12 days Yunnan minority tour with Lugu Lake exploration

⇀ Lugu Lake
⇀ Shangri-la
⇀ Mount Meili
⇀ Cizhong
⇀ Tacheng
⇀ Lijiang
This Lugu Lake tour from Lijiang provides an amazing experience to learn about the ethnic cultures in Lijiang and Shangri-la. Immerse yourself into the picturesque landscapes which include breathtaking lakes, snow capped mountains and much more.
12 days
Culture and Heritage, Natural scenery, Overland
Trip code
From CN¥ 10,000 per person

This Yunnan minority tour balances an overland trip from Lijiang to Shangri-la and a cultural visit to the peaceful nearby villages. Endless scenery awaits to be discovered as you stop at the Lugu Lake, Tiger Leaping Gorge and Pudacuo National Park. Learn about the unique and ancient cultures of the local Tibetans, Naxi and Mosuo people, which still are vibrant today. These people welcome all the visitors. More including the majestic Mount Meili and Mingyong Glacier await to be explored in this Yunnan private tour.

Day 01 :
Arrive Lijiang

Enjoy a tranquil and memorable trip from Lijiang, a popular travel destination in northwest of Yunnan province. This ancient town is renowned as a fairyland blessed with fresh air, clear streams, magnificent snow mountains and an undisturbed landscape inhabited by a friendly group of Naxi people.

Upon your arrival, your local guide will assist you to register in the hotel. After, we strongly recommend you to spend the rest of the day on roaming this ancient town on your own. Witness an undisturbed life of the locals here. 

Day 02 :
Lijiang sightseeing

Start today by heading to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which offers a majestic backdrop to the tranquil ancient town of Lijiang. Ride a cable car up to a high grassland meadow, where you can witness the 13 peaks lively in distance. As you descend the mountain, Every step will reveal a breathtaking view.

Next with a visit to the Baisha Village, which was the first settlement of Naxi people as well as the economic and political center of Lijiang for centuries. During your stay in this ancient village, visit a local Naxi family to learn about their traditional culture that still in practice today. After, see the most precious treasure of this village, Baisha Murals, Blending the styles of Han, Tibet and Naxi. These murals reflect that Buddhism, Taoism and Tibetan Buddhism have coexisted harmoniously in this village for hundreds of years.

In the afternoon, drive back to Lijiang ancient town to visit the Black Dragon Pool. Enjoy a spectacular view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in distance and explore traditional stone buildings and bridges here. Make sure your camera is ready as this place is a Mecca for many photographers.

Day 03 :
Lijiang - Lugu Lake

Today you will have about 6 hours spectacular mountain drive from Lijiang to Lugu Lake, a beautiful highland lake (2,700m high) located on the border of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. It is encircled with hills, and the forest around is dense, Mosuo people living in this area retain their traditional customs of a matriarchal society. Women operate production, management, and hold the principal position in their society. Learn about their unique culture and lifestyle by visiting one or two Mosuo families. Overnight in Lige village by the lakeside. 

Day 04 :
Lugu Lake

Today you will stpend the whole day to explore Lugu Lake and its surroundings. You can choose to hike between the small Mosuo villages, drive around the lake, have a horse riding or take a small traditional canoe to visit some of the islands. Have lunch with a local family to learn more about their cultural of Mosuo people. Overnight at Lige village. 

Day 05 :
Lugu lake - Lijiang Shuhe ancient town

Morning visit the Mosuo Culture Museum to get an understanding of this matriarchal society in depth. There is no marriage in their traditional culture. Men stay in the women's home as mates called 'Axia' and the intimate relationship lasts as long as they like. Afterwards, drive back to Shuhe ancient town near Lijiang. Arrive at Shuhe in the late afternoon, check-in and free explore Shuhe on your own. Shuhe, another well-preserved ancient town along the ancient tea horse route and one of the earliest settlements of Naxi people's ancestors. 

Day 06 :
Lijiang - Shangri-la

Drive from Lijiang to Shangri-la, which will take about 5 hours on the road. First, come to the Stone Drum Town where you will see the First Bend of the Yangtze River. This place got its name as it is a sudden V-shaped bend that has been formed when the Yangtze River flowing by.

Next, stop at the Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is one of the deepest and most beautiful gorges in China. The water current is very fast here as the river is surrounded by high peaks, steep cliffs and jagged rocks. Then continue driving to Shangri-la. Upon arrival, get settle into a local hotel. Have the rest of the day to explore this ancient Tibetan town on your own.

Day 07 :

After breakfast, head to the largest Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province, Ganden Sumtseling Monastery. This monastery was built based on the layout and appearance of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Thus many people also call it 'the Small Potala Palace'. This monastery is reputed as it preserves a serious of gorgeous buildings and countless Tibetan Buddhist treasures. 

Afterwards, drive to the Pudacuo National Park, where you will see one of the spectacular takes, Shudu Lake, which is famous for the lush plants and various wild animals. Also, a local Tibetan family visit is arranged to learn the Tibetan culture and local lifestyle.

Late afternoon drive back to Shangri-la Tibetan old town, climb up to the top of Guishan Hill, to see the largest Prayer Wheel of the world and have a panoramic view of this ancient town.

Day 08 :
Shangri-la - Mt. Meili

Today drive from Zhongdian to Deqin, on the way enjoy a bird's view of Lake Napa, a seasonal lake where many birds come from the north for the winter here. Continue to Nixi Tibetan village where people specialize in making the famous black fired pottery, you will visit some workshops and maters to see how they work on the pottery. Stop at the Benzilan, where you will see the Jinsha River Grand Canyon. As you near Deqin, you will have the first views of Meili Snow mountains. Mt. Meili is one of the holy mountains for Tibetans, standing at a height of about 6,740 m. (22,113 ft.). You will spend the overnight at one local guesthouse in Feilaisi, which is the best place to view Mt. Meili.  

Day 09 :
Mingyong Glacier - Drive to Cizhong

Have a memorable experience of seeing the sunrise in Feilai Temple. It is a great view that the sunlight turns the white snow-capped Mount Meili into golden yellow. Then proceed to Mingyong Glaciers, spend 3 hours to trek (or have about 2 hours horse ride) to the Viewpoint to see the Glacier. Mingyong Glacier is one of the few low altitude glaciers in the world. Resembling a long piece of white silk, Mingyong Glacier Runs from 5,500 m. (18,045 ft.) down to 2,700 m. (8858 ft.).

Afterwards drive 4 to 5 hours to Cizhong, a Catholic wine-growing village set amidst a beautiful mountain valley, down by the Lancang Jiang. Upon your arrive, get settled into the Red Wine Guesthouse where you can taste delicious wine made by the church's caretaker. Free explore the village on your own. 

Day 10 :
Cizhong - Tacheng

Visit the Cizhong Catholic Church in the morning. It was first constructed in 1909 and became the major church of Yunnan Parish after its completion. Nestled in mountains with lush vegetation, the church architecture complex is designed with Gothic style and dotted with farmer houses. Climb to the top of the tower for a breathtaking view of the whole village and surrroundings.

Afterwards, drive to Tacheng along the Mekong River, the drive takes about 5 hours. Tacheng is an important town of the Tea Horse Trade caravan from Yunnan to Tibet and India. Upon arrival, check into one local guest house and free explore on your own.  

Day 11 :
Tacheng - Lijiang

Tacheng is renowned for its golden monkeys. This morning you will visit the Tacheng Monkeys Reserve. Here you will see lots of so-called Yunnan Golden Hair Monkey and the Black Golden Hair Monkey by locals, which are endemic to China. Then drive about 4-5 hours along the Jinsha River to Lijiang. After you get settled into the hotel in Lijiang, spend rest of the day to walk around Lijiang old town on your own. 

Day 12 :
Departure from Lijiang

Today your guide and drive will pick you up from the hotel and drive to the airport or bus station for departure. If you wish to continue your travels, we are experts in tailor made trips and ready to assist you in extending your stay in China.

Tour notes:

Please note prices are based in CNY.

General inclusions:

2 bottles of mineral water provided daily.
All required government taxes and fees.
Your selection of 3, 4 or 5 Stars hotel (shared twin room, private bathroom and daily breakfast)
All entrance tickets as noted in the tour's itinerary.
Guide fluent in English, Chinese or Japanese that is certified by the state tourism build and from the local community. (If your native language is not listed please let us know, we are certain we can assist your needs.)
Airport and/or train station pick-up and drop-off.
All domestic flight and train tickets. Economy-class for flights and soft sleeper / seat for train tickets.
Transportation will we be provided via a comfortable and clean car, minivan or tourist bus depending upon the groups size.

General exclusions:

Personal expenses such as laundry, drinks, internet access, fax, telephone calls etc.
Tips for your guide and driver.
Flight and/or railway ticket(s) to the first city of the tour and departure from the last city of the tour.
Meals not specified in the itinerary.

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Valentina Uzun
Valentina Uzun
Sat, 12/14/2019

hi, i am interested in 12 days Yunnan minority tour with Lugu Lake exploration.
Can you suggest the period when its better to visit mosuo people during their festivals ? Will it be a tour with a private guide and driver? How many people can be included in this tour ? Where will be accommodation , does the price includes it?

Replied by
Victoria Zhu
Victoria Zhu
Tue, 12/17/2019

In reply to by Valentina Uzun (not verified)

Dear Valentina,

Thank you for your inquiry! This is Victoria Zhu, one of the travel advisors of WindhorseTour, responding to you. 

We certainly can make this 12 days Yunnan minority tour with Lugu Lake exploration tour happen to you. 

The Mosuo people living by Lugu Lake annually celebrate the Mountain Worship Festival (also known as Chaoshan Festival) on every 25th of lunar July. Next year, it is September 12, 2020, you may travel there during that time to enjoy this festival with the locals. 

This is a customized tour that can be arranged based on your requirements, so we certainly can arrange a tour including a private guide, driver, and accommodation just depending on your needs. And we only offer private tours for this route, in other words, there are no other tourists but only you in this group.

More details have been sent to your email, please go through the details of the email and feel free to get back to me for any questions that you might have. 

Look forward to talking with you soon.






frank hilde
frank hilde
Sun, 08/12/2018

we are looking at a trip with an English speaking driver from Lijiang or Shangri-La to Chengdu. Maybe 7-10 days. how much is the charge in the later part of September. we are 2 pax and prefer 3 star hotels

Replied by
Victoria Zhu
Victoria Zhu
Mon, 08/13/2018

In reply to by frank hilde (not verified)

Hi Frank,

Thank you for your inquiry. This is Victoria, one of the travel advisers from WindhorseTour, responding to you. I am more than happy to assist you on your Yunnan Sichuan overland tour planning.

I have sent you a detailed tour proposal with quotation by email, please kindly check the details and feel free to get back to me for any questions you might have. With your replies, we can adjust the proposal to meet your needs best.

Hope to hear from you soon

Best regards,

linda coffee
linda coffee
Wed, 01/31/2018

I am very interested in travelling to the Yunnan/Sichuan regions, in may/june/july 2018 - am a bit fleible on the dates

i like the look of 2 tours you have, the 11 day kumming shangrila tour and the 12 day Yunnan minority tour with lugu lake

as i will be travelling on my own do you have an enquiries from other solo travellers who may be interested in sharing costs at some point in the may-july 2018 time frame?

i would like an additional 3 days or so at the both ends of the tour and wonder if you could assist with organising accomodation



Replied by
Murphy Feng
Thu, 02/01/2018

In reply to by linda coffee (not verified)

Hi Linda,

Thanks for contacting us, this is Murphy from WindhorseTour. I have just sent you an email with some comments about your inquiry, please check it.

Thank you and I'm looking forward to your reply.



Mon, 05/01/2017

and the price for 12 day tour is ............

Replied by
Murphy Feng
Tue, 05/02/2017

In reply to by Koh (not verified)

Hi Koh,

Thanks for contacting us! We would love to help you organize this trip, I've tried to send you an email with some details about this trip, but it didn't get through, could you please check your email address and maybe send us another message?

Thank you and I'm looking forward to your reply.



L. Steenbergen
L. Steenbergen
Sat, 02/28/2015

We (3 pers, 1 room, 3 star) like to know the price of your Yunnan YE-07 12 days tour.
Thank you so far,
Best regards,
L. Steenbergen

Replied by
Tagong grassland by July Yuki
Yuki Yi
Thu, 03/05/2015

In reply to by L. Steenbergen (not verified)

Hello L. Steenbergen,
Nice to hear from you! I have just sent the detailed email to you, please go through the details and kindly let me know for any questions on it!
Looking forward to your reply.
Best Regards,