Embark on a cohesive 7-day journey blending hiking adventures in the Yubeng Valley and the Meili Snow Mountain with cultural explorations in Shangri-La. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and diverse culture of this region, a vibrant home to various ethnic minorities, prominently the Tibetans. Your days will be filled with awe as you witness the mesmerizing moments of sunrise, sunset, and the captivating landscapes featuring glaciers, lakes, and waterfalls. Dive into the rich history and beliefs of Tibetan Buddhism while experiencing the authentic local life of the Tibetans. Visit significant monasteries, adding cultural depth to your adventure. Ideal for hiking enthusiasts who appreciate nature and culture, this tour promises a unique and unforgettable experience.
2. Unearth the enchanting landscapes of the Yubeng Valley and Meili Snow Mountain, where every step reveals the natural beauty of glaciers, lakes, and waterfalls.
3. Set out on a hiking adventure through the Yubeng Valley, a hidden gem nestled at the base of Meili Snow Mountain, promising a unique and unforgettable journey for nature and culture enthusiasts alike.
4. Experience the celestial magic of Meili Snow Mountain sunrise and sunset, as the snow-capped peaks transform with a golden glow, creating an unforgettable visual symphony.
5. Visit a Tibetan family in Shangri-La, partake in conversations, and gain firsthand insights into their customs and daily routines, fostering meaningful connections.
- Day 1: Arrival in Shangri-La
Upon landing at Diqing Shangri-La Airport, a friendly guide and driver will welcome you. They will then transport you to your hotel in the city center, providing you with an opportunity to rest and relax after your flight.
Accommodation: in Shangri-La
- Day 2: Exploration of Shangri-La's Treasures (B, L)Songzanlin Monastery, Pudacuo National Park, Tibetan family visit, Dukezong Ancient Town
Today's agenda involves exploring the key attractions of Shangri-La, the inspiration for James Hilton's renowned novel, Lost Horizon. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and rich culture of this region, home to various ethnic minorities, particularly the Tibetans.
The journey begins at the Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, often referred to as the Little Potala Palace. Marvel at the golden roofs, intricate murals, and sacred statues while delving into the history and beliefs of Tibetan Buddhism.
Next, venture to the Pudacuo National Park, China's first national park meeting International Union for Conservation of Nature standards. Explore the park's diverse ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, meadows, and lakes. A shuttle bus and boat will take you to the renowned Shudu Lake and Bita Lake, showcasing crystal-clear water, vibrant flowers, and rare wildlife.
In the afternoon, experience local Tibetan life by visiting a traditional Tibetan family in their home. Savor yak butter tea and homemade snacks, engage in friendly conversations, and learn about their customs and culture.
Before returning to your hotel, explore the Dukezong Ancient Town, the largest and best-preserved Tibetan town in China. Stroll through cobbled streets, peruse handicraft shops, and admire ancient buildings and temples. Ascend Turtle Hill for a panoramic view of the old town, and surrounding mountains.
Accommodation: in Shangri-La
- Day 3: Shangri-La - Meili Snow Mountain (B, L)First Bend of Jinsha River, Dongzhulin Monastery, Feilai Temple, Meili Snow Mountain
Depart from Shangri-La and head to Deqin County, the gateway to Meili Snow Mountain, one of China's most sacred and spectacular mountain ranges. With 13 peaks, the highest being Kawagebo Peak at 6,740 meters above sea level.
En route, visit the First Bend of Jinsha River, where the Yangtze River sharply turns almost 180 degrees. Capture the contrast between the green river and brown cliffs in memorable photos. Stop at the Dongzhulin Monastery, another significant Tibetan Buddhist monastery with a rich history and a serene atmosphere.
After passing through the Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve, reach the Feilai Temple, the ideal location to admire Meili Snow Mountain. Check in to your hotel near Feilai Temple, a small temple providing an excellent vantage point for mountain views.
In the evening, enjoy free time to witness the sunset over Meili Snow Mountain, observing the peaks' changing colors from golden to red to purple. Admire the 13 white Tibetan pagodas in front of the mountain, creating a harmonious and beautiful scene.
Accommodation: Near Feilai Temple
- Day 4: Hiking Adventure from Meili Snow Mountain to Upper Yubeng Village (B)Xidang Spring, Nanzong Pass, Upper Yubeng Village
Today brings a full day of hiking in the Yubeng Valley, a hidden gem nestled at the base of the Meili Snow Mountain. Accessible only by foot or horse, the valley treats you to breathtaking views of glaciers, waterfalls, forests, and meadows.
Start your day early by heading to the Feilaisi Observation Deck, the prime spot to catch the sunrise over the Meili Snow Mountain. Watch as the golden rays illuminate the snow-capped peaks, creating a magical and awe-inspiring scene.
After a satisfying breakfast, drive to Xidang Spring, the kick-off point for your hiking adventure. Follow a well-marked trail that gradually ascends along the Xidang River, a tributary of the Lancang River. Pass through small villages to witness local life and enjoy the scenic views of the river, cliffs, and vegetation along the way.
Around 3 hours into the hike, you'll reach the Nanzong Pass, the trail's highest point at 3,700 meters above sea level. Take in a panoramic view of the Meili Snow Mountain and the Yubeng Valley. Observe prayer flags and stone piles, symbolic of Tibetan culture and religion. Take a well-deserved rest, enjoy some snacks, and hydrate.
From the Nanzong Pass, descend to the Upper Yubeng Village, your hiking destination today. Be cautious as the trail gets steep and rocky in parts; follow your guide closely. Pass by waterfalls and streams, where the soothing sounds of water and cool breezes create a serene atmosphere.
After 3-4 hours of hiking, arrive at the Upper Yubeng Village, a quaint and peaceful enclave surrounded by mountains. Check in to your guesthouse, offering simple yet cozy accommodations with basic facilities and services.
Accommodation: Guesthouse at Upper Yubeng Village
- Day 5: Yubeng Valley Hiking (about 7 hours): Upper Yubeng - Ice Lake - Lower Yubeng (B)Xiaonong Base Camp, Ice Lake, Lower Yubeng
Begin the day with a simple breakfast before embarking on a hiking adventure from Upper Yubeng Village to Ice Lake. The journey can be divided into three segments:
The first leg of the hike, from Upper Yubeng to Xiaonong Base Camp, takes about 2 hours. Traverse a trail through a forest, relishing the shade and fresh air. Cross a wooden bridge over a stream, observing the clear water and fish. Arrive at Xiaonong Base Camp, a flat and open area with numerous tents and horses.
The second part of the hike, from Xiaonong Base Camp to Ice Lake, lasts about 3 hours. Ascend a steep trail along the mountain slope, witnessing snow and ice. Pass by small lakes and waterfalls, hearing the soothing sounds of water and feeling the coolness. Reach Ice Lake, a large and deep lake reflecting Kawagebo Peak and the glaciers. Also known as the Holy Lake, it's believed to be the dwelling place of the mountain god. Take a break here, soaking in the breathtaking scenery.
After the time at Ice Lake, trek about 2 hours back to Upper Yubeng Village. Follow the same trail, descending to Xiaonong Base Camp before hiking back to Upper Yubeng. Here, you can indulge in a hot shower and a delicious lunch.
Continue the adventure by hiking from Upper Yubeng to Lower Yubeng, a one-hour trek. Follow a trail along the Yubeng River, observing the river, rocks, and vegetation.
Arrive at Lower Yubeng Village, larger and more vibrant than Upper Yubeng. Check in to your guesthouse, a comfortable and clean accommodation offering good facilities and services. Enjoy a relaxing evening under the starry night sky.
Accommodation: Guesthouse at Lower Yubeng Village
- Day 6: Yubeng Valley Hiking (about 5 hours): Lower Yubeng - Sacred Waterfall - Lower Yubeng (B)Lower Yubeng Village, Sacred Waterfall
Today offers a leisurely day of hiking in the Yubeng Valley, focusing on the Sacred Waterfall, a revered and picturesque spot.
After enjoying a stunning sunrise and a hearty breakfast, set out on a hike to the Sacred Waterfall, which is shorter and easier than the previous day's trek. Follow a trail along the Yubeng River, observing the river, rocks, vegetation, and birds along the way.
About 2 hours into the hike, reach the Sacred Waterfall, a spectacular 40-meter-high and 20-meter-wide cascade originating from the glacier of Kawagebo Peak. This site holds sacred significance for Tibetans, who believe it can cleanse sins and bring good luck and happiness.
Upon reaching the Sacred Waterfall, take some time to circumambulate it three times, a ritual showing respect and devotion to the mountain god, often performed by pilgrims. Enjoy the surrounding scenery, including glaciers, meadows, and flowers. Feel the spray and breeze from the waterfall and immerse yourself in the chants and prayers of fellow pilgrims.
Then, trek back to Lower Yubeng Village, a 2-hour hike following the same trail, taking in the scenery along the way. Enjoy a cozy evening, sharing stories and experiences with fellow travelers.
Accommodation: Guesthouse at Lower Yubeng Village
- Day 7: Lower Yubeng - Ninong Grand Canyon - Shangri-La Departure (B)Lower Yubeng, Ninong Bridge
Today, you will conclude your Yubeng Valley hiking adventure and head back to Shangri-La for your departure.
After breakfast, embark on a 4-hour hike from Lower Yubeng to Ninong Bridge. Traverse the Ninong Grand Canyon, a deep and narrow gorge carved by the Ninong River. Witness changing scenery, including cliffs, caves, waterfalls, and forests. Explore rock paintings and carvings, remnants of the area's ancient culture and civilization.
Upon reaching Ninong Bridge, your driver will pick you up for the 4-hour drive back to Shangri-La.
Arrive in Shangri-La in the afternoon, where your guide will escort you to Diqing Shangri-La Airport for your departure flight.