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Songtsam Laigu Lodge

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“Exploring Three Parallel Rivers” 8N/9D

“Welcome New Year of 2021” 8N/9D

The Yunnan to Tibet Tea Horse Road Expedition 11N/12D

“Searching for Precious Scenery” 5N/6D

Circling Holy Lhasa" 4N/5D

Songzanlin Monastery & Lamuyangcuo Lake

Tibetan Family Dinner

Tianbao Abujee Snow Mountain Hike

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Songzanlin Monastery & Lamuyangcuo Lake

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Niding Forest Hike & Picnic

Tiger Leaping Gorge Visit

Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike

Plant Magic

Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park

Bazhu Village

Bigu Lake Hike

Potatso National Park

Hiking/Cycling Around Feilai Temple

Niding Forest Hike & Picnic

Tibetan Hand Painted Wooden Bowl Workshop

Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park

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Outdoor Rock Climbing

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Tofu Making Experience

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Hada Village Tour

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Nanjiluo Hike

Tibetan Cinema

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Exploring the Alpine Pasture

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Outdoor Terrace BBQ

Dongba Culture & Calligraphy Class

Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park

Royal Dietary Therapy

Abdominal Cleansing & Longevity Prolongation

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Tibetan Mindfulness Concert

Tea Culture Ceremony

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Puji Temple & Mountain Hike

Old Village Hike with Hotpot

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“Lhasa” in Lhasa: Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street

Tibetan Thangka Painting Workshop

Basong Tso Lake

The Road of Wisdom - Drak Yerpa Monastery and Meditation Caves

Mani Stone Painting

Picnic at Maiba Pasture

Zhuxi Glacier and Pulong Temple

Zhuxi Glacier and Pulong Temple

Jampa Buddha Puja Celebration

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The Tibetan New Year (Losar)

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Shangri-La China Tour: Discovering the Magic of Tibet

Mysterious, intriguing, and exciting - set foot on a tour of China that you will never forget within the mystical land of Shangri-La

Mar 26 2021

Shangri-La is a spiritual place. One where long ago, the Tibetans hailed from the towering Himalayan plateau, and settled northwest in Yunnan's rugged mountains. Through Songtsam's Shangri-La China tour, you’ll find snowy ranges that contain panoramic vistas, and ancient culture not too different from the mountain paradise described in James Hilton's ‘’Lost Horizon’’.

Shangri La China Tour Village in Valley Village located in Valley in Tibet

Shangri-La represents mystical and harmonious valleys. An earthly paradise, one that is permanently happy as it stands tall, wholly isolated from the outside world. This ties in with the term ‘’Shambhala’’, which is used within old Tibetan scriptures. It describes another dimension of the planet which is difficult for ordinary people to reach. Although Shangri-La may feel out of reach, it’s actually much closer than you may believe. Shangri-La sits inside your heart and soul, and we at Songtsam are here to give you the perfect introduction in order to unleash it.

From breathtaking plateaus and valleys to the historical Buddhist monasteries and villages, your upcoming journey into Yunnan has been explicitly designed with spirituality in mind. In this article, we’re going to talk about the best moments of the Songtsam tour across Yunnan, and just how its unique design will hurl you into the beautiful world of Shangri-La.

The Natural Wonders Closest to Paradise, Holy and Majestic

There may only be seven official natural wonders of the world, but in Shangri-La, you’re sure to embark on many more breathtaking natural sights that will feed your soul with the energy it needs. From the glorious Meili Snow Mountain, to the remote small villages where the atmosphere soothes and the mystery stimulates, you won’t find any other place like the wonder that is Shangri-La.

Admire the sunrise hitting the peak of Snow-Capped Meili Snow Mountain

Shangri-La China tour Baima Snow Mountain Sun rising on Baima Snow Mountain

The Meili Snow Mountain — 21,000 ft above sea level, majestic, splendid, and one of the most sacred mountains of Tibetan Buddhism. Its 13 peaks stand firmly on the ground, and rise magnificently — referred to as the ‘’Prince’s 13 peaks’’. This fascinating existence accounts to be the highest Mountain among Yunnan.

Inside this mystery snow mountain, you’ll come across natural treasures like highland lakes, dense forests, unique vegetation, and wondrous wildlife.

On the 150-mile long mountain road, Tibetans embrace the method of ‘turning the mountain around’ in order to form pilgrimages. Through the mist at the foot of the mountain, they kowtow step by step. As they walk, they listen to the sacred mountain legend, one that echoes in the wind.

Perked just outside the window of Songtsam Lodge Meili, are the peaks of the giant mountain itself. Behind that is a secretly located mountain village that goes by the name of Gujiunon. At its inception, Gujiunon had five traditional families but has expanded with time.

Shangri-la China tour Gujiunon village in Tibet Local village of gujiunon in Tibet

Very few locals know the remote small mountain village. It came to light as a photographer, who goes by the name of Mr. Baima Duoji, who later founded Songtsam, searched the mountain as he looked for a perfect spot to shoot the wondrous mountain itself. As he walked around, he came across this village. He says that inside, you’re able to see the golden, glistening mountains as they bask in the sunshine.

Shangri-La China tour hotel worker tending to a fire Songtsam Employee tending to Fireplace

Visiting the Meili Snow Mountain is one of the best things to do in Tibet. In the Songtsam Lodge Meili, you’ll be far from any noise that comes with a busy city. In this legendary landscape of sacred summits, you can relax, roast the fire, drink tea, and get lost as you watch the clouds of Meili Snow Mountain pass by.

Dive Into the Three Parallel Rivers

Shangri-La China Tour Three Parallel Rivers in Yunnan The Three Parallel Rivers in Yunnan

Inside the Hengduan Mountains, three grand rivers: the Salween, Yangtze, and Mekong Rivers flow parallel through incredible snow peaks that measure almost an unbelievable 20,000 ft high in parts.

The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan encompass a majestic land hemmed in by the mighty. The quiet valleys based within the mountains are rugged landscapes that are truly rich in biodiversity. You can truly find peace within this land. The Three Parallel Rivers are also home to various ethnic groups. It’s an inhabitant to peaceful people that have not only preserved the area for countless generations, but have nurtured Yunnan to grow into such beauty.

Shangri-La China tour Yunnan locals walking around Locals in Yunnan walking around

When you combine stays at different Songtsam properties, you can embark on a circuit tour that takes you right into the heart of the Three Parallel Rivers. It gives you the freedom you need to explore the magical land. Many often state that this is a truly incredible thing to do in Shangri-La.

Bask in Unforgettable Experiences and the Comfort of Your Songtsam Shangri-La Stay

The meaning of the word Shangri-La can refer to many things. You can choose to look at it as a remote, beautiful, imaginary place where life approaches complete and utter perfection. Or maybe view it as a utopia? One that gives you the ideal hideaway to bask in the wonder of beauty in nature.

Whether you choose to set foot on a journey to the magnificent Meili Snow Mountain, take a dive into the Three Parallel Rivers, or you would just love to get lost in a remote village, interact with the locals, and learn the tradition of the Shangri-La lifestyle, this place is like nothing you have ever seen before. 

Shangri-La China Tour Tibetan woman setting table Tibetan woman setting the table

Throughout your holistic journey into wellness, you will be staying in Tibetan-style boutique hotels and lodges. Songtsam properties all feature exquisite levels of amenities, specifically chosen antique furniture and art collections, and a class of service that one can only dream of when in such a remote place. Combine stays at the five different Songtsam properties to receive a warm embrace on our circuit tour that will take you to the heart of every location mentioned, including the highly anticipated Three Parallel Rivers.

Songtsam has built a series of hotels and lodges in very carefully selected locations, enabling all of our guests to experience the vast cultures and landscapes. Combined, it will allow our guests to bask in a truly magical experience.

The Old Town of Lijiang

The Old Town of Lijiang boasts history that dates back to more than 1000 years. It was once a confluence for trade along the ‘’Ancient Tea Horse Caravan Trail’’. Although this town is now famous for a lively nightlife scene in today’s world, many people still enjoy the combination of modern entertainment and architecture that dates back throughout the centuries. However, with this in mind, it’s the quieter and tourist-free part of the town that truly speaks the local’s spirit.

Shangri-La China Tour Songtsam Lodge Linka Lijiang One of Songtsam Lodges - Songtsam Linka Lijang

Songtsam Linka Lijiang perfectly integrates the Naxi village courtyard characteristics and the central plains official architecture. Instead of the touristic and commercialized old town of Lijiang, the Songtsam retreat sits at a nearby small Naxi-ethnic village named Ciman, where the traditional way of living still thrives.

Surrounded by pinewoods and a pear garden, Songtsam Linka Lijiang offers spectacular views of the old town and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The hotel’s design is grand in appearance and the architecture style is a combination of Naxi-Dongba, Chinese-Tang style. The property also exhibits a unique combination of Chinese and Tibetan-influenced art.

Stop By the Remote Mountain Villages

Inside the incredible, remote mountain villages, you’ll find the real Shangri-La and Tibetan culture.

Shangri-La China tour Tibetan man crafting with clay Tibetan man crafting a clay pot

The remote Tibetan Mountain villages are far for most modern people. However, it’s the only place you can really find the beauty, and of course, long-established Tibetans. Traditionally, getting to the remote villages hidden in the mountains of Yunnan has been incredibly hard. One must overcome difficult accommodation, transportation, and may experience some bumps along the way.

Now, Songtsam established a route that goes into the mountains so you can truly embark upon the ultimate adventure. Upon arrival, you’ll be sure to meet villagers who reside in the mountains, and in turn, the villages get the chance to meet people from all over the world. It’s an experience for every single person involved.

Shangri-La China tour Tibet musicians performing Tibetan musicians performing

With more than 20 minorities who each have their own culture, clothing, traditions, and sometimes even language — Yunnan’s spiritual Shangri-la will be a mind-blowing experience. Especially when you spend several hours with the locals sharing food, dancing traditional dances, and even wearing their traditional clothes!

The Most Beautiful Hiking Trails

Shangri-La China tour person sitting by lake Tibet Lake

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” - T.S. Eliot.

Suppose you’re looking for that hike, the one that leaves you breathless as you climb the summit of the mountain. That one hike with awe-inspiring views, the one that has you saying WOW repeatedly as you step one foot after another — then Shangri-La is about to satisfy you in ways you could have never dreamed.

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Let’s start with Tiger Leaping Gorge, voted one of the very best hiking routes in the entire world.

Shangri-La China tour Yangtze-Tiger Leaping Gorge Tiger Leaping Gorge waters

Situated 37 miles north of Lijiang city, Tiger Leaping Gorge sits in the middle of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the Haba Snow Mountain. Its beauty is preserved as the trail is not publicly accessible unless accompanied by a Songtsam experienced and authorized guide.

The Tiger Leaping Gorge is a trail that divides naturally into three sections. They represent the Upper Gorge, Middle Gorge, and Lower Gorge. This first section, which is the steepest of the whole journey, is referred to as the flowing Yangtze River's mouth. Right in the river’s mouth, sits a large rock positioned at the gorge’s narrowest section, which is only 98 ft wide. Ancient legends state that Tigers used the rock as a stepping stone to leap from one side of the gorge to the other, hence the name — Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Throughout this hiking trail, you’ll embark on a journey through only the most remote villages. You will also catch a glimpse of their local architecture, and have a picnic amid nature to top of the already fantastic experience.

White Horse Snow Mountain, Or, the Baima Snow Mountain

Shangri-La China tour Baima Snow Mountain Baima Snow Mountain during Sunrise

The White Horse Snow Mountain, often referred to as the Baima Snow Mountain, graces us with a tall and majestic landscape. They stand subdivided into mountains, canyons, broad valleys, river valleys, small plains, frozen glacial landforms, and gravity-weathered landforms.

A hiking trip is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the incredible geographic diversity and the wonderful world of the wildlife of Shangri-La. Throughout your journey, you’ll find quick and varied changes in altitude. This means that one is able to transport from cold mountains crystalized with snow, to warm and bright flower-filled valleys. All of this happens within just a couple of hours, which means you get the opportunity to experience four seasons in one day.

Shangri-La China tour snub nosed monkey in tree Snub Nose Monkey spotted in Tree

The eye-opening biodiversity is the highlight of this route, but there’s plenty more to see. 

The Holy Land of Shangri-La

Shangri-La China tour Tibetans entering sacred temple Tibetans entering sacred Buddhist temple

Inside the wonder that is Shangri-La, you’ll find a culture that dates back centuries, and various religions that flow in perfect harmony with one another. This beautiful piece of land once flourished in faith. Long ago, you were able to find Christians, Muslims, Chinese Buddhism, and Tibetan Buddhism prevail together, without any interference. In today’s world, Tibetan Buddhism is the dominant religion in Shangri-La, as it seems that people are constantly amazed by their devotion and practice.

Shangri-La China tour Snow-capped mountain in Tibet Snow Capped Mountain in Tibet

By reaching the sky over the snow mountains

Practise the search for happiness” 

-translated lyrics from “Gangchenpa” by Dolma Kyap

Traditional poems and songs of Tibetan culture all include the various snow-capped mountains. It sits in a special place in their heart as the mountains symbolize purity and authority. You can find this symbol in artistic activities like the Thangka, mural painting, and architectural painting. The holy land of Shangri-la revolves around the Tibetans’ religious admiration for the natural beauty of the snow-capped mountains. So much so, the mountains have become the objects of people’s heartfelt wishes and prayers for protection. You may even spot pilgrims muttering to the towering snow-capped mountains, right in front of them.

The DongZhuLin Monastery

Shangri-La China tour Dong Zhu Lin Monastery Dong Zhu Lin Monastery in Tibet

Set foot into the Dong Zhu Lin Monastery, the spiritual holy land of local Tibetans. This is the oldest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in western Yunnan. It contains the methods practiced by the Shambhala and symbolizes purity and innocence.

Dong Zhu Lin Monastery sits on the Yunnan-Tibet Highway in Benzilan Township. It’s around 50 miles northwest of Deqin County, and more than 12 miles southeast of Benzilan.

The temple, assembled in the early Qing Dynasty, lies 10,000 ft above sea level. The Dong Zhu Lin is almost 350 years old and is the second-largest monastery in all of Yunnan. 

Similar to other monasteries, the Gedong Festival also takes place in the Dong Zhu Lin Monastery.

Shangri-La China tour Gedong festival masked dancer Masked Dancer during Gedong Festival

The Gedong Festival is essential in Tibetan monasteries. Often, it’s also referred to as the ‘"God Jumping Festival.” According to the Tibetan calendar, each monastery has different dates for the Winter Festival. The Winter Festival of Gedan DongZhulin Temple is held on August 28th and 29th in the Tibetan calendar each year.

The Tibetan year is composed of 12 or 13 lunar months. Each calendar begins and ends with a new moon. Every two to three years, a thirteenth month is added onto the calendar. This happens so that an average Tibetan year is equal to the solar year. In the Tibetan calendar, certain dates and months have unique significance for Buddhist practices.

A True to Life Tibetan Museum in the Songtsam Lodge Shangri-la

If art pleases your soul, then prepare to feel a whole lot of goodness when you enter the Songtsam lodge Shangri-la. Although not a literal museum, it is filled with traditional art pieces and antiques. Mr. Baima Duoji, the founder of Songtsam, collected a batch of Tibetan paintings, Buddha statues, carpets, and put them to good use.

Shangri-La China tour Songtsam Lodge Shangri-La Songtsam Lodge Shangri-La

In 2001, Mr. Baima returned to his hometown and embarked upon a complete transformation of his ancestral home, based next to Songzanlin Monastery. There, he built the very first Songtsam Hotel. This hotel consists of an unassuming Tibetan-style civil-timbered small building and two courtyards. In the past 20 years, the hotel has undergone four renovations to continuously improve and upgrade its quality based on traditional Tibetan architecture.

When you pass through the rustic gate, beautifully decorated courtyard, and walk into your hotel room, you’ll come across Tibetan-style ancient furniture, traditional Tibetan carpets, Buddha statues, and old Thangkas Paintings everywhere.

Authentic, Traditional Dishes to Taste

It turns out that magnificent monasteries, quaint villages, prayer halls of monks chanting, jaw-dropping views of the highest mountains this world has to offer, and incredibly welcoming people that make you feel at home aren’t the only things that Tibet has to offer.

Shangri-La China tour Traditional Yunnan dinner Traditional Yunnan Dinner Spread

Authentic Tibetan dishes and beverages are just like Tibetan people and their culture; they all have a very distinct character. In this magical land, experiencing Tibetan food is often the highlight of one's trip. It has a unique, nomadic character, and that’s precisely what makes it so unique.

All Locally-Sourced Food

Shangri-La China tour Songtsam Lodge Tacheng Rice field Songtsam Lodge Tacheng Rice Fields

The unique soil and climatic conditions in Shangri-La have opened doors for people to form a more natural eating habit.

In Songtsam Lodge Tacheng, the ingredients come from the hotel’s organic vegetable garden and surrounding villages. They use simple cooking to preserve the taste of only the freshest ingredients to the maximum.

The miraculous nature within the surrounding forest and the biodiversity it provides is truly a unique delicacy of the mountains and their wild animals. The fields thrive throughout all four seasons, and semi-domesticated wild boars feed on wild fruits in the area, creating the best raw materials for ham.

In addition to this, you can find rainbow trout, which are both truly indispensable delicacies when laid out on the table.

The Naxi villagers follow the tradition of rice-bean and rice-wheat rotation. The rice and beans are extraordinarily fragrant, coupled with the excellent water quality of Tacheng, the bait, and tofu made are especially sweet.

Refreshing Beverages

Shangri-La China tour harvesting Tacheng Vineyards Harvesting in Tacheng Vineyards

Tacheng also has beautiful vineyards, and produces ice wine. The grapes grow until they are beaten by autumn frost at the end of every single year. Brewers tend to harvest the grapes when their sugar content is abundant, using them to make a delicious beverage known as ‘’Tacheng Ice Wine’’.

Shangri-La China Tour Glass of Rose Honey Red Wine Glass of Rose Honey Red Wine

As the Cizhong villagers believe in Catholicism, they still retain the tradition of making "rose honey" red wine. This wine has high tannin content and is slightly sour within its first year. By now, the locals have learned to add a little sugar when drinking it - this gives it a mouth-wateringly rich taste.

Good-Night Milk

In addition to the many outstanding vineyards, Songtsam Linka Lijiang also offers a beverage that goes by the name of ‘’Good-Night Milk’’. It’s an opportunity to taste something extraordinary as this glass of milk comes from the cows raised in the village of Ciman, where the hotel is based.

The farmer wakes up every morning, milks the cows, heats the milk to sterilize, and sends it directly to the hotel on a horse. As production is created and sent out on the very same day, the milk is fresh, rich, and fragrant.

All in all, it’s a very nourishing experience that will provide you with the peace you need for a glorious sleep.

Shangri-La China Tour local villagers engaging and laughing Local Villagers engaging and laughing

Tibetan land has its own world of culture, scenery, and devoted hearts. In fact, this is what unlocks the golden key to the mystical realm of Shambhala, and it’s what will make your anticipated journey through the secret door an experience one can only dream of.

Prepare for your Tibet trip, pack your bags, and join us as we set foot on the ultimate adventure into the spiritual wonders of Shangri-La, or, the closest we can possibly get.