This 7-day journey will take you to uncover the natural and cultural marvels of Shangri-La, a Yunnan province paradise on Earth. Explore Yunnan’s largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery, venture into China’s inaugural national park, encounter the endangered golden monkey, and marvel at the sacred Meili Snow Mountain. Immerse yourself in the local lifestyle and warm hospitality of the Tibetan, Lisu, and Naxi communities, savoring delightful local delicacies and wines. This tour is the perfect choice for nature enthusiasts, culture aficionados, and adventure seekers alike.
2. Explore Yunnan’s largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Songzanlin, to unravel the depth of Tibetan Buddhism’s history and culture.
3. Stroll through Dukezong Ancient Town, a 1300-year-old gem, and marvel at the world’s largest prayer wheel.
4. Discover the wonders of Pudacuo National Park, China’s inaugural park meeting international conservation standards, showcasing rare wildlife and plants.
5. Observe the endangered golden monkey in its natural habitat at Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park.
6. Drive along the picturesque Lancang River, witnessing the stunning First Bend and deep gorges.
7. Visit Cizhong Village, where Tibetan and Catholic cultures merge, tasting local wine from wild grapes.
8. Immerse yourself in the hospitality of a local Tibetan family, experiencing their authentic lifestyle and savoring homemade treats.
- Day 1: Arrival in Shangri-La
Step into the enchanting realm of Shangri-La, a haven on Earth boasting breathtaking landscapes and a vibrant cultural legacy. Upon arrival, our friendly guide and driver will welcome you at the airport, leading you to your hotel for a seamless check-in. The remainder of the day is yours to unwind and acclimate to the elevated altitude.
Explore the nearby streets, peruse local shops, or indulge in the amenities of your hotel.
- Day 2: Unveil the Tibetan Essence of Shangri-La (B)Songzanlin Monastery, Dukezong Ancient Town
In the morning, venture to Songzanlin Monastery, Yunnan's grandest Tibetan Buddhist sanctuary built in the 17th century. Resembling Lhasa's Potala Palace, it houses over 600 monks. Admire the intricate architecture, witness daily rituals, and delve into the history and culture of Tibetan Buddhism.
Afterward, explore Dukezong Ancient Town in the afternoon, a charming enclave with a 1300-year history. Wander its alleys, adorned with white-washed houses and colorful prayer flags.
Optional experience: Optionally, immerse yourself in the traditional Tibetan art of thangka painting under the guidance of a master.
- Day 3: Embrace Shangri-La's Natural Splendor - Drive to Tacheng (B)Pudacuo National Park
Following breakfast, set out for Pudacuo National Park, China's inaugural park meeting International Union for Conservation of Nature standards. Covering 1300 square kilometers, it boasts Shudu Lake and Bita Lake, ensconced in verdant forests and meadows. Enjoy a sightseeing bus and boat ride to witness its pristine beauty and spot rare fauna and flora.
In the afternoon, embark on a picturesque drive from Shangri-La to Tacheng, nestled in the Nujiang River valley. Marvel at the rolling hills, terraced fields, and ethnic villages along the route. Tacheng, home to the Lisu and Naxi people, unveils its unique customs and traditions.
- Day 4: Tacheng to Deqin - Scenic Drive Alongside the Lancang River (B)Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park, Cizhong Village
After breakfast, proceed to Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park, a nature reserve that protects the endangered Yunnan snub-nosed monkey, also known as the golden monkey. The park has a population of about 300 golden monkeys, which live in the high-altitude forests and feed on lichens and mosses. You can observe these cute and curious creatures in their natural habitat, and learn more about their behavior and conservation.
Continue the journey alongside the Lancang River to Deqin, showcasing ever-changing scenery with snow-capped mountains, deep gorges, and rushing rapids.
Make a stop at Cizhong Village on the way, a charming village that blends Tibetan and Catholic cultures. The village has a Catholic church that was built by French missionaries in the 19th century, and still holds regular services for the local villagers. You can visit the church and see the fusion of Tibetan and Western elements. Visit the 19th-century Catholic church and savor local wine crafted from wild grapes.
- Day 5: Meili Snow Mountains Sunrise - Mingyong Glacier Experience (B)Meili Snow Mountain, Mingyong Glacier
Wake up to the breathtaking sunrise over Meili Snow Mountain, an awe-inspiring and sacred range renowned for its 13 peaks, each surpassing 6000 meters. Experience the magic as the sun paints a golden hue on the snow-capped peaks, instilling a profound sense of wonder and reverence for nature.
Following a satisfying breakfast, embark on a journey to Mingyong Glacier, China's lowest glacier extending from Kawagebo to Mingyong Village at 2600 meters. Here, you have the option to hike or take a horse ride to reach the glacier, immersing yourself in the grandeur of the ice wall and cascading waterfall. Witness the stark contrast between the lush greenery of the forest and the pristine white of the glacier, offering a poignant glimpse into the environmental impact of climate change.
Return to your hotel and enjoy leisure time after the glacier visit.
- Day 6: Deqin to Shangri-La - Visit a Tibetan Family (B)Wunongding Viewing Platform, bend of the Jinsha River, Tibetan family visit
Before bidding farewell to Deqin, ascend to the Wunongding Viewing Platform for a panoramic spectacle of the Meili Snow Mountains. Marvel at the 13 peaks aligned in perfect harmony, absorbing the beauty and grandeur of these majestic mountains.
Subsequently, embark on the journey back to Shangri-La. Along the way, pause at a breathtaking viewpoint overlooking the big bend of the Jinsha River, the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The Jinsha River gracefully winds its way through the Hengduan Mountains, creating a mesmerizing landscape of bends and turns.
Continuing the scenic drive, our next stop involves an intimate encounter with local Tibetan hospitality. You will be warmly welcomed into the home of a Tibetan family, where you can engage in friendly conversations with amiable hosts. Savor the flavors of homemade butter tea and yak cheese while gaining insights into their unique culture and beliefs. As an option, partake in a moderate hike through the nearby forest, relishing the crisp air and embracing the natural beauty that surrounds.
- Day 7: Departure from Shangri-La
Savor your remaining time until your designated driver collects you from the hotel. Be escorted to the airport for your departure, bidding farewell to Shangri-La with cherished memories from an extraordinary journey.