Follow in the footsteps of countless traders, explorers and missionaries, as you get to discover one of China’s richest provinces in landscapes, architecture and ethnicities. Find out more about Yunnan's intriguing past and listen to the anecdotes of our local friends. Relive the old ways of exploration in the Eastern Himalayas at 3,000m altitude, look for evidence of an earlier foreign presence and feast on the many cuisines as you travel the ancient trade routes, which brought prosperity to the region.
LIJIANG | BEYOND THE JADE DRAGON
Lijiang Valley | visit the former residence of a foreign explorer, who made the last village of the valley his home for 20+ years in the first half of the 20th century, before you continue to the original Naxi capital and learn more about Dongba culture & traditions.
Alpine Wetland | make your way up to an altitude of 3,300m and set out for a rewarding hike (2-3 hrs) in gorgeous alpine meadows and wetlands, guided by a specialist on eco-conservation. Have lunch with a local Naxi family in one of the rural mountain villages.
Tiger Leaping Gorge | a natural wonder carved out by the rushing waters of the mighty Yangtze River over the course of millennia. Leave the masses behind and hike (2-6hrs) one of the lesser known trails criss-crossing the picturesque hillsides.
DALI | DESCENDANTS OF THE NANZHAO
Dali Plateau | stroll the daily market at a local Bai community, which also boasts a collection of authentic merchant houses still inhabited by chatty elders. Cruise the countryside road edging Erhai Lake and visit the remains of a once active Christian community, or go antique hunting at one of our secret spots.
Salt Well Village | once a thriving commercial centre because of its salt extraction, the hillside Bai village rose to national fame because of its artisan salted ham. Continue along the curves of the Bi River, spanned by wooden or wicker bridges that made trade possible in this remote corner and are still used by local farmers to get their livestock across.
Horse Caravan Town | get a feel for the caravan times when this well-preserved town awakes from hibernation every Friday, as the Yi and Bai people come to sell their produce and stock up on supplies. Explore the serene valley by bicycle or hike (2-4hrs) to nearby Buddhist temples and local Bai carvings, which survived the Cultural Revolution thanks to their remote location.
SHANGRI-LA | ON THE THRESHOLD OF THE HIMALAYAS
Tibetan Introduction | visit the rebuilt yet impressive Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan and often referred to as the ‘Little Potala Palace’. Hunt for local souvenirs down the cobbled streets of Dukezong old town, participate in dancing events or perhaps visit the quirky but well documented Long March museum.
Shangri-La Frontiers | travel to a hidden valley and visit a small Buddhist temple, frequented by local Tibetans who come to pray for their children’s well-being before you circle a nearby lake, where countless yak and horses roam the bordering grasslands. Get into the culinary aspect of local culture and have a beer tasting at a Tibetan brewery, followed by a traditional yak hotpot for dinner.
Buddhist Oasis | take the scenic route along the Yangtze River to a lush oasis, sheltered from its brutal surroundings. Hike amidst sacred oaks and prayer flags, followed by a quality picnic next to a gentle mountain stream. Visit a lesser-known Yellow Hat Monastery, founded in the late 1600s, and witness the Tibetan monks chanting their daily prayers or have a quick chat during one of their breaks.
A WORD ON ACCOMMODATION
We have selected a handful of cozy guesthouses and upscale boutique lodges for you to choose from. Each hotel comes equipped with all necessities for a comfortable night, has its unique narrative and is run by thoughtful owners we know personally. We want your stay not only to be perfect, but memorable as well.