In Search of Shangri-La to Yunnan, China
-- 14 Days Well-organized and Dreamed Tour to Yunnan
Travel Length14 Days
Travel ThemeNature, Culture, Couple
Travel RouteKunming - Dali - Lijiang - Lugu Lake - Lijiang - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Shangri-La - Kunming
HighlightsStone Forest, Dali Old Town, Erhai Lake, Lijiang Old Town, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lugu Lake, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, Pudacuo National Park
April sounds like a fantastic month to search for Shangri-La . I googled "Shangri-La" and found one in Yunnan China. So decided to visit it. To make things simpler decided on flying to Kunming – capital of the region. Via Dali and Lijiang arrived to Shangri-La.
Detailed Itinerary of My Tour
Kunming, lovely city in a south east part of Yunnan. Home of Yi people – 8 million minority that inhabit China, Vietnam and Thailand. Kunming was known as Yunnan-Fu until the 1920s, it is also called the Spring city due to its weather. It was important during WW2 Chinese military center, American Air base and transport terminus for the Burma Road. Kunming is located at an altitude 2000 m and has population of six million.
Green Lake Kunming, Photo Shared by Marcin, Tour Customized by Lily
Stone Forest was one of my favorite sites in the area. 270 million year-old forest of stones. In China's Yunnan Province is the famous stone topography of Shilin, meaning "stone forest." Covering an area of three-hundred square kilometers (or 186 miles) the stone forest is a massive otherworldly landscape of karst formations over 270 million years old. It's also UNESCO heritage site.
Green Lake Kunming, Photo Shared by Marcin, Tour Customized by Lily
Dali area was formerly known as Xiemie. The old town was the medieval capital of both the Bai kingdom Nanzhao (8th and 9th centuries) and the Kingdom of Dali. That city was razed and its records burnt during its conquest by China's Mongolian Yuan Dynasty. The present old town was organized in the late 14th century under the Hongwu Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. The area became significantly Muslim (Hui) under the Yuan and Ming and was the center of the Panthay Rebellion against the Qing from 1856–1863. It was severely damaged during a massive earthquake in 1925.
Dali Old Town, Photo Shared by Marcin, Tour Customized by Lily
Bai people literally means 'white people’ in Chinese. The origin of the name Bai is not clear, but most scholars believe that it has a strong connection to the first state Bai people built in roughly the 3rd century AD. This state, called Baizi Guo was not documented in Chinese orthodox history but was frequently mentioned in the oral history of Yunnan Province. It was believed to be built by the first king, Longyouna.
Flying Tigers, Photo Shared by Marcin, Tour Customized by Lily
Lesson in History – The First American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force in 1941–1942, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, recruited under President Franklin Roosevelt's authority before Pearl Harbor and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. The aircraft were to fly with Chinese colors but be under American control. The mission was to bomb Japan and defend China but many delays meant they flew in combat after the US and Japan declared war. One of the places they operated after the Burma Campaign was in Lijiang China. They were skill aviators and scored many victories in the skies against Japanese. To this day they are remember in Yunnan China, for their bravery and help during 2nd World War.
Lijiang Old Town, Photo Shared by Marcin, Tour Customized by Lily
Lijiang charming city in Northern Yunnan. Home of Nashi People. The Nashi are thought to have come originally from northwestern China. The Nashi, along with Bai and Tibetans, traded over the dangerous overland trading links Lhasa to India, so-called "Tea and Horse Caravan Route". They were brought to the attention of the Western world by two men: the American botanist Joseph Rock and the Russian traveller and writer Peter Goullart, both of whom lived in Lijiang and travelled throughout the area during the early 20th century. The Nashi form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China.
Panoramic View of Lijiang Old Town, Photo Shared by Marcin, Tour Customized by Lily
My favorite activity in Lijiang was walking for hours thru narrow streets, passing countless faces, watching store fronts while eating fruits. City is vast to walk, it takes about 4~5 hours to circle it depending on a speed
People in history – Joseph Rock – born in Austria and emigrated to the United States in 1905, moved to Hawaii in 1907, where he eventually became an authority on the flora there. Joined University of Hawaii, established its first herbarium and served as its first curator. From 1920 spend the next few decades exploring the botany of Asia. Wrote numerous scholarly papers, and two histories of the Naxi people and language of northwestern Yunnan, which have been widely used for the study of Naxi culture, language and religion. His house can be explored near Lijiang.
Panoramic View of Lugu Lake, Photo Shared by Marcin, Tour Customized by Lily
Lugu Lake – Home of Mosuo people. One of the best known aspects of Mosuo culture is its practice of "walking marriage". In a walking marriage, both partners live under the roof of their extended family during the day; however, at night it is common for the man to visit and stay at the women's house until sunrise.
Zhu Cao Chuan Canoes at Lugu Lake, Photo Shared by Marcin, Tour Customized by Lily
Therefore, they do not technically live in the same household, but they are free to visit when granted permission. Children of parents in a walking marriage are not raised by their father. The brothers of the mother (maternal uncles) in the marriage take on the responsibilities of the father.
Tiger Leaping Gorge, Photo Shared by Marcin, Tour Customized by Lily
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge – it's time to stretch legs a little bit and head for a hike, thru amazing gorge. Around 15 kilometers in length, the gorge is located where the river passes between the 5,596 metres Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the 5,396 metres Haba Snow Mountain in a series of rapids under steep 2,000 metres cliffs. Legend says that in order to escape from a hunter, a tiger jumped across the river at the narrowest point (still 25 metres (82 ft) wide), hence the name.
Marcin from USA Enjoyed His Trip in Shangri-La
Shangri-La at last. Shangri-La was formerly called Zhongdian but was renamed on 17 December 2001 after the fictional land of Shangri-La in the 1933 James Hilton novel "Lost Horizon", in an effort to promote tourism in the area. In the early morning of January 11, 2014, a fire broke out in the 1,000-year-old Dukezong Tibetan neighborhood. About 242 homes and shops were destroyed and 2,600 residents were displaced. About half of the old town was destroyed by the fire, half was spared. By the end of 2014 rebuilding had started and tourism started to come back.
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, Photo Shared by Marcin, Tour Customized by Lily
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery situated 5 kilometres from the city of Zhongdian (Shangri-La) at elevation 3,380 meters in Yunnan province, China. Built in 1679, the monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province and is sometimes referred to as the Little Potala Palace. Monastery is also the last stop during this amazing trip. Time to go home.
-Special thanks goes to amazing and welcoming people of People's Republic of China.
Hi, I'm Lily, Marcin's travel consultant. Are you interested in Marcin's 14 Days Well-organized and Dreamed Tour to Yunnan? Please feel free to contact me for more details of his travel such as the trip itinerary, accommodation or other arrangements. If you want to take a similar trip or customize your own China tour, just e-mail me and I will spare no efforts to meet your demands. It's my great pleasure to invite you to our country and join us in appreciating this charming land.
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