12 Days Grand Shangri-La Adventure Circle Driving Tour from Lugu Lake to Daocheng Yading
Day 01 Arrive in Lijiang
Your private tour guide, driver, and car will be waiting at the arrival hall. Transfer to your hotel in the ancient town and start the tour.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lijiang Ancient Town’s history dates back to over 800 years ago. Besides its unique architecture and local ethnic culture, it is also known for its orderly arrangement of bridges and waterways. Walk along the winding cobbled paths – it is said that you won’t get lost as long as you follow the water.
Appreciate the Naxi people’s brilliant skills in architecture and fine arts at Mufu Mansion, the ‘Forbidden City’ of Lijiang. You can also climb up to Lion Hill to have a bird’s-eye view of the whole town.
Then pay a visit to Black Dragon Pool Park, where the view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is one the most famous postcard-perfect sceneries in southwest China. Stay overnight in Lijiang Ancient Town.
Day 2 Lijiang Jade Dragon Snow Mountain-Lijiang
This morning, you will drive to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, take the sightseeing bus for a short visit through the Baishuihe River, then take the chairlift up to visit Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The cable way will be arranged according to the condition of the mountain. You will hike in the Glacier Park (4506 meters) around 1 hour.
You’ll be transferred out of Lijiang Old Town to Yuhu Village which is located at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Walking into this authentic Naxi Village, you’ll see unique stone houses, Naxi ladies dressing in traditional clothes, kids playing, a tranquil Yuhu Lake…explore leisurely around the village and then get to the Former Residence of Joseph Rock, who was an Austrian-American Botanist came to Lijiang and stayed in Yuhu Village for 27 years and made huge research work on Naxi minority.
Stroll through Baisha Old Town, which is an enchanting traditional Naxi style old town. Visit the Baisha Mural about 600 years old, which is a part of the World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO 1997.
Day 03 Lijiang-Ninglang County-Lugu Lake
Sightseeing and Activities:the upper Yangtze Grand Canon,Yi Ethnic Villages, Heiwawu Island and Liwubi Island of Luguhu Lake, Mosuo Culture Museum
In the morning, drive 4 hrs on the spectacle mountain road to visit the mysterious Lugu Lake. On the way, enjoy the beautiful view among the huge mountains and rivers. We plan to start your walking from Jin’anqiao Bridge to Shudi along the road at the bank of Yangtze River. You will see the beautiful canon and Yi ethnic people’s villages in the steep mountains. After 1 hour walking in the canon, we will continue the driving and we can stop in many Yi villages.
In the late afternoon, you will take the canoes to visit Liwubi Island in Lugu Lake. Pay a visit to Mosuo Culture Museum and learn the Mosuo ethnic custom in the museum. Enjoy the sunset wonder of Luguhu Lake in Luoshui Village. In the evening, take part in Mosuo Bonfire Party with ethnic dance and singing performance.You will dance and sing with Mosuo boys and girls around a big bonfire in the outdoors theatre.
Day 04 Lugu Lake-Yongning-Wachang Town- Shawan Town-Mengzi Town-Shangri-La Town
Tour Route: Lugu Lake(泸沽湖)-Qiansuo Town(前所乡)-Wujiao Town(屋脚乡)-Yiji Town(依吉乡)-Eya Town(俄牙乡)-Geka Town(各卡乡)-Riwa(日瓦)
In the morning, you will drive about 20Km to visit the Zhamei Lamaist Monastery which is the biggest lamasery in Moso area Yongning Town. Tibetan people call Yongning as “taluo”, meaning “the way to heaven”. The place the Zhamei Lamasery lies in is called “Zhameige”, which means “no war”. The coincidence of these two names make the Lamasery even famous in Tibet.
Yongning Town is an important town of the Ancient Tea-Horse Trade Caravan from Yunnan to Tibet. Located between Yunnan and Sichuan, Yongning keeps the original ethnic life which is still not damaged by tourists. You will visit Mosuo Market in Yongning Town. We will arrange a Mosuo family to visit and have lunch in Mosuo family, enjoy the Mosuo real life in a village.
After Yongning, drive to Riwa Town from Lugu Lake . This is a remote road for photographers. Drive via Qiansuo Town(前所乡), Wujiao Town(屋脚乡), Yiji Town(依吉乡), Iron Bridg (钢架桥), Eya Town(俄牙乡), Geka Town(各卡乡) and arrive in Riwa Town in the late afternoon.
Luya Road is welknown as the “Sky Road”, listed as the 7th 4 WD driving road in China, it starts from Lugu Lake Town in Yanyuan County, and finishs in Yading Nature Reserve, it go through Daocheng, Muli and Yanyuan counties of Ganze and Liangshan prefectures. You can see lake, ponds, temples, valleys, grasslands, original forests on the way. Driving along the zigzag road, you will arrive in Lugu Lake in the late afternoon.
Day 05 Shangri-La Town-Yading Nature Reserve
Yading Nature Reserve (Luorong Pasture – Milk Lake – Five Color Lake)
After an early breakfast, start your exploration of Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve, the Last Pure Land on Earth first found by Joseph Rock in 1928 and then be widely treated as the “Soul of Shangri-La” with extremely dreaming wonderland.
Take the sightseeing bus from the tourist center to Zhaguanbeng for about 1-1.5 hours and enjoy the 2-2.5 hours’ hike to Luorong Pasture (4,150m) via Chonggu Monastery (3,900m) (you can also choose to walk 20 minute to Chonggu Monastery and take the 0.5 hour battery car to Luorong Pasture if you want to save energy). Enjoy your relaxing roam at the idyllic pasture with those carefree grazing cattle and goats, layers of multicolored dense alpine forest, clear winding stream, etc. backed by the three holy snow mountains, namely Xiannairi (Mount Chianrezig), Yangmaiyong (Mount Jambeyang) and Xianuoduoji (Mount Chanadorje). You will appreciate the most beautiful appearance of Xianuoduoji snow mountain like a powerful man!
Next, take the challenging 5 km’s hike for 3-3.5 hours up to the fabulous Milk Lake (4,600m) (horse riding is available to Milk Lake and needs extra payment) and marvel at the unbelievable charm of such a holy lake like a precious blue gem that even can move one to drop tears. Continue to walk another 0.5 hour to visit Five Color Lake (4,500m) 0.3 km away to savor the impressive sightseeing with beautiful snow rock mountain in white, grey, silver and chocolate, blue and green water, various alpine plantations, clear sky backdrop, etc. particularly like an world-class oil painting.
After the visiting, walk down and take the car and bus back to the entrance. And our guide and driver will send you back to your hotel at Shangri-La Town. Have a good rest!
Day 06 Yading Nature Reserve-Daocheng County
Yading Nature Reserve (Chonggu Monastery – Chonggu Meadow – Pearl Lake)
Today after breakfast, go to Chonggu Monastery as the same way on Day 2 by sightseeing bus and hike. Have a stop at the temple to admire the sacred Gelug Buddhist temple architecture in white, red, yellow and black and learn the interesting story about the temple and Joseph Rock’s stop by. From such unbeatable location, you will easily take the excellent photo of the brilliant temple and the three pure white holy snow mountains. After some short walk, embrace the lovely Chonggu Meadow (4,020m) that can be paralleled with the fairyland on earth. Stroll on the vast grassland like a thick and soft carpet in yellow and green in each season. Play along the particularly appealing transparent chanting river with clearly visible little stones like countless grains of gold sank to the bottom. Do not miss the best angle to admire the Xianuoduoji snow mountain like a powerful man.
Then, continue to hike for 30 minutes to visit Pearl Lake (4,120m) that is super fascinating to admire the picturesque landscape of surrounding snow peaks, green and orange dense forest, iridescent prayer flags, and their dazzling reflection in the shimmering clear lake. Also, it is the best location to admire the holy Xiannairi snow mountain.
After the visiting, our guide and driver will send you to your hotel in Daocheng County (3,700m) and help you check in. Have a good rest!
Day 07 Daocheng County – Xiangcheng County-Derong County-Benzilan
Sightseeing and Activities:Wuming Snow Mountain (4550M), Sangdui Town, blockhouse, Sangdui pasture (3840M), vast poplar garden, Rewu Monastery (Hua Sect), Bowa Mount (4300M), Chitu River Valley
Departs at Daocheng early morning, pass Sangdui village to Xiangcheng along different plateau forest scenery and local tibetan villages. Visit Sanpi Monastery in Xiangcheng County.
Coming over the mountain passes from either direction, you will at once spot the beautiful villages scattered amongst wheat-field-paddies in the valley ground. The large cubicle houses look like little castles and with their white-chalked exterior walls give the whole valley a north-African air. Xiangcheng itself consists of an old village paired with a modern Chinese downtown.
Spend a full day driving from Xiangcheng to Riwa(Shangrila Town) via Daocheng. Along the way, you will enjoy wonderful panoramas of barley fields, rushing rivers, expansive grasslands and snow-covered peaks.
Drive to Benzilan Town, a small town along the Jinsha River Valley.
Day 08 Benzilan – Feilaisi
Drive from Benzilan to Feilaisi via Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve, where you will be able to view Baima Snow Mountain if the weather is clear, pass the top part of today at 4292m altitude at 156km.
After traversing the mountain ranges, you will make a short stop and have lunch at Benzilan town, take some shots on the first bend of Jinsha(Yangtze) River, Dongzhulin monastery and Baima (white horse) Snow Mountain. The view along the way is fantastic with different kinds of trees, streams down the valley, prayer flags and stupas, and Tibetan villages.
Feilaisi is several km away from Deqin, it is the best place to see holy Mt.Meili. Mt. Meili is one of the most sacred mountains of Tibetan Buddhism. ‘Kang Karpo Peak’ means the God of Snow Mountain in Tibetan, and is a holy land for worshiping. Pilgrims from Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan,and Gansu travel to the mountain at the beginning of each winter to worship. Thousands of devout pilgrims worship together and encircle the holy mountain, adding even more mystery and loftiness to the mountain.
Stay at Feilaisi.
Day 09 Feilaisi-Mingyong Glacier – Shangri-La
Sightseeing and Activities:the sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain, Lancang-Mekong Grand Canyon, Mingyong Glacier Park
Try to get up early in the morning, enjoy the magic sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain. Then drive another 1.5-hour to Mingyong village, where you will walk on the trails for about 4km to Mingyong Glaciers of Meili Snow Mountain, walk another one your or so, you will get to Tibetan Taizi Monastery – another good spot to view the magnificent Mingyong Glaciers. (optional: You can choose to hire a horse to go up to the glacier on your own expense in order to save your energy). After Mingyong Glacier in Mingyong Village, you will do some trekking along the Lancang River Grand Canyon as well as some Tibetan villages. This will be your most impressive part of your trip to Yunnan. Try to trek back to Feilaisi from the Lancang-Mekong River with a nice view of Meili Snow Mountain and Baima Snow Mountain.
Drive back to Shangri-La, have a nice experience of Yangtze River Grand Canyon, Baima Snow Mountain again on the way back.
Day 10 Shangri-La
Sightseeing and Activities:Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, Bita Lake & Shudu Lake, Tibetan Village
In the morning, visit the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan. Songzanlin Monastery has another alias – ‘the little Potala Palace ‘, so named because the whole monastery is in the traditional style with mysterious atmosphere. And afterwards you’ll visit the tranquil Bita Lake & Shudu Lake in Pudacuo National Park. Pudacuo National Park is located in one of the most biologically-diverse regions of the world. While the region comprises only 0.7 percent of China’s land area, but more than 20 percent of the country’s plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species and almost 100 endangered species. Then drive to visit A Tibetan Village.
Day 11 Shangri-La – Baishuitai – Tiger Leaping Gorge-Lijiang
In the morning, drive to visit Baishuitai. Baishuitai or Baishui Tableland, also named the White Water Terraces, is known as one of the most attractive destinations in mysterious Shangri-La and is an ancient Chinese landform with a history of 200,000 to 300,000 years. The main attraction in the area is a large, white mineral deposit in the form of terraced pools, formed by calcium-rich water emanating from springs at the top of the formation. It is described as the largest feature of its type in China.
Then drive to visit the Tiger Leaping Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world. With 34 rapids of the Yangtze River, it is called the Jinsha in this area because you can find gold in the river.
Day 12 Departure from Lijiang
You will be free to explore Lijiang.