|Highlights / Route :||Dali – Shaxi – Stone Drum Town (Shigu) – Shangri-la – White Water Terrace (Bai Shui Tai) – Tiger Leaping Gorge – Baisha (Lijang) – Dali|
|Length:||~ 930 Km|
|Duration :||7 days|
|Style / Character:||Active Travel Experience with a Focus on Short Hikes / Culture / Temples / Minorities of Yunnan / Family Friendly: For families with children / Nights in Hotels and Guesthouses ; One Night in a Tibetan Family Farm House (Homestay)|
|Vehicles:||Four wheel drive, SUV, Van or Bus|
Get to know the best of Yunnan Province! This tour let you experience the historic Tea Horse Road, the old towns Lijiang, Shanxi, Dali and Shangri-la, little villages at the border to Tibet, through one of the deepest gorges in the world and snow capped mountains. The diversity of the landscape is stunning: experience the wide Tibetan grassland, cactus-lined curvy gorge roads or a ride along the vast Erhai Lake. Extend this trip and dine with a local Tibetan family and take a glimpse at the peak of high and holy Mt. Kawa Karpo (6.700m) in the Himalayas.
Google maps only offers a basic overview on the route.
Many smaller roads are not documented.
Daily itinerary for North Yunnan Tour – 8 Days
|1||Arrival in Dali: Our journey begins in the old town of Dali, the former capital of the Nanzhao Kingdom, which was built on the banks of the 42-kilometer Erhai Lake. Airport pickup and transfer to your hotel. Depending on arrival time we have trough Dali old town and visit the 1200 years old Three Pagodas.|
|2|| Dali – Shaxi: We start our tour with a drive along the lake towards Shaxi. Soon we leave the lake shore with the houses of the Bai minority and take the winding road to the side of the Cangshan Mountains, whose peak is over 4000 M. high. Free time to visit the old town of Shaxi. Shaxi is how many other places and villages part of the historic Tee Horse Road and still remembers much of that time, such as the arched stone bridge over the river and the village square with its wooden stage. If you like to, theres the possibility to visit the Shi Bao Mountain which is around 12 kilometer far away. In the old town of Shaxi, right on the historic town square, theres a Botique hotel where we will spend the night.|
|3||Shaxi – Shigu – Shangri-la: After a few hours driving up north we will reach the Yangtze River, which takes a 140 degrees bend in Shigu thousands of miles before it flows into the sea. Before lunch we climb the edge of a small hill to enjoy the view. After that it is possible to take a small boat out onto the river and take a break on one of the small islands. We drive up to Shangri-la plateau. Before you pass the 3200 meters pass with the bike we ride through small Tibetan villages until the road leads into the mountains. Villages and agriculture gets rare after a while, and the landscape reminds more and more of the movie “Seven Years in Tibet”. If we spot the Napa Lake and the surrounding grassland from the top, we have arrived at Shangri-la. We drive to the old town, where we stay in Kersang’s Relay for the night, the Best Choice of the Lonely Planet Guide. Depending on the timing we get to Shangri-la its possible to visit the Buddhist monastery Tsumtseling. Around 500 monks live in this monastery, which is surrounded by a small village and a little lake.|
|4|| Shangri-la – Tiger Leaping Gorge: After breakfast we drive along the old road to the 3700 M. high mountain pass that demarcated the plateau of Shangri-la over centuries. The little busy road leads through the villages of the Naxi Lisu and isnt straight for more than 100 meters. On this windy road it goes to the White Water Terraces (Baishuitai), the birthplace of the endangered threatened Dongba religion. Here we will have lunch, put the bike aside and visit the sacred source of Dongba. Two hours later we see from the top down to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, which opens up like a giant crack in the valley. The road through the gorge offers fantastic views of the Yangtze River and into one of the deepest canyons in the world. It also offers spectacular views of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountains, a massive of about 5000 M. height. We will spend the night in a guest house, overlooking the gorge.|
|5|| Tiger Leaping Gorge – Baisha: The drive to Baisha is very short (about 1.5 hours), so there are different possibilities. 1. A three hour hike into the canyon and the Tiger Leaping Stone. The walk-rock is in the middle of the river at the narrowest point. 2. Early arrival in the old town of Baisha, 10 kilometers north of Lijiang. Ride to the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town of Lijiang and visit the Black Dragon pools, one of the most famous photographs of China. But before we get there the road takes us back along the Yangtze River, through small villages and past strawberry, tobacco and corn fields.|
|6|| Baisha – Dali: Baisha is the non-touristy counterpart to the Old Town of Lijiang. Here, in the middle of corn fields, the authentic old town can be visited. Small cafes invite you to linger. A visit in the newly founded Weaving Mill Institute, where many masters exercise the craft again gives an insight into this almost lost craft. Within a 4 hour drive over the mountain pass we get back to Dali. Depending on the time, an extension to the east side of Erhai Lake is possible.|
|7||End of the trip in Dali: Free time in Dali and transfer to the Airport.|