21 Days Yunnan trekking with Golden Triangle cities: Shanghai-Lijiang-Shangri-La-Kunming-Xi’an-Beijing

This 21-day tour combines the ‘must-see’ of China – the Golden Triangle cities with beautiful Yunnan Province with rich in ethnic customs. What stand out are the hiking along Tiger Leaping Gorge and Yubeng Village. It gives you the chance to get closer to nature and feel nature’s extremely fine craftsmanship.

Trip Highlights

  • Hike at the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge scenic area
  • Trek at Yubeng Village in Shangri-La
  • Try your hands at dumpling making in Xi’an local family
  • Hike on Jinshanling Great Wall for one day

Customizable Tour Itinerary

Be met at the airport by the local guide with a warm smile, who will escort you to the hotel from the airport and will take care of your during your stay in Shanghai.

Meals: No meal, advice freely available

  • Hotels: The Peninsula Shanghai, Shanghai Fairmont Peace Hotel, Les Suites Orient, Bund Shanghai, Central Hotel Shanghai

Welcome to Shanghai. Yuyuan Garden of Shanghai is a pearl of classical gardens in southern area of the Yangtze River built in 1559 in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with a history of more than 400 years. Stroll in it and feel its tranquility and history. City God Temple is a holy land for praying with a long history, where people can feel the local religious culture.

Enjoy a relaxing time at French Concession, where you could find many bars, shops and restaurants.

With the fastest lift which can send passengers up to the 546 meters (1,791 ft) high sightseeing deck from street level within one minute, Shanghai Tower is a world record holder and a good place for a panoramic view of the Bund.

The Bund is suitable for visit both at daytime and night. Here you can see locals walking, jogging, practicing Tai Chi or flying kites. Getting up early and joining them is a pleasant thing to take in the real lifestyle of locals.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch at Din Tai Fung with a la carte menu

Feature Dinner Option: Nan Xiang Mantou Dian, Green Wave Gallery, Lost Heaven-Yunnan Restaurant Bund Branch

Optional evening activity: Era Time or Shangcheng Acrobatic Show

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
French ConcessionFrench Concession

Known as "the Oriental Venice", Tongli Water Town integrates rivers, streets, bridges, civil residences, and gardens perfectly. Learn something about this authentic water town by a leisure walk in it. A boat cruise also offers you the chance to see the local life along the river.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
cruise in Tongli Water Towncruise in Tongli Water Town

Get up naturally and meet the guide at the hotel lobby at the confirmed time. A direct flight will bring you from this big city to Lijiang.

  • Meals: Breakfast,
  • Hotels: Banyan Tree Lijiang, InterContinental Resort Lijiang Ancient Town, Lijiang Ivy Garden Resort

After breakfast, drive about 2 hours from Lijiang to Qiaotou Town, which is the starting point of your hike. Sitting at the border of Lijiang and Shangri-La, Tiger Leaping Gorge is a paradise for hiking. There is no any better way to explore this spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge than hiking. Everything is so wonderful while hiking gingerly along the Upper Trekking Route, steep limestone ridges, vertiginous cliffs, dancing rays and the dense clops of horses. Hike straight forward for about 2 hours and you will be at Naxi Family Guesthouse, where you can take a break and have lunch.

After some rest, you will hike around 2.5 to 3 hours and find the Tea Horse Inn, where you will spend a night.

  • Note:
    • You are suggested to start early so you can leave yourself more time on the way for short sightseeing.
    • Ask your doctor whether you can have an in-depth hiking at Tiger Leaping Gorge or not before you go. The elevation rises up and down between 1,600m and 2,650m.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Tea Horse Guesthouse
Tiger Leaping GorgeTiger Leaping Gorge

After a sound sleep, be ready to continue your hike. On this day, you will descend for about 4 hours to Tina’s Youth Hostel via Half Way. After that, you will be transferred to Shangri-La for overnight.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Songtsam Linka Shangri-La, Songtsam Shangri-La (Lvgu) Lodge
Tiger Leaping GorgeTiger Leaping Gorge

In the morning, visit a natural park, Pudacuo National Park, which includes Bita and Shudu Lake. Hike in the small trails through the forest and breathe in the oxygen offered by this amazing forest park. Look from its appearance, Songzanlin Monastery resembles the Potala Palace in Lhasa. It is a traditional Lama monastery and home for more or less 700 monks and Lamas for their monastic lives.

A local Tibetan family visit is arranged for you to have a close look at the local life of the minorities.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Pudacuo National ParkPudacuo National Park

Drive about 4 hours from Shangri-La to Deqin after a good night sleep. Upon arrival at Deqin, you will wander in the villages around to get to know the local life and culture.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Songtsam Lodge Meili, Regalia Hotel Deqin

After breakfast, drive about 1.5 hours from Deqin to Xidang Village, the most popular starting point for Yubeng hiking. From Xidang, it takes about 6 hours to reach the Upper Yubeng Village (about 18km). There are tea shops and retail stores where you can have some rest and buy some food.

Note: mule riding is available if you do not want to hike. The mule fee is about CNY150-CNY250 one way. It is not included in the itinerary.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Walker’s Home Inn (quite simple)
Upper Yubeng VillageUpper Yubeng Village

Do not miss the spectacle as the “sun shines on the golden mountain” in the early morning. After breakfast, you can walk from Upper Yubeng Village for two hours to Yakou. Then you will pass through a virgin forest to reach the base camp, where you can take a short rest. Afterwards, you can continue your trekking to the Ice Lake. On the way, you could see the mountains and rivers, virgin forests, centuries-old trees, Kawagebo Snow Mountain, and patches of spruce forest. However, you should start your return journey at 14:00, because it takes about 3 hours to return to Upper Yubeng Village.


  • Mules are also available. Remember that mules can only reach base camp as the last slopes are quite steep. You need to walk on your own for the hardest part of the whole trek, which is only about a kilometer.
  • Tibetans usually sell butter-butter tea and instant noodles at the base camp.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Ice LakeIce Lake

Today, you trekking destination is Sacred Waterfall, where you could see many prayer flags. It takes about 3 hours from Upper Yubeng Village (about 7km). On the way, you will pass by Lower Yubeng Village and need to travel through primitive forests and alpine pasture.

Note: Mule rental is not suggested as the road is quite flat.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Sacred WaterfallSacred Waterfall

Remember to get up early as you will take a long trekking today, but it is easier compared to the trekking in the previous days. You will hike to Ninong Village via Ninong Grand Canyon, which is the end of your Yubeng trekking. Along the way, you can see canyons, rivers and grasslands, as well as through virgin forests.

After the trekking, you will be transferred back to Deqin. Before going back to the hotel, you will visit Feilaisi, a small Tibetan temple on the National Highway G214 dedicated to the spirits of Kawagarbo at 6740 meters. It is one of the best places to watch the most beautiful “Rizhao Jinshan (Sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain)” in Meili Snow Mountain.

Note: Trekking is not suggested during the rainy day as there may be falling rocks in Ninong Grand Canyon.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,

You will be taken to Shangri-La airport after breakfast by our private transfer (about 4 hours). A direct flight is arranged for you to Kunming.

  • Meals: Breakfast,
  • Hotels: Intercontinental Kunming, Green Lake Hotel, Ytel Premium
Green LakeGreen Lake

Today make full use of your imagination in the Stone Forest. The shapes of the stone depend on your imagination. It has the most unique karst landform in the world due to its long history, large scale, and rich categories. Bird and Flower Market is the token of real life of Kunming. Here you can see varieties of flowers, birds, fishes, antiques, featured jewelries, handicrafts, etc.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Stone ForestStone Forest

Start your day tour with feeding the seagulls in the Green Lake Park. A leisure stroll along the lake is quite cozy. Follow on is the visit to Black Dragon Pool. Actually Black Dragon Pool is just one of the attractions in this site, including Black Dragon Palace, Three Ancient Trees, Pavilion of Stele, Tombs of Local Patriots and Dragon Fountain Plum Garden.

After tour and lunch, go directly to the airport. A direct flight is arranged for you from Kunming to Xi’an.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xian, Wyndham Grand Xian South
Black Dragon PoolBlack Dragon Pool

As a category of ancient tomb sculptures, Terra-Cotta Warriors has become a golden card of China's ancient splendid civilization and is honored as one of the rare treasures among world's ten ancient tombs.

Go back to the city area to visit a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists in Xi’an – the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Continue to Muslim Quarter, where you can search for so many local specialties.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch at local restaurant near the Terra-Cotta Warriors scenic area with a la carte menu

Feature Dinner option: Defachang Dumpling Restaurant, Lao Sun Jia Muslim Restaurant, First Noodle under the Sun

Optional evening activity: Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show with Dumpling Banquet

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Big Wild Goose PagodaBig Wild Goose Pagoda

Ride a bike on the time-honored Xi’an City Wall with your lover. Take a special opportunity to learn to make Chinese dumplings in a local family. It is a good way to get to know the local lifestyle and eating culture. Eat your own works after the lesson.

After lunch in the local family, you will be transferred to the train station in Xi’an and take the bullet train to the capital of China, Beijing.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Hilton Beijing Wangfujing, Regent Beijing, Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing, Beijing Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel
Xi’an Ancient City Wall Xi’an Ancient City Wall

Stroll on Tian’anmen Square, where the Founding Ceremony of the People's Republic of China was held in 1949. Behind the square, stands the Forbidden City, a treasure trove with many collections hidden in. Go with the guide to explore and understand more about this imperial palace.

Surrounded by red walls, lush pines and cypresses, towering ancient trees, continuous flowers in all seasons, Jingshan Park is a royal park with very beautiful environment. With its central location, it is also a good place to overlook the Forbidden City and city area.

Have a relaxing walk in the Hutong alleys and talk with the locals to get to know their local life by visiting a local family.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch at Jindingxuan Dim Sum Restaurant with a la carte menu

Feature Dinner option: Peking Roast Duck (Dadong Peking Duck, Qianmen Quanjude Peking Duck), Fangshan Restaurant, Mei Family Restaurant, Bai Family Restaurant

Optional evening activity: Peking Opera, Kungfu Show

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Tian’anmen SquareTian’anmen Square

Instead of the regular tour on the Great Wall with round ways cable car, today you will do a one-day hiking on Jinshanling. Usually it takes around 3.5 hours, depending on your physical strength. You will hike from the main entrance all the way to the East Entrance via Zhuangduokou Tower, Cable car upper station, Houchuankou Tower and Dongwuyanlou Tower. Stop from time to time to grasp some nice pictures and have some rest.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Jinshanling Great WallJinshanling Great Wall

Weave your hands to our beautiful country. See you next time. The guide will take care of the check-in at the airport.

  • Meals: Breakfast,
Panjiayuan Antique MarketPanjiayuan Antique Market

Price Includes

  • In-country transportationas noted in the itinerary.
  • Admission fees and activity expenses as noted in the itinerary.
  • Luxury or boutique hotels centrally located.
  • Meals in local restaurants as noted in the itinerary with complimentary drinking water.
  • Your own English-speaking guide service.
  • Your own chauffeur and vehicle service.

Price Excludes

  • International transportation.
  • Chinese tourist visa. (which enquired for most foreign passport holders)
  • Travel and medical insurance.
  • Meals, snacks, alcohol, etc. apart from those included in the itinerary.
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Sights, excursions and activities not included in the itinerary.
  • Gratuities to guide and driver.


This tour is tailor-made and we can tailor to meet your reqeusts. Your personal travel consultant will contact you within 24 working hours!


CHINA OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2019 We researched several companies and studied reviews on Trip Adviser before contacting who did a very China Culture Tour with an initial query. Right from the outset Grace who owns the company was excellent. She emailed detailed with pictures information and a suggested…read more details

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