China's Glaciers and the Environment:… (trip)

China's Glaciers and the Environment: Lijiang & Shangri-La

  • Kunming airport, China
  • Culture & Nature
China, Asia

from $2,695* per person9 DaysYear-round
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: WildChina 12 people max
Yunnan province in southwest China is probably most representative of the immense beauty of the country as well as the challenges it faces. It boasts China's first national park; the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lijiang; and the headwaters of the Yangtze, Mekong and Salween Rivers, running side-by-side in deep canyons 50 miles from one another. Named after the mythical paradise in James Hilton's Lost Horizon, the Tibetan town of Shangri-La also offers images of snow-covered peaks, billowing prayer flags and chanting monks. While idyllic and beautiful, the awe-inspiring glaciers of Mt. Kawagebo and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain provide clear indicators of the changing environment.

On this journey -- featured in China scholar Orville Schell's Condé Nast Traveler article, "Magic Melting Mountain" (February 2010), and intended for hardy travelers willing to brave long drives and high altitudes -- we examine Shangri-La's cultural diversity and fragile ecology: we ride horses up to a receding glacier; explore national parks; meet Tibetan villagers; and enjoy a traditional Tibetan dinner party. We also take in a breathtaking show at Lijiang's Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, performed entirely by local ethnic minorities and directed by the acclaimed Chinese film director, Zhang Yimou.

Loading map, please wait...

Locations visited/nearby

China, Asia

Comments from Facebook

Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.


Day 1 – Arrive in Kunming:
Arrive in Kunming; evening stroll at Green Lake Park; welcome dinner at traditional Yunnan courtyard restaurant, Shiping Huiguan; overnight in Kunming.

Green Lake Hotel (D)

Day 2 – Kunming – Shangri-La (Zhongdian):
Early morning flight to Shangri-La; morning free to explore and acclimatize; lunch at Songtsam Retreat; visit Songzanlin Monastery; dinner at Arro Khampa Café in Old Town; overnight in Shangri-La.

Songtsam Retreat (B, L, D)

Day 3 – Shangri-La:
Walk around Pudacuo National Park; visit a beautiful Tibetan village and local NGO; Tibetan village dinner party; overnight in Shangri-La.

Songtsam Retreat (B, L, D)

Day 4 – Shangri-La – Deqin:
Drive toward Deqin; picnic lunch; visit Dhondupling Monastery; arrive in Deqin; overnight in nearby Feilaisi.

                                                        Feilaisi Guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day 5 – Deqin:
Watch sunrise over Meili Snow Mountain Range from guesthouse rooftop; drive (1.5 hours) to Mingyong, ride horses to Mingyong Glacier, one of the lowest latitude glaciers in Asia (1-1.5 hours); walk back down (1-2 hours); drive back to Deqin; visit Feilaisi Monastery; overnight in Feilaisi.

                                                        Feilaisi Guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day 6 – Deqin – Cizhong – Weixi:
Drive to Cizhong; visit Cizhong Catholic church founded by French missionaries; meet with local priest; scenic drive to Weixi (7-9 hours); overnight in Weixi.

                                                        Yatai Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 7 – Weixi – Lijiang:
Drive to Lijiang; evening free; overnight in Lijiang.

                                                        Banyan Tree Lijiang (B, L, D)

Day 8 – Lijiang:
Watch morning performance of “Impression Lijiang” at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain; visit a quiet village that was the former residence of Joseph Rock, the famed early-20th century Austrian-American explorer and botanist; dinner in Lijiang Old Town; overnight in Lijiang.

                                                        Banyan Tree Lijiang (B, L, D)

Day 9 – Depart Lijiang:
Transfer to the airport; journey ends.

                                                        N/A (B)

B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner

More information from WildChina: