About This Trip
This 10-day Yunnan trip is ideal for adventurers, particularly those who enjoy mountain hiking and trekking. From Dali to Lijiang, there will be numerous opportunities to explore old towns, mountainous beauty, and local village life. The highlights of this journey include cycling along the Erhai Lake and hiking experience at the Tiger Leaping Gorges, Mingyong Glacier and Yulong Snow Mountain.
- 1 - 2DaliCycling along the Erhai Lake, Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple, Cangshan Mountain Hike
- 3Dali - ShaxiShibaoshan Mountain Hike, Xizhou Village
- 4Shaxi - Shangri-LaShaxi Old Town, Tiger Leaping Gorges Hike, Dukezong Ancient Town
- 5Shangri-LaGanden Sumtseling Monastery, Local Tibetan Family Visit, Trek around the Ringha's Holy River
- 6Shangri-La - DeqinNapa Lake, Baimang Pass
- 7Shangri-LaMeili Snow Mountain Sunrise View, Mingyong Glacier Hike
- 8Shangri-La - LijiangShuhe Old Town, Naxi Family Visit
- 9 - 10LijiangYulong Mountain Hike, Baisha Village, Black Dragon Pool, Departure
Day 1: Arrival in Dali, Cycle along the Erhai
Arriving in Dali either by airline or railway, welcomed by your local guide and driver.
Hop on a bicycle after lunch and ride along the eastern shore of Erhai, the mother lake of Dali, to take in its endless charms exuded by charming villages and verdant mountains surrounding it. During the trip, if you like, try some snacks served by local fishermen with catches they just got from the lake. Late in the afternoon, get to the old town and stroll around to feel its unique atmosphere.
Day 2: Dali, Three Pagodas & Cangshan
Start the tour today from the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple, the cultural symbol of the ancient kingdoms in Dali and a representative of the Buddhist tower of the Tang Dynasty.
Behind it sprawls the magnificent Cangshan, a mountain range of 17 peaks with the highest one, Malong Peak, rising to 4,122 meters. We will take the Gantong cable car up and hike along the Yudai Path for about 1.5 hours to take in its natural beauty and the panoramic views of Erhai.
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Day 3: Dali - Shaxi, Bai Ethnic Village and Shibaoshan Hike
Out of the old town, Xizhou is a Bai ethnic village preeminent with over 100 protected buildings. Here, we will visit Yan's Mansion, a traditional courtyard perfectly showcasing the characteristics of Bai people's dwellings, and enjoy local dances and singing (about 30 minutes) while tasting the endemic three-course tea. If you happen to be there on Sunday, don't miss the exotic morning market.
Proceed to Shaxi (129KM/3.5H) with an en-route stop at Shibaoshan Mountain to discover its historical grottos and Baoxiang Hanging Temple. Hiking from the top of the mountain for about 1.5 hours, we will arrive at Shaxi Old Town.
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Day 4: Shaxi - Shangri-La, Shaxi Old Town & Tiger Leaping Gorges
As a vital stop on the ancient Tea-Horse Road, along which the Tibetans exchanged their horses for tea and then traveled across the plateau to transport the tea to Lhasa, the historic Shaxi displays the original landscape of a busy market town in its era.
This morning, after exploring the old town with the Xingjiao Temple, we will move on to Shangri La (212KM/3.5H). On the way, stop at the Tiger Leaping Gorges, a narrow and steep gorge in the upper tributary of Yangtze River, for a three-hour hike to discover its majesty.
After arrival in Shangri-La, explore Dukezong Ancient Town and walk up to the top of Guishan Hill, touching the gigantic Prayer Wheel and savoring the Tibetan aura of Shangri-La.
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Day 5: Shangri-La, Tibetan Cultures & Shudugang River Trek
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, nicknamed Little Potala Palace, is the starting point of our tour today. Following it is a visit to a Tibetan family, communicating with the host and sampling some homemade yak butter tea. Such tours in the morning will offer you a general understanding of local people's religious beliefs and worldly life.
The most natural path is that of water running its course - following this ancient wisdom, our trek in the afternoon will trace the meandering watercourse of Ringha's holy river away from the vast plain of the valley into the mountains. The trail winds through a mixture of pine forests and cherry trees, so no doubt blossoms in spring will add much to its beauty.
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Day 6: Shangri-La - Deqin, Napa Lake & Baimang Pass
Depart-Shangri La this morning for about 3.5 hours land journey to Deqin. On the way, stop to visit Napa Lake, a seasonal lake in spring and summer with melted snow, or a highland meadow in autumn and winter after the water degrades away.
From Napa Lake, continuing along the winding road with grand vistas of alpine mountains, prayer flags, and stupas abounding, we will cross the Baimang Pass (14,009 ft/4,270 m) with the chances of running into villagers residing in this remote area. After arrival, check into your hotel in Deqin and relax.
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Day 7: Deqin - Shangri-La, Mingyong Glacier
Get up early to capture the splendid sunrise over Meili Snow Mountain from Feilaisi and then have a scenic drive to Mingyong Glacier. On arrival, a shuttle bus will take us to the point where we can start the hike along 1300 gentle steps to the top to enjoy the views of this 1.2 million-year-old glacier and a small Buddhist temple. After that, drive back to Shangri-La (172 km/3.5H) and check into your hotel.
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Day 8: Shangri-La - Lijiang, Shuhe Old Town & Naxi Family
Depart Shangri La this morning for a 3-hour drive to Lijiang.
In the afternoon, visit Shuhe Old Town and a local Naxi family. Here, we can discover their century-old house with an exhibition hall, understand Huotang Culture and Dongba Culture, learn Leba dance, and try to write some Dongba characters or speak the Naxi dialect. In the evening, enjoy an authentic homemade dinner and then be transferred back to your hotel.
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Day 9: Lijiang, Baisha Village & Black Dragon Pool
Yushui is a small Naxi village standing at the foot of Yulong Mountain. From there, in 3~3.5 hours, we will climb through a pass of Yulong Mountain and trek between 2,500 meters and 3,100 meters above sea level to take in the spectacular views of the Upper Lijiang Plain full of quaint villages, vibrant crops, distinctive flora, and the majestic mountains.
After reaching the highest point of the pass, we will descend to Wenhai Lake, exploring the village on the lakeshore and overlooking the magnificent Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Then, head to Baisha Village, an ancient settlement of Naxi people, to see local architecture and a cherished fresco surviving from the Great Cultural Revolution. Afterward, return to Lijiang Old Town and visit the Black Dragon Pool before recuring to your hotel for the night.
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Day 10: Lijiang, Departure
Have some leisure time to refresh from the tough but memorable journey in the past days. Meet your guide and driver at the appointed time for the transfer to the airport.
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