will drive for about 3 hours from Kunming to Jianshui Ancient Town in the morning. The town has a history of over 800 years, with many historical sites in the area. We will step into the Zhu Family Garden and take pictures of the local traditional architecture. You will be amazed by the delicate wood carvings, traditional architectural style, fine paintings and calligraphies.
Then you can taste the local cuisine in a restaurant for lunch in Jianshui Ancient Town.

zhu family garden

After lunch, within about 15mins drive from Jianshui, we will see an ancient bridge with 17 arches across the river. The location of the bridge is the junction of Lu River and Tachong River. Therefore, we call it the Double Dragon Bridge. It is one of the most famous bridges in Yunnan Province. Your guide will bring you to some perfect positions to take good photos of the bridge and the reflections.


Keep driving for about 15mins from the Double Dragon Bridge, that's Tuanshan Village. The village is known as the "Most exquisite ancient residential buildings in Yunnan". You may take your time and enjoy the photography of the ancient architecture, gardens, walls and the narrow alleys in the village.
We will stay in Jianshui Ancient Town overnight and you may explore this peaceful town at night for dinner.

Day 4
Jianshui – Yuanyang: Drive deep into the terraces area (breakfast & lunch)

This morning, we will leave Jianshui and drive to Yuanyang Terraces Area. It is a very large area with many mountains, valleys and villages. The local residents are mostly minority Hani people. We will drive to Duoyishu Village and stay 2 nights there. That village is the best place to see the sunrise in the area.


Check in at your hotel and then have lunch nearby.
Walk to the Duoyishu viewing platform near your hotel. You will be amazed by the magnificent terraced fields, mountains and the sea of clouds (if the weather is fine).

Terraces Area

Then we will drive to another viewing platform called Laohuzui (the Tiger's Mouth). You will get the most beautiful sunset pictures of this place.

Day 5
Yuanyang: Hike in the terraces area (breakfast & lunch)

Get up early and take photos of the sunrise at Duoyishu viewing platform near your hotel. If you are lucky, you will see the sunrise above the sea of clouds in the terraces area. After the early morning sunrise photography, get back to the hotel and have breakfast.


We will drive for 10mins to see the blue terraced fields at Aicun Village. The water in the fields will reflect the blue color at around 09:00am if it is a sunny day. We can ask a local Hani villager to be your portrait photography model if you wish.

blue terraced fields

Then we keep driving to the Laoyingzui (the Eagle's Beak) viewing spot. It is actually a big overhanging rock on the cliff. You can get a stunning view of the terraces from here.

terraced fields

We will hike through the terraces from Laoyingzui to Quanfuzhuang Village. It takes about 3 hours. This is the best way for you to get close to the fields and see the daily life of local villagers.


We will pass by Bada Village before we arrive at Quanfuzhuang so that we can find a local restaurant for lunch and take a break in Bada Village. By the way, you can take some nice photos from the viewing platform of Bada Village as well.

When we arrive at Quanfuzhuang Village, your driver will be there and drive you back to your hotel in Duoyishu Village. Take a rest in your hotel and spend your free time for the rest of the day.

Day 6
Yuanyang – Shilin: Drive to the magnificent Stone Forest (breakfast & lunch)

Pack your luggage and we will leave Yuanyang for Shilin Yi Autonomous County. It takes about 5 hours to drive and we will arrive at the hotel in the afternoon. Check in and have lunch once we arrive at the hotel.


After you have refreshed yourself in the hotel, we will go for a visit to the Stone Forest Scenic Area. The landscape here is the typical limestone landform and covers about 400km2. There are almost every kind of limestone formations in this area. It was listed as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 2007.

Stone Forest Scenic Area
Day 7
Shilin – Xingyi: Transfer to Guizhou Province (breakfast & lunch)

Today, we will leave Yunnan Province and drive from Shilin Yi Autonomous County to Wanfenglin Scenic Area in Xingyi City, Qianxi'nan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Guizhou Province.


Wanfenglin Scenic Area is also covered by limestone formations. But the hills and rocks are more elegant and magnificent than the Stone Forest in Yunnan Province. Depending on the weather and your will, you can choose to take a shuttle bus to drive along the country roads in the area or hike along the wooden walkway (3-4hrs walk) to explore the area. Moreover, riding a bicycle to visit this area is also a good option.
Get back to the car and transfer to your hotel in Xingyi City.

Wanfenglin Scenic Area
Day 8
Xingyi – Anshun: Visit the most famous waterfall in China (breakfast & lunch)

After 2.5hrs driving, we will arrive at the Huangguoshu Waterfall National Park. As the most famous waterfall in China, Huangguoshu Waterfall is 77.8m (255 ft) high and 101m (331 ft) wide. Tons of water pour down from the top of the waterfall, and you can feel the power of the waterfall when you stand in front of it.


Coming out from the national park in the late afternoon, we will drive for about 30mins to Anshun City and stay overnight there.

Day 9
Anshun – Kaili: Explore the minority area of southeastern Guizhou (breakfast & lunch)

We’ll leave Anshun and head for Kaili today, it is about 3.5 hours’ drive. En route we’ll visit Kala Birdcage village which has a 400-year history for birdcage weaving and is considered China's Birdcage Center. The villagers there, mostly ethnic Miao and Dong people, have excellent birdcage-weaving skills. Roughly 125 of all the 151 households in the village work in the weaving business, with a yearly output of 100,000 birdcages. Then we’ll proceed to Kaili.

Guizhou Birdcage village

The southeastern part of Guizhou Province is home to the Minority Dong and Miao people. Most of the Dong and Miao villages are settled deep in this mountain area.


In the afternoon, we’ll drive to visit Shiqiao Miao village to see its traditional way of making paper from the bark of mulberry tree. Then we’ll go to Matang Gejia Village. The village has been inhabited by a group of Gejia minority people (Gejia minority has not been identified by Chinese government, so it is not one of the 55 minorities in China). They are good at batik.

Day 10
Kaili to Congjiang: Explore the minority area of southeastern Guizhou (breakfast & lunch)

This morning, we will drive from Anshun to Guiyang Railway Station (2hrs). Then take the bullet train from Guiyang to Congjiang County (1.5hrs) in southwestern Guizhou Province. Your local guide and driver will wait for you at the exit of Congjiang Railway Station.


After you meet your guide and driver at Congjiang Railway Station, you will be transferred to Jiabang Terraces and stay one night in the area.

Compared with the magnificent and larger scales of terraces in Yuanyang, Jiabang Terraced Fields seems more delicate, and the lines of the terraced fields are more elegant. Your hotel is located right in the terraces area, so that you can enjoy nature and take photos around the area easily.

Jiabang Terraces
Day 11
Congjiang – Zhaoxing: Amazing culture of Miao and Dong People (breakfast & lunch)

We will transfer from Jiabang Terraces Area to Biasha Miao Village in the morning. The residents in Biasha Miao Village can legally possess guns, since they have the official permission of the Public Security Bureau. Their costumes and hair styles are also quite special. There will be a traditional performance in the village and you will be able to enjoy their singing, dancing, music and hair cutting ceremony. We can arrange a local villager as your portrait photography model. Lunch will be in Biasha Miao Village.


In the afternoon, we will drive to Zhaoxing Dong Village to see the culture of the Minority Dong people. It is the largest Dong Village in China. Wind and Rain Bridges, Drum Towers, and the Grand Songs are the iconic items and culture of the Dong People. We will stay overnight in the village, so you can relax and stroll around the village at your own pace.


An Old Women of Dong Nationality


Dong Village


Recommended Activities:
1, The Grand Song of Minority Dong Performance will be held in Zhaoxing every night.
2, There is a viewing platform outside of the village. When it turns dark, the whole village will be lit up. That is the best place to shoot the night scenes of Zhaoxing Dong Village.

village at night
Day 12
Congjiang departure (breakfast)

You will be transferred to Congjiang Railway Station. This ethnic minority photography tour will end here.
According to your next travel destination, you can choose to take the bullet train from Congjiang to Guilin (1h), Guangzhou (4hrs) or Hong Kong (4hrs 40mins).

Featured Hotel

  Comfortable Deluxe
Kunming New Era Hotel Kunming Crowne Plaza Kunming City Centre
Jianshui Lin'an Hotel Lin'an Hotel
Yuanyang Flowers Residence (guesthouse) Yunti Hotel
Shilin Shilin Yinruilin International Hotel Shilin Yinruilin International Hotel
Xingyi Argyle Grand Hotel Fortune International Hotel
Anshun Anshun Puhua Hotel DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Anshun
Jiabang Terraces Jiabang Yunshang Terrace View Hotel (guesthouse) Jiabang Yunshang Terrace View Hotel (guesthouse)
Zhaoxing Indigo Lodge Zhaoxing (guesthouse) Indigo Lodge Zhaoxing (guesthouse)

What's Included in the Tour Price?

  • Private local guides, drivers and cars
  • All accommodation
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to all attractions as listed
  • Fees for the minority models
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