17 days | Kunming, Shilin, Dali, Shaxi, Lijiang, Shangri-La, Xiangcheng, Riwa, Litang, Tagong, Danba, Rilong, Dujiangyan, and Chengdu

Tour Highlights:

  • Traveling overland from Yunnan to Sichuan
  • The most beautiful places in northern Yunnan and its minority peoples
  • Magnificent landscapes on the Tibetan plateau between Shangri-La and Danba
  • Yading National Reserve
  • Peaceful villages are still little known by tourists
  • The giant pandas and the great Buddha of Sichuan
  • Small, charming, evocative hotels and a night with Naxi locals in Yunnan
  • Culinary specialties: Yunnan Cross bridge rice noodle and Sichuan hot pot

DAY 2: ​ARRIVE IN KUNMING     1900 m alt.


  • Drive to Shilin(1h30/2hrs) and visit the Stone Forest famous for its karst formations.
  • Transfer to Shilin station and take the high-speed train to Dali (2h30).
  • Arrive in Dali, welcome by your new driver, and drive to your hotel.
DAY 4: DALI XIZHOU SHAXI        2100 m alt.

  • Drive to Xizhou Village (30 minutes) and visit the lively morning market.
  • Then drive to Shaxi (130 km/2h30).
  • Explore the Shibaoshan Grottoes and Baoxiang Temple on foot.
  • Descent by a small path towards the Shadengqing Valley (1h30/2hrs) if possible, or the journey will be continued by vehicle.
DAY 5: ​SHAXI LIJIANG        2400 m alt. 

DAY 6: LIJIANG – SHANGRI-LA        3300 m alt.

  • Mountainous road to Shangri-La (4h30).
  • On the road, discover the Tiger Leaping Gorge. This gorge is one of the deepest canyons in the world.
  • Stroll in the old town of Shangri-La. Visit the Guishan Temple and its huge prayer wheel.
  • Participate in the spontaneous Tibetan dances in the evening of the locals in the old town square.
DAY 7: SHANGRI-LA – XIANGCHENG        2850 m alt.   

  • Discover the Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Yunnan.
  • You have some time at leisure to wander around Napa Lake.
  • Transfer by vehicle to the Tibetan town of Xiangcheng (220 km/5h30-6hrs).
  • On the way, stops to admire the beautiful scenery along the Yangtze River and Dongwang River valley as well as to meet a Tibetan family.
  • In the evening, take part in the dances on Hongxing Square, located in front of the Longue Marche Museum.

  • Discovery of Sampeling Monastery, with beautiful wood carvings, paintings, and frescoes.
  • Transfer to Riwa (4hrs/4h30), you will have the opportunity to meet and drink a cup of yak butter tea with Tibetans (from the end of April to the 3rd week of May).
  • Visit the Gongling Monastery, located in the valley of the azaleas.
  • Arrive at the town of Shangri-La (also called Riwa in Tibetan) and free walk.

  • Sightseeing of the Yading Nature Reserve
  • Take a battery car to the Luorong Pasture and rent a horse to ride along the wooded paths around the farm.
  • Return by battery car to Zhaguanbeng (30 minutes), from where you can visit Chonggu Monastery.
  • If time and physique allow, you can visit Pearl Lake, located at the foot of Chenrezig Mountain.
  • Return to Riwa (1hr/1h30).
DAY 10: RIWA – LITANG        4014 m alt.

  • Road to Litang (250 km/4h30-5hrs).
  • On the road, the possibility of making stops for photos of the herds of yaks, Tibetan nomads, etc.
  • Arrive in Litang, visit the Litang Monastery, the oldest and largest monastery of the yellow cap sect in Tibetan Kham.
DAY 11: LITANG – TAGONG        3730 m alt. 

  • Depart to Tagong (220 km/4h30).
  • On the road, a short stop at Xinduqiao village, a place of pilgrimage for photographers.
  • Arrive in Tagong, visit the Tagong Monastery. Surrounded by snow-capped Yala Mountains, Tagong Monastery is at Sakyapa School. It is also nicknamed the little Jokhang by its resemblance to that of Lhasa.
DAY 12: TAGONG – DANBA        1800 m alt.  

  • Hike around Tagong Monastery.
  • Transfer to Danba (110 km/3hrs).
  • On the way, discover the Huiyuan Monastery, the temporary residence of the 7th Dalai Lama in 1729 and birthplace of the 11th Dalai Lama.
DAY 13: DANBA – RILONG        3200 m alt.

  • Discover Zhonglu and Jiaju villages.
  • Visit the Qiang watchtowers of Suopo Village. They were built by the Qiang and date back 700 to 1200 years. They were used both for worship, for the storage of precious goods, and intimidated would-be attackers.
  • Drive to Rilong (115 km/2h30-3hrs).
DAY 14: RILONG (Mount Siguniang)

  • One day is devoted to discovering the amazing scenery of the Mount Siguniang Nature Reserve.
  • Mount Siguniang (also called Mount of the Four Girls) preserves picturesque glaciers, plateau lakes, waterfalls, and primitive vegetation. The highest is considered “Queen of the Sichuan Mountains”, with an altitude of 6250 m.
DAY 15: RILONG – DUJIANGYAN – CHENGDU        500 m alt.

  • Drive to Chengdu (230 km/4h30-5hrs).
  • On the road, visit the Qingcheng Mountain, considered the cradle of Taoism by many faithful.
DAY 16: CHENGDU, RETURN FLIGHT        500 m alt.

  • Visit the Giant Panda Research and Breeding Center.
  • Stroll in Renmin Park, a haven of peace in the heart of the bustling center of Chengdu.
  • Stroll along the Wide and Narrow Alleys of Chengdu (Kuan Zhai Xiangzi).
  • Transfer to Chengdu airport for your return flight.

  • Arrive home with good memories in mind.


Source: https://www.cielyunnan.com/circuits-yunnan-deux-semaines-et-plus/aux-confins-du-yunnan-et-du-sichuan/

Price reduced if you are more than 6 persons.

Price per person based on With driver With driver + An English-speaking guide
2 persons 1 730 $ 2 726 $
4 persons 1 257 $ 1 740 $
6 persons 1 103 $ 1 428 $

Price includes

  • The mentioned hotels with breakfast.
  • Transfers by private vehicle with a driver during the whole journey. For the group without a guide, if necessary, the driver will also act as a guide.
  • Accompaniment by English-speaking guide from the 4th day (if this option has been chosen).
  • For the group without a guide, a smartphone will be given on your arrival. You will always be in touch with our 24-hour service. We are going to offer you restaurants with its locations, you can also try cashless payment anywhere in China (we are using less and less cash in China for payment).
  • Accommodation and meals for your guides and drivers.
  • The high-speed train ticket: Kunming/Dali (second class).
  • Air tickets: Shangri-La/Chengdu (economy class, tax included).
  • One bottle of mineral water per day per person.

The price does not include

  • International flights.
  • Lunches and dinners.
  • Entrance tickets for tours and activities, to be paid for directly on site.50% reductions sometimes for travelers over 60, free possible for those over 70.
  • Tips for guides and drivers (It is recommended of 160 RMB / day in total for the driver guide).
  • Accident, repatriation, and health insurance.
  • The visa fees.

Warm Tips:

  • You can also check out our organized small group tours here
  • To facilitate your stay, we suggest that you change your quotes on arrival and departure at the current exchange rate. The formalities to be completed in Chinese banks are particularly tedious.

Hotels offered

For each city, we have recommended two or three hotels for you to choose from below. The first hotel listed has been pre-selected by Ciel Yunnan.




Kunming Home Inn Plus Cuihu Moon and Chalice Boutique Hotel Silver Chest Boutique Hotel
Dali Yanyuan Mountain Retreat Xizhou Sky Valley Heritage Boutique Hotel Linden Centre Hotel
Shaxi Aoding Courtyard Hotel Aoding Courtyard Hotel Wuliu Inn
Lijiang Bivou Hotel Zinc Journey Arro Khampa Songtsam Linka Lijiang
Shangri-La Karma Cafe Guesthouse  Zinc journey Arro Khampa Songtsam Lvgu Hotel
Xiangcheng Zhaxi Grand Hotel Zhaxi Grand Hotel Zhaxi Grand Hotel
Riwa Ramada Encore Hotel Holiday Inn Express Daocheng Yading Holyland Hotel
Litang Tsangyang Gyatso Hotel Tsangyang Gyatso Hotel Tsangyang Gyatso Hotel
Tagong Duwang Hotel Duwang Hotel Duwang Hotel
Danba Sangzhukang Hotel Danba Sangzhukang Hotel Danba Sangzhukang Hotel Danba
Rilong Clouds Inn Dongfang Fengya Hotel Dongfang Fengya Hotel
Chengdu Xinliang Hotel Buddha Zen Hotel Courtyard Hotel
Supplement/Person /  90 $  265 $

If you have more days for your trip, it’s possible to add/choose the extensions/excursions associated with this trip.

  • Jianshui and Yuanyang (+ 3~4 days): With 150,000 hectares, the rice terraces of Yuanyang were classified as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2013 and consider to be the largest and most beautiful one in Asia. They are also home to the Hani, Yi, Dai, and other ethnic minorities, and those groups still retain their traditional customs and habits. Jianshui, a former stopover on the Southern Silk Road, is also known as a Confucian pilgrimage center. Every September, the locals worship Confucius in the temple dedicated to him, the second largest in China. The local culinary specialties such as Jianshui roast tofu are famous in Yunnan.
  • The authentic Nuodeng Village in Yunlong (+1 day): Located 180 km from Dali, on the old tea and horse road leading to Tibet and Burma, Nuodeng is a small village perched on the hillside and accessible only on foot. On-site, you have the opportunity to visit one of the oldest salt wells in the region. The steep streets of this village lead to the imposing temple of Confucius and his monastery located at the top of the village, which enjoy a superb view of the valley.
  • Wumu and Baoshan (+ 2~3 days): Built at the beginning of the Mongolian dynasty, Baoshan and Wumu are the two most beautiful villages in Yunnan. Perched on a natural promontory, these fortified Naxi villages overlook the Yangtze. The scenery on the river and the terraced fields are breathtakingly beautiful.
  • Lugu Lake (+ 1~2 days): Located north of Lijiang on the border with Sichuan, Lugu Lake, with an average depth of 40 m, is the second deepest lake in Yunnan. It stretches over an area of 48 km², and its crystal-clear deep blue waters combined with coniferous forests offer a sumptuous landscape. Travelers can ride a horse around Lugu Lake or drive the canoes to the three islands inside it.

When to go?

You could do this trip all year-round. But the best seasons for this tour are in spring (between April and early June) and in Autumn (between September and early November) for the mild temperature. The summer in Yunnan is pleasant, and the climate remains temperate, but it is hot in Sichuan. The monsoon brings its share of rains from July to early September, but that will not be a problem for this cultural route.

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