This 7-day tour will take you to explore the culture and nature of Yunnan, a province in southwest China with 26 ethnic groups and natural resources. You will visit Lijiang, a charming ancient town of the Naxi people; Shangri-La, a mythical paradise with Tibetan culture and alpine scenery; and Lugu Lake, a crystal-clear lake where the Mosuo people live in a matriarchal society. It will also delight you with some scenic spots like the First Bend of Yangtze River and the Tiger Leaping Gorge. You can expect to enjoy some of the most amazing colorful ethnic groups, the rich historical and religious heritage, and the stunning natural beauty.
2. Mosuo Charm at Lugu Lake: Experience the unique matriarchal society of the Mosuo people during a Lugu Lake adventure, sailing on crystal-clear waters, exploring traditional villages, and joining a memorable Mosuo Bonfire Party.
3. Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike and Shangri-La Drive: Embark on a stunning scenic drive from Lijiang to Shangri-La, punctuated by a breathtaking hike in Tiger Leaping Gorge, offering dramatic landscapes and snow-capped mountain views.
4. Shangri-La’s Cultural and Natural Wonders: Discover Shangri-La’s wonders, from the majestic Songzanlin Monastery to the natural beauty of Pudacuo National Park, and immerse yourself in the local Tibetan culture with a visit to a Tibetan family.
- Day 1: Arrive in Lijiang - Lijiang Ancient Town ExplorationLijiang Ancient Town, Mufu Palace, Sifang Street Square
Your Yunnan adventure begins today. Your guide will greet you at the airport and take you to your hotel in Lijiang Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Relax for a while, and then explore this charming town with your guide. Visit Mufu Palace, the former residence of the Naxi chieftain, where you can admire the traditional Naxi architecture and learn about their history and culture. Stroll along Sifang Street Square, the bustling center of the town, where you can see various local snacks, handicrafts, and performances.
Accommodation: in Lijiang
- Day 2: Lijiang Culture Highlights (B, L)Yuhu Village, Former Residence of Joseph Rock, Baisha Village, Shuhe Ancient Town, Dongba Culture Museum, Black Dragon Pool Park
Enjoy a delicious breakfast, and then drive to Yuhu Village, a picturesque village at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Here you will visit the Former Residence of Joseph Rock, an American explorer and botanist who lived here for 27 years and introduced the Naxi culture and the flora and fauna of Yunnan to the world. You can see his photos, books, and personal belongings in his house.
Next, head to Baisha Village, another ancient Naxi village, to appreciate the Baisha Mural Paintings, which date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties and depict Buddhist, Taoist, and Tibetan stories.
Optional experience (at your own expense): Learn to make Baisha embroidery with a local master. Baisha embroidery is a traditional Naxi handicraft that has a history of over 1,000 years and is famous for its exquisite patterns and colors.
After that, visit Shuhe Ancient Town, one of the earliest settlements of the Naxi people and an important stop on the ancient Tea Horse Road. You can wander around the cobblestone streets, visit the old wells and bridges, and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.
In the afternoon, visit Dongba Culture Museum, where you can see more than 10,000 cultural relics of the Naxi people, including their unique pictographic writing system, costumes, musical instruments, and rituals. Then walk to Black Dragon Pool Park, a scenic spot with a clear pond, a white marble bridge, and a stunning view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
Accommodation: in Lijiang
- Day 3: Lijiang to Lugu Lake (B, L)Lugu Lake, Liwubi Island, visit some Mosuo villages, Mosuo Bonfire Party
Have a hearty breakfast, and then enjoy a scenic drive to Lugu Lake, a crystal-clear lake surrounded by mountains and forests. It is also the home of the Mosuo people, one of the last matriarchal societies in the world. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and have a short rest. Then take a canoe to sail on the lake, enjoy the lake view and visit Liwubi Island, a small island with a Tibetan temple.
Later, enjoy a leisure walk around the lake and visit some Mosuo villages, such as Luoshui Village and Lige Village. You will see their traditional wooden houses, their daily life, and their customs. Enjoy the sunset over the lake from Luoshui Village. Then transfer to Lige Village, where a Mosuo Bonfire Party awaits you in the evening. You can join the locals to sing and dance around the fire and experience their hospitality and joy.
Accommodation: Near Lugu Lake
- Day 4: Lugu Lake Nature & Culture Exploration - Lijiang (B, L)sunrise over Lugu Lake, Zhamei Monastery, Sweetheart Trees in Nisai Village, Little Luoshui Village, local Mosuo family visit, Mosuo Museum
Get up early this morning to catch the sunrise over Lugu Lake. You will be amazed by the changing colors of the lake and the sky.
After breakfast, drive to Zhamei Monastery, the largest and oldest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Lugu Lake area. You can see the magnificent architecture, the exquisite murals, and the devout pilgrims.
Continue your visit around Lugu Lake by visiting some famous attractions, such as the Sweetheart Trees in Nisai Village, two ancient trees that are intertwined like lovers, and the Walking Marriage Bridge, a wooden bridge where the Mosuo young people meet their lovers at night.
You will also get to Little Luoshui Village, where you can touch the tribe of Mosuo, the only ethnic group in China that still practices the walking marriage system. You will visit a local Mosuo family to know more about their matriarchal system, their family structure, and their beliefs. At the end of the day, visit Mosuo Museum, where you can learn more about the history, culture, and art of the Mosuo people.
Then drive back to Lijiang after the tour.
Accommodation: in Lijiang
- Day 5: Scenic Drive from Lijiang to Shangri-La (B, L)First Bend of Yangtze River, Tiger Leaping Gorge
This morning, drive to the First Bend of Yangtze River, where the mighty river makes a sharp turn of 180 degrees and forms a beautiful V-shaped valley. You can take some photos of the stunning scenery and the local villages.
Then, drive to Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest and most spectacular gorges in the world. The gorge is divided into three sections: Upper, Middle, and Lower. Hike the Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge section, which is about 2.5 hours and 11 kilometers long. You will enjoy the breathtaking views of the towering cliffs, the roaring river, and the snow-capped mountains.
After the hiking, continue driving to Shangri-La, a mythical paradise on earth. Check into your hotel, and enjoy your free time. You can explore the old town of Shangri-La, which is also called Dukezong Ancient Town, and see the largest prayer wheel in the world.
Accommodation: in Shangri-La
- Day 6: Shangri-La Exploration (B, L)Songzanlin Monastery, Pudacuo National Park, local Tibetan family visit
Today, you will visit some of the highlights of Shangri-La. First, visit Songzanlin Monastery, the largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan. It is also known as the Little Potala Palace because of its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa. You can see the golden roofs, the red walls, the prayer halls, the statues, and the murals. You can also observe the monks’ daily life and join them in their chanting and praying.
Then, visit Pudacuo National Park, the first national park in China that meets the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The park covers an area of 1,313 square kilometers and consists of two lakes, Shudu Lake and Bita Lake, and a primitive forest. You can enjoy the natural beauty of the lakes, the meadows, the flowers, and the wildlife. You can also learn about the culture and customs of the Tibetan and Yi ethnic groups who live in the park.
In the afternoon, visit a local Tibetan family and experience their hospitality and culture. You can taste their homemade butter tea, yak cheese, and barley wine. You can also learn about their traditional costumes, jewelry, and handicrafts.
Accommodation: in Shangri-La
- Day 7: Dukezong Ancient Town - Shangri-La Departure (B)Dukezong Ancient Town, Guishan Hill
This morning, visit Dukezong Ancient Town, the old town of Shangri-La. The town has a history of over 1,300 years and was an important stop on the ancient Tea Horse Road. You can see the well-preserved Tibetan houses, the narrow alleys, and the colorful prayer flags. You can also climb up to the top of the Guishan Hill, where you can see the largest prayer wheel in the world and enjoy a panoramic view of the town and the surrounding mountains.
Then your driver will drive you to the airport for departure. Your 7 days Yunnan tour ends here. We hope you have a wonderful time and a safe journey. Thank you for choosing us.