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Shangri La Adventure: Beijing-Chengdu-Kangding-Yajiang-Litang-Daocheng-
Yading-Riwa-Xiangcheng-Zhongdian-Baishuitai-Hetaoyuan-Lijiang-Dali-
Kunming-Stone Forest-Kunming-Shanghai (19 Days)

Mountains have always been a sanctuary for animals and plants due to their remoteness, but they are also an area that has now been advancing backward. Because of the opening up of the mountainous Westen Provinces to both the tourism and the economic development of China, the nature is endangered. Of course, this can not mean, that this areas should be insulated from the outside world any longer, but we have to handle the environment carefully. The best travel season for this wonderful landscape with its deep valleys, snow-covered mountains, soggy biotopes, dense forests and rare plants and animals, is September and October.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Beijing / Chengdu D Amara Sunshine Hotel****

Arrival in Beijing about noon, greetings by a local tour guide and handing over of the plane tickets at the airport. Afterwards, contine to fly to Chengdu, the capital of the South West Chinese Province Sichuan. After the arrival, transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at your disposal.

Day 2: Chengdu B/L/D Amara Sunshine Hotel****

This morning, you will visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in the North of the city. The Giant Panda, which lived in ancient times in vast areas of China, today it has only the last sanctuary in the Sichuan province. As this area as well was endangered due to the activities of humans, the Breeding Research Base was founded in 1987 in order to take effective measures for the protection, the breeding and the research of the Giant Panda. Afterwards, you will go to the Sanxingdui Museum, which is located 40 km to the east of Chengdu. Here, primarily the unique bronze and gold troves of one of the possible capitals of the ancient Shu country are exhibited. The sensational archeological excavations in Sanxingdui and the surrounding area provide an absolute new picture of the early history of China. There are the cultures of the Neolithic and Bronze Era not only of the Yellow River but also of the Yangtze Area. The archeological excavations witness a continuous development in the Sichuan Basin beginning about 4,800 years ago till the Late Shang and the Early West Zhou Era, which is represented by the state Shu. Despite great differences, there is much mutuality, which substantiates the cultural exchange of both culture groups from the Neolithic and the Bronze Era already at this ancient time. In the afternoon, you will visit the Wenshu Temple (Wenshu Yuan), the city’s largest Buddhist temple, which has its origin in the Tang Era (618-907). Subsequently, you can relax a little in one of the tea houses, which are characteristic of Chengdu.

Day 3: Chengdu / Kangding B/L/D Qingge Hotel***

Kangding Today’s bus ride takes about 8 hours (300 km) from Chengdu (500 m above the sea level) southwestward, through the Sichuan Basin, up the mountains, which border the basin in the West. The Sichuan Basin, which is known as the “Red Basin” due to the color of the rocks and the soils, is one of the granaries of the country (rice, wheat, colza, and sweet corn). In the Daxueshan (Grand Snow Mountain), you will visit the Luding Iron Chain Bridge (1,330 m above sea level) across the Dadu River, which the Eighth Red Army captured in order to reach the other side of the river in 1935 during the Long March to fight against the Guomingtang Army. The drive ends in the Kangding City (2,560 m above sea level), which is already affected by the Tibetan culture. The former sentry box on the road (also known as Tachienlu) at the route for commerce up to the Tibetan highlands today is a relative large city. On the outskirts, Muslim, Tibetan and Chinese salesmen deal with mushrooms, vegetables, Yak-skins, furs and miscellaneous things. Kangding is well-known everywhere in China due to the popular folksong (Pao ma liu liu di shan shang), which is chanted particularly at the annual folk festival of the horse race.

Day 4: Kangding / Yajiang B/L/D Yajiang Hotel**(*)

From now on, the journey will continue through deep valleys, high passes, vast leys and along rampant brooks through the mountains, all are running more or less in the north-south direction at the west border of the Tibetan highlands. Today’s drive takes about 6 hours (about 160 km) and goes from Kanding (2,560 m above sea level) up to the Zheduo Pass, which is 4,298 m above sea level, where you can get a splendid view of the Gongga Shan (Minya Konka) with an altitude of 7,556 m. It is the highest peak of the Daxueshan (Grand Snow Mountains). Afterwards, you can go nearly 1,000 m downwards to Xinduqiao to ascend thereafter once more a pass at an altitude of 4,475 m above sea level. For the remaining distance, the road follows river valleys downwards to Yajiang at “only” 2,700 m above sea level. On the way, you can get the opportunity, not only to take photos of the beautiful landscape but also to get to know the small Tibetan villages along the road.

Day 5: Yajiang / Litang / Daocheng B/L/D Yading Hotel**(*)

Today’s trip will last for about 7 hours (about 300 km) and it will go to a medial altitude of 4,500 m above sea level through the mountain range Shaluli Shan, from Yajiang to Litang, the district town, which is located at the Mola Grassland, about 4,100 m above sea level (in comparison: Lhasa is situated “only” 3,700 m above sea level). Besides the week-long folk festival with horse race and other tournaments, which takes place annually at the beginning of August, you can see long-haired men swaggering with their ten-gallon hats, clothes made of Yak leather and with knives at the belts. The knives are stored in sheats, which are decorated with embossed silver. In Litang, you will visit the Ganden Thubchen Choekhorling Monastery. The monks belong to the “Yellow-Hat Religious Group”. Afterwards, the drive will continue in a southward direction. Shortly leaving behind the border of the district Daocheng, you come to pass the Haizi Shan Nature Reserve (in Tibetan, Haizi means “Lake”), a bald and damp grassland with more than thousand lakes and ponds, formed by glaciers, where the very seldom and endangered black neck crane has its retreat. In the afternoon, you will turn off the road at Sangdui and drive over mountains to the city Daocheng, which is located beautifully in a valley, and is 3,750 m above sea level.
You can get the opportunity to recover from the long bus ride in a hot spring in Daocheng.

Day 6: Daocheng / Yading Reservation  B/L/D A local guesthouse

Today, you will go by minibus to the remote Nature Reserve Yading (Nyiden in Tibetan) about 80 km. As it is not so easy to attain this wild mountain area, the number of tourists is still small and the conditions still quite pristine. This area shares together with Zhongdian the reputation of being the famous Shangri La Country. The snow-covered mountains are the domiciles of the gods in the Tibetan mythology. After the introduction of the Buddhism, several of these mountains have been dedicated to Boddhisatvas in the 8th century. For example the three Sacred Mountains in this reservation. The highest mountain with an altitude of 6,032 m is the Chenrezig (with several Chinese onomatopoeic names like Sa nei ri or Xian nai ri and so on). It is dedicated to the Boddhisatva Avalokiteshvara and is encircled by the pilgrim path. The two vicinal mountains are the Chanadorje (or Xia nuo duo li in Chinese) with an altitude of 5,958 m, which is dedicated to the Boddhisatva Vajrapani, and the Jambeyang (or Yang mai yong in Chinese), likewise 5,958 m high, which stands for the Boddhisatva Manjushri. As for the Tibetans, hunting in the areas of sacred mountains is still a taboo, such regions are retreat areas for endangered animals. From the end of October to April, the reservation is closed. Overnight stay at a homely guesthouse.

Day 7: Yading / Riwa B/L/D Tianshi Hotel*

Today, you will visit the Chonggu Monastery (3,880 m above sea level), which is located at the base of the Chenrezig mountain. Afterwards, you will make a short trip to the Luorang Alp (4,180 m above sea level), where you can get a wonderful view of the sacred mountains. In the afternoon, you will go back to Riwa (2,900 m above sea level), a village with about 200 inhabitants and is situated idyllically in a valley. Overnight stay at a homely guesthouse.

Day 8: Riwa / Xiangcheng / Derong B/L/D Sun Canyon Hotel**

After a round tour through Riwa, the about 370 km long drive leads to Derong, passing Daocheng, Sangdui and Xiangcheng. In Sangdui, you will visit the Pengbo Monastery of the white religious group of the Tibetan Buddhism (Kagyupa), which is located at a lake amidst the treeless steppe. On the way to Xiangcheng, you will visit another Tibetan Village and get to know the lives there. Xiangcheng (2,836 m above sea level) is a small village with whitewashed Tibetan houses, which look like small fortresses and are spread between the fields in the valley.

Day 9: Derong / Zhongdian B/L/D Holy Palace Hotel****

Derong is a Tibetan word, which means kloof. This term refers to the deep canyon, which ranges in North-South direction, and in which a tributary stream of the Yangtze flows. This section of the Yangtze is called Jingsha (Golden Sand) River. On the further run, the road turns into the Valley of the Yangtze, which will leave at the border of the Yunnan province. The drive of today ends in Zhongdian (3,300 m above sea level). After nine months of intensive research, at the end of the year 2001, it was proven that the area around Zhongdian, the capital of the autonomous Tibetan area Degen, is the Shangri La County of the novel “Lost Horizon”. It was written by James Hilton in 1933 according to narrations of the famous geographer Joseph Rock, who lived in this area for many years. At last, the area got the official name Shangri La.

Day 10: Zhongdian B/L/D Holy Palace Hotel****

In the morning, you will visit the Songzanlin Monastery, which is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Yunnan province. It was built between 1679 and 1681 and it is a true to original imitation of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Afterwards, you will go back to Zhongdian and take a walk through the Old Town. In the afternoon, you can explore the surrounding area of the Shangri La Country. The ride goes through a breath-taking mountain landscape to the 3,540 m high Bitahai Lake, where you can go on a short hike. On the way back you can get the opportunity to visit an old village.

Day 11: Zhongdian / Baishuitai / Hetaoyuan B/L/D Woody Inn

Today, you will go from Zhongdian to Bai shui tai, the “White Water Terraces”. They are calcite precipitations from karst water of the cold high mountains, which formed within millennia, 2,380 m above sea level. There are numerous hot-spring terraces in the course of the brook. Since it is the place where the Nanxi minority lives, this area is sacred. Afterwards, the drive goes on to Hetaoyuan (walnut garden), a small hamlet amidst the Tiger Leap Gorge. Here, you will stay the night at a simple but tidy guesthouse. The Tiger Leaping Gorge is at the upstream of the Yangtze River, which is called Golden Sand River (Jinsha River) at this section, is probably the most famous gorge of the Yangtze besides the Three Gorges. While the canyon with its steep walls, which slopes in 70-90 degrees, is more than 200 m high, the surrounding mountains even tower thousand meters higher. The narrowest section of the gorge is only 30 m wide.

Day 12: Hetaoyuan / Lijiang B/L/D Sightseeing Hotel****

Today, the drive will continue to Lijiang (2,400 m above sea level). On the way, you will stop for a short hike (about 1-2 hours) at one of the most beautiful scenic sites of the gorge.

Day 13: Lijiang B/L/D Sightseeing Hotel****

After breakfast, go on an excursion to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulong Xueshan), which has an altitude of 5,600 m (18,400 feet) and is located about 15 km north of Lijiang. A cable car brings you up to the 4600 m alp, beneath the pinnacles of the mountain, which is covered by a glacier. This area is famous for its enormous biodiversity. The surroundings of the mountain are a sanctuary for rare animals and plants. After that you visit the Baisha's Frescoes. There are 53 groups of paintings dating back to the Ming Dynasty. They are spread over several different temples. The paintings are a mixture of Daoism, Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and the local Naxi Dongba culture. They illustrate the everyday life in religious images. Afterwards, you will visit the remote Naxi Village Yuhu. Back in Lijang, you will make a city tour through the picturesque Dayan Old Town. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List because of its well-preserved city structure – a harmonious blend of elements from different cultures and an ancient, very intricate and ingenious water supply system, which still functions effectively today. You can enjoy the ancient Naxi music in the evening. It is a kind of old Chinese folk music, which has its roots in Taoist and Buddhist ritual music of the 13th and 14th century, and was very popular at that time. The orchestra with its musicians, who are partly more than 80 years old, will show the great musical art of the Nanxi minority to you.

Day 14: Lijiang / Dali B/L/D Landscape Hotel***

In the morning, you take a walk along the Lake of the Black Dragon (Heilongtan), not far away from the Old Town. In the distance you see the snow covered Jade Dragon Mountain massif (Yu long xue shan), which rises dramatically up to 5.600 m. It is reflected lovely in the water of the lake. The next stop is the Dongba Museum, where you learn more about the culture of the Naxi minority; for example the original writing, the old music, painting, and its customs, known as Dongba culture. In the afternoon, you drive by bus to Dali (1.976 m above sea level).

Day 15: Dali / Kunming B/L/D Train

In the morning, you will take a walk in the well-preserved Old Town of Dali with its mighty city walls and watchtowers dating back to the Ming dynasty. In the picturesque lanes, there are handicraft products made of the famous Dali picture marble everywhere. It is a white marble, which contains layers of colors, such as red, light blue, green and milk. The name of the city became the common term for marble in China. Afterwards you will visit the Butterfly Spring. At this spring, about 30 km outside the city, countless butterflies gather from the end of the spring till the beginning of the summer. In the Butterfly Museum, which is close to the spring, you can have a look at the animals all the year round. Then, you will visit the beautiful white Three Pagodas (San Ta Si), which are built in the typical style of the Tang dynasty. The pagodas are located close to the Chongsheng Temple, not far from the city.
You will make a boat trip on the 40 km long Erhai Lake. Erhai is the second largest plateau lake and the seventh largest fresh water lake in China. It is located at the foot of the snow-caped Cang Mountain with a height of more than 4,000 m. Enjoy the spectacular scenery and relax yourself there, before you visit the Fishing Village Shuanglang and the market with its traditional products on offer. In the evening, you will go to Kunming by night train in a first class sleeping wagon.

Day 16: Kunming / Stone Forest B/L/D Tianqi Ashima Hotel***

In the morning, arrival in Kunming (1,890 m above the sea level), the capital of the Yunnan province, which is called “the City of the everlasting spring”, due to its all-the-year-round mild climate. You will make a city tour, which includes a visit of the Jinmabiji Honour Arch and the lively Bird and Flower Market (There are not only breeding birds). Then you will go to the Stone Forest and overnight stay there.

Day 17: Kunming / Stone Forest / Kunming B/L/D Kunming Hotel****

In the morning, you will go by bus to the Stone Forest (Shi Lin) in the Lunan autonomous area, the homeland of the Yi minority group. Before the masses of tourists arrive, you can go for an extensive walk unhurriedly. The Stone Forest is a special kind of karst formation, which is composed of numerous rocks, valleys of manifold shapes and subsurface rivers. After lunch, you will return to Kunming.

Day 18: Kunming / Shanghai B Ocean Hotel****

Shanghai Flight to Shanghai in the morning. Then transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at your disposal. You can stroll along the Bund, the legendary waterfront along the Huangpu River or visit the very interesting Shanghai Museum.

Day 19: Shanghai B  

After the breakfast, transfer to the airport and fly back home (If you like, you can go to the airport by Transrapid; approx. $7).

End of the travel

B: Breakfast        L: Lunch         D: Dinner

Tour No.: SLA
Shangri La Adventure

For individual groups
Number of participants
Peak season
Single room extra charge
book
6-9 per.
2715 USD
375 USD

If you are a group with more than 5 persons, you can get more favourable prices. Please note that the prices may vary due to exchange rate fluctuations (RMB to USD) slightly. The prices above were computed by the rates as 1 USD= 7.9 RMB.

Travel seasons: September and October

The Hotels:
Chengdu Amara Sunshine Hotel****
Kangding Qingge Hotel***
Yajiang Yajiang Hotel**(*)
Daocheng Yading Hotel**(*)
A local guesthouse in Yading Reservation
Riwa Tianshi Hotel*
Derong Sun Canyon Hotel**
Zhongdian Holy Palace Hotel****
Hetaoyuan Woody Inn
Lijiang Sightseeing Hotel****
Dali Landscape Hotel***
Stone Forest Tianqi Ashima Hotel***
Kunming Kunming Hotel****
Shanghai Ocean Hotel****

Price includes:
-- All overnight accommodation in double rooms shared by two adults with    breakfast
-- Meals as listed in the itinerary
-- Transfers and entrance tickets for all sightseeings listed in the itinerary
-- Inland flight tickets including all fees
-- Local English-speaking tour guide

Price does not include:
-- International flight tickets
-- Visa for China
-- Personal expenditures, tips etc.

Note:
-- Children less than 12 years old can be given discounts.
-- The hotels, trains and flights listed in the itinerary may be changed into the     ones of similar category if necessary.
-- The prices do not apply to the May Day Holiday (30th April. –7th May) and the     National Day Holiday (30th Sep.–7th Oct.), and during the period of the     Formula 1 racings in Shanghai  (25th Sep.–5th Oct. 2006).
-- If you need more information, please contact us.

 


China Intensive
•Scenery and Culture
•China Panorama
•South China and the   Yangtze
•China Highlights
•China Discovery
•Trekking tour
•Biking tour
•Beautiful Silk Road
•the Complete Silk   Road
•Camel Ride across the   Taklamakan Desert
•Tibet and the Yangtze
•Budget Tour 1
•Budget Tour 2
•Budget Tour 3
•Learning Kong Fu in   Shaolin Temple
•China with Taijiquan
•Taijiquan and Sunbath   Vacation
•Tibet Discovery
•Shangri La Adventure
•F1 Shanghai
 
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