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Tracing on the Secrets of Shangri La

Whether you yearn for the world-class attractions of China or wish to venture through the less-known routes to trace on the secrets of Shangri-La, this 17 days adventure tour of China will fulfill your dream with incredible travel experiences. As you travel further and higher, you’ll roll by wooden houses, local markets, remote villages and wild, magnificent alpine landscapes. When you finally reach the mystical Shangri-La, you’ll marvel at Kawagebo, Mingyong Glacier, immense Buddhist Temple… and meet with wild Yunnan monkeys.

CCT Advantages:

  • 1. You’ll never forget witnessing the sun rising over the Great Wall;
  • 2. Discover thousand years of history of China with visits of Forbidden City, Terracotta Army, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven;
  • 3. Enjoy rickshaw ride through Beijing hutongs, biking on Xian ancient city wall, leisurely walking tour of the Bund of Shanghai, and rambling the local food 4. streets and markets;
  • 5. Explore Lijiang Old Town, and look out for snub-nose golden monkeys endemic to Yunnan;
  • 6. Experience the colorful ethnic minority cultures and lifestyle, visiting local homes of Naxi, Lisu and Tibetan people;
  • 7. Delve into the heart of Shangri-La, exploring some of China’s remote villages and towns;
  • 8. Marvel at the natural spectacles of Meili Snow Mountain, Mingyong Glacier and Tiger Leaping Gorge;

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 1, Arrive Beijing

Meals: No Meals

Start your adventure in Beijing, China’s capital city since the 13th Century, where you can soak in historical atmosphere and witness China’s rapid development. Be greeted and transferred to your luxury hotel beside the Great Wall. Free at leisure. Alternatively, set out for a hike to Jinshanling Great Wall and capture the amazing sunset view.  

Recommended hotels:

  • Great Wall luxury hotels: Dhawa Jinshanling
19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 2, Beijing - the Great Wall Sunrise & Hutong Culture Encounter

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Rise very early today to hike up Jinshanling Great Wall before anyone else. So you finally reach this greatest artificial structure on human civilization. At the best sites, wait patiently and quietly for the first sunlight shining upon on the Great Wall. It is a magical moment to remember and cherish. Enjoy hiking Jinshanling Great Wall for 1 – 2 hours, and take cable car down the mountain.    

In the afternoon, hop in a vintage richshaw through hutongs – those narrow alleyways are in an intricate layout like a checker-board pattern. For the past 700+ years, hutongs, with its quadrangle complex and cultural sites, have experienced long historical changes and become a unique treasure of Beijing.

Enjoy a tasty local specialty dinner with Beijing Roasted Duck (optional).

Recommended hotels:

  • Beijing luxury hotels: Peninsula, Hilton Beijing Wangfujing or similar
  • Beijing boutique hotels: Double Happiness Beijing Courtyard Hotel or similar
19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 3, Beijing – Summer Palace Cruise & Forbidden City Discovery

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

The second morning in Beijing, visit Summer Palace, the once royal garden of Qing Dynasty kings. It is composed of Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, and set against the background of the peaks of the Western Hill. Walk through the corridors to find the elegance garden complex and enjoy a dragon boat cruise to take in incredible cultural and natural views.

Later you’ll feel journey back Chairman Mao Era as you walk through Tiananmen Square. And walk through the solemn red-painted gate into Palace Museum – China’s largest and best museum was actually the imperial palace of Ming and Qing Dynasty named Forbidden City. Admire its rich collections of relics dating to different historical periods.    

To obtain a full picture of Forbidden City, climb up Jingshan Park. It was also right here the Emperor Chongzhen of Ming Dynasty committed suicide at his back garden over 370 years ago.  

Tonight you have a chance to watch a real Shaolin Kung Fu show (optional).

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 4, Temple of Heaven, Beijing to Xian

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Explore Temple of Heaven, which honors the crucial role that worship of heaven activities have played in the life of ancient Chinese kings. Wander around this mysterious holy place to admire its splendid architectures and learn about the history.

Visit a local flea market in Beijing – Panjiayuan Market, which is at its best and busiest at the weekend. With all sorts of secondhand goods from jades, jewels and ancient coins to stamps and furniture, Panjiayuan is praised as China’s biggest “open-air museum”. 

Take a high speed train from Beijing to Xian, where centuries year-old city wall and legendary Terracotta Army await.

Recommended hotels:

  • Xian luxury hotels: Wyndham Grand Xian South, Gran Meliá Xian, Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel or similar
  • Xian boutique hotels: Grand Mercure Xi'an on Renmin Square or similar
19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 5, Xian – Archeological Wonder of Terracotta Army

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

The thousands of lifelike Terracotta Warriors and Horses you meet today were made over 2200 years ago with complicated process, as the burial objects of the great Emperor Qinshihuang. When it was excavated in 1970s, it was celebrated as the "Eighth Wonders of the World". If you like, learn to make a mini terracotta solider yourself, and bring it home.

Explore Muslim Quarter, famous not only for being part of Xian’s Muslim community, but also for its gastronomy scenes. Enjoy yourself with hundreds of street foods at his bustling food center.

Enjoy classical Tang Dynasty Music and Dance at a dumpling banquet tonight (optional).

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 6, Pagoda on Silk Road, Xian Ancient City Wall Cycling

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Silk Road was started in 2BC, but thrived in Tang Dynasty when Xian was the capital of ancient Chinese Kingdom. Therefore, there are many Silk Road sites and ruins in this city, including Big Wild Goose Pagoda. This grand Buddhist pagoda was built by Master Xuanzang who further promoted Buddhism in China after traveling to ancient Indian via Silk Road. Then delve deeper into the Silk Road history and other historical periods of Xian and even ancient China on a visit of Shaangxi Historical Museum.

Enjoy a leisurely biking trip on Ancient City Wall of Xian –an important witness of China’s previous thousand year history, to glimpse the city’s glorious past and see its modern development. When the night falls, the wall will be illuminated by colored lights, creating an extremely beautiful scene.

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 7, Xian to Lijiang, Cultural Lijiang Old Town

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning, fly from Xian to Lijiang to explore China’s best-preserved ancient town - Lijiang Old Town. Walk through the mazy stone streets and paths to discover traditional elegant Naxi dwellings, with insight into Naxi people’s culture, art, schooling and daily life. Climb up Lion Hill, where the Wangulou Pavilion offers a panorama of Lijiang. Enjoy the peaceful sunset if weather permits.

Recommended hotels: Lijiang luxury hotels: InterContinental Resort, Hotel Indigo or similar

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 8, Lijiang – Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Baisha Murals

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning, explore the holy mountain for Lijiang Naxi people - Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which offers breathtaking views of glaciers, valleys, alpine meadow and lakes and virgin forests. Besides, here’s your chance to watch the world’s highest open-air live show – Impression Lijiang.

Walk through a big wooden gate complex into the old town of Baisha, where there’re rare tourists so you’ll meet and even chat will local Naxi people. Soak up unique Naxi culture and art on a visit of Baisha Murals, a highest artistic achievement of Lijiang’s diversified religion and art.

Drive back to your hotel after taking a perfect photo beside the Black Dragon Pool

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 9, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Lijiang to Tacheng

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today, you begin the journey deep into Shangri-La, driving from Lijiang to Tacheng (3.5 hours’ drive). Stop en route to view the First Bend of Yangtze River and explore Tiger Leaping Gorge. Walk for a while to reach the observation platform to take in the breathtaking views of China’s most beautiful gorge and experience yourself again the magic of nature. 

Arrive Tacheng, located in the central hinterland of the UNESCO "Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas", part of the Shangri-La eco-tourism zone, and home to Lishu people.

Recommended hotels: Tacheng luxury hotels: Songtsam Lodges Tacheng

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 10, Tacheng - Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkey Nature Reserve

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Spend a full day to discover the beauty of Baima Snow Mountain and explore Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkey Nature Reserve, where you will see the most human-like animals on Earth. Besides the active wild monkeys, you may also encounter other wildlife from red panda, clouded leopard, bharal, and otter to various kinds to birds.

Hike on the mountain for nature, wildlife and discover a Lisu village named Bazhu. Experience yourself the life of living of Lisu people on this remote place.

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 11, Tacheng to Cizhong, Tongle Village

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today continue your journey into the mountains and on to Cizhong Village. This three and a half hour drive passes through several villages and towns. Stop by a local market in Weixi County, rambling to discover many local specialties, from herbs, mushrooms, meat to daily living goods are for sale.

Drive along a winding mountain path for a special visit of Tongle Village, a truly hidden gem. Hundreds of Lisu families have been living here for generations and established a traditional Lisu village with all-wood Muleng houses that built on the hillside.

Recommended hotels: Cizhong luxury hotels: Songtsam Lodges Cizhong

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 12, Cizhong Church, Cizhong to Deqin

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Cizhong Village is habituated mainly by Tibetan people and known as a “land flowing with milk and honey” in Shangri-La Region. Begin the day with a visit of Cizhong Church, a catholic cathedral but also blending Tibetan and traditional Chinese architectural style. Join the local villagers to attend the mass if it is Sunday.

Your guide will lead you to hike around the village to take in the sublime scenery and discover local traditions.

Drive for about 2 hours to get to Deqin, where sacred snow mountains, glaciers and more secret villages await.

Recommended hotels: Deqin luxury hotels: Songtsam Lodges Meili

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 13, Deqin – Meili Snow Mountain Sunrise, Mingyong Glacier

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Rise very early this morning to capture the incredible sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain ( Kawagebo ). Some consider it a bucket list experience. One of the most beautiful snow mountains in the world and a holy mountain for Tibetan Buddhists, Meili is shrouded in mist and clouds all year round.

Explore Mingyong Glacier sprawling from the glacierfi tongue at 5500m to Mingyong Village at 2800m, which looks like a huge flying silver dragon. Also visit the Prince Temple at the foot of Glacier.

Before transferring back to hotel, visit Feilaisi Temple.

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 14, Deqin to Benzilan, Buddhist Temple & Village Hiking

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Drive for about 2 hours through the Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve wilderness to Benzilan. Stop en route to visit Dongzhulin Temple of Bkah-brgyud-pa, built in 1667. It processes precious cultural relics including Buddha statues, pagodas, musical instruments for Buddhist events… View the First Bend of Jinsha River, which is so spectacular! Don’t forget to take some wonderful photos. 

After setting into your hotel, hike around the nearby original jungles and Tibetan villages, known for traditional Tibetan lacquer art applied on bowls.

Recommended hotels: Benzilan luxury hotels: Songtsam Lodges Benzilan

19 Days Beijing Xian Lijiang Tacheng Cizhong Meili Benzilan Shangri La and Shanghai Tour

Day 15, Benzilan to Shangri-La, Pottery Making, Dukezong Old Town

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Drive from Benzilan to Shangri-La, where human and nature coexist harmoniously, and the Tibetan traditions trace back thousands of years. Stop en route to explore Nixi Black Pottery Village nestled in mountains to admire the splendid pottery art. Here the traditional pottery technology has been continuous for more than one thousand years until today. You can observe the pottery making process and make your own pottery ware.

Later visit Napahai Nature Reserve to see seasonal plateau lakes and swamp meadows, which is the winter habitat of black-necked cranes and other migratory birds.

Reach Dukezong Ancient Town. Dukezong in Tibetan language means “a castle built on stone” and the Moonlight City. Set foot on its winding stone path to discover many legends and stories.  

Recommended hotels:

  • Shangri-La luxury hotels: Shangri-La Resort, Songtsam Lodges, Songtsam Linka or similar

Day 16, Shangri-La – Sumtsaling Monastery, Potatso National Park

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Spend the morning visiting the 17th-century Ganden Sumtsaling Monastery, which makes you feel you are amid an ancient Tibetan castle with golden-topped buildings and artistic decorated chambers. Discover many cultural relics and works of Buddhist art and see lamas live here.

For today’s lunch, if you wish, you will be invited into a local Tibetan home for a local flavor meal.

This afternoon experience the extreme serenity and take in sights at Potatso National Park, boasting a perfect eco-system of virgin forests, alpine meadows and rivers. You may encounter small cute wild animals like squirrels in the middle of the road. 

Day 17, Shangri-La to Shanghai

Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy the last minute immersing yourself in the heaven-like world of Shangri-La. Fly to Shanghai, China’s most futuristic city. What a dramatic contrast! Shanghai’s dynamic nightlife is a big draw. Enjoy a special dinner at a fancy revolving restaurant, overlooking the sky of Shanghai night. 

Recommended hotels:

  • Shanghai luxury hotels: Peace Hotel, Les Suites Orient Bund, Peninsula or similar
  • Shanghai boutique hotels: Hotel Indigo on the Bund, The Yangtze Boutique or similar

Day 18, Shanghai – Yu Garden, the Bund, Shanghai Tower

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning, your guide will introduce you the cultural and artistic treasures on display in Shanghai Museum. Admire their perfect workmanship and learn about the history and stories. Later visit a typical Jiangnan garden – Yuyuan Garden, a private mansion built in 1559, with more than 40 meticulously-preserved structures and a wide diversity of plants and flowers. And discover the cultural root of Shanghai at the Town God Temple area, where you’ll see many beautiful traditional architecture complexes and Shanghai’s most popular food street.

Take a brisk walking tour of the Bund to trace Shanghai’s colonial history back in 18th-19th Century. See over 50 colonial structures of different classical European styles. Then up Shanghai Tower, on the world’s highest observation deck, to snap photos of Pudong skyline.

After dinner, enjoy a magical acrobatics show that integrates tricks and dizzying effects (optional).

Day 19, Shanghai Departure

Meals: Breakfast

Free at leisure in the morning until you are escorted to Shanghai Pudong International Airport and fly back home. End of your 19 days China Shangri-La adventure.

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