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This Shangri La Tour offers you opportunities to take a see Tiger Leaping Gorge before exploring magnificent scenic attractions from snow mountains, deep valleys, great rivers, highland lakes to unique buildings in Shangri La and Deqin areas. Another highlight is a visit to the local Tibetan family to experience the hospitality of Tibetan and sip yak butter tea with the local.
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DAY 01: LIJIANG – TIGER LEAPING GORGE – SHANGRI LA
Start our today tour with short transfer from the beautifully preserved ancient Chinese town of Lijiang to Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges on the planet. It has the best hiking trail in the Lijiang area, with nearly 4,000 meter variations in altitude. The gorge was officially opened in 1993 to foreign tourists and is now one of the most popular adventure destinations in Yunnan province. After taking some photos, a short walk through the gorge is definitely in order for the day!
After lunch at a guesthouse that overlooking the gorge, we proceed to ZHONGDIAN (Shangri La) where you begin to breathe in the Tibetan world. Dotted with beautiful hills, flowers and alpine lakes, the region of Shangri-La offers superb possibilities for trek and botanical exploration. Upon arrival, stroll through the old town, a small maze of cobbled streets lined with wooden houses, before paying a visit to the Baiji Temple, also known as the 100 Chicken Temple. The temple is built on a hill, providing great views of the old and new town, as well as the surrounding area.
Then drive to the old town square to look for local people which are dancing in circles to the rhythm of traditional music. You can either watch along or step in to try your hand at the daily activity. The rest of day is free at leisure.
A full day excursion tour awaits you today. After breakfast, pay a visit to the impressive Songzanlin Monastery which was built in 1679, and is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan with around 600 monks. It is reputed as “Little Potala Palace” which was built according to the complex of Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Walk 143 steps to get atop of the monastery and pay clockwise visit to the three main lamasery buildings where you can not only see the Buddhism treasures, but also enjoy large number of monks of all ages going about their daily routines, praying, chanting.
Afterwards, we head onwards to Napa Lake or Lake Napa Nature Reserve (aka Lake Napa), lying in the valley of a high mountain plateau situated about 3270 m above sea level and covering 660 sq km. It is both an ideal field for herdsmen and a paradise for many species of birds. From the lake, we continue on towards Ringha Temple (the temple of the 5 Wisdom Buddhas), a 700-year-old temple, partially destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and recently rebuilt; considered one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Yunnan Province. Devotees come here to pray for good health, to be cured of illnesses and to be blessed with children.
After the breakfast, drive to visit the Tibetan town of DEQIN (also called Diqin or Deqen), a county in the Hengduanshan Mountains in Yunnan province.
Along the way, make a stop at a small pottery village of Nixi which is famous for its practical black potteries, most of which are fire pans, fire pots and kettles, and the traditional pottery-making technique that has lasted for thousands of years is still employed by the locals. Around 70 out of the 100 families in the village are engaged in this traditional art. There is also a chance to halt at the home of a Tibetan family then try “tsampa,” a local staple comprised of yak’s butter, tea, and flour.
Continue drive to the small city of BENZILAN for a delicious local lunch. We then visit the Dhondrupling Gompa which is 20 kms north of Benzilan. It is one of the most important monasteries in the prefecture, set on the edge of a mountain.
After the visit, we return Deqin.
Overnight at a hotel in Deqin.
DAY 04: DEQIN – SHANGRI LA
Wake up early this morning and visit Feilai Temple. From the temple, admire the breathtaking sunrise over Meili Xue Shan (Mainri Snow Mountain) which is sacred to Tibetan Buddhists as home to the protective warrior god Kawagarpo, as well as attracting tourists drawn by its natural beauty. Soak in this amazing spectacle while enjoying a prepared breakfast, sorted by the hotel.
After breakfast, we cross the legendary Mekong River to reach the charming village of Mingyong which has same name of Mingyong Glacier, one of the major glaciers in China. Around the glacier area, there are dense and well preserved coniferous and latifoilate forests, that is so enchanted that you cannot take eyes off it.
From here, take a 1-hour walk ultimately leads to the Lotus Temple. There is an observation deck in the middle of the road, you can watch Kawagebo there. Two ways are easy to go because they are neat cinder path. In a sunny day, the Lotus Temple is the best place to watch Kawagebo. After the trek, you will be transferred back to Shangri La.
NOTE: Good physical condition is required for this trek; this trip can also be done on horseback.