Discover South China with Shangri-la

Date:On request
Price:On request
Highlights / Route:Temples of Jianshui – Yuanyang Rice Terraces – Mekong River– Xishuangbanna – Lancang – Lincang – Weishan – Shaxi –  Cave Temples of Shaxi – Lijiang – Shangri-la – Old Town of Dali
Length:~ 2.100 Km
Duration :14 Days
Style / Character:4×4 trip with accommodation in 3 * hotels and guesthouses; simple accommodation in the Tibetan village (homestay)/ Focus on the unique landscape of Yunnan and the religious and cultural life of minorities.
Vehicles: Four wheel drive, SUV, Van or Bus

On this 4×4 Tour we experience the most beautiful places in Yunnan. This includes the old towns of Dali, Shaxi, Baisha and the UNESCO World Heritage town of Lijiang, as well as famous Shangri-la.
We drive along winding country – and mountain roads, passing impressive rice terraces and drive through small traditional Chinese villages. The journey continues through one of the deepest canyons in the world – the Tiger Leaping Gorge – thrilled with its breathtaking views. We pass 5000 meters high mountains and drive over hilly landscapes and Tibetan yak meadows to Shangri-la – the Tibet of Yunnan. A real highlight awaits us near Deqin: we will stay overnight in a small Tibetan village at the shores of the Mekong river and experience first hand Tibetan village life. From there we have views on one of the holiest mountains of Tibet: Kawa Kapo (6.774m). On our way back south we discover the first bend of Yangtze River where it turns 170 Degree on its long way from the Tibetan heights to the East China Sea. In Dali we enjoy one more time a picturesque old town of Yunnan before the journey ends in Kunming.

Google maps only offers a basic overview on the route.
Many smaller roads are not documented.

Daily Itinerary Discover South China with Shangri-la

TagRoute: Beschreibung
1 Arrival in Kunming:  Airport pick-up and transfer to the hotel. Free time for acclimatization. Dinner with the other participants and your guide.
2 Discover Kunming: After breakfast we start to discover Kunming. We visit Yuantong temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Kunming and a magnet for pilgrims. At the pagodas dating back to the Tang dynasty we can observe local life. In the afternoon we visit the bamboo temple which is located a few kilometer out of the city center. 
3 Kunming – Jianshui: The first day on the road will bring us to Jianshui. In Jianshui we can visit the small old town, the city gates and the Confucius temple – the second largest in all of China. Many temples and gates are located in these large garden like grounds. The facility not only served as a temple but as well as a scholarly center for teaching government officials and military personnel in the values of Confucianism. 
4 Jianshui – Yuanyang: A short drive along curvy mountain roads with spectacular view and through small minority villages brings us to the Rice Terraces of Yuanyang. From 500 ago the local minority started to expand the terraces from year to year. Now, the terraces belong to one of the largest of its kind in the world. Upon arrival we visit small farming villages and sit for a traditional tea with locals. 
5 Yuanyang – Chuxiong: From Yuanyang we head north to Chuxions. In this small district capital we can visit pagodas which are located on a small hill and are overlooking the surrounding countryside. 
6 Chuxiong – Weishan: Weishan is a real undiscovered gem of Yunnan. Laid back in the countryside of Dali county not many tourists visit Weishan. The well preserved old town offers city gates and local shops and restaurants and an insight and the feeling of the old China. Here the freshly made noodles are still being dried on the open streets and life goes slow. In the afternoon we visit Wei Bao Shan, a Taoist temple complex on top of Wei Mountain. Here more than a dozen temples were built in traditional Feng Shui style more than 500 years ago. Locals gather here every day to drink tea and play Majiang, a traditional Chinese game. 
7 Weishan – Shaxi: Shaxi features one of the best preserved old towns of Yunnan province. The large outdoor theater and its many traditional courtyard houses make Shaxi very worthwhile to visit. At the old Tea Horse Road bridge, which connected Indian and Myanmar with China for tea tradiing, we can get an impression of the life of the tea traders. We follow the old trading route some kilometers into the mountains before walking back into the old town. In Shaxi we stay in a protected traditional courtyard house which is more than 100 years old and once belonged to a rich tea trading family. 
8 Shaxi – Baisha (Lijiang): Baisha is the less touristy pendant to Lijiang and has a small old town with a embroidery center where China wide known masters still teach this almost forgotten art. In the afternoon we visit Lijiang old town, the UNESCO World Heritage site and the Black Dragon Pool – one of China´s most well know landscapes with the 5.500 meter high Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range in the background. 
9 Baisha (Lijiang) – Tiger Leaping Gorge: Today we reach the shores of the Yangtze river and follow this stream north into the Tiger Leaping Gorge – one of the deepest gorges in the world overlooked by the 5.500m high Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range which we saw the day before from the Lijiang side. We will not only visit the gorge from the road but see it from the highest point of the high trail where we trek to and manage the winding 28 bends. In the afternoon we will see the Yangtze River from close: we hike into the gorge and take a break on a rock in the middle of the water stream. We stay overnight in a small guesthouse inside the gorge. 
10 Tiger Leaping Gorge – Shangri-la: Today´s destination is the famous Shangri-la. We cross Tibetan grassland scattered with yak herdes and reach finally the Himalayan mountain range. In Shangri-la we visit the old town, the largest prayer wheel in the world and the largest Tibetan monastery of southern China: Tsumtsaling.
11 Shangri-la – Deqin (Tibetan Village Homestay): On our way further north we enter the Tibetan areas deeper and encounter soon the Mekong river on its way from the Himalayan heights to south east Asia. In Benzilan we visit another great Buddhist monastery of the area. In Deqin we will be guests in a traditional Tibetan farm house and share meals together with the family. A real highlight of the entire trip. The green village is perched between mountains and a welcome contrast to the spectacular but rough Tibetan landscape and the wild Mekong river. The time in the village will give you the possibility of an unmasked insight into Tibetan culture and village life. The farm was built in traditional architectural style and has a traditional spacious living room with Tibetan wood carvings and a ceremonial prayer room. From the flat roof terrace you can see the peak of Mt. Kawa Karpo (6.774m), one of Tibet´s most holy mountains. 
12 Deqin (Tibetan Village Homestay) – Qizong: From the village we drive back south along the beautiful shores of the Mekong river. We pass by small Tibetan villages until we reach Qizong. Once we arrived in Qizong we visit a Tibetan Buddhist temple that was finished only a few years ago and shows how the Buddhism is flourishing again. Here we can relax in the garden or have a cup of tea with the monks. 
13 Qizong – Dali: Another great day, this time we leave the shores of the Mekong and enter the Yangtze River valley. We take a break in Shigu where the Yangtze turns 170 degree on its way to the East China Sea from its source in the Himalayas. In Dali there is a lot to discover such as the 1200 year old Three Pagodas and the picturesque old town. Dali lays between the Cangshan mountain range (around 4000m high) and the 41 kilometer long Erhai Lake. Other options are visiting small fishing villages near the lake or a short hike up the mountain.
14 Dali – Kunming: The tour will end after breakfast. A bus will pick you up from the hotel and will drive you all the way back to Kunming. Of course, you can stay as well longer in Dali to discover more of this unique destination.


Included Services Discover South China with Shangri-la Tour:

12 Overnight stays in 3* Hotels and Guesthouses, 1 Homestay,
English speaking Tibetmoto Tour Guide
Gas, Toll Gate Fees, Driver (self-driving possible)
Meals (Breakfast, Lunch), Mineral Water
Help with applying a Chinese visa

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