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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.
Day 1 Lijiang Arrival & LijiangArrive 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
- 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
- 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.
- Sightseeing at First Bend of Yangtze River
- 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 today’s 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
- Tibetan Style Songzanlin Lamasery with Prayer Flags
- 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
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.
My trip with China discovery was outstanding! It was the first time I have ever used a travel agency and I would definitely use them again. Very easy to organise the trip with lots of flexibility. Everything that they promised to do was done. The tour guides were excellent - very knowledgeable and again willing to adapt based on personal interests. I went to Guilin and Zhangjiajie - both destinations were stunning - lots of variety packed into the both parts of the trip. I had an amazing trip and would recommend to anyone who likes the outdoors!
How are you? Hope you are well. You organised a very nice trip for me to Chengdu and Jiuzhaigou way back in 2014.
You requested a review from me but I loaded to the wrong website. I came across the review today unexpectedly in my computer system and I would like to send it to you, to be used by your website. This is because I was very pleased by the trip that you organised for me. I was a lone female traveler but I still remember the lovely tour guides you found for me, especially the one at Chengdu.
I truly had a wonderful holiday and great memories.
I am now back in the UK. I certainly will use your tour service again if I ever travel to China the next time.
Take care in the pandemic.
( Dr Yih Siang CHEN)
I went on a 6 days / 5 nights private tour to Chengdu / Jiuzhaigou in
October 2014.I spent 2 days in Chengdu and the rest in Jiuzhaigou valley.
Since it was my first trip to China and I was a single female traveller, understandably, I was initially apprehensive before the tour. However, all my initial reservations disappeared once my tour began. I have decided to go on a private tour because I could not find a group tour which can come up with the itinery that I wanted.
From the onset, it was a pleasure to deal with Wonder. He made me a detailed itinery, specific to my wishes , down to the hotels that I preferred. I must say that he has honoured and stuck to our contract throughout my tour. He also phoned my tour guides on a daily basis just to make sure the itinery went on as planned and to make sure that I was ok.He was contactable at all times and any problems were sorted out very quickly and efficiently. He was also very accommodating and was willing to make changes in my itinery at very short notice whenever possible.I have found him to be reliable and trustworthy.
The tour guides were all very professional and knowledgeable. I was very happy with them.They spoke fluent English and were very knowledgeable about the places that we visited. They took care of everything, from meeting me at the airport, check- in into hotels, arranging for meals, transport, tickets for shows and checking in for my return flights. I was impressed that they would go out of their way to make my tour comfortable, hassle free and really tried to give me a memorable hoilday. They were prepared to work till late evenings. As a matter of fact, they would wait for me while I watched some shows in the evenings and one of them was even so kind to buy me an adaptor which I had lost in a hotel.
In Chengdu, I visited the Panda Research Centre, Jinli Street,Sichuan Museum and a silk factory at my request. i was not obliged to visit any factories throughout my tour.
Then, I flew on to Jiuzhai Valley and had another 3 days of private tours; 1 day in Huanglong Park and 2 full days in Jiuzhai National Park.I was glad that I flew return to the valley because the roads up there are really winding and being prone to travel sickness , it would have been a disaster for me to be sick.
I was met by another tour guide there. I am really glad that I took a private tour because I had my personal tour guide who walked with me at my pace throughout the Jiuzhai National park. She knew all the scenic spots and pathways by heart and made sure that I did not miss any important spots.Because she knew all the places so well, we could cover most of the scenic spots on foot in detail.She would walk with me and explain every lake, waterfall and other spots. She explained in detail all about the history, myths, customs and religion of the tribes there. It was an eye opener for me.I am sure I would not be getting all these explanation if I had gone in a group tour.Most group tours tend to be rushed but I was not rushed at all. I had ample time to take all the photos that I wanted , time to have meals and some shopping for souveniers and even short rests at beautiful spots where I could linger and just soak up the magnificent natural beauty.
Jiuzhai Valley is an extraordinary , beautiful park. It is my personal opinion that 2 full days are required to do the park justice. It is difficult to rush through the scenic spots in a day especially when there are massive crowds and queues everywhere.It was worth it to pay the hefty entrance fee for 2 days. Because I had 2 full days, I could do a hike with my guide who accompanied me throughout the trails to the 3 major valleys. I came away feeling satisfied and had lots of marvellous photos to show.
I was especially pleased that on one occasion, my tour guide took me through a small path , away from the tourist crowds. We walked at our pace and saw some smaller lovely waterfalls and lakes. I did not have to jostle with the typical crowds and could take my time to take some truly picturesque photos and videos. I am convinced that if I had joined a group tour , I would not have been able to see and explore the national park as much as I did.
My advice to travellers is to go on some fitness training before the tour. You have to be prepared to do a lot of walking for this is the best way to see the best views. Taking the bus to just the best scenic spots would be cheating and would not do the park justice.The only downside of the trip was the crowds. Be prepared for massive crowds, they can get unruly at times, especially when it rains, so do bring a raincoat or umbrella.Also be prepared for the less than ideal toilet facilities. Bring lots of tissues as handwash and tissues are not provided.
Due to my excellent and friendly tour guides and Wonder's meticulous planning, I had a fabulous holiday and a great time in China. I would highly recommend Wonder Wang and his tour agency to all my friends and family. If I return to China, I would certainly go through Wonder and his agency again. So, a big thank you to Wonder and all my lovely tour guides for making my holiday a truly memorable one!
Dr YS CHEN-PELFRENE
Thank you so much for reaching out again! And I was just about to write . As of yesterday afternoon, Mark and I finally received final confirmation that we will be allowed to take our leave, so now we can finally book our trip from 17 - 24 October!! As soon as I send this email, I will look into the flights. I will let you know if/when they are booked.
Also, we were wondering: would it be possible to pay via our American Credit Card this time? I know we normally do we-chat, but due to the amount this time (bigger/longer trip), it is easier for us to use credit-card. We understand that there is a credit card fee. . .could you provide us with the final amount (including the fee)?
Also, I think Mark and I would really enjoy the boutique hotels you chose for us. Could we verify that those hotels are still available for our trip?
And of course: I have really enjoyed working with you. You provide excellent customer service and we believe the quality of the trips are wonderful. My colleagues loved the trip to Zhangjiajie and I have told many of my colleagues about you/your company.
Last question: would you recommend anywhere over the Christmas holiday to New Years (01 January)?
Thank you, Wonder!
Look forward to hearing from you,
We really enjoyed our trip. Thanks!
Fresh air, beautiful mountains….
We were very out of breath in Shangrila, though, so next time, we will get the oxygen.
Our tour guides were very good.
Leeway struggled a little with his English, but we did fine.
Alice had excellent English, and so did Peter.
We are probably tough people to tour around, since we have already been to a lot of temples, so we already have heard a lot of the things that they want to tell us.
So, we tried to ask questions about other things.
We are not standard travelers, but much more experienced.
I think that because we can speak some Mandarin, we are a little bit more independent than other people that they have had to help.
We loved the Indigo Hotel on Lake Erhai.
Opening the curtains in our room every morning and being able to look out at the lake was fabulous!
They also had a very good breakfast.
And, we enjoyed walking by the lake, down to the bridge and hiking up the mountain behind the hotel.
We had no air conditioning in the Songstam Hotel in LiJiang, and at the Shangrila Hotel, and so our rooms were very hot!
So, we had some trouble sleeping.
I think if you are there in the Winter time, it is probably fine, but the weather for us was warm outside, so we struggled with the temperature in the room.
We might ask for some help to get a fan for our rooms next time.
All of the Ancient Cities.
We probably would have like a little more time to explore those.
The BaXi and NiXi Ancient towns were beautiful, and it was wonderful to walk the streets there, and the learn about the 3000 year old pottery in NiXi.
We also loved seeing traditional Tibetan houses and trying the butter tea and cakes.
Our driver, Mr. Gu, was very nice and funny.
Thanks for a lovely vacation.
The Upper Yubeng village hotel was a little rough. Beds were hard as a rock. Maybe provide options at different cost points for that next time. Otherwise no other considerations. Was great.
"Highest Standards of Quality and Honesty" is the core value of each specialized team at China Discovery.
Eveyone in our company is working hard for only one goal, which is to ensure the highest level of service, luxury, and attention to detail from the minute you begin planning your trip, to the day you return home.
Our travel consultants are professional, experienced and responsible, helping you from the very beginning to the end of your China trip!
After sending us an inquiry, one of our travel consultants will get back to you within 0.5~23.5 hrs. In the next few days, he/she will be working closely with you to formulate a customized tour plan, as well as providing professional suggestions based on your travel interests, time, and budget.
Beside, he/she will keep in contact with you during your entire tour in China, continually checking if everything is going well as planned.
We're working at Chengdu Bamboo International Tours, local based in Chengdu.
Our local guide in every destination is not only very friendly, enthusiastic but also very informative and knowledgeable.
Once you arrive in the destination, the patient and punctual guides will pick you up and take you to get under skin of the city at your own pace. By in-depth discovery and explanation, they’ll show you more about the history, culture, customs and authentic local life. Throughout the journey, they're not only expert guides who take care of all the details but also fellow travelers who are dedicated to help you explore in comfort and style.
Our guides are passionate about what they do, and it shows all the way!
Using our private transfer service makes you comfortable, relaxed and worry free all the way!
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.
Our private transfer service guarantees you the highest comfort!
In each destination, you’ll enjoy a comfortable stay in a great location!
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.
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!
Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming
Kunming / Shangri-La
Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La
[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 >
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