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Kunming – Western Mountains – Stone Forest – Zhongdian (Shangri-La) – Lijiang – Shaxi – Dali
Tour Code: YURT003E
Duration: 8 Days /7 Nights
Tour Type: Private Roundtrip
• The UNESCO protected Lijiang Old Town.
• Stroll through the idyllic Bai Village of Shaxi
• Take the cable car up the flanks of Jade Dragon Mountain up to 4’000.
• Visit James Hilton’s Shangri-La
• Take a walk into one of the deepest canyons of the world – the Tiger Leaping Gorge
• Walk through the amazing landscape of the Lunan Stone Forest
• Climb up to the Dragon Gate in the Western Mountains near Kunming
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Arrival in Kunming Transfer to the Hotel
Early morning you visit the Stone Forrest near Lunan, where years of rain and erosion left behind a bizarre and impressive landscape of limestone pillars which, with a little imagination, indeed resembles a forest. We have a walk through the maze of paths and walkways leading through this natural wonderland and learn more about the Sani people, an ethnic minority populating the area. Drive back to Kunming where we visit the Western Mountains, from where you will enjoy breathtaking views over the Dianchi Lake and the city of Kunming. Visit the Dragon Gate and the Huating Temple from the 11th century.
Transfer to airport and flight to Zhongdian, which recently changed its name and is now called “Shangri-La”. Zhongdian is situated amongst a stunning landscape on the eastern Tibetan plateau at about 3200 meters above sea level. Upon arrival you drive to a view point from where you enjoy a breathtaking view over the scenic Napa Lake and the surroundings. After that, drive to the picturesque old town of Zhongdian. We climb Turtle Hill and spin the world’s biggest prayer wheel three times for a good karma. After Lunch drive to the Ganden Sumtseling Gompa, a 300 year old impressive Tibetan Monastery. Destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, the Ganden Sumpseling Gompa is now again one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in the area.
We leave the eastern Tibetan Plateau and drive through a magnificent landscape toward Lijiang. Half way we take a left turn into the impressive “Tiger Leaping Gorge”, where the Yangtze waters are squeezed through a narrow, at some places only 15 meter wide gorge. It is the most spectacular during the summer months, when the water levels of the Yangtze River are the highest. Continue to Shigu village, to see the famous “First Bend”, where the Yangtze River is making an abrupt 180 degree turn and flows for several Kilometers, parallel to itself towards the north again. Continue to Lijiang.
In the morning we take the cable car up the flanks of Jade dragon Snow Mountain to an altitude of over 4’500 meters above sea level. The highest of the 13 peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain reaches 5’596 meters. The first section of the cable car brings us to the “Love-Suicide-Hill and from there you continue by Asia’s highest cable car up to 4’506 meters! We take a stroll on the wooden walkway and gaze at the glaciers and the magnificent surroundings! By cable car we head down to the valley and continue to the nearby traditional village of “Baisha”, the former capital of the Naxi kingdom. Visit the Liu Li Temple, with its beautiful, well preserved wall paintings from the Ming Dynasty that miraculously survived the Cultural Revolution. In the afternoon you stroll through the apparently countless and, on first sight, confusing narrow lanes and canals crisscrossing the old town. We also learn more about the secrets of the mystic Naxi-Dongba culture. We climb Lion Hill and enjoy a panoramic look over the roof tops of the old town of Lijiang. Later in the afternoon we visit the lovely “Black Dragon Pool” Park from where, weather permitting, one has a spectacular view of the 5’596 Meter high “Jade Dragon Mountain” (Yu Long Shan).
Early morning we leave Lijiang and drive through a beautiful landscape towards Shaxi. Shaxi was formerly an important pivotal stop on the Tea and Horse trail from Yunnan to Tibet. The village has been renovated and is preserved under an award winning project by the ETH Zürich. In the afternoon the car will take you to the Shibao Mountain. The impressive rock carvings of Shibao Mountain are over 1300 years old and are testimony of the spread of Mahayana Buddhism from Tibet in the region. You can either walk back to Shaxi (1,5 hrs) or take the car back to the hotel. Overnight accommodation is at a traditional wooden Bai House with a 150 year old history!
Drive south towards Dali. Dali is situated on the eastern shores of the stunning Erhai Lake on the foot of the 4000m high Cang Shan mountain range. During the 9th century Dali served as capital of the once powerful Nanzhao and later the Dali Kingdoms, before the historical town was overrun by the Mongols about 400 years later. You take a walking tour through the old town, visit the market place, the Bai style catholic church and the former city gates. The rest of the afternoon is at your own disposal for the exploration of the picturesque old town of Dali.
Transfer to the Xiaguan Airport or connecting program.
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