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Shangrila, Stairway to Heaven - 5 Days / 4 Nights
Shangrila, Stairway to Heaven - 5 Days / 4 Nights

Shangrila, Stairway to Heaven - 5 Days / 4 Nights

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Lijiang - Zhongdian - Deqin - Shangri La (Zhongdian)


This trip will allow you to discover “Shangri-La”, the mythical paradise of Tibetan Buddhists and imaginary world described by James Hilton, who certainly would never have imagined the influence of his successful novel at the time of its writing. Indeed today several of the districts in the region claim ownership over the heritage of the myth. To this day the area is beautiful and heavily influenced by the fascinating culture of Tibet; Zhongdian was in the past part of “Historical Tibet”, just as were certain parts of Qinghai and Sichuan provinces. 

Day 1 - Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Zhongdian (L)

Transfert from Lijjiang to Zhongdian, a stop in the old Route of Tea and Horses a major trade route between the Tibetans and Chinese in the ancient time. Zhongdian is also part of the “Shangri-la” the mythical paradise of Tibetan Buddhists and imaginary world described by James Hilton, who certainly would never have imagined the influence of his successful novel at the time of its writing. Indeed today several of the districts in the region claim ownership over the heritage of the myth. To this day the area is beautiful and heavily influenced by the fascinating culture of Tibet; Shangri La was in the past part of “Historical Tibet”, just as were certain parts of Qinghai and Sichuan provinces.

Stop at Tiger Leaping Gorge. One of the deepest gorges in the world, with staggering variations in altitude (nearly 4000m) separating the Jinsha River (lit: Golden Sands River) from the jagged mountains of Northern Yunnan, this area has become a playground for walkers coming from the world over keen to defy this unforgiving terrain. We will take a short walk in the gorge.  

Lunch in a guesthouse overlooking the gorge

We will arrive in Zhongdian in the late afternoon and make a stop at our hotel.

Stroll through the old town, a small maze of cobbled streets lined with wooden houses.

Visit of Baijisi temple (literally "Temple of hundred chickens"), which offers a beautiful view of the city.

You can participate in the daily spectacle of local and foreign dancers who come to try some dance steps on the the old town’s main square… Participants usually dance in a circle to the rhythm of traditional and modern music, a unique show particularly appreciated by the locals and not to be missed!

Optional: We will head to the cosy and arty Tara Gallery Café & Bar for a Tibetan dinner on the terrace (providing the weather holds).

Night in Zhongdian

Distance and journey time:

Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge (approx 90km): 2h30 

Tiger Leaping Gorge – Shangri La (approx 100km): 2h45

Day 2 - Zhongdian (B)

yunnan_-_napa_hai-day2

After the breakfast in hotel we will have a visit to the impressive monastery Songzanlin, (Ganden Sumt selling Gompa in Tibetan) important location for Tibetan Buddhism still in use today. You can admire the glittering golden roofs of the monastery at sunset (if weather permitting) and countless prayer flags waving in the wind, scenes of local life around the Lamuyancuo lake and some 600 monks daily life who stay in the typical small houses adjoining the monastery ...

A school located in the old town will welcome you for a course on the art of Thangka. Some teachers directly come from Lhasa and regularly talented young Tibetan to this art closely related to Buddhism and meditation. This session will help you better understand and grasp representations spiritual adorning temples and Tibetan monasteries.

We then continue to the Napa Lake (difficult to reach outside of the summer season) surrounded by mountains on one side and the other by a broad meadow where horses and yaks graze happily.

Optional: bike tour of the lake to enjoy the site in all its glory, it takes extra charge. Please contact us.

Continuation for Ringha Temple, 700 years old and partially destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and rebuilt, and considered one of the first Buddhist temples in Yunnan Province.

Transfer back to hotel.  Night in Zhongdian

Distance and journey time:

Shangri La – Songzanlin monastery (approx 3km): 10 min 

Songzanlin monastery – Napa Lake (approx 10km): 15 min

Napa Lake – Ringha Temple (approx 27km): 1h

Ringha Temple – Shangri La (approx 20km): 40 min

Day 3 - Zhongdian - Deqin (B,L)

zhongdian_-_songzanlin_monastery-day3

We will then travel to Deqin, and located at an altitude of 3500 meters.

We will stop on the way at the small village of Nixi known for its pottery (almost 70 of the 100 families living in the village are working in this craft for over a century). We will stop off at the house of a Tibetan family where you can try “tsampa”, a mixture of yak’s butter, tea and flour. Take this opportunity to savor this Tibetan specialty in a traditional small Tibetan house...

We will then continue to the small city Benzilan where you will have lunch.

Visit of Dhondrupling Gompa set on the edge of a mountainside and one of the most important monasteries in the prefecture. It is not as impressive as Songzanlin but certainly more authentic. Its main assembly hall and different colleges still house around 300 monks.

Arrival in Deqin and night in a hotel close to Feilai temple.

Distances et temps de transfert:

Shangri La –  Nixi village (approx 38km) : 1h

Nixi village – Benzilan (approx 45km) : 1h15

Benzilan - Dhondrupling Gompa  (approx 25km) : 1h

Dhondrupling Gompa - Deqin (approx 95km): 2h30

Day 4 - Deqin - Zhongdian (B)

yunnan_-_deqin-day4

We will rise at dawn to go to admire the sunrise over the “Meili Xueshan” from the platform of Feilasi temple mountain range which stands as an impassable border between Tibet and China. It is dominated by the mystical Kawa Karpo, a true natural castle that at more than 6700 metres in height towers over the neighboring mountains. This amazing spectacle will be enjoyed whilst eating breakfast, prepared in advance by the hotel.

The Mekong River which has its source in the north the Tibetan plateau carved the gorge below the Kawa Karpo, you will cross the legendary river to get in the charming village of Mingyong, starting point for hiking towards the glacier of the same step name and one of the stages of “kora”, the pilgrimage of faithful Tibetans.

A 10km walk will lead you to the Lotus Temple in order to further see the religious blood that still flows through the veins of this region but also the remarkable view of the glacier. You can see the prayer flags tirelessly flapping in the wind against the backdrop of this enchanting natural scenery…

Optional: a good physical condition is required for this tour that you can do on horseback to get there and back, please contact us.

Return to Zhongdian on the same road as the day before (without stops).  Arrival in the evening.

Night in Zhongdian

Distances et temps de transfert:

Feilai Temple – Mingyong village (approx 35km) : 1h

Mingyong village – Shangri La (225km) : 5h  

Day 5 - Zhongdian (B)

Transfer to the airport. Flight on to your next location.

Distances et temps de transfert:

Shangri La – Shangri La airport  (approx 7km) : 15 min

Tour Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights
Tour Operates: Year Round / On Demand
Tour Price: Available Upon Request

Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs.


Our services include:

  • Accommodation in selected hotel
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).
  • English speaking guide without shopping
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits

Our services do not include:

  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and Domestic Flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance
  • Visa of China

 

Creating Unique Touring Experiences
All the touring itineraries on this website have been carefully crafted by our in-country management teams and represent a series of experiences we can certainly recommend. However, we understand that every travel experience should be as unique and individual as each traveler. Our consultants are waiting to hear from you so that we can tailor or custom design a China Tour to your individual specifications.


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REVIEWS

icon-quote-l  Andrew is fantastic guide. His English is very good and he is very friendlym polite and professional.  icon-quote-r

Cathy Lovern

Exo Foundation

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