The Legend of Shangri-La 13 Days


Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La, Chengdu

Even now, Yunnan province is considered by Chinese to be a wild and untouched region. Home to the cities Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and 'Shangri-La', Yunnan is also perhaps China's most ethnically diverse province, with more than 25 groups represented. From ancient towns and temples, limestone 'forests', soaring mountains and deep gorges, to indigenous crafts and food, you will absorb many marvels of nature and culture on this tour.

Tour Highlights:

  • See Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, which is home to many China's 55 ethnic minorities.
  • Visit Dali city and explore the ancient streets and markets of the Old Town Quarter, and the famous Three Pagodas
  • Discover Zhongdian – now known as Shangri-La, in one of the hidden corners of the world
  • Experience the poetically-named Tiger Leaping Gorge, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and Black Dragon Pool
  • Visit the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan, and experience local Tibetan culture with a unique visit to a local family
  • Discover the Old Town of Lijiang, home to the Naxi ethnic group, and once a prominent stop on the ancient Southern Silk Road

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Guaranteed Departure Dates

2017 Price Per Person Single Supplement
17 Sep* 22 Oct From $4,595 $700

Package Inclusions:

  • Economy class international airfares, taxes and fuel surcharges departing Sydney or Melbourne flying China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines or Air China (subject to availability)
  • Internal airfares (operated by a local carrier)
  • 11 nights hotel accommodation (twin share)
  • Daily meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Tibet entry permit
  • Coach transportation
  • Round trip airport and hotel transfers
  • Entrance fees to scenic attractions
  • English speaking tour guide(s)

Package Exclusions:

  • Tipping prepaid in Australia: $100
  • China visa application fees
  • Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Personal expenditure and anything not stated

Hotel Accommodation

Kunming Kunming Kai Wah Plaza International local rating or similar
Dali Regent Hotel local rating or similar
Lijiang Guangfang Hotel Lijiang Garden Villa local rating or similar
Shangri-la Zhaxidele Hotel local rating or similar
Lhasa The Tibet Cang-gyan Lhasa Hotel local rating or similar
Shigatse VanRay International Resort local rating or similar
Chengdu Chengdu House International Hotel local rating or similar

Impression Lijiang

Impression Lijiang is a cultural show which demonstrating the traditions and lifestyle of local Naxi, Yi, and Bai ethnic groups of the area. It is the second outdoor production of famous film director Zhang Yimou, and is performed at an open-air performance at the foot of Yulong Xueshan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain), about 3500 meters above sea level. The performance stage is specially designed to showcase the mountain as the best backdrop of the show. More than 500 local people from ten ethnic groups have been selected from over 16 towns and villages nearby to take part in the performances for tourists, which include folk songs, dances, and rituals.

Important Information

While many ethnic minorities and the abundance of unique natural attractions help make this province rich and colourful, Yunnan is one of the more remote and underdeveloped parts of China and the cities here cannot be compared to mega-cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, or Chengdu, with their luxury hotels, fine restaurants and well-built roads. A journey to Yunnan is a unique experience which should be approached with an open mind and a willingness to embrace the unique cultures and traditional lifestyles of the various ethnic minorities who populate this land.

Board an overnight connecting flight via an intermediate city to Kunming.
Arrive in Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan Province. Upon arrival, you will be warmly greeted at the airport by your tour guide and transferred to your hotel. Kunming has the best climate of all Chinese cities and is popularly known as ‘Spring City’. It has a long history. Many ethnic minorities and the unique natural environment help make this city rich and colourful.
This morning visit the picturesque Stone Forest, where massive limestone columns form a vast forest of surreal shapes and images. Due to a process of weathering and erosion, nature has created a natural art gallery of stone sculptures here. The countless stone shapes seem to have sprung from the ground, assuming different shapes as if vying to surpass each other in grandeur and sublime beauty. Next visit the Jiuxiang Scenic Resort with more than one hundred karst caves. It has been found that the caves in Jiuxiang are the largest cave group system with the most numerous karst caves in China. Stalactites in the caves take on many forms, shapes and different colours. Found in the caves are numerous natural bridges, valleys, rivers and waterfalls, which constitute a wonderful subterranean world. Later, return to Kunming and this evening sample the local delicacy, Across the Bridge Noodles.
Depart Kunming by coach this morning and travel through the countryside to Dali, home of the Bai Minority. Arrive in Dali this afternoon and stroll through the fascinating Old Town Quarter, a 600-year-old town featuring stone walls, grey-tiled roofs, doors and windows carved with dragon and phoenix patterns, and also beautiful gardens. As you walk along the cobble-paved streets in the ancient city, a sense of primitive simplicity and elegance will be invoked.
This morning visit the charming Song Dynasty Three Pagodas which are an outstanding landmark of the region. Then enjoy a cruise on Erhai Lake where you may be lucky enough to see traditional junks still plying their trade. Then visit a local ethnic minority family and their home in Xizhou Village. The House of Bai is renowned throughout China for their craftsmanship in silverware and fabric dyeing.
Travel by coach to the ‘living museum’ city of Lijiang, which sits at the foothills of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and is the cultural centre of the Naxi Minority. Explore the Old Town of Lijiang, which has been designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Gaze in wonder at the sights and sounds of this ancient city and imagine being part of a bygone era as you stroll through the maze of cobblestone streets, narrow canals, and decorative wooden houses preserved for over 700 years. Black Dragon Pool is a famous pond built in 1737 during the Qing Dynasty and offers a spectacular view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the region’s tallest, over its white marble bridge. Later, visit the famous Baisha Frescoes that illustrate ancient stories of various religions and nations. With their fine and smooth lines, bright colours, vivid patterns, and balanced and harmonious composition, the frescoes are not only significant to the history of painting in China, but important cultural heritage relics too. Finish the day with a visit to a local village
Today’s highlight is a trip to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the mystical mountain worshipped by the Naxi people. At the base of the mountain board chair lifts to access higher regions that afford a beautiful view of the famed Thirteen Peaks. Enjoy a stunning cultural performance – Impression Lijiang.
Drive to Shangri-la (formerly called Zhongdian) this morning, and visit one of the most dramatic gorges in the world, Leaping Tiger Gorge. Legend has it that this particular gorge is so narrow in certain places that a tiger escaped capture by leaping across, hence its name. Arrive at Shangri-la this afternoon, and continue your tour to visit a Tibetan family where you can taste Tibetan specialities of yak butter tea, local yoghurt, and Tibetan barley. Afterwards, explore the Old Town at your own leisure. Enjoy some free time to acclimatise to the higher altitude.
Visit Songzanlin Monastery this morning, which was built by the 5th Dalai Lama more than three hundred years ago; it is known as Ganden Sumtseling in the Tibetan language, it is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, with more than five hundred lamas living and studying here. Next visit the Bitahai Lake which is widely recognised as “a pearl on the plateau” and the most attractive lake in Shangri-La. It is famous for its limpid water and its beautiful scenery which is set against the mountains and forests surrounding it. Bitahai (Bita Lake) is a place of legends. When visiting it, you will find that even a tree or a hill has a story. It is not only a feast to the eye, but also enhances your sense of beauty and imagination.
Today’s highlight is an excursion to the White Water Terraces, where spring water cascades over layers of white limestone pools creating a perfect photographic moment. Enjoy some free time afterwards.
You will be transferred to Shangri-la airport to board your flight to Chengdu. Enjoy some free time in Chengdu after you arrive.
After breakfast, transfer to Chengdu airport to board your overnight connecting flight via an intermediate city to Australia. The trip may be over, but the experiences and memories will certainly last a life time.
Arrive home this morning.