Exclusive Lijiang & Shangri-La Discovery
Ancient Towns, Uniquely Mountainous Beauty, Wonderful Wildlife & Hidden Secrets
Are you planning a trip to Lijiang & Shangri-La for authentic adventures? Check our exclusive 7 days Yunnan tour itinerary that covers the highlights of the unique landscapes and rich cultures, and also the secret getaways on the off the beaten paths.
Journey through Lijiang’s and Shangri-La’s Old Towns, China’s biggest Danxia geological park in Liming, ascend the snow mountains of holy icons and visit the serene natural reserves to be close to wildlife, especially the Yunnan golden monkeys.
Top Things to Do:
Travel Style: original, private tour, adventure, wildlife, off the beaten track
Best Time to Travel: all year round
Destinations: Lijiang, Liming Danxia Geological Park, Tacheng, Shangri-La (Zhongdian)
Itinerary Expand All
Meals Included: No Meals
Hello, welcome to Lijiang China! On arrival, your private local guide of Yunnan Discovery will pick you up at the airport arrival hall, and transfer to your hotel in Lijiang Old Town. The rest of the day is for you to acclimate Yunnan’s highland climate and explore the charming old town yourself.
Located in Northwest of Yunnan, at the junction of Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Lijiang, including its ancient towns, Naxi culture and breathtaking natural scenery, is on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage list. Besides, Lijiang was vital to the horse caravans carrying goods through Ancient Tea Horse Road.
> Plan to fly to Lijiang directly and take the tour? You can reach Lijiang by flights from Hong Kong and Singapore, and many domestic cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, Guilin, Changsha, Hangzhou, etc.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Enjoy a full day guided tour to Lijiang’s outskirt - ascending Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and exploring two more ancient towns of Naxi nationality.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, formed in Quaternary Period and consisting of 13 mighty peaks, is a holy mountain for Lijiang Naxi people and means “Silver Rock” in Naxi language. Take the JDSM cable car to get to the peaceful Yak Meadow (attitude of 3600-3800m), with a Black Water River meandering through. Yak Meadow is one of the best places to get a panoramic picture of JDSM’s 13 peaks and home to the summer pasture of local Tibetan herdsmen who reside on the small cottage, while the yaks and sheep graze on the hillsides freely. More to see on Yak Meadow include the wild vegetation, plateau lakes, streams, Tibetan houses, and glaciers in a distance.
Enjoy the afternoon to be immersed in Naxi ethnic culture. Visit Baisha Ancient Town, where Mu Family, the previous Lijiang governors, Lijiang’s royal family, started theirlegend in 13th Century. Therefore Baisha is known as “the kingdom of Naxi”, and a significant part of Lijiang Old Town. Find rows of well-preserved Naxi style buildings arranged neatly on the historic streets. Appreciate Baisha Murals dating to 500 years ago. It blends the Tibetan Buddhist painting and is a treasure of Chinese mural art.
Later visit the primitive Yuhu Village. The earliest inhabitants of Yuhu Village were the deer keepers for the Naxi king. Walk on the rough stony road to find the former home of Dr Joseph Rock, a renowned US naturalist who used to live in Yuhu Village between 1922 and 1949, and devoted his life to study the history of Naxi nationality, Dongba culture and southwest China’s geography. Come to the Yuhu Lake (Jade Lake), an ancient artificial lake that connects lush grassland, snow peaks and the clean sky.
Before driving back to Lijiang Old Town, visit Black Dragon Pool (Jade Spring Park) that features beautiful natural scenery and elegant ancient architectures. If it is a bright sunny day, you can catch sight of the reflected Jade Dragon Snow Mountain on the pool. Visit Dongba Museum to learn Naxi Dongba culture, which has been handed down for over a thousand year and include music, dance, painting, classics, writing system, etc.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Wave goodbye the beaten paths of Lijiang and set off for the lesser-known Liming Town (3 hours’ drive), featuring spectacular plateau Danxia Landform and traditional ethnic minority cultures.
Visit Shigu Town (Stone Drum Town) en route. Used to be a strategically important town in ancient time, its history dates back to the Three Kingdom Dynasty (220 -280). Shigu Town provides a glimpse of a real rural China and is the best place for panoramic pictures of the First Bend of Yangtze River. Jinsha River (the upstream of Yangtze) flow from Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, through Qinghai, Sichuan, Tibet to Yunnan, and turn round towards the northeast in Shigu Town.
Arriving at Liming and check in to hotel. Liming is part of Lao Jun Shan (Laojun Mountain) National Park, the core region of Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas (UNESCO World Heritage).
Transfer to visit the Thousand Tortoise Mountain, the largest and highest Danxia geomorphic zone in China. Take cable car to the mountain top and marvel at this geological wonder with a full view - the bare cracking red stones look like tens ofthousands of tortoises, and together they constitute a huge tortoise, hence the name Thousand Tortoise Mountain.
Enjoy the beautiful night in Liming, and probably join a local campfire party, held occasionally by the local Yi, Susu, Pumi and other minority people. If looking up into the sky, the stars are within reach.
> Want to do some hiking in Yunnan? When taking the trip of Liming Thousand Tortoise Mountain, you can hike for 1 to 1.5 hour (one way) on the “Thousand Tortoise Trail” to ascend the mountain top, instead of taking the cable car ride.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
In Liming, the Danxia sandstone formations stretch for more than 540 square kilometers, and are mainly composed of red sand, sandstone and mudstone. Besides its high value in geoscience investigation, Liming Danxia Landform is an off-the-beaten-track attraction in Lijiang that is deeply loved by in the know travelers. Thousands of cliffs and mountains rising above Liming are in the color of a bright red or reddish brown, which can’t be seen anywhere else.
The Danxia cliffs are perfect for rock climbing. Thus if you are an amateur or intrepid adventurer, take the chance to join the Fei Lada Liming rock climbing project (optional), with the use of special equipment such as chain and rope. Fight your way on the gorgeous red sandstone walls. The climbing routes from easy to difficult and top-out can meet different levels of people. So even the beginners and children can have a try.
After lunch, transfer to Tacheng Village in Weixi Town, Shangri-La. You may have never heard Tacheng before. A magical, heavenly place though, it is rarely visited by the outsiders. There is wonderful wildlife, big mountains, serene valleys and small, peaceful villages where the long-gone lifestyle and traditions of minority groups continue.
Enjoy yourself a quiet, exhilarating night at Tacheng and sleep like a baby.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
After breakfast, drive to Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve - It is the original alpine coniferous forest with relatively complete biodiversity conservation in low latitude and high altitude area of China, and also the core habitat of Black Snub-nosed Monkeys (known to the locals as Yunnan Golden Money), one of the world's rare endangered species and endemic to China.
Walk through the jungles and visit Tacheng Yunnan Golden Monkeys Base on the halfway of Baima Snow Mountain, home to 800 to 1000 monkeys of 8 species. Every morning from 9:00 to 9:30 is the best time for monkey watching when they are having their breakfast. Observe golden monkey carefully, you’ll see their red mouth, similar to human. The monkeys are playing wild and happily. Join them to enjoy the forest, the sun, the air, the freedom and sheer joy.
Say goodbye to the monkeys, and hit the road again. After about 3 hours driving, arrive at Nixi Tangdui Black Pottery Village. The locals have been making black pottery for 2000 years, a superb artistic accomplishment of Chinese pottery. After a local favor lunch at Nixi Village, watch the process of pottery making with the traditional techniques.
In the afternoon, enjoy a delightful time in Napa Lake Grasslands (Napahai Natural Reserve), where the 660-square-kilometer plateau seasonal lakes and swampy meadows are the wintering habitat for black-necked cranes and other migratory birds like bar-headed goose and yellow duck. When in summer, the vast grasslands are dotted with wild flowers and groups pf cattle and sheep.
Finally reach "Shangri-la", the mysterious, remote retreat in the Himalayas.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Enjoy the morning on a nature adventure to Shangri Shika Snow Mountain and Blue Moon Valley. At an altitude of 4500m, Shika Snow Mountain is regarded by the local Tibetans as the patron saint of Shangri-La. Ascend Shika with cable car ride and hike around to have a close contact with the snow mountain eco system that consists of lakes, primeval forests, meadows wildlife, and valleys. On the top of Shika, take in the spectacular views of four famous holy snow mountains in West China: Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the south, Meili Snow Mountain in the north, Holy Mountain of Daocheng in the east and Biluo Snow Mountain in the west.
In the afternoon, visit Samstanling Monastery, the biggest and most famous Tibetan Buddhist temple in Yunnan, thus also known as “Yunnan’s Potala Palace”. Appreciate the Samstanling Monastery’s preserved religious artifacts and preciouscultural relics, and learn from your guide the historical importance of Samstanling Monastery.
Afterwards, come to the Dukezong Ancient Town (or named Moonlight City) dating 1300 year ago. Built against a hillside, Dukezong was an important stop on the Ancient Tea Horse Trading Route and connected Yunnan with Tibet. Stroll through the traditional Tibetan dwelling houses and visit Baiji Temple (One-hundred Chicken Temple) on Guishan Mountain, where there is the world’s biggest prayer wheel.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Your 7 days Lijiang & Shangri-La tour ends, but your authentic adventure in Yunnan, and its beautiful mountain, ancient towns and unsophisticated people will live in photos and your memory.
Your guide and driver will escort you to Shangri-La Airport. Fly back home or to another destination.