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Tour Overview

This extraordinary journey unveils the soul of two distinct regions, Yunnan and Tibet, where ancient wonders and natural splendors converge, providing an unforgettable tapestry of culture, nature, and spirituality.

Your local tour guides will lead you to wander Kunming’s Western Hills, marvel at the Stone Forest’s limestone pillars, and embrace Lijiang’s timeless charm. From the vibrant streets of Shangri-La to Lhasa’s spiritual heart, explore Norbulingka Park, Potala Palace, and the lively Barkhor Street. Engage with monks debating in Sera Monastery, traverse Namtso Lake’s tranquil shores, and savor the unique blend of cultures.

Highlights of this tour:

1. Explore Kunming’s Western Hills: Ascend to scenic heights, gazing over Dianchi Lake, ornate temples, and the Dragon Gate’s mystical allure.
2. Stone Forest Marvels: Wander through Stone Forest’s limestone pillars, marveling at nature’s artistry and immersing in Yunnan’s enchanting landscapes.
3. Journey to Lijiang: Uncover ancient charm, from the sacred Mufu Palace to the lively Sifang Street Square in picturesque Lijiang.
4. Cultural Immersion in Naxi Dongba Heritage: Discover Yuhu Village’s stone houses, Baisha Mural Paintings, and the Dongba Culture Museum’s rich traditions.
5. Scenic Drive to Tiger Leaping Gorge: Marvel at the Yangtze River’s First Bend, hike Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge, and absorb Shangri-La’s natural wonders.
6. Lhasa’s Spiritual Splendors: Explore Norbulingka Park, witness monks debating in Sera Monastery, and absorb the sacredness of Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street.
7. Architectural Marvel of Potala Palace: Stand in awe of Potala Palace’s grandeur, a beacon of Tibetan Buddhism, and delve into Jokhang Temple’s spiritual ambiance.
8. Cultural Wonders of Lhasa: Engage with Drepung Monastery’s history, witness lively debates, and stroll through vibrant Barkhor Street in the heart of Lhasa.
9. Namtso Lake Tranquility: Drive to the sacred Namtso Lake, encounter nomadic life, ride a yak, and immerse in the serenity of Tibet’s pristine landscapes.

Day-by-day Itinerary

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  1. Arrive in Kunming, where your guide and driver will warmly welcome you at the airport. Transfer to your hotel for check-in and some rest.

    Meet your knowledgeable guide in the afternoon to begin your exploration of Kunming. Head to the Western Hills, a scenic area known for its lush greenery and panoramic views of Dianchi Lake. As you ascend, learn about the historical and cultural significance of the area. Explore the Dragon Gate, an intricate complex of caves, pavilions, and sculptures carved into the hillsides. Marvel at the craftsmanship and the spiritual ambiance that surrounds this hidden gem.

    Kunming Western Hills Dragon Gate
    Dragon Gate on the West Hill

    Optionally, visit Huating Temple and Taihua Temple, where the scent of incense and the serene atmosphere offer a glimpse into the region's Buddhist heritage.

    Delight your taste buds with a delicious dinner at a local restaurant, where you can savor the flavors of Yunnan cuisine. If you still have energy, take a leisurely evening stroll around the hotel area, immersing yourself in Kunming's vibrant atmosphere as the city lights begin to twinkle.

    Meal: N/A

    Accommodation: in Kunming

  2. After breakfast, take a scenic 1.5-hour drive to the mesmerizing Stone Forest, a geological wonder shaped by millennia of natural forces. You will be guided to explore the Greater Stone Forest, a vast expanse of towering limestone formations resembling a petrified forest. Marvel at the intricate, otherworldly shapes created by the erosion of ancient karst rock. Wander through the labyrinthine paths of the Lesser Stone Forest, where stone pillars and spires stand in surreal formations, creating an almost mystical atmosphere.

    Kunming Stone Forest
    Stone Forest

    After that, enjoy a delightful lunch at a local restaurant near the Stone Forest, savoring Yunnan's diverse and flavorful cuisine. After that, drive back to Kunming downtown. Take a leisurely stroll around Kunming Green Lake, allowing the tranquility of the surroundings to complement the awe-inspiring experiences of the day.

    After the tour, head to Kunming Railway Station for a high-speed train journey to Lijiang.

    Board the train, settling in with the day's memories echoing through your mind. Arrive in Lijiang, where your local guide will warmly welcome you at the train station and then transfer to your hotel in Lijiang.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Lijiang

  3. Today, energize yourself for a day of cultural exploration. Begin the journey to Yuhu Village, where you'll be greeted by unique stone houses, exemplifying the architectural charm of the Naxi people. Engage with the locals and gain insights into their daily lives. Leisurely explore the village, capturing the essence of traditional Naxi culture. Take in the serene surroundings, and appreciate the simplicity and beauty of the countryside. Visit the Former Residence of Joseph Rock, where you can delve into the fascinating history of this American botanist and his impact on the region.

    Yunnan Lijiang Yuhu Village
    Yuhu Village

    Continue to Baisha Village, home to the renowned Baisha Mural Paintings. Marvel at the intricate artwork, a testament to the cultural fusion of Naxi, Tibetan, and Han influences. Immerse yourself in the Dongba Culture Museum, an institution dedicated to preserving the unique Dongba script and Naxi traditions. Gain a deeper understanding of the spiritual and cultural aspects of the local community. Take a serene walk to the picturesque Black Dragon Pool Park, where the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain provides a stunning backdrop for this tranquil oasis.

    Lijiang Black Dragon Pool Yunnan
    Admire the Black Dragon Pool

    As the day winds down, explore the cobblestone streets of Lijiang Ancient Town. The town comes alive with traditional architecture, vibrant markets, and local artisans. Don't miss the Mufu Palace, an architectural marvel that narrates the history of local rulers. Wander through the bustling Sifang Street Square, known for its lively atmosphere and a plethora of traditional shops offering unique souvenirs.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Lijiang

  4. Enjoy a leisurely morning before setting out on a picturesque 50 km drive to witness the dramatic curve of the Yangtze River at the First Bend. Capture the breathtaking scenery that combines mountains and rivers in a harmonious dance of nature. Continue your journey to Tiger Leaping Gorge, a natural spectacle. Your guide will take you to explore the Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge and hear the intriguing story behind the Tiger Leaping Stone. Engage in a hiking tour within the gorge, surrounded by towering cliffs and the roaring Yangtze River. Allow the raw beauty of the landscape to captivate your senses and create lasting memories.

    Yunnan Tiger Leaping Gorge
    Tiger Leaping Gorge

    Later, embark on the journey to Shangri-La, savoring the mesmerizing natural landscapes that unfold along the way. Arrive in Shangri-La and check into your hotel. Take the evening to unwind, perhaps enjoying a local meal, and reflect on the day's adventures. Anticipate the unique experiences awaiting you in the mythical realm of Shangri-La.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Shangri-La

  5. Today's itinerary takes you on a spiritual journey with a visit to the awe-inspiring Songzanlin Monastery. Explore the halls adorned with vibrant frescoes, and witness the devoutness of monks engaged in their daily rituals. If time permits, take a quiet stroll around the serene Lamuyangcuo Lake. Capture the tranquility of the surroundings and seize the opportunity to shoot a panoramic view of Songzanlin Monastery with its reflection in the clear waters.

    After that, venture 30 km to the picturesque Pudacuo National Park, a sanctuary of natural beauty. Walk along the plank road, allowing the gorgeous scenery of Shudu Lake to unfold before you. Immerse yourself in the pristine landscapes of Bita Lake, surrounded by alpine beauty that showcases the richness of China's natural wonders.

    Pudacuo National Park Bita Lake
    Bita Lake in Pudacuo National Park

    Delight your senses as you visit a local Tibetan family. Taste special Tibetan snacks, a culinary adventure that introduces you to the unique flavors of the region. Sip on butter tea, a traditional Tibetan beverage that holds cultural significance. Return to Shangri-La to explore the ancient charm of Dukezong Old Town. Stroll through narrow alleys lined with traditional Tibetan houses, and browse unique shops offering local crafts and souvenirs. Climb Guishan Hill, where you can participate in turning the world's largest Prayer Wheel. As you spin the wheel, absorb panoramic views of the illuminated town and the distant mountains.

    Meal: Breakfast + Lunch

    Accommodation: in Shangri-La

    Shangri-la Guishan Hill
    Turning the Prayer Wheel on Guishan Hill

  6. After a hearty breakfast, proceed to the airport for a scenic flight to Lhasa, the spiritual heart of Tibet. Upon arrival, your guide and driver will greet you and transfer you to your hotel. Marvel at the breathtaking views along the Yarlung Tsangpo River during your journey.

    Take advantage of the afternoon and evening to acclimate to the high altitude. Relax and enjoy the unique ambiance of Lhasa, where ancient traditions meet modern life. Consider a leisurely walk around the vicinity of your hotel, absorbing the unique blend of Tibetan culture and urban vibrancy.

    Rest and stay hydrated to ensure a smooth adjustment to the high altitude, preparing you for the enriching experiences that await in the days ahead.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: in Lhasa

  7. Enjoy your breakfast before setting out to Norbulingka Park, a UNESCO-listed site that combines exquisite architecture with beautiful gardens. Delve into the historical significance of the park, which served as the summer retreat for the Dalai Lamas. Explore the intricate details of the Norbulingka Palace, admiring the traditional Tibetan design elements and the stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

    Tibet Lhasa Norbulingka Park
    Norbulingka Park

    Later, drive to Drepung Monastery, a monastic complex nestled in the hills. Marvel at the golden roofs, ancient murals, and spiritual energy that permeate the surroundings. Engage with your guide to gain insights into the history and daily life of the monks who once inhabited this vast monastery.

    Proceed to Sera Monastery, where you'll witness the captivating spectacle of monks engaging in debates. This intellectual exchange is a longstanding tradition and provides a unique glimpse into Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. Take your time to absorb the lively atmosphere and perhaps engage in discussions with the monks, gaining a deeper understanding of their spiritual practices.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: in Lhasa

    Sera Monastery in Lhasa
    Monks debating in Sera Monastery

  8. Enjoy a leisurely morning before embarking on a visit to the iconic Potala Palace. As you ascend the grand staircase, be prepared to be awe-struck by the majestic architecture and the historical significance of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Follow your guide to explore the various chambers, including the Dalai Lama's living quarters, chapels, and the sacred Red Palace. Admire the panoramic views of Lhasa from the palace grounds.

    Potala Palace in Lhasa
    Potala Palace

    In the afternoon, journey to Jokhang Temple, a sacred site that holds immense importance in Tibetan Buddhism. Witness the devotion of pilgrims as they circumambulate the temple and explore the various chapels adorned with precious relics. After that, immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Barkhor Street, which is a quite bustling market. Marvel at the traditional architecture, interact with friendly locals and explore the diverse array of shops offering Tibetan artifacts, textiles, and religious items.

    Remember to respect the sanctity of the chapels within the monasteries by refraining from photography, allowing for a more mindful and contemplative experience.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: in Lhasa

  9. Today, you will be driven to Namtso Lake, one of the most breathtaking sacred lakes in Tibet. Marvel at the panoramic views of the Tibetan Plateau as you traverse the picturesque landscapes. En route, witness sheep and yaks grazing on the vast grasslands, offering an authentic glimpse into the nomadic way of life in Tibet. Feel free to capture these moments of serenity and natural beauty.

    Arrive at Namtso Lake and be captivated by the crystal-clear waters surrounded by majestic mountains. Take a leisurely walk along the shores, breathing in the fresh mountain air. Optionally, enhance your experience by riding a yak, a traditional Tibetan activity. Capture stunning photos with these majestic creatures against the backdrop of the serene lake.

    As the day winds down, embark on a return drive to Lhasa, allowing you to reflect on the tranquility and beauty of Namtso Lake.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: in Lhasa

    Tibet Namtso Lake
    Ride a yak to capture photos by the lakeside of Namtso

  10. Enjoy a leisurely morning, soaking in the last moments of your stay in Lhasa until your driver arrives to escort you to the airport.

    Catch your flight to your next destination or home, carrying with you the memories of a rich and immersive journey through the heart of Tibet.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Accommodation: N/A

Tour Price ($=USD)

From $1719 P.P, which is based on a private tour for 2 people. The price varies depending on the activity, number of people, travel date, and selected hotel.

Price Includes

  • 9 nights' accommodation;
  • Meals listed in the itinerary;
  • Tibet Travel Permit;
  • Private air-conditioned vehicle with licensed drivers;
  • Excellent local English-speaking tour guides services as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Entrance tickets as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • 1 bottle of mineral water per person per day;
  • Economy flights or second-class trains mentioned in the itinerary;
  • China Travel Insurance.

Price Excludes

  • Flight/train tickets to Kunming / off Lhasa;
  • Any optional activities inside the attractions;
  • Any item not mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Single Room Supplement;
  • All kinds of gratuities for guides, drivers & others.
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