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