From LAX, Korean Air, China Airlines, China Eastern and China Southern offer connecting service (change of plane) to Kunming, China. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $970, excluding taxes and fees.
WHERE TO STAY
Landscape Hotel, 96 Yuer Road, Dali; 011-86-872-266-6188, http://www.landscapehotel.com/. In the heart of old town Dali and within walking distance of most of the top sites. Double rooms from $58 a night.
Shaxi Laomadian Lodge, Sideng St., Shaxi Town; 011-86-872-472-2666. Nine modernized rooms built from refurbished stables. Doubles from $65 a night.
Shiner Hotel, 144 N. Changzheng Road, Shangri-La; 011-86-887-822-2233, http://www.shinerhotel.com/english/index.html. Designed for the business traveler, the 212-room hotel is on the outskirts of the historic old town of Shangri-La. Doubles from $65.
WHERE TO EAT
The Sweet Tooth, 52 Bo'ai Road, Dali; 011-86-872-266-3830. For those in search of familiar sweets, stop by this small bakery and coffee shop that provides job training and employment for the deaf community in Dali. Some of its most popular desserts include Oreo or Snickers cheesecake, cinnamon buns, "ugly" brownies and chocolate chunk cookies. Most desserts $1 to $3. Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.
Tara Gallery Café & Bar, House 29, Old Town, Shangri-La; 011-86-887-822-6128. Located in the center of Old Town Shangri-La, this wooden two-story building once served as a trading house on the tea and horse caravan road. Its friendly owner converted the space into a casual restaurant that serves traditional Tibetan food such as yak meat momos, or dumplings, as well as a variety of Chinese, Western and Indian dishes. The downstairs area includes several couches and is decorated with colorful tapestries and art from the community. Most entrees $7 to $12.
TO LEARN MORE
China Yak Tours, http://www.chinayak.com, offers five different tours through Yunnan province or you may customize your own. Prices include accommodations, domestic transportation, entrance fees and guides. Trips usually do not include meals or tips. Tours start at $950 a person, based on a tour for two. Tour agent Jane Lee is efficient and fluent in English. She can be contacted by emailing email@example.com.