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Expeditions    the Shangri-La 2021

the Shangri-La 2021

Renamed “Shangri-La” after the mythical utopia described by James Hilton in Lost Horizon, northwestern Yunnan is home to breathtaking landscapes and picturesque villages.  On this 12-day expedition, you will gain insight into the “real” Shangri-La: you will hike through barley fields to Tibetan communities, meet primary school children in an isolated mountain village, chat with a high lama in the most important Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the region, and, along the way, turn in for the night in boutique lodges – just to name a few of many special experiences.


As you traverse across diverse landscapes and engage with local communities at the edge of the Tibetan plateau, you will come to discover, first-hand, why this land has become known as “Shangri-La”.

Itinerary

Day 1, Arrive in Beijing

Arrive in Beijing, welcome and transfer to your hotel to check in.  Beijing, the center of politics and culture since the 13th century, showcases China’s best art and imperial culture.  In addition, today’s Beijing offers an excellent performance community, and a healthy variety of fine dining establishments.  Deluxe Room at Waldorf Astoria Beijing for 1 night.


Day 2, Beijing /Shangri-La

Fly to Kunming or Chengdu, and connect to an onward flight to Shangri-La (~3,300m /10,827ft).  Renamed “Shangri-La” after the mythical utopia described by James Hilton in Lost Horizon, northwestern Yunnan is home to breathtaking landscapes and picturesque villages.  Have some free time rest and enjoy dinner at hotel.  Deluxe Room at Songtsam Linka Shangri-La for 4 nights.

Day 3, Shangri-La

Have the morning free at leisure, and acclimatize yourself to the altitude.  After lunch, take a short walk to the nearby Songzanlin Monastery.  Songzanlin Monastery, also known as Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, is considered the most important Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan.  Tour the monastery, and meet one of its high lamas at his chamber.  If energy permits, walk up to Gulong Village and take in panoramic views of the impressive monastery complex.  This evening, have dinner at a local Tibetan family home.

Day 4, Shangri-La

After breakfast, drive to Pudacuo National Park.  Part of the Three Parallel Rivers area: Jinsha River (Yangtze), Lancang River (Mekong), and Nu River (Salween), Pudacuo National Park is notable for its great scenery and rich biodiversity.  Hike along the wooden walkway at Bita Lake (3,500m /11,483ft) and Shudu Lake (3,700m /12,139ft), and picnic for lunch.

Return to the town in the late afternoon.  Visit a local NGO, and learn about their efforts on preserving the Tibetan culture and traditions.


Day 5, Shangri-La

Today, embark on a moderate hike of ~4hrs to Ringha Temple, over small rolling hills and through scenic valleys.  Along the way, you will stop by isolated Tibetan villages, and have lunch at a local Tibetan family home.

Arrive at Ringha Temple in the afternoon, a small but very important temple to the local community.  Walk around the temple, and opt to hang up your prayer flags as the locals do.  Return to your hotel for some downtime before having dinner at the nearby Songtsam Lodge.


Day 6, Shangri-La /Benzilan

Drive to Benzilan (~80km /50mi, 1.5hrs) along the national highway G214 – once the ancient Tea and Horse Road, connecting Yunnan with Tibet, Nepal and India.  En route, visit Nixi Village, a small village which is known for its handmade black pottery.


Upon arrival, rest and freshen up at your hotel, a charming lodge hidden in a verdant valley.  If energy permits, go for a pleasant hike through the barley fields into the nearby mountains, and visit the peaceful Tibetan villages.  Deluxe Room at Songtsam Benzilan Lodge for 1 night.


Day 7, Benzilan /Deqin

This morning, drive to Deqin (~80km /50mi, 2hrs).  En route, stop to view the U-shape Bend of Jinsha River.  Visit Dongzhulin Monastery (Dhondrupling Gompa in Tibetan language) and Dongzhulin Nunnery.  Afterwards, continue the drive through the snow-capped mountains and alpine coniferous forests of Baimang National Reserve.

Arrive at Gujiunong Village (3,600m /11,811ft) in the late afternoon, and check into your hotel – a nice Tibetan lodge overlooking the Meili Snow Mountains.  Have the rest of the day free at leisure, or explore the nearby area.  Deluxe Room at Songtsam Meili Lodge for 1 night.


Day 8, Deqin /Yubeng

Early in the morning, watch the sunrise over Kawagebo – the highest peak of Meili Snow Mountains.  Afterwards, drive along Lancang River (Mekong) to the trailhead, and embark on a hike of ~6hrs to Upper Yubeng Village (3,200m /10,499ft).  Alternatively, you can also ride horse uphill to the mountain pass at 3,800m /12,467ft, then hike downhill to Upper Yubeng Village.  Guest Room at a local village guesthouse for 2 nights.


Day 9, Yubeng

Enjoy close views of the majestic peaks of Meili in the morning.  After breakfast, hike to the sacred Yubeng Waterfall (~14km /9mi, 6hrs, a round trip), and picnic along the way.  En route, you will pass by the Lower Yubeng Village and visit the small monastery there.  Return to Upper Yubeng Village in the late afternoon, and opt to drop a visit to Yubeng Primary School.

Day 10, Yubeng /Deqin

This morning, wave your goodbye to Yubeng Village.  Horse-ride to the mountain pass, then hike downhill to the trailhead.  Drive to Songtsam Meili Lodge (~2hrs).  Deluxe Room at Songstam Meili Lodge for 1 night.


Day 11, Deqin /Shangri-La

After breakfast, continue the drive back to Shangri-La (~160km /99mi, 3.5hrs).  Have the rest of the day free at leisure before the farewell dinner.  Deluxe Room at Songtsam Linka Shangri-La for 1 night.


Day 12, Farewell

Fly to Beijing via Kunming, and connect to your onward flight home.  Farewell.

Trip Map

Dates & Prices

Dates

2021, all year round, with May to June and September to October better recommended.


Prices

For a private group of 2 guests traveling together, each guest USD5,800

For a private group of 5 guests traveling together, each guest USD4,650

For a private group of 8 guests traveling together, each guest USD4,280


Internal Airfare

All internal flights of economy class, starting from Beijing till Beijing, each guest USD1,420


All inclusive and fully serviced for your journey duration in China

All hotel accommodation on double occupancy;

All meals;

All transportation (Toyota Land Cruisers for Shangri-La from Day 2 till Day 12, with every three persons sharing one vehicle);

All tour and event plans, with the service of an English speaking guide and a driver, starting from arrival to departure at the airport of each destination;

Plus proper flexibility and 24/7 immediate support.


Notes

1, For guests who take single occupancy for all hotel accommodation, a single supplement of USD1,270 will be charged.

2, Guests will need to take care of the international flights to and from Beijing, passport and China visa, travel insurance, personal expenses on trip, and optional gratuities to your guides and drivers.

Star Records

Thoroughly researched and developed to feature the best hotels and experiences available, our expeditions are continuously updated and perfected with the incorporation of new opportunities for you to engage with the places and people you visit.


the Shangri-La 2013


the Shangri-La 2014


the Shangri-La 2015


the Shangri-La 2016


the Shangri-La 2017


the Shangri-La 2018


the Shangri-La 2019

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