8 days Yunnan Tiger Leaping Gorge trekking tour
Enjoy a Yunnan trekking tour, which travel in depth from Lijiang to Shangri-la. Experience the pure folk customs and leisurely lifestyle while wandering around the ancient towns in Lijiang. The trekking starts as you leave for Shangri-la. Walk along the bank of Jinsha River to admire the spectacular scenery of Tiger Leaping Gorge and more. This tour is for the travelers who crave to have an exciting adventure in Yunnan Province.
Upon your arrival at the airport or railway station of Kunming, the city of eternal spring in Yunnan province, be greeted and assisted to your hotel for rest. Known for its pleasant climate and flowers blooming all year long, Kunming is one of the best places for travelers to enjoy the scenery of Southwest China. The remainder of the first day is left for you to explore this city on your own.
Start today with a visit to the Qiongzhu Temple, the quiet and tastefully laid out Buddhist temple which is surrounded by lush and green bamboo. During nearly 1,000 years, Qiongzhu Temple has been destroyed several times. The present architectures you see are mostly built during the time of the Qing Dynasty, including the famous statues of 500 Buddhist Arhats that are highly reputed because of the vivid expressions and life-size appearances.
Later morning, drive to the Lunan Stone Forest, a special type of Karst landform where you will see countless rock pillars, high and strangely shaped. This national park is endowed with a pleasant climate, and it is adorned with more than 400 kinds of flowers. Enjoy leisure time here this afternoon before you drive back to Kunming city.
After having dinner, you may enjoy the grand dance musical ‘Dynamic Yunnan’ which has been an outstanding innovation on the Chinese stage in recent years directed by Yang Liping. Primitive, unsophisticated folk dances and a fresh artistic concept converge in the program, giving audiences a unique 'Yunnan Impression'. 62 drums and 120 masks of strong ethnic characteristics are incorporated in the performance. (Fee is on your own).
Take the morning bullet train to Lijiang. Known as one of the most famous ancient towns in China, Lijiang is a great place to escape from the bustling life in modern cities. Upon arrival, get settled into the local hotel for a short break before you start the exploring. The first stop is the picturesque Black Dragon Pool, which is located in the north of the town. The park is also called Jade Spring since the lake sparkles like jade and it is as clear as spring water. Make sure your camera is ready as you will have a spectacular view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in distance.
Afterward, head to the Dongba Museum, where you can gain an in-depth understanding of the unique culture and customs of Naxi people. Countless Dongba scrolls and artifacts are on display in the museum, including such treasures as the "Dongba Scroll Painting" and the "Art of Dongba Painting." Then the rest of the day is for you to explore the Lijiang Ancient Town. In the evening you may choose to enjoy the Naxi ancient music show at Dongba Palace (fee is on your own).
Today you will visit the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Baisha Village. Resembling a jade dragon lying in the clouds, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain offers a splendid backdrop to the tranquil town of Lijiang. Take a cable car up to a high grassland meadow (Yak Meadow), where you can witness the 13 lively peaks lively in distance. As you descend the mountain, Every step will reveal a breathtaking view. You may choose to enjoy the large cultural show 'Impression Lijiang' in the outdoor theater in front of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which is demonstrating the traditions and lifestyles of the Naxi, Yi and Bai peoples, and takes place outdoors.
Afterward, head to Baisha Village. This village was the first settlement of Naxi people as well as the economic and political center of Lijiang for centuries. Stroll through the village and pay a visit to 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 over 600 years. You will also be arranged to visit a local Naxi family to learn about their traditional culture that still in practice today. Later afternoon return to Lijiang, the rest of the day is on your own.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is considered as the deepest gorges tucked between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Mountains. Morning head to Qiaotou where is the starting point for the trekking. Enjoy a hiking experience along with the high path by crossing 28 turns to your destination, Half Way Guest House, which is located at the midpoint of the hike along the Tiger Leaping Gorge trail. It will take 6 to 7 hours on the road, enjoy the panorama of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain from the summit as you hike along a flatter path to the guest house. Upon arrival, have dinner and a relaxing evening at the Half Way Guest House.
Hike for about 2 hours from Half Way Guesthouse to Tina’s Guesthouse, where you will overlook the Middle Rapids of the Jinsha River. Pass several beautiful waterfalls while walking along the bank of the river to the Middle 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 hike back to Tina's Guesthouse for lunch. Afterward, drive about 3 hours to Shangri-la (Also called Zhongdian), a small town on the Tibetan Plateau, at 3,300m (10,000ft) above sea level.
Morning you will visit Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, the largest Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province. Since the layout and appearance of this monastery was built based on the Potala Palace, it also is known as the Small Potala Palace. See a series of gorgeous buildings and countless Tibetan Buddhist treasures during your visit here.
Then head to Pudacuo National Park, where you will see two spectacular lakes, Bitahai Lake and Shudu Lake. Fed by small streams from the snow mountains here, Bitahai Lake resembles a trumpet shell. Appreciate the beauty of nature while seeing the elegant blue water with snow mountains and trees reflecting in it. Next with a visit to Shudu Lake, which is famous for the lush plants and various wild animals.
Get back to the town late afternoon, 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. You will be arranged to visit one local Tibetan family to get involved in the Tibetan people's lifestyle. Rest of the day is for you to freely explore this ancient town.
Today your guide and drive will pick you up from the hotel and drive to the airport for departure. Also you may consider to extend your trip further north to visit the Tibetan holy mountain Meili.