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5 Days Lijiang & Shangri-La Best Highlights Tour

Discover the Chinese Ancient City & Immersed in Stunning Scenery

In this trip, you will explore two of the most charming places in Yunnan: Lijiang - the Kingdom of Naxi People & Shangri-La - Garden of Eden! Here, you are in a world of minority people, temples, old towns, ancient streets, lakes, rivers, mountains…splendid culture and breathtaking scenery are waiting for you to explore.

In this 5 days Lijiang & Shangri-La best highlights tour, you’ll grasp every second to enjoy yourself on the incredible land - have a panoramic view of Lijiang Old Town, explore the authentic Naxi Village to feel the special Dongba Culture, visit Songzanlin Monastery and Pudacuo National Park, and take a light hike to Tiger Leaping Gorge that is the world's deepest gorge. You will just find the tour fabulous every moment!

Extend Your Trip: If you have one more day for planning your Yunnan vacation, it is a good idea to cover your Lijiang Shangri-La tour with Kunming, the provincial capital city with convenient flights and trains linking with other destinations. Just have a look at our 6 Days Best of Yunnan Tour (Lijiang - Shangri-La - Kunming) with classic discovery in the three destinations. Feel free to select your likes and tell us your ideas.

  • Type : Private Tour
  • Tour Code : CD-LJST-05
  • Price : $605
  • Trip Length : 5D/4N
  • Theme : Nature / Culture / Photography

HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS TOUR

  • Have a nice stroll in Lijiang Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a center of the Naxi people, where you’ll see stunning panorama scenery;
  • Enjoy leisurely exploration around the Old Town of Lijiang with visits to Yuhu Village, Baisha Village for Baisha Mural Paintings and Shuhe Ancient Town;
  • Make a transfer to Shangri-La with a stop on the way to view the First Bend of Yangtze River and enjoy light hiking to Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge;
  • Release yourselves both of your body and your mind in the earthly paradise with fairytale scenery and authentic Tibetan Buddhist culture.
Itinerary Day by Day (Can Be Customized)
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Day 1 Lijiang Arrival & Lijiang

Arrive in Lijiang - Lijiang Old Town

Ni Hao! Welcome to Lijiang, a very impressive ancient city! Upon arrival at the airport or railway station, your guide and driver will meet you at the arrival hall and transfer you to the hotel in ancient town area with a private car which is comfortable, air-conditioned and non-smoking. 

After a short rest, you’ll start a memorable tour in Lijiang Ancient Town (Dayan Ancient Town). Established in the Ming dynasty as a commercial center, Lijiang Old Town is a well-preserved 800-year-old town for Naxi ethnic group, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Walk to the central area of the old town and visit Mufu Palace. A saying goes “there is Forbidden City in the North, Mu’s Residence in the South”. Mu’s Residence was called the miniature Forbidden City. Looked from a far distance, it likes a grand imperial palace and it is famous for the grandness and architectural buildings. Getting into the palace, you can know Tusi’s ruling history and appreciate Naxi people’s brilliant culture and fine arts. Then, wander through the old alleys, old bridges, featured shops and bars to Sifang Street Square, a mingling ground to enjoy lively atmosphere and unwind yourself. If time permits, join the Naxi people and tourists to dance happily in a round. (Optional Activity: Take a leisure walk up to the Lion Hill and climb up the 33-meter-tall Wanggu Tower - the landmark building of Lijiang to enjoy a panoramic view of the whole old town and overlook the magnificent Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance.)

Arrival Ideas: There’re direct flights from Kunming, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lhasa, Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Guiyang, etc to Lijiang Sanyi Airport. Trains are available from Kunming (about 3-3.5 hours), Dali (about 2-3 hours) to Lijiang Railway Station. 

  • Lijiang Old Town Waterwheel Lijiang Old Town Waterwheel
  • Mufu Palace, the “Forbidden City” of Lijiang Mufu Palace, the “Forbidden City” of Lijiang

Day 2 Lijiang (B, L)

Yuhu Village - Baisha Murals - Shuhe Ancient Town - Dongba Culture Museum - Black Dragon Pool Park

After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. First, you’ll be transferred out of Lijiang Old Town to Yuhu Village which is located at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Walking into this authentic Naxi Village, you’ll see unique stone houses, Naxi ladies dressing in traditional clothes, kids playing, a tranquil Yuhu Lake…explore leisurely around the village and then go to explore the Former Residence of Joseph Rock, who was an Austrian-American Botanist came to Lijiang and stayed in Yuhu Village for 27 years and made huge research work on Naxi minority.

Later, head to Baisha Village and appreciate the ancient Baisha Mural Paintings. Houses here are arranged on a north-south axis around a central, terraced square. Visit Dabaoji Palace and Liuli Temple to view murals painted over 1000 years ago which depict subjects relating to Buddhism, Taoism and the life of the Naxi people, incorporating cultural elements of the Bai people. (Optional experience: You can have in-depth cultural experience to learn how to make Baisha embroidery instructed by the local masters in Baisha Village.)

Then, it is followed by a relaxing trip to Shuhe Ancient Town - one of the earliest settlements of Naxi people as well as the well-preserved stop of the Ancient Tea Horse Route. This ancient town is less crowded than Lijiang Dayan Old Town. Take a nice stroll here to explore local cultures, folk customs and traditions over several centuries. 

After that, transfer to Dongba Culture Museum where more than 10,000 Dongba cultural relics show mysterious Dongba culture of the Naxi people. Take a gentle walk to Black Dragon Pool Park to enjoy gorgeous view and peaceful surroundings. If weather permits, get to the best spot to overlook the snow-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and shoot some amazing pictures.

  • Black Dragon Pool Park Black Dragon Pool Park
  • Baisha Mural Paintings Baisha Mural Paintings

Day 3 Lijiang - Shangri-La (B, L)

First Bend of Yangtze River - Tiger Leaping Gorge

After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. First, drive about 52 kilometers from Lijiang to view the First Bend of Yangtze River. The upper reach of the Yangtze River is Jinsha River coming down from Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and when it arrives at Shigu Town, it is obstructed by Hailuo Mountain and forms a V-shape turn. Then it changes the direction and goes to the northeast. You’ll reach the observation deck to catch a panoramic view of the bend, an extraordinary turn nearly about 180 degrees with beautiful and marvelous views like a wonderful landscape painting unfolding before your eyes. You’ll have a look at local market and Red Army’s Long March Memorial Monument in Shigu Town.

Later, be transferred to visit the one of the deepest and most spectacular river canyon in the world - Tiger Leaping Gorge. It is also a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site called Three Parallel of Yunnan Protected Areas. This steep gorge is situated between the 5596 meters Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to the south and 5396 meters Haba Snow Mountain to the north. Measuring 17 kilometers in length, the whole gorge is divided into three parts: upper, middle and lower gorge and you’ll pay a visit to the maturest section - Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge. Walk about 1,000 stairs along the plank road from the entrance to the Tiger Leaping Rock. Take a moment to enjoy the magnificent gorge view and rolling waves. (Travel tip: This gorge is suitable for most travelers with easy walk. Comfortable shoes are recommended.)

After the hiking tour, you’ll be driven to Shangri-La. With 2 hours' driving, enjoy the enchanting natural scenery along the way. Welcome to Shangri-La (Zhongdian, altitude: 3459meters), the Garden of Eden! Upon arrival, check in your hotel and explore this earthly paradise on your own. 

Recent News: Tiger Leaping Gorge Tourist Area is going to be closed from November 1st, 2020 to April 30th 2021 due to the road construction. Please plan your trip accordingly or contact us to help you plan your Lijiang and Shangri-La trip properly!

  • Sightseeing at First Bend of Yangtze River Sightseeing at First Bend of Yangtze River
  • Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge

Day 4 Shangri-La (B, L)

Songzanlin Monastery - Pudacuo National Park - Local Tibetan Family Visiting

Today is a full day to explore the earthly paradise described in the famous novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton.

After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. First, you’ll be transferred with 7 kilometers’ driving to Songzanlin Monastery (Ganden Sumtseling Gompa), reputed as the “Little Potala Palace” for it was built according to the complex of Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Established by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1679, the monastery belongs to Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and it is also the largest Buddhist monastery in Yunnan Province with around 700 monks and lamas. Walk 147 steps to get atop of the monastery and pay clockwise visit to the three main lamasery buildings where you can not only see the Buddhism treasures, but also enjoy large number of monks of all ages going about their daily routines, praying, chanting, cooking and resting. It should a nice trip to get in-depth understanding about Tibetan Buddhism. If time permits, take some quiet time to walk around the peaceful Lamuyangcuo Lake and shoot panorama view of Songzanlin Monastery with reflection in the clear water.

Then, drive about 27 kilometers to Pudacuo National Park. This 1,300-square-kilometer national park is notable as the first first national park in China to meet International Union for Conservation of Nature standards. It is renowned for well-preserved primitive landscape, which is endowed with lakes, wetlands, forests, meadows, streams, brooks, rare plants and animals. Visit the spots by clockwise and throw yourselves into the lush green forest with diverse species of flora and fauna, walk along the plank road to catch the gorgeous scenery of Shudu Lake (hike 3.3 km, about 1 hour). (Note: the altitude of Pudacuo is at 3500m-4150m and you should avoid strong activities. There’s no problem to hike in the park.)

Important Notice: Militang Pasture (弥里塘草场) and Bita Lake (碧塔海) in Pudacuo National Park are closed for tourists due to maintenance from 3th September, 2017. The administrative office of Pudacuo National Park hasn't confirmed when they will be open exactly. Shudu Lake Scenic Area (属都湖) is still open for tourists. If you want to adjust todays itinerary, please contact your travel consultant.

After the merry time in the park, pay a visit to a local Tibetan family to experience the highly-praised hospitality of Tibetan people and taste some special Tibetan snacks and butter tea. (Optional Experience: If you are interested in the Tibetan people’s daily drinks, you can follow the locals to involve in the process of making butter tea.)

  • Shudu Lake of Pudacuo National Park Shudu Lake of Pudacuo National Park
  • Tibetan Style Songzanlin Lamasery with Prayer Flags Tibetan Style Songzanlin Lamasery with Prayer Flags
  • Pudacuo National Park Pudacuo National Park

Day 5 Shangri-La/Zhongdian Departure (B)

Dukezong Old Town

In the morning, cherish your time in Shangri-La to explore Dukezong Old Town. With a history over 1300 years, Dukezong Old Town is the largest and the best preserved Tibetan community in China. Climb up to the top of Guishan Hill (or Tortoise Hill) to have a panoramic view of both the endless snow-capped mountains surrounded the pure land and the large scale of the old town with countless Tibetan dwellings. Join in the tourists to turn the largest Prayer Wheel in the world in clockwise direction. (Optional experience: If you show interest in making traditional Tibetan Thangka, you can learn at Shangri-la Thangka Institute. Programs here include Thangka painting, chanting, Tibetan language and calligraphy. You can choose your like.)

After the tour, be escorted to the Shangri-La Zhongdian Airport for your flight to next destination. Service ends! 

  • Dukezong Old Town Dukezong Old Town

Recommended Add-on Options

The quotation for this trip is from $605 Per Person

1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one standard double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling with our private tour in low seasons.
2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities in your itinerary and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate. If you want a lower price, you can get more people to join you, or use economy class hotels.
3. This price is only valid to March 31, 2021.
4. Reference exchange rate of USD 1= RMB 6.95. The final quote is based on current exchange rate. It may change according to the currency fluctuation, while the RMB quotation will be remained the same.

What's included?

  • Professional licensed English-speaking guide;
  • Admission tickets for all attractions listed in the itinerary;
  • Accommodation as listed in the itinerary (4-star standard);
  • Necessary vehicle transfers as listed in the itinerary;
  • Domestic flights (economy class) and high-speed trains (second class) as listed in the itinerary;
  • Airport (and train station) pick up and drop off;
  • Luggage Transfers: between airports (railway station) and hotels;
  • All meals as listed( “B” for Chinese and Western breakfast buffet in your hotel; “L” for Chinese Lunch in local restaurant; “D” for Chinese dinner in local restaurant.);
  • Accident insurance;
  • Our service charge, including tour planning, handling, operational and communication charges.

What's excluded?

  • China visa;
  • Personal expenses;
  • Accommodation not listed in the itinerary;
  • Single Room Supplement;
  • Tourist sites which are not listed in the itinerary;
  • Recommended optional activities;
  • Flights or trains not listed in the itinerary;
  • Excess Baggage Charges;
  • Optional tips to guides, drivers, etc.

Check What our Customers Say...

Hi Livia

Please see below.

1.How about your tour arrangements? 

Arranging the tour was very easy since we could do everything by contacting only the one person, and communicating with WeChat. 

2.Are you willing to recommend our service to those who would like to come to China ?

YES

3. Your general opinion on us?  

Very professional and well organized. And what we liked the most was the flexibility of the tour guides. When some sights got closed because of the weather conditions, they both did everything they could to find new suitable arrangements and all of them were great. We are very happy with both tour guides. 

4. What will be your suggestions regarding how to improve our services?

Really noting to suggest. All went very well. 

5.Do you plan to write (or have already written) a travelogue or a story to share with your friends? any language is ok. Would you like to share it with us and our clients? We would be happy to publish it on our website. Photos often tell more than words and we would appreciate if you share some of them with us.

I will send you some pictures through WeChat.

Isabel - 2020.11.17‚ Spain, November 17, 2020

Hi Tracy

Yes we had a great time!

Only minor issue is related to smoking rooms but I realize that this was outside of your control

Guides were fantastic- especially in terms of accommodating our own pace - because of kids.

They also provided good insights that allowed us to appreciate the sights even more

Sebastian - 2020.11.16‚ Germany, November 16, 2020

Hi Tracy

Everything is going well. We’re on our way to the desert now. HaiDong has been so helpful.

Megan - 2020.11.07‚ South Africa, November 7, 2020

Hi Tracy

Fine. Tour guide and driver excellent. Hotel good but inconvenient with luggage. Food service poor. Great Wall and sights excellent. Thanks for all the help.

Food in town excellent. Good choices. Food hotel cold breakfast. Take 3 bus to get to hotel. Drag luggage over road. Guide help us a lot. He is excellent

Graham - 2020.11.15‚ South Africa, November 15, 2020

Hi Wonder

Tour guide Selina was really great, she was enthusiastic and friendly. Very knowledgable about HuangShan. Car was spacious, but we had to change vans frequently.

Hotel was okay, a little small on the mountain, but overall not bad. Understandable that it’s small. It was a lot of hard work for the people to bring hotels things up to the mountain.

We would suggest to add 宏村 to schedules next time. We thought it was really nice.

We were lucky because weather is nice. Restaurants Selina brought us to were all good. A lot of stairs on the mountains, but great trip overall.

Jenny - 2020.11.11‚ Vietnam, November 11, 2020
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Our guides are passionate about what they do, and it shows all the way!

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Our private service includes licensed drivers with many years’ driving experience and air-conditioned, non-smoking, clean and well-maintained cars/vans. Drivers are local, polite, friendly and helpful, taking you to your tourist sites, hotels, airport/train stations in safety. All kinds of vehicle are offered, and yours depends on the size of your group. Usually, we offer sedan cars, SUVs, business vans (MPV) and different types of buses, all with extra space for your luggage.

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The hotels we choose are based on star rating, great locations, well-equipped facilities, cozy bed, high quality service and guests’ feedbacks. Choices are a lot ranging from luxury 5 star, comfortable 4 star to budget 3 star. You could decide where to stay to best suit for your budget and likes. Generally, the hotels have both Western and Chinese breakfast with a wide choices.

If you have already got an ideal hotel, please feel free to tell our travel consultants and they'll book the hotel for you.

Have good sleep in our well-selected hotels in all the destinations of China.

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We can satisfy all the dietary requirements no matter you want Chinese local food, western food, vegetarian food or muslin food.

The restaurants we will take you for lunch or dinner are all designated tourist restaurants approved by local tourist administration bureau. They have very good sanitary conditions and the food is prepared fresh and clean.

There will be some meals excluded in your itinerary as you like, and your private guide will be delighted to give you some suggestions and take you to the local restaurants to taste like Beijing Roast Duck, Xian Dumpling Dinner, Sichuan Hotpot, etc., if you are interested in local food tasting.

All the dining options will satisfy your stomach!

Here are recent candid photos of this China trip

  • Lijiang Old Town Waterwheel Lijiang Old Town Waterwheel
  • Mufu Palace, the “Forbidden City” of Lijiang Mufu Palace, the “Forbidden City” of Lijiang
  • Black Dragon Pool Park Black Dragon Pool Park
  • Baisha Mural Paintings Baisha Mural Paintings
  • Sightseeing at First Bend of Yangtze River Sightseeing at First Bend of Yangtze River
  • Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Shudu Lake of Pudacuo National Park Shudu Lake of Pudacuo National Park
  • Tibetan Style Songzanlin Lamasery with Prayer Flags Tibetan Style Songzanlin Lamasery with Prayer Flags
  • Pudacuo National Park Pudacuo National Park
  • Dukezong Old Town Dukezong Old Town

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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >