Home > Hiking & Trekking > 14 Days Yunnan Adventures in Shangri-la and Lijiang with C.A.T
The Great Bend of the Yangtze River makes a hairpin turn through a remarkable 10,000-foot-deep gorge (almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon!) before continuing its march to the sea. On this trip, we run some 120 miles of the Great Bend¡ªa spectacular whitewater experience, with about a dozen Class IV rapids, including some fun Grand Canyon¨Cstyle wave trains! Fascinating cultural encounters with the Naxi people, descendents of Tibetan traders, are a terrific bonus. Above all, you¡¯ll be in the secure hands of some of our top river guides¡ªthe best in the world!
Note: All the time and distance etc shown below are approximate and indicative only, if there is inconsistency, it will depend on the weather, local road conditions and other actual situations. Besides, the duration might be revised according to your physical level.
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(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
DAY 01  Arrive Lijiang (by flight)
On arrival, pickup by our experienced CAT tour guide and transfer to the hotel. Relax yourself in Lijiang Old Town. The Lijiang Old Town, a well-preserved old city of ethnic minorities with brilliant culture, was firstly built in the late Song Dynasty and the early Yuan Dynasty。 It has a history of more than 800 years. It was put in the list of the World's Relics by the World Cultural Heritage Commission of the UNESCO in 1997. Located on the plateau which is 2,416 meters above the sea level and embraced by the tree-covered Lion Mountain in the west, Elephant and Golden Row Mountains in the north, vast fertile fields in the southeast and crystal clear water running through, the old town looks like a big jade ink slab, therefore got the alias the Town of Big Ink Slab (Dayan Zhen).

Overnight at 4 star hotel in Lijiang

DAY 02  Lijiang / Tiger Leaping Gorge / Trek to Tea Horse Guesthouse (BLD)
Drive about 100km to Qiaotou Town (Tiger Leaping gorge Town). One the way, enjoy the panoramic view of the First Bend of Yangtze River when we drive along the upper reaches of Yangtze River and the Naxi ethnic villages. Tiger Leaping Gorge, as one of the world's four great gorges, is honored as one of the deepest and most marvelous gorges with 3900 meters in depth.
Start the trekking from the Qiaotou Primary School, after half an hour, arrive in Changsheng Village, pay a visit to Changsheng Hope Primary School. Later, arrive in Zhong Nuoyu village at noon and have lunch in Naxi Family Guesthouse. After lunch, you will start the most difficult part trekking up to the 28 Zigzag Bends trail and reach the top peak at the elevation of 2,670m. The outstanding views up there made it all worthwhile. Continue trekking you will arrive at Tea Horse Guesthouse with a great view of Yulong Snow Mountain and overlook the Jinsha (Golden Sands) River Valley. This is basically the halfway point of the journey.

Overnight at local guesthouse

DAY 03  Tea Horse Guesthouse / Hike to Tina's Guesthouse / Shangri-La (BLD)
Get up in the early morning, trekking down to Tina's Guesthouse, passing a small but high waterfall on the way. Tina's is the best location to enjoy the scenery of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain far away.
Then transfer to Shangri-la. Upon arrival in Shangri La, you will have entered the Tibetan cultural area and a landscape of barley fields and yaks scattered in the valleys. If time is enough, walk around Dukezong Ancient Town, an important town of the Ancient Tea-horse Trade Caravan from Yunnan to Tibet and India. You can see the Thang-ga painting in academy. Thang-ga, a unique style of painting developed in the 7th century in the Tibetan area, is a Tibetan word which refers to the scroll painting mounted with colorful satins and fabrics.

Overnight at 4 star hotel in Shangri-la

DAY 04  Shangri-La Cycling Tour(BLD)
Today you'll spend your day doing more sightseeing and cycling around the Old Town of Shangri-la and getting further adjusted to the high elevation.
This area is rich with Tibetan-style architecture and can be dated back to 1300 years! After breakfast, ride to Songzanlin Monestary, 5km north of the old town center. The Songzanlin Monestary (constructed in 1679) is the largest Tibetan Monestary in Yunnan and is nicknamed the "Lesser Potala" due to its resemblance to the magnificent structure in Lhasa. You'll visit for 2 hours until lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch you will cycle over to a small hill to visit Napa Lake about 6km away. The Napa Lake Nature Reserve is the country's largest grassland and most scene area of the plateau. You'll have time to walk around and capture it in your mind or by camera before riding back to the Old Town.
Upon returning to your hotel in the evening you'll have a delicious dinner. Get a good sleep tonight, preparing for the big next day!

Overnight at 4 star hotel in Shangri-la

DAY 05  Shangri-la / Deqin / Feilai Temple (BLD)
Early in the morning drive 6 to 7 hours to Deqin County. The view along the way is fantastic with different kinds of trees, streams down the valley, prayer flags and stupas, and Tibetan villages. On the way, you will have a short visit to Naxi Pottery Village and learn to make pottery with locals. Then, keep driving and see the nice scenery along the Jinsha River until reaching Benzilan Town where you will have lunch.
After lunch, drive to visit the First Bend of Jinsha River or Moon Bend, which is the boundary between Sichuan and Yunnan. This is different from the First Bend of Yangtze River in Lijiang City. The bend in Shigu Town changes the flow direction of the Yangtze River, but in Benzilan, the Moon Bend is just a grand bend between the mountains with impressive scenery. On the way, We can also enjoy the impressive scenery of Baima Snow Mountain if the weather is clear when we pass the top part of today at 4,292m altitude.
Arrive in Feilaisi in the late afternoon, you will have a nice sunset view of Meili Snow Mountain from the Sightseeing Platform, where you can see the 13 white pagodas meaning of the 13 peaks of Meili Snow Mountain over 6,000 meters (19,685 feet) above sea level, known as the "Prince's 13 peaks".

Overnight at 4 star hotel in Feilaisi

DAY 06   Feilaisi / Xidang / Trek to Upper Yubeng Village (BLD)
Try to get up early in the morning, enjoy the magic sunrise of Golden Meili Snow Mountain - the famous Golden Mountain, only if the weather permits. Then drive along Mekong River to reach Xidang Village.
Today's trek will be strenuous. You will need a horse to carry your luggage. For the first trekking section you will climb over a mountain Pass, passing through a beautiful, pristine alpine forest. The path zigzagging under the canopy of trees is quite damp and muddy. A Tibetan house, located at one-third of the route, sells snacks and drinks. From the summit the descent to the Upper Yubeng Village takes one or two hours. Yubeng Village is a secluded Tibetan village tucked away at the foot of Meili Snow Mountain in Deqin County. The only way to reach the village, which is surrounded by mountains on all sides, is by non-motorized means.
Dinner in a traditional Tibetan living room and stay in a guesthouse in Upper Yubeng Village.

Overnight at local guesthouse

DAY 07  Upper Yubeng / Trek to Base Camp / Ice Lake / Lower Yubeng (BLD)
Enjoy the sunrise of the Mt. Kawagebo Glacier from the guesthouse, then walk up for about 3 hours from Upper Yubeng Village to the Xiaonong Base Camp. The trek tour is a tough and long climb in a primitive forest, you will see some horses and yaks, as well as some wild animals if we are lucky enough. Walk along the river which originate from the Glacier Park, you will have a wonderful view of Mt. Kawagebo Glacier. The effort will be rewarded later by a spectacular landscape when you reach the high meadow plateau.
Another one-hour climb, you will futher up and reach Cuoka Pasture. At last, arrive at the Ice Lake which is located at the foot of the glacier. Trek down back to Yubeng village in the late afternoon and enjoy the sunset of Kawagebo Peak. This one-day excursion is only reserved for strong hikers.

Overnight at local guesthouse

DAY 08  Lower Yubeng / Hike to Holy Waterfall / Lower Yubeng (BLD)
If the weather is good, you'll wake up to a clear view of the Mt. Kawagebo glacier. After breakfast hike to the Holy Waterfall (Sacred Waterfall, from which Yubeng's name originated. It is approximately a 5-hour roundtrip from Lower Yubeng. About 10% of the hike is level ground, 70% is a steep hike and 20% is very steep. Buddhists coming to this area on pilgrimmages circumambulate the waterfall 13 times with the belief that this act will set them free from all sins from this life. In the early afternoon walk back to Yubeng Lower Village.

Overnight at local guesthouse

DAY 09  Trek to Ninong / Cizhong (BLD)
This morning, you will need a horse to carry your luggage. Walk along the least traveled path from Yubeng Village to Ninong Village. Have lunch in Ninong Village, then drive for two hours to Yanmen Village, situated in the south of Deqin County. On the way to Cizhong, enjoy the fantastic senery of Ninong Grand Canyon from afar and stop to take pictures if you like.
When you arrive, visit Cizhong Catholic Church. It is amazing that you can see a Christian church in Tibetan area. It was first constructed by French missionaries more than 100 years ago. The church is used by ethnic groups such as Chinese Han, Tibetan, Lisu and Naxi people who live together harmoniously. The locals still have the grapes planted by missionaries and old the traditional way of making wine.

Overnight at local guesthouse

DAY 10 Cizhong / Tongluo / Tacheng (BLD)
After breakfast, drive towards Tacheng Village. On the way, enjoy the exotic scenery of Mekong River, pass by and visit Tongluo Lisu Ethnic Village in the Mekong Gorge. Tongluo, located at the national protection zone of traditional culture, is a typical Lisu village. It is named as the ecological cultural village by UNESCO. Based on the distinctive climatic characteristics at different altitudes, Lisu people have developed an effective vertical agriculture system. You may visit the fun-filled, authentic Lisu Market if the time permits.
Continue driving and reach Tacheng in the afternoon. You will have a tour of Tacheng Golden Monkey National Park. As a national park integrating primitive ecology, Neolithic sites, religious pilgrimage place, paradise of Black Snub-Nosed Monkey and multi-national style, the scenic area is particularly distinguished with the religious culture and temple scenic spots such as the dense forest, valuable and rare animals and Patriarch Bodhidharma's Cave as well as "Re Ba" of Tibetans and customs of Lisu Nationality. Samage Nature Reserve has hundreds of Black Snub-Nosed Monkeys, a national Grade I protection animal in China. Living in the deep remote forests of southwestern China, this human-like species are becoming one of the most endangered primates on Earth because of the habitat loss and illegal hunting. You will have the unique experience of watching the feeding of the snub-nose monkey and taking photos closely.

Overnight at 3 star hotel in Tacheng

DAY 11  Tacheng / Jinsha River Rafting Tour / Camp near Zhongxing Town (BLD)
Today start your rafting tour! Unload the floating equipment including tent, sleeping bag, water-proof bag, fridge, paddles, LPG container, gas cooker, life jacket and so on. You will start the rafting after inflating the drifting boat. The most beautiful part of the rafting today is the Jigong(Rooster) Stone Islet located in the middle of Jinsha River in Shangjiang Town. From a far, you will find there is a sharp peak which looks like a flying rooster, hence the name of Rooster Stone Islet. The Jinsha River is divided two parts by the Rooster Stone Islet in the middle. Here is the most exciting rafting part of your trip because of the rapids, whirlpools and waves at the foot of the Rooster Stone Islet. After 6 hours rafting, you will build the camp for overnight in the beach island near the Zhongxing Town.

Camping on the island

DAY 12 Rafting from Zhongxing Town to Shigu Town / Drive to Lijiang (BLD)
Get up in the early morning, enjoy the sunrise of the Jinsha River with green mountain ranges. After breakfast, continue the rafting trip towards Shigu Ancient Town (Stone Drum Town). You will raft through a big "S" turn in Stone Gate Pass, a military importance historically. Raft to the First Bend of the Yangtze River and Shigu Town. You will witness the wonder of the First Bend of the Yangtze River with a big turn from the southward to the east. Then you will finish the raft at Shigu Town. The name of Shigu comes from the drum that commemorates a 16th century Naxi victory over a Tibetan army. Upon arrival, visit Shigu town, then our car will drive you to Lijiang Old Town for overnight.

Overnight at 4 star hotel in Lijiang

DAY 13  Lijiang Cycling Trip (BLD)
First you will start your cycling tour from Lijiang Old Town to Baisha Old Town. You will reach the Liulidian and Daobaoji Temple at Baisha village which are famous for the mural paintings which can be dated back to the Ming Dynasty. The murals display the life stories of China's main religions, including Confucianism, Taoism, and Tibetan Buddhism.
Continue transfer to Lashihai Lake, where you will cycle on a pavement road surrounding the lake viewing the Naxi Minority residences along the lake side, stopping to see the endangered black-necked crane, the only alpine crane in the world.
If the time permits, you may choose to bike 30 minutes to Shuhe, which is an ancient trading post which once served a prominent role in supporting tea caravans between China and the Red Sea. It is also the former city center of Lijiang and has a history of more than 1000 years.
You may choose to leave your bikes with the luggage van and drive back to the hotel by car (15 minutes) or bike back to the hotel directly.

Overnight at 4 star hotel in Lijiang

DAY 14  Lijiang / Home (B, by Flight)
Today, you will transfer to Lijiang airport and finish your nice trip. It has been great and our C.A.T look forward to seeing you on another adventure trip!
-The end of tour-

Please Note: While we plan to follow the itinerary as much as possible, weather, trail conditions, river crossings, and other circumstances may force us to alter the itinerary in this remote and relatively untraveled region.
2-3pax 4-5pax 6-9pax 10-15pax 16pax+ Single Supplement

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