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Home > Colorful Yunnan > 10 days Trip to Shangri-La

10 days Trip to Shangri-La


   Day by Day Itinerary
Duration: 10    

Day01 THU.     LIJIANG-TACHENG (1950 meters) (-/L/D)

Morning meet the guide and driver at hotel.

Overland drive via Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shigu to Tacheng (200 kilometers, or 5 hours).

En route, we will take stops to visit Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shigu Village.

Tiger Leaping Gorge is carved by the Yangzi River as it cuts a circuitous course between two sacred mountains: The mighty Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (over 5500 meter in elevation) and Mount Haba (also over 5500 meter). The 19 kilometers long gorge is divided into three segments with an aggregate fall of 210 meters. At the opening of the gorge, which is also the mouth of the Yangzi River, a Herculean pebble, about 30 meters wide, seems to be stranded amidst the billowing waves. Legend has it that in ancient times, a tiger frequently used this pebble as a stepping stone to leap across the gorge. Most visitors take in the most famous first segment of the gorge to observe the narrowest part of the river and see the tiger leaping pebble. 

Shigu is famous by the First Bend of Yangzi River. The “First Bend” marks the point where the Yangzi, after having flowed directly south from the high, icy plains of Tibet, turns sharply north for over 100 kilometers before turning east and continuing its course into Sichuan province.  The Chinese believe the “First Bend” is a significant spot as the two other great river systems which flow parallel with the Yangzi out of Tibet – the Mekong and the Salween Rivers – both flow out of China into Southeast Asia.

In the afternoon arrive Tacheng and check in the hotel.

Tacheng is located between Lancang River (or the upper reach of Mekong River) and Golden Sand River (or the upper reach of Yangzi River), where you may see premival forests as far as your sight may reach. Apart from Tibetan villages, there are also villages of the Naxi and Lisu minorities. The fertile lands in and around Tacheng yields two harvests every year and abounds in fruits of various kinds. It is also home and paradise to wild animals.

Lunch at local restaurant and dinner at Songtsam Lodge Tacheng

Overnight at Songstam Lodge Tacheng


Day02 FRI.      TACHENG (B/L/D)

Breakfast at hotel.

Morning visit to Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey Nature Reserve. Yunnan Snub-nosed monkey is also known as Yunnan Golden Monkey. Here, you may watch golden monkey families in the wild.

Yunnan Snub-nosed monkeys, one of the world’s most endangered animals and currently numbered about 1700 to 2000, live in very high mountians of between 3000 and 4000 meters. Every morning the staffs of the reserve will feed them and we will see the monkeys very closed to us.

Afternoon at leisure.

Lunch at local restaurant and dinner at Songtsam Lodge Tacheng

Overnight at Songtsam Lodge Tacheng


Day03 SAT.      TACHENG-WEIXI-CIZHONG (1980 meters) (B/L/D)

Breakfast at hotel.

Today, overland drive along the Lancang River (or Mekong River) via Weixi to Cizhong (240 kilometers, or 5 hours).

En route, we will take stops to visit the Morning Market in Weixi City, the Lisu minority village of Tong Le, and a great bend of the Lancang River.

Lunch at local restaurant and dinner at Songtsam Lodge Cizhong

Overnight at Songtsam Lodge Cizhong


Day04 SUN.     CIZHONG-DEQIN (3600 meters) (B/L/D)

Breakfast at hotel.

In the morning, join Mass in Cizhong church. Every Sunday morning the Tibetan, Lisu, Naxi and Han people gather from villages in the surrounding to Cizhong church to celebrate mass. They sing hymn in their own language. The Cizhong Christian Church was built by French missionaries about a century ago.

After lunch overland drive of 90 kilometers (or 2 hours) to Deqin.

On the way visit Qidengge Monastery at first. It’s a small monastery with statue of Meili Snow Mountain. The pilgrims will come to prey to get key of pilgrimage route around the peak of Meili Snow Mountain before their pilgrimage tour, which is 240 kilometers and about 10 days trekking. The Tibetan people circumambulate the monastery everyday and sprinkle limewater on the wall and statue even not for getting key of pilgrimage tour.

Visit Puli Tibetan Kindergarten in Deqin City, which is operated by charity fund. They support children of poor Tibetan families to learn in kindergarten, primary school and middle school.

Lunch at Songtsam Lodge Cizhong and dinner at Songtsam Lodge Meili

Overnight at Songtsam Lodge Meili


Day05 MON.    DEQIN (3600 meters) (B/L/D)

Breakfast at hotel.

In the early morning, we will watch sunrise at Mount Kawagebo. Kawagebo is one of the most sacred mountains for Tibetan Buddhism as the spiritual home of a warrior god which pre-existed Buddhim’s arrival in Tibet.

Mei Li Snow Mountains, a mountain range of 13 peaks averaging over 6000 meters. Its main peak Mt. Kawagebo at 6740 meters above sea level, is the highest point of Yunnan.

Drive to Mingyong Village, 45 kilometers, or 1 hour. Trekking tour to the Mingyong Glacier. The Glacier, sacred to the local people, fall on 6740-meter Meili Snow Mountains. At 28.5 degrees north and an elevation of 2700 meters, the Glacier is located at the lowest latitude and elevation of any glacier in China. We will drive on eco-vehicle to over half of the way up mountain. Then hike about 2 hours under canopies of tall trees to the upper view terrace. On the way visit Taizi Temple.

Then, drive back to Deqin. Visit the Feilai Monastery. The fresco in the monastery was well kept during Culture Revolution. 

Picnic lunch on the trail. Dinner at Songtsam Lodge Meili.

Overnight at Songtsam Lodge Meili


Day06 TUE.     DEQIN-BENZILAN (1968 meters) (B/L/D)

Breakfast at hotel.

Take an early morning meditation at hotel. Then, overland drive of 100 kilometers (or 3 hours) to Benzilan. On the way, we will drive through a pass on the Baima Snow Mountains at 4292 meters.

En route, we will take stops to visit the Baima Nature Reserve and Dongzhulin Monastery.

The Baima Snow Mountains Nature Reserve is the largest (180,000 hectares) and the highest nature reserve in Yunnan, with fantastic views of snow peaks, glaciers, lakes and canyons, well preserved frigid-zone primeval forest, rare highland plants and animals which thrive in cold and temperate zones. It is believed to be the largest primeval forest in the world and its natural ecology is still intact.

Then another stop to visit Dongzhulin Monastery. The Dongzhulin Monastery was built in 1667, the sixth year of the Kang Xi Reign in Qing Dynasty. Its original name was Congchongcuogang Temple, meaning ‘the temple by the crane lake’. It was renamed Gedandongzhulin Temple after a combination of seven small temples, meaning ‘benefit others and oneself’.

Afternoon at leisure. 

Lunch and dinner at Songtsam Lodge Benzilan

Overnight at Songtsam Lodge Benzilan


Day07 WEN.    BENZILAN (B/L/D)

Breakfast at hotel.

Benzilan is loated on the right bank of the Golden Sand River (or the upper reach of the Yangzi River). It is an important transportation hub between northwestern Yunnan with Tibet and Sichuan Province.

Trekking in and around Benzilan. We will visit in and around Benziln to traditional handicraft Centre, where you may paint traditional Tibetan lacquer bowls , and walk through Tibetan village in the gorge of Benzilan.

Lunch at local restaurant. Dinner at Songtsam Lodge Benzilan.

Overnight at Songtsam Lodge Benzilan


Day08 THU.     BENZILAN-ZHONGDIAN (3300 meters) (B/L/D)

Breakfast at hotel.

Today, overland drive of 100 kilometers, or 3 hours, back to Zhongdian.

Midway, we will visit the black pottery workshop at Tibetan village Nixi. The handmade black earthenware is decorated with broken pieces of white china.

Before approaching Zhongdian, we will drive around the Napa Lake to visit Tibetan Village.

Napa is a seasonal lake just a few kilometers away from Zhongdian. In dry season, the lake area turns to a swamp that provides open ground for horse riding and an ideal location for migrant birds. In rainy season, with a backdrop of green mountains in a distance and blue sky, offers quite a few photogenic opportunities.

With a population of 112 thousand people, the Tibetan minority takes up one third of the total in Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. They believe in Lamaism, a major branch of Buddhism. During the new year on Tibetan calendar and the horse racing festival on the fifth day of the fifth month on Chinese lunar calendar, there are big gatherings of Tibetans in Zhongdian, Deqin and Weixi celebrating the festivals.

Lunch at local restaurant. Dinner featuirng Gyalthang hot pot at local restaurant.

Overnight at Songtsam Lodge Shangri-La


Day09 FRI.      ZHONGDIAN (B/L/-)

Breakfast at hotel.

At 3,300 meters above sea level, Zhongdian (or Gyalthang in Tibetan, and approved by State Council to be renamed Shangri-La County as of late December 2001) lies in a landscape of rolling hills, snow-capped peaks, virgin forests of spruce, pine and meadow dotted with wild flowers and tranquil lakes. The old town, still entirely in local Tibetan style, is to the south of Zhongdian.

Visit the Ganden Songzanglin Monastery and a local market.

Founded in the 17th century during the reign of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama and nicknamed as Lesser Potala Palace by the locals, Ganden Songzanglin Monastery is one of the thirteen Tibetan monasteries in the Kangba Region, where Tibet, Yunnan and Sichuan join. Holding about 700 monks and one living Buddha, the monastery is a must-go in the region.

Afternoon will be free for you to enjoy the tranquil environs of the hotel.

In the evening, take a guided stroll in the Old Town where you may attend the local dancing in the market square from 2000 PM, and visit the great prayer wheel on the Guishan Hill.

Lunch en tour at local restaurant. Dinner at leisure – on your own account

Overnight at Songtsam Lodge Shangri-La


Day10 SAT.      ZHONGDIAN departure (B)

Breakfast at hotel.

Transfer to Zhongdian Airport for flight to your next destination.

End of services.


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