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Exploring the Valleys of Shangri La

Best time to travel
Year round
Ideal length
13 nights
Perfect for
All

At a glance

  • International flights from Dublin to Lijang and home from Chengdu.
  • All private transfers, domestic flights and guiding requirements.
  • 13 nights’ hand-picked accommodation across Yunnan.
  • Enjoy exciting day tours to local villages, historic churches and monasteries, and partake in prayer ceremonies.
  • Test your physical limits with hiking adventures to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Baima Snow Mountain.
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Introduction

The valleys of Shangri-La are hemmed in by three famous rivers; the mighty Yangtze, free flowing Mekong and the turbulent Salween. The river basins are home to many different ethnic minorities who inhabit culturally unique villages. Explore the incredible landscape of this region from snow capped peaks to ancient architecture which iconize the topography. Experience Tibetan culture in the most authentic way with local guides and family visits with locals who work in the Songtsam lodges. Avoid the tourist traps and dive right in to Shangri-La with our expert guidance. Beginning in Lijiang and ending in Chengdu, this trip is perfect for those with a taste for adventure, culture, cuisine or all three.

Trip Overview

Depart from Dublin to Lijiang.
This is where your Yunnan adventure begins. You’ll be met on arrival and privately transferred to the first luxury lodge of your journey.
Settle into a Naxi village called Ciman.
Spend three nights here surrounded by pinewoods and pear trees. The lodge has stunning views of the old town, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Lashi Lake. Learn about Naxi culture with a masterclass in hieroglyphics at the property.
Naxi Woman
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is an important part of the landscape.
It consists of 13 peaks which tower over Lijiang. The mountain range is the southernmost glacier in the northern hemisphere and is a sanctuary for rare plant and animal species. A visit to this natural phenomenon is a must.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang
Privately transfer to your next stop, Tachen.
Along the way, you will pass the first bend of the Yangtze river and visit Shi Gu Village. Meet with locals and even enjoy a meal with a resident family.
Yangtze River
Arrive in the late afternoon and settle in for a relaxing evening at the lodge.
Spend two nights in the beautiful village of Tacheng.
Songtsam lodge, Tacheng
Allow us to arrange visits to local sites such as Dharma Cave.
The important landmark is said to have been the home of a Buddhist monk in the 5th and 6th century and is a holy pilgrimage site.
Dharma cave
Finish your day by visiting the Hada village.
Learn how the villagers make soy milk and tofu the traditional way in their own courtyards. A truly unique experience.
Tofu
The following morning, begin a rewarding hike into Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park.
Hike through the dense forest to reach the nature reserve. The park is home to hundreds of black snub-nosed monkeys which are a protected and rare species. As well as these large and furry primates, other rare wild animals inhabit the park such as clouded leopards, golden eagles and black bears.
Snub-nosed monkeys, Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park
Continue towards Cizhong.
Take a private transfer along the banks of the Mekong River and get to know some local cuisine with lunch at a local restaurant.
Mekong River, China
Arrive at the lodge in Cizhong.
Enjoy some dinner at the lodge and engage with locals at a traditional mass in the nearby church. Enjoy a customary dinner and some well-deserved relaxation.
Songtsam lodge, Cizhong
The following morning, depart for Meili.
Privately transfer to the next accommodation on your journey stopping off at Oudengge along the way. Arrive at the traditional lodge and enjoy a lunch of local cuisine. You will stay in Meili for two nights.
Meili Snow Mountains
Spend some time with families of those who work at the lodge.
Enjoy a meal and learn to make traditional Tibetan prayer flags. This one of a kind experience allows you to get to know the people that have made this unique environment their home.
Prayer flags
The following day, wake up to the sunrise over the sacred Mount Kawagebo.
Once the day has begun, take part in a traditional Tibetan Ceremony using the prayer flags printed the day before.
Sunrise Mount Kawagebo
Embark on a challenging hike around the Baima Snow Mountain area.
Spend between four and six hours exploring the landscape on foot with a local guide. The beautiful area is a protected nature reserve which is renowned for its forests and abundant wildlife. As you walk along the mountain roads, be prepared to spot rare and unique flora and fauna at every turn.
Group of hikers Sichuan Province
The next morning, pack up and depart for Shangri-La.
Your private transfer will take you to the next location stopping off at landmarks such as Dongzhulin Monastery and the Moon Bay of the Jinsha River along the way.
River Sichuan Province
Before arriving at the Shangri La lodge, visit Napa Lake.
Located just 30 minutes from the village, this stunning lake is surrounded by grasslands where herds of cattle and yaks graze. With such incredible views there are ample photo opportunities so don’t forget to bring your camera.
Grasslands Shangri-La
After visiting the lake, you’ll be brought to the lodge in Shangri-La.
Check in and unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. Enjoy a quiet dinner and get some rest. You’ll spend two nights in this peaceful paradise.
Songtsam lodge Shangri-La
Allow us to arrange a guided excursion to Songzanlin Monastery.
Built in 1679, this ancient monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Yunnan. The incredible feat of architecture resembles several castles and features ornate décor, fresco paintings and beautiful sculptures.
Songzanlin Monastery
Return to the lodge for a barbeque lunch.
After a quick respite, enjoy a walk through the grounds of the lodge or wander into Dukezong Old Town for a visit.
Sichuan food barbecue
In the evening, join a local family in their home for dinner.
Sample butter tea, taste the local cuisine of the day and make personal connections with the wonderful family who has welcomed you in.
Local man drinking tea
Privately transfer to a luxury boutique hotel in Chengdu.
Spend three nights here relaxing and soaking up the local culture. Unwind with a massage at the spa or explore some of the fantastic dining options in Chengdu.
Sichuan food, Chengdu
Before leaving Chengdu, visit the famous Dujiangyan Panda Base in Shiqiao.
The Base covers 126 acres and has a panda hospital, a medical lab, 40 enclosures and an education centre. Sick or injured Panda’s are rescued from the wild and brought here, where they can be rehabilitated safely. Guests to the Panda Base can enjoy interactive exhibits and displays to learn more about the endangered species.
Panda eating leaves
Privately transfer to the airport.
After three days in Chengdu, it is time to fly home. Arrive in Dublin.

Tailoring your holiday

OROKO Itineraries are created with you in mind and no two are the same. These can be used to help plan your trip - or we can design a completely different itinerary to suit you.

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Accommodation

Where to rest your head

Looking for the best accommodation? We've got the contacts

The Upper House

The Upper House

This small yet stylish inner-city hotel is located on Pacific Place and is upmarket, refined and effortlessly cool. An ambience of tranquillity is maintained at all times in the property and every serene detail has been handpicked by acclaimed architect Andre Fu. Throughout the property, Fu has used natural materials, unique sculptures and original artworks giving the hotel a thoroughly contemporary look. There are 117 spacious rooms in the hotel, many of which boast stunning views of the Victoria harbour.

Songstam Linka Lijiang

Songtsam Linka Lijiang

Songtsam Linka Lijiang is located in a Naxi village called Ciman. This charming boutique property allows guests to experience Tibetan culture and its traditions first hand. The property’s 42 rooms are decorated using Nxai design and feature floor to ceiling windows, Tibetan carpets, and traditional Chinese paintings. The hotel boasts an outdoor pool, a stylish spa, modern fitness centre and a large open terrace where guests can relax and enjoy the scenery.

Songtsam Tacheng

Songtsam Tacheng

Songtsam Lodge Tacheng is located in a small village on the banks of the Yangtze River which is home to both Tibetan and Naxi populations living together. Surrounded by some of the most fertile land in the country, the lodge sits in a sea of lush greenery and offers gorgeous views of the landscape from every window. Warm and cosy rooms look out over terraces of rice fields and to the breath-taking mountains beyond.

Songtsam Lodge Cizhong

Songtsam Lodge Cizhong

This boutique lodge is the oldest in the Songtsam collection. Housed in a beautiful stone-walled gothic church, the property is located upstream of the Mekong River. Rooms at the lodge are tranquil and traditionally decorated with plenty of space for guests to relax. The hotel grounds consist of wonderfully landscaped gardens and farmland. Guests can get their hands dirty collecting fresh vegetables for dinner or simply sit back and soak up their surroundings.

Songstam Lodge Meili

Songtsam Lodge Meili

Sitting at an altitude of 3600m, Songtsam Meili has incredible views of the Meili Mountain Range and the Yunnan region. Large windows in each room allow guests to make the most of what the gorgeous views. Be sure to grab a table at the book bar for sunrise and sunset when the stunning mountain range can be seen at its best. Although the property sits on the border of Yunnan and Tibet, the property features mainly Tibetan décor and architecture.

Songstam Linka Shangri La

Songtsam Linka Shangri La

A cosy cultural retreat, the Songtsam Linka Shangri La is comfortably situated in a small Tibetan village close to Sonzanlin, a sacred monastery. The property is surrounded by lush greenery, farmlands and mountain scenery. The remote and rural location creates a calming environment perfect for guests looking to get away from it all. Hand-built stone structures dotted about the hillside make up the sleeping quarters of the property and there are 72 rooms and suites altogether. Traditional building techniques, materials, carpets and other decorative features all honour the local culture.

The Temple House Chengdu

The Temple House

The Temple House is a beautiful boutique property in Chengdu. A wonderful blend of tradition and modernity, the hotel comprises a collection of ancient and newly-constructed buildings. Interiors feature modern and luxurious furnishings with Asian touches throughout. Within the restored Qing Ding courtyard, guests will find a spa and wellness centre, swimming pool and boutique shop.  The Temple House offers a selection of glamorous dining spaces that serve Chinese, French and Italian inspired cuisine.

What people are saying

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you so much for the most wonderful holiday we had in Eagles Palace in Greece. In terms of OROKO, the service, value for money was excellent and how everything was looked after for us.  I look forward to booking my next holiday next spring! To finish, a big big thank you for one of the best holidays ever!

Sharon & family – Greece, July 2019

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