The Start of a Journey
We are perfectly located to take advantage of a mind-boggling variety of natural and cultural attractions. From the ancient village spring right at our doorstep, to the virgin snow peaks of Yulong Mountain less than a half hour’s drive away. Add to this a kaleidoscope of local minorities, and fresh seasonal cuisine, and you have the start of a very rich journey.
Speak to our experienced local staff to find out more about these incredible sights and experiences. We’ll be happy to arrange something for you.
You can also keep abreast of The Bivou Team’s adventures on our Facebook Page!
2 days | 8:30 am start
An off-the-beaten track trip that combines the best of Yunnan’s nature, culture and stunning natural scenery. You will begin with a visit to Stone Drum (Shigu) Town, known for its famous view of the First Bend of the Yangtze River, authentic market day, old chain bridge and The Red Army Long March Memorial.
At Liming, part of the Laojunshan National Geological Park, you will climb up to Thousand Tortoise Hill to enjoy one of China’s most stunning collection of red sandstone formations, as well as have a chance to interact with locals at Lisu Minority villages in the Liming Valley as well as have a lunch with a Lisu family.
The second day begins with a visit to see one of nature’s most endangered monkeys, the Yunnan Snub-nosed monkey up close, before visiting a Tibetan village located in Tacheng where you will have lunch.
Trip 1: Lijiang Old Town & Market Guided Trip
3.5 hours | 9:30 am or 2:30 pm start |
A guided exploration of 800-year-old Dayan Old Town, the core of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. Major landmarks and key cultural highlights will be visited, with explanations of the region’s rich history as a hub for the Ancient Tea Horse Road. We will pass the imposing Mu Residence, home of the original Naxi rulers for over 700 years (2 hours, 65 rmb), and rub shoulders with the natives at bustling and historic Zhongyi Market, where locals meet travelers from all over the world. Here you can get a real flavor of Yunnan’s abundance, and buy anything from hams, to cheeses and copper pans.
Trip 2: Lijiang Old Town Self Exploration
7 hours | 9:30 am start |
Using the Bivou’s unique hand-drawn map of Lijiang’s Dayan Old Town, you will find yourself unravelling the beauty and mystery of this 800-year-old town at your own pace, slowly piecing together its rich history and culture through its maze of cobbled streets, winding canals, stone bridges, willow trees, and mud and stone domestic dwellings. Watch skilful silver and leather craftsmen, wood carvers, and traditional sweet makers at work, still carrying on century-old trades. Use the Bivou Insider Card to enjoy discounts at recommended merchants, and take breaks at the numerous Western-style cafes and traditional teahouses, before ending the evening at a performance of the Naxi Orchestra.
For more: A video that gives a great introduction to Lijiang, its culture, and the landscape around it. Click here.
8 hours | 9:30 am start
Yulong Snow Mountain, standing at 5596 metres and consisting of 13 peaks, has the southernmost glacier in the Northern Hemisphere. It is a sanctuary for rare animals and wild plants. The mountain forms a stunning backdrop to renowned director Zhang Yimou’s outdoor performance ‘Impression Lijiang’, with a cast of over 500.
Take the cable car up to 4506 metres to view the snow mountain up-close and finish off with a visit to the crystal waters of Blue Moon Valley. Includes Impressions Lijiang ticket, Glacier Park cable car fees, internal shuttle bus.
Excludes lunch, rental of down jacket and purchase of oxygen. Option to visit Spruce Meadow (3200m) or Yak Meadow (3700m).
Trip 1: Lashi Lake Ancient Tea Horse Trail
5 hours | 9:30 am start
Lashi Lake National Wetland Park offers a great day out for groups of friends, couples or families. Experience part of the historic Tea Horse Road on horseback and also a slice of Naxi village life, such as farmers at work, huge buffaloes up close, little children playing and carpenters restoring old Naxi homes. At the top of the hill, enjoy the gorgeous view of Lashi lake at the bottom before enjoying a Naxi lunch at a traditional Naxi farmhouse.
Trip 2: Lashi Lake Temple Trail with Kayaking
6 hours | 9:30 am start
Visiting a more remote corner of Lashi Lake, the horse trail leads to an important Tibetan Buddhist temple, regularly visited by “living buddhas”. After a simple buffet lunch by the shores of the lake, kayak through the tranquil reeds and between the months of December and March, get up-close to the thousands of migratory birds that overwinter there from Siberia.
LaoJun Mountain (99 Dragon Pool)
11 hours | 7:30 am start |
Renowned for its biologically diverse collection of precious flora and fauna, the 99 dragon pool area, with its dense forests and crystal clear glacial lakes, is China’s second national park, best known for its abundance of rhododendron species, which attracts thousands of visitors each year in the months of May and June.
Notes: Yunnan is renowned as the “paradise for horticulturists”. Of the world’s over 800 species of azaleas, over 600 species are found in China and more than 300 species in Yunnan itself. The colors of the azaleas in Yunnan are mainly white, pink white, yellow, rose, red and purple. Join us for some moderate to challenging treks in China’s second national park, Laojunshan National Park, between the months of May and June to fully experience the splendour of these flowers as they carpet the valley.
6.5 hours | 9:30 am start
Passing ancient villages and pristine farmland, we begin the exciting tour of the off-the-beaten-track side of Lijiang by visiting ancient Puji Temple, one of the five major Tibetan Buddhist temples in Lijiang. Next, we will reach tranquil Baisha, known to be the first Naxi settlement in the area. Our final stop is a visit to the ancient stone house of National Geographic explorer Joseph Rock, who made Yuhu Stone Village his home for over 27 years. Close by are the Jade Water Village and Dongba Kingdom, two places to get deeper insights into the ancient Dongba culture of the Naxi people, learning more about their language, hieroglyphic scriptures and religious practices.
Thousand Tortoise Mountain (Liming)
9 hours | 8:30 am start |
Liming offers some of the most remarkable red/purple sandstone formations (‘danxia’) in China, including the fascinating “tortoise shell” surface pattern at Mount Qian Gui in Liming. Along the way, visit the intriguing ‘First bend of the Yangtze River’ at historically important Stone Drum town, where you can see a sharp ‘V’ shaped bend of the mighty Yangtze River .
1-day Liming Via Ferrata Adventure
The perfect option if you want to get high without the exertion of crack climbing. Traveling on a via ferrata is a different way of enjoying the sheer magnificence of the Liming Danxia (red sandstone) cliffs, providing access to places normally reserved for rock climbers and mountaineers. In this awesome mountain environment, you will be stopped in your tracks by amazing views, from a perspective that few have the opportunity to experience!
2-3 hours | 9:30 am or 3.30 pm start
Follow our own Bivou Bike Trail and ride towards the mighty Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, passing ancient Naxi villages, quaint farmhouses and lush farmland, as you make your way to 1000 year old Baisha village, where time appears to have stood still. Ancient frescoes and a reknowned Naxi traditional healer are highlights of this town. Optional: Stop for a picnic or rent an Electric-Assist Bike for easier biking!
5-6 hours | 10:00 am start | 1 rmb per bus trip （Self Exploration)
Following the Bivou Map, take the public bus (No. 6) northwards into the unspoilt villages around the foothills of Yulong Snow Mountain. Enjoy magnificent views of the Lijiang valley. Optional: Take a horse from Jade Village to and from Yuhu Village, the last Naxi village at the foot of Yulong mountain.
8 hours | 9 am start
This unique 1-day ecotourism tour takes you past Fuguo Monastery, one of the five most important Tibetan monasteries in Lijiang, before reaching the remote Yi minority Snowflake (Xuehua) Village, where you can have a chance to visit a traditional Yi household. The Yi are one the largest minority groups in China and the largest group in southwest China, occupying rural mountainous areas of the region. Known for their colourful costumes, they have their own pictorial language and are fiercely proud of their culture.
A short drive later we will reach Wenhai Village, a pristine Naxi village located at 3200metres next to the beautiful seasonal Wenhai lake. Here you will have a chance to walk around the lush Wenhai meadow and enjoy a local lunch with a Naxi family. The day ends with a visit to the ancient Baisha village, some 1200 years old. We will try to visit the famous herbalist Doctor Ho and the Naxi Embroidery School.
Trip 1: Wenhai Wetlands and Naxi Village Visit
3 hours | 9:30 am start
Nestled in a sub-alpine valley at an elevation over 3000 meters, and inaccessible until recently except by foot or horse, Wenhai provides a perfect setting for exploring the traditional cultures and natural attractions of Northwest Yunnan. With Wenhai lake in the foreground and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain towering in the background, the tranquil Naxi village of Wenhai makes for a pretty sight, especially in the rainy season (May to August) when its lush banks are covered with splendid blooms of wildflowers and primroses. Enjoy a relaxing walk in the meadows of Wenhai and watch alpine animals such as yaks, miniature horses, black pigs, goats and sheep grazing.
Trip 2: Trek Wenhai Trail to Yuhu Village
6 hours | 9:30 am start
A relatively easy hike that takes you from Upper Wenhai village with barely 100 households (3200 metres) down the slopes of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to the Lijiang Valley, at 2800 metres. Along the way, you’ll pass lush alpine forests, a reservoir, the highest botanical gardens in the world, hundreds of varieties of vegetation including fir trees, wild flowers, mushrooms and herbs, before descending to Yuhu, the last village at the foot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, a remote stone village best known for being the home of explorer Joseph Rock for over 27 years.
Trip 3: Hike Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Wenhai Wetlands & Naxi Villages Eco-tour
9 hours | 8:30 am
For the relatively fit, this trip allows you a different way of experiencing the splendor of the Lijiang highlands. The hike up the slopes of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain will take you from 2700metres to over 4650meters, passing Fuguo Monastery, the Lijiang Alpine Botanical Gardens, pristine alpine forests, and Wenhai meadows along the way, before ending at Baisha Village.
6 hours | 9:30 am start
Nestled in a beautiful valley overlooking the Yangtze River, a visit to Bodolo, ‘the most beautiful place’, dwarfed by sheer silver cliffs with the Yulong Snow Mountain looming in the background, makes for an unforgettable trip. Enjoy a farmhouse lunch and a walk around the village before taking a 1 hour horse ride (optional) to an alpine meadow.
The Two Yi Minority Villages Hike
7 hours | 9:00 am start
A fairly easy 2 hour hike on foot through a pristine alpine forest from the Yi minority village Bodolo to Yulitadi village. After a hearty farmhouse lunch, we begin the walk, with the trail winding through a mixed broad-leaf forest of poplar and Quercus trees, acorn-littered paths, moss-carpeted earth with lichen-draped trees and rolling green meadows with horses and cattle grazing serenely, and occasionally with sheer granite cliffs as backdrop.
The 2 day High Trail trek of the Tiger Leaping Gorge is easily considered one of the best treks in China. Not for the unfit, the hiking trail runs along the base of the Haba Peak providing spectacular views of 7,000 foot cliffs yielding to the jagged pinnacles of Jade Dragon Mountain that rise another mile above them. Along the way, you’ll pass varied scenery and landscape, from waterfalls, to a temple, villages and rice terraces that lie directly beside the gorge.
Known for the intriguing “First Bend of the Yangtze River”, Shigu Town (and the nearby village of Liming) are fast developing to be China’s top climbing destinations. Having everything a professional climber could want, Shigu offers beautifully sculpted boulders to long multi-pitch routes, and the quality of rock at Shigu is composed of an incredibly hard limestone and with some conglomerate areas creating distinctive pocketed routes.
1-Day Shigu Rock Valley (Daxin Village) Rock Climbing Experience
7 hours |9 am start |
Perfect for those new to rock climbing or anyone interested in climbing outdoors for the first time, this intro level 1-day rock climbing class offers a totally new way to experience Lijiang!
Certified guides teach you climbing techniques and help you practice at a spectacular location, the craggy limestone cliffs of Shigu along the Yangtze River. Master the basics of rock climbing, including belaying and technical climbing techniques. Involves around 2-3 hours of actual climbing experience.
Includes: Professional rock climbing instruction and hands-on practice and guidance, helmet, safety harness, climbing shoes, ropes, all other necessary climbing equipment, insurance, transport, entrance fees and local lunch.
Best time: From October to May when it’s dry and sunny nearly every day. In the winter the temperature can drop to around 3 degrees in the night but most days it will be between 15 and 20 degrees in the daytime. Mid June to September is the rainy season where heavy showers in the afternoon are happen.
Photo credit: http://wx.shenchuang.com/article/2015-05-06/948401.html
Trip 1: Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge & Stone Drum Village (First Bend of Yangtze River)
7 hours | 9:30 am start
Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest and narrowest gorges in the world. The Upper Gorge is the most
accessible section of the gorge, and offers travelers a relatively easy way to experience the power of the raging waters. Choice of either (a) Shangri-La side: Walking down a flight of wooden steps to a platform at the water’s edge (30-40 mins); or (b) Lijiang side: Walking from the “start” of the gorge to the central section with the rushing waters (2.5 hours). Along the way, visit Stone Drum Village and the ‘First bend of the Yangtze River’, where you can see a sharp ‘V’ shaped bend of the Yangtze River.
Trip 2: Trek Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge
9 hours | 8:30 am start
The Middle Gorge is the most spectacular section of Tiger Leaping Gorge, featuring sheer cliffs rising from
the churning waters of the Jinsha River. The trek down to the water’s edge takes hikers through a breathtaking path carved into a vertical cliff face. At the bottom, get up close to the roaring waters; and coming back up, hikers have the option of climbing up the “sky ladder” directly to the top.
This 2-day trip allows you an unforgettable glimpse into Tibetan Yunnan, visiting China’s first National Park, Pudacuo NP; Songzanlin Temple, Napa Lake and have breakfast with a real Tibetan family.
Pudacuo (Potatso) National Park, containing Shudu Lake and Bitahai is located in one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. While the region comprises only 0.7 percent of China’s land area, it contains more than 20 percent of the country’s plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species and almost 100 endangered species.
Songzanlin Temple (Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery) is a group of magnificent and solemn architectural buildings located in the Shangri-la county and is regarded as the grandest Lamasery in the whole of Yunnan Province. Built in 1679 by the 5th Dalai Lama, the monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province and is sometimes referred to as the Little Potala Palace.
Napa Lake, located at at 3,270 m (10,728 ft) above sea level, is home to a wide range of indigenous wildlife, including the black-necked crane, a bird revered by the Buddhist tradition and found almost exclusively in the Tibetan Plateau.
9 hours | 9:30 am start
Visit the fascinating Shibaoshan Mountain, known for its well-preserved Buddhist grottoes that are more than 1000 years old. Here, there are more than 200 mischievous resident monkeys. Climb to Baoxiang Temple, a Chinese Buddhist temple from the Yuan Dynasty built into the hillside. After a Bai lunch in Shaxi Old Town, said to be the best preserved ancient town along the Ancient Tea Horse Road, you will visit the local square, old bridge, farmland and traditional houses.
Fridays: Authentic local market day not to be missed!
2-day visit: Including a visit to Eryuan Geothermal Hot Spring, with more than 20 open-air hot spring pools. The temperature of the water ranges from 70℃-90℃ all year around and contains lots of trace elements, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, ferrum, believed to have special health and therapeutic properties.
3 Days | 9 am start
Drive through Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, taking in the Glacier park at 4500 metres, Lijiang Impression Show at Ganhaizi, Blue Moon Valley and White Water River. After 3 hours, reach Baoshan Stone Village, a remote Naxi village of barely 100 households built upon a huge rock. From this unusual village, you will be able to wander through the surrounding rock settlement and fields and take in the stunning view of the Jinsha River. Wake up the next morning to an unforgettable sunrise over the village. After crossing the river by boat, take a short 2 hour car ride to the breathtaking alpine Lugu Lake, the hometown of the matriarchal Mosuo ethnic group. Here you will visit a museum, a local market, watch a performance of traditional music and dance as well as have a chance to interact with a real Mosuo family as well as visit the largest lamasery in the area.
7-Day Lijiang – Baoshan Stone Village – Lugu Lake Trek
An unforgettable hike that explores the breathtaking mountainous area in the remote north east of Yunnan. You will walk on small mountain paths and stay in small farmer’s villages with local families like the Pumi, Mosuo and Naxi. The trek begins from Baoshan Stone Village and ends at Lugu Lake, a large alpine lake among the mountains.
Held around the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, the annual Shangri-La Horse Racing Festival is one of the most looked forward to festivals celebrating the Tibetan culture in SW China. The festival includes not just a sporting competition showcasing expert horsemanship, but also attracts colourful ethnic groups from near and far in their most elaborate costumes to sing and dance almost non-stop for 3 days and 3 nights.
Organized as a 3-4 day trip
June 8: Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge – Shangri-La, visiting Little Zhongdian (Rhododendrons should be in bloom at that time!)
June 9: Visit Songtsam Monastery (also known as Little Potala Palace) – Then attend the Grand Opening Ceremony of the Shangri-La Horse Race – Visit Dukezong Old Town in the evening for dinner and to spin the World’s Giant Prayer Wheel
June 10: Attend the horse races in the morning – In the afternoon, visit China’s first National Park, Pudacuo NP to view the rhododendrons in bloom – In the evening, attend a Tibetan Performance (Song of Shangri-La)
June 11: Visit Napa Lake in the morning, followed by a breakfast visit to a real Tibetan house where you can see how they make Yak Butter Tea. Return to Lijiang in the afternoon.
An annual spectacle of color and movement at the important Tibetan Buddhist temple of Zhiyun, perched on the shores of Lashi Lake.
This annual festival held on the 5th day of the 3rd lunar month takes place at the Jade Water Village 玉水寨, a showcase of Naxi indigenous Dongba religion and culture at the foot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain where a sacred spring emerges. Expect to see and hear Dongba shamans chanting sutras, holding sacrificial ceremonies for Dongbashenluo-the founder of the Dongba Religion and dancing.
2 Days | 8am start
A 2.5 hour trip from The Bivou takes you to the ancient town of Dali, the world of the dominant Bai ethnic group, a minority that has called the area home since antiquity. On the first day, you will visit the Three Pagodas, considered a landmark of Dali, the beautiful Erhai Lake and Dali Old City. Stroll through Dali Ancient City with its cobbled streets and ancient style houses with black tiled roofs. Option: (1) Canoe in Erhai with local fishermen using cormorants; (2) Bike along the shores of Erhai.
On Day 2, begin the day with a 1.5 hour trek through Cangshan Mountain, taking in the view of the whole Dali basin and Erhai Lake, before visiting Xizhou Village, an ethnic village located about 18 km north of Dali. In Xizhou Village, you will visit the traditional houses of Bai people, and enjoy the famous local bread, the Xizhou Baba. You will also be greeted at a local family house with a three-course tea ceremony and a traditional song & dance performance.
The Three Pagodas (崇圣寺三塔) is located to the northwest of the old town. Built more than 1000 years ago in the Nanzhao Dynasty (738-902) and Dali Kingdom Period (937-1254). The Chongsheng Monastery that surrounds the pagodas was destroyed during the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911) and only the towers remain as testimony to Buddhism’s heyday in Dali. Buddhism used to be so prevalent that nine of the Dali Kingdom’s kings abdicated to become abbots at Chongsheng Monastery.
The Erhai Lake to the east of the old town literally translates as “Ear Sea” because its shape resembles an ear or a waning crescent moon. It nourished the earliest Bai tribes before any kingdom took hold of Yunnan Province. Over 42-kilometers-long, it is the second largest fresh water lake in Yunnan Province.
Cangshan Mountain, located on the west side of Dali Old Town is composed of a cluster of 19 soaring peaks forming a natural screen to the west bank of Erhai Lake. Between each of the 19 peaks a stream flows down and pours into Erhai Lake. This natural wonder is known as the Nineteen Peaks and Eighteen Streams of Mt. Cangshan. Mt. Cangshan is home to more than 3,000 plant species as well as various wild animals.
In Town: Lijiang is renowned for the crystal clear waters which run through its streets.
Our Backyard: Come springtime, our yards burst into full blossom. Cherries, peaches and camellias are just some of the flowers that greet our visitors. Further afield, every season heralds new blooms, from sunflowers to rhododendrons, canolas, to roses, primroses, fields of cosmos, lavenders and more
In Town: Selected by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, the Old Town of Lijiang-Shuhe-Baisha never fails to enchant visitors.
Every year, the valley bursts into celebration during the Huoba (Fire Torch) Festival.
1 Hour Away: Performed daily by local farmers, this spectacular show is not to be missed. Conceived by the world-famous director Zhang Yimou.
Yunnan is known for its diversity of flowers and fruits, with different blooms and harvests in different seasons!
- Jan – Plum & Cherry blossoms, Magnolia
- Feb – Rapeseen (Luoping), Delavay Rhododen (Shiping)
- March: Pear flower (Dali), Cherry & Peach blossoms
- April: Rhododendrons, Rapeseed (Canola), Camellia, Orchids, Peonies
- May: Rose, Wisteria, Rhododendrons, Irises (Tengchong)
- Jun: Rhododendrons (Laojun Mountain & Shangri-La)
- July: Wild Flowers, Water Lily, Marigolds
- Aug: Wild Flowers, Primrose, Sunflowers, Rapeseed (Canola)
- Sep: Lavender, Sage Flowers, Sunflowers
- Oct: Cosmos, Chinese Stellera (狼毒花) of Shangri-La
- Nov: Chrysanthemum, Gingko Trees
- Dec: Early Camellia, Cherry blossoms (Dali)
- Jan: Loquats,
- Feb: Green Dates,
- March: March Peaches, Mulberries
- April: Grapes, Cherries
- May: Mangoes (until Aug), May Peaches
- Jun & July: Plums, Watermelon, Lychee, Longan, Dragonfruit, Strawberries, Kiwi fruit
- Aug: Arbutus, Pomegranate (until following Feb), Persimmons
- Sep: Bananas, Pineapple, Pomelo, Oranges
- Oct: Lashi Lake Apples, Snow Peaches
- Nov: Oriental Pears
- Dec: Kumquat, Oranges, Mandarins