Described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by English author James Hilton, Shangri-La has long been synonymous with an earthly paradise, particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia – a happy land, isolated from the world. Discover your own Shangri-La in this one-of-a-kind itinerary by the master travel curators of The Bivou!

Day 1: Arrival in Lijiang 到达丽江

According to the Flight number, we will arrange the Airport pickup. Today, you can do the Lijiang Old Town Self-Exploration, using our 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. About 5 or 6pm head back to our hotel. Enjoy dinner at the Bivou. Overnight early at The Bivou.

Day 2: Lijiang → Shangri-La  Jinsha River, Moon Bay Baima Snow Mountain  Feilai Temple at Meili 丽江→香格里拉→梅里雪山飞来寺

Leaving at 8am, we will drive for about 2-hours along the Shangrila-Lijiang Expressway to reach Shangri-La, where we will drive around beautiful Napa Lake, explore Dukezong Ancient City (Shangri-La Museum and turn the whole’s biggest prayer wheel) . We will then drive 45 mins to Nixi Pottery Village to visit a local Tibetan home and watch Nixi pottery being made and to enjoy a local chicken hotpot lunch in Nixi village. After lunch, we will drive for 2.5 to 3 hours to Meili Snow Mountain, passing through Baima Snow Mountain Pass, viewing the unusual Jinsha River Moon Bay along the way.  We will stay overnight at the Feilai Temple View Hotel at night, where you can lie on your bed bed and enjoy the nigh view of holy Meili Snow Mountain, weather permitting.

Day 3: Feilai Temple → Xidang Village → Yubeng Village → Sacred Waterfall → Lower Yubeng Village 飞来寺→西当村→下雨崩→神瀑→下雨崩

Get up at about 6:30-7:00 in the morning to watch sunrise. Enjoy seeing holy Meili Snow Mountain turn golden! The morning glow rolls and surges on the top of the snow-capped mountain, like a thin veil flying, sometimes golden like foil, sometimes orange-red like fire.  After breakfast, we will take a 45mins to 1-hour drive to Xidang Village (60km).  Change to a local jeep to go from Xidang Village to Upper Yubeng Village. After setting up accommodation, we will hike to the Sacred Waterfall, enjoying the lush alpine fir forests, prayer flags and milky streams along the way! 5.4KM one way, 5-6 hours return. Overnight at Yubeng Inn and enjoy the surrounding snow-capped mountains and the quiet Yubeng Village!

The Yubeng hiking route is an epic hiking route in China, which is praised by travelers as “the last paradise on the earth”.  Yubeng Village, at the foot of Meili Snow Mountain in Yunnan Province offers one of the most alluring hiking destinations in China, allowing trekkers to step into age-old villages, hike alongside snow-capped peaks, deep valleys, alpine forests, secluded lakes, flower-carpeted valleys, beautiful grassland and waterfalls.

Sacred Waterfall: Located on the south side of the main peak of Meili Snow Mountain, Kawagebo Peak, there is a waterfall pouring down from the hanging rock, known as the “Rain Avalanche Waterfall”, and the Tibetans take a bath under the Rain Avalache Waterfall as a kind of cultivation to purify the soul. Legend has it that the rain avalanche waterfall is the holy water that the god Kawagebo takes back from the heavens, can predict the fate of people, but also eliminate disasters and avoid difficulties, and give grace to all beings.  Tibetan Buddhist believers worship Meili Snow Mountain and are required to bath in the rain avalanche waterfall.

Day 4: Yubeng Village → Ninong Grand Canyon → Cizhong Church 下雨崩→尼农大峡谷→茨中

After breakfast, we will leave Yubeng Village. Descend the Yubeng River and hike along the Ninong Grand Canyon, which is a human and horse caravan road for villagers to walk out of Yubeng for generations. Walking here through the forest, sometimes through cliff-hanging paths, sometimes through village pastures and along streams and wooden bridges, with the distant white snow-capped mountains, the nearby canyon streams and waterfalls, all this will make you feel that the 18 kilometers of trekking (4-5 hours) is totally worth it!

About 3-4 o’clock in the afternoon, we will arrive at the village of Ninong along the Lancang River, where we will continue to drive 51KM to Cizhong Village, where we will visit Cizhong Catholic Church, and have dinner at a local farmhouse restaurant. Cizhong Catholic Church, was first constructed at Cizhong Village in 1867 (the 6th year of the Tongzhi Reign in the late Qing Dynasty).  It was listed as a key national cultural protectionrelic by the State Council in 2006. Overnight in Cizhong Village.

Day 5: Cizhong Nanjiluo Hiking → Kangpu Village 茨中→南极洛徒步→康普村

After an early breakfast, we will drive 45 mins to Achidaga Lisu Village through the 43 Bends Mountain Highway, before transferring to a local off-road vehicle to Nanjiluo, driving for another 40 mins before we get to Nanjiluo Nature Reserve.

Start today’s “Great Beauty” Nanjiluo Hiking from Lake No. 3. You have a choice of: Lakes No. 1-5 is a small ring line, 5 kilometers round trip, taking about 3 hours to go back and forth; or Lakes No. 3-9 is a large ring line, the whole journey is 12 kilometers, and it takes about 5 hours. The altitude is 3900m to 4375m, and you can choose a hiking route according to your physical strength.  Nanjiluo, known as “God’s tears on earth”, is one of the most beautiful hiking routes in China. It is a collection of nine mountain lakes, forests, flowers, streams and waterfalls. Every place on the way is a wonderful scenery that will make you feel dizzy, drunk in the scenery, nostalgic and forgetful!  Between the months of May to July, you can see fields of rhododendrons, while in winter, the ground is covered by snow and ice.  After hiking, we will return to Achidaga village by jeep and transfer to our car to drive another 60km to Kangpu Village, where we will overnight in a Tibetan homestay.  

Day 6:  Kangpushou Temple → Tongle Village→ Tacheng 康普寿国寺→同乐村→塔城

After breakfast, we will visit a less-visited 300 year-old Tibetan Temple, where we can appreciate the rare ancient building structure and ancient Buddhist murals. The next important stop today, in the afternoon, is Tongle Lisu Village. Tongle Village is a rare and unspoilt example of a typical Lisu village in the Lancang River Basin, a well-preserved ancient village with a history of more than 300 years, and there are more than 100 families in the whole village, almost all of them Lisu. it is the most representative and oldest Lisu village in Weixi County, and has become a key protected ancient village in Yunnan Province. We will have a chance to visit a Lisu home and talk to the people to learn about their folk customs.  After leaving Tongle Village, we continue for another 2 hours along the highway by the Lancang River to Tacheng Town, where will will stay in a clean and comfortable local hotel for the night. Along the way, you can enjoy the mountains and rivers, idyllic scenery and ethnic minority villages of the Three Parallel Rivers World Natural Heritage Area.

Day 7 :  Tacheng  Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkey  Shigu & First Bend of Yangtze River  Lijiang 塔城金丝猴公园→石鼓义&长江第一湾→丽江

 Our last day of the tour begins very early, with a visit to see one of nature’s most endangered monkeys, the Yunnan Snub- nosed monkey. If time permits, we will visit a Tibetan village located in Tacheng. Then we will leave Tacheng to head back to Lijiang, enjoying the tranquil countryside along the Upper reaches of the Yangtze River.  We will make a stop near Shigu (Stone Drum) to view the famous “First Bend” of the Yangtze River, so called because the Yangtze River makes a dramatic 180 degree turn from south to east within a distance of 1 kilometer. This place is important militarily because big armies, including that of Kublai Khan, crossed the river at this point, during many periods in China’s history.

At about 5-6pm, we will reach Lijiang, coming to the end of our unforgettable adventure to a less-trodden part of not just Yunnan, but the whole of China.