An-Ciel-Yunnan-1-200x20017 days | Kunming, Dali, Weishan, Shaxi, Lijiang, Shangri-La, Tsetang, Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse

Tour Highlights:

  • Experience the life of different minorities in Dali, Shaxi, Lijiang, Shangri-La, and Tibet
  • Untouched and splendid scenes of Yunnan and Tibetan Plateau
  • Gradually increasing altitude allows you easily to acclimatize with highland
  • The Potala, Gyantse, and Shigatse, the passion of the pilgrims, shaggy yaks, the momo

  • Flight to Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, located in southwestern China.
DAY 2: ​ARRIVAL IN KUNMING      1900 m alt.

  • Arrive in Kunming, you’re met at the airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel by private car.
  • You can take a stroll to Green Lake Park, which is close to your hotel. It is the most well-known garden with a history of 300 years.
  • Visit the Yuantong Buddhist Temple.
  • Kunming specialty: The Cross bridge rice noodles.
DAY 3: KUNMING – SHILIN – YUANYANG      1800 m alt. 

  • Drive to Shilin (1h30/2hrs) and visit the Stone Forest famous for its karst formations.
  • Drive to Yuanyang(5hrs), and you will see the rice terraces along the mountain road as soon as you arrive. On the way, stop at the fruit market at Lengdun village.
  • Watch the glowing sunset at the “Bada” viewpoint.

  • Watch the majestic sunrise over the rice terraces in the village of Duoyishu. The rice terraces reflect the light from the sun like thousands of mirrors.
  • Explore a colorful ethnic market, with local people wearing their distinctive traditional dress. It’s a good opportunity to get a feel for their lifestyle.
  • Take lunch with the villagers of Malaohe Yi village.
  • 2 hours hiking through beautiful landscapes made up of rice terraces and small villages.
  • Visit several well-known scenic views along the rice terraces: Bada, Malizhai, Quanfuzhuang, etc.
DAY 5: ​YUANYANG – JIANSHUI     1350 m alt

  • Departure by the mountainous road to Jianshui (168 km/3h30), one of the most remarkable old towns in South Yunnan.
  • On the road, visit Tuanshan Village to see its traditional architecture that dates back to the Qing Dynasty.
  • Take a short visit to the Double Dragon Bridge.
  • Explore China’s second-largest Confucian Temple.
  • Visit Chaoyang Tower dating back to the Ming Dynasty.

  • Sightseeing of the Zhu Family Garden, built in the late nineteenth century by wealthy traders.
  • Drive to Kunming Railway Station(3h30/4hrs) and take the high-speed train to Dali.
  • Arrive in Dali, discover the old town of Dali and the Catholic Church with Bai architecture.

  • A free day to explore the Xizhou village and its surroundings.
  • Visit the lively Xizhou morning market.
  • Stroll in the village of Xizhou to discover its old houses. Xizhou was a very important stopover on the tea and horse route, and its many families worked between Yunnan and Tibet for the business of tea, silk, precious stones, etc.
  • In the afternoon, you can take a bike ride from Xizhou village to the shore of Erhai Lake and enjoy the beautiful landscapes on the road.
DAY 8: DALI – XIZHOU –  SHAXI      2100 m alt.

  • Short drive to Zhoucheng Village, which is famous for its batik factory.
  • Then drive to Shaxi (110 km/2h30).
  • Explore the Shibaoshan Grottoes and Baoxiang Temple on foot.
  • Walk down by a small path towards the Shadengqing valley (2hrs) or return by vehicle.
  • Stroll in the Shaxi village at leisure, admiring its 14th-century Ming Dynasty buildings. You’ll see vignettes of daily life.
DAY 9: SHAXI – LIJIANG     2400 m alt. 


  • Drive to Tiger Leaping Gorge (2h30).
  • Discover the Tiger Leaping Gorge from the Hutiaoshi viewpoint.
  • Departure by the mountainous road to Shangri-La (120 km/2h30).
  • Stroll in the old town of Shangri-La.
  • Participate in the spontaneous Tibetan dances in the evening of the locals in the old town square.

  • A nice walk around Napa Lake.
  • Discovery of the Songzanlin Monastery which is the most important lamasery in Yunnan.
  • Optional tour: Take lunch with a Tibetan family.
DAY 12: SHANGRI-LA – LHASA       3400 m alt.

  • Fly to Lhasa.
  • Arrival and welcome by your English-speaking guide, and then transfer to Lhasa city (97 km/1h30).
  • Visit the Sera Monastery, and it is a monastic training center in Tibet still welcoming many young monks and pilgrims today.
  • Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to wander through the old town, including Barkhor Square.
DAY 13: LHASA – YAMDROK-TSO – GYANTSE       4040 m alt. 

  • Departure by road to Gyantse (260 km/8hrs, including 5h30 driving).
  • Along the way, you will have a superb panorama of Yamdrok-Tso Lake.
  • Passage through the Karola Pass (5000 m) and its view of the imposing Nojin Kangtsang Glacier.
  • Arrive in the old town of Gyantse, renowned as one of the prettiest towns in Tibet.
  • Visit the Palkhor Monastery, and it is one of the few Tibetan temples dedicated to the three sects, the Yellow Hat sect, the Red Hat sect, and the Colored sect.
DAY 14: GYANTSE – SHIGATSE       3830 m alt. 

  • Depart to Shigatse (93 km/2hrs).
  • A short visit to Shalu Village.
  • Visit Tashilunpo Monastery, a must-see monument for a visit to Tibet. It was founded in 1447 by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama.
DAY 15: SHIGATSE – LHASA      3650 m alt. 

  • Visit the local morning market of Shigatse.
  • The road along the Yarlung Zangbo River towards Lhasa (265 km/5hrs).

  • Visit the Potala Palace, which is the seat of the Dalai Lamas.
  • Discover the Norbulingka Palace, and its gardens are filled with bright flowers and dense trees, dotted with Tibetan-style palaces. For this reason, it is nick-named the Lhasa Summer Palace.
  • Free time before transfer to Gongar airport for your return flight.

  • Arrive home with good memories in mind.

Extension 01: You can take the train from the Tibetan Plateau to Xining, the capital of Amdo. During this journey on the highest train in the world, you will see very beautiful landscapes: snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes, as well as herds of domestic and wild animals. After exploring the city of Xining, you return home by plane via Chengdu, where you will visit giant pandas and the Giant Buddha (4 days).

Extension 02: For people wishing to explore Tibet in-depth and Everest, you can continue your journey from Shigatse to Sakya Town and Rongbuk Monastery. You need 3 more days.


Source: https://www.cielyunnan.com/circuits-yunnan-deux-semaines-et-plus/yunnan-tibet-aux-confins-de-lhimalaya/

Price reduced if you are more than 2 persons.

Price per person based on With driver With driver + An English-speaking guide
2 persons 2 283 $ 2 903 $
4 persons 1 664 $  1 970 $
6 persons 1 493 $ 1 693 $
Price includes
  • The hotels are mentioned in the itinerary (includes breakfast).
  • Transfers by private vehicle with the driver during the whole journey. For the group without a guide, if necessary, the driver will also act as a guide.
  • Accompaniment by an English-speaking guide from the 3rd 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.
  • Entrance tickets to Potala Palace (must be reserved in advance).
  • Domestic flights: Shangri-La/Lhasa (Economy class).
  • The permit to travel to Tibet.
  • 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 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 120 RMB / day in total for the driver guide).
  • Accident, repatriation, and health insurance.
  • The visa fees.

Warm Tips:

  • You can also check out our Yunnan-Tibet 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 Sofitel Hotel
Yuanyang Havre de paix DuoYiWan Huawowo Inn (No. 2 Courtyard) Twelve Manor•Terraces Lodge
Jianshui Lin An Inn Hanlinyuan Boutique Hotel Jianshui Tingziyun Resort Hotel
Dali E-outfitting Boutique Hotel Sky Valley Heritage Linden Center Hotel
Shaxi Shaxi Aoding Courtyard Hotel Shaxi Aoding Courtyard Hotel Shaxi Wuliu Inn
Lijiang The Bivou Hotel Zinc Journey Arro Khampa Songtsam Linka Hotel
Shangri-La Karma Cafe Guesthouse Zinc journey Arro Khampa Songtsam Hotel Lvgu
Lhasa Dekang Hotel Shambhala Place Hotel St. Regis Lhasa Resort
Gyantse Yeti Hotel Yeti Hotel Yeti Hotel
Shigatse Tashi Choten Hotel Qiaomulangzong Hotel Qiaomulangzong Hotel
Supplement/Pax                    / 202 $ 457 $

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

  • 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 Mongol 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 can do this trip all year except the months between March and early April (Tibet is closed to foreign travelers). But the best seasons are spring and autumn (April, May, June, September, and October) for the mild temperatures. In Yunnan and Tibet, the summer is pleasant, and the climate is cool. Although it rains from July to the beginning of September in Yunnan, it will not pose any problem for your cultural trip.

Yunnan climate’s info:

Dali is a region with a mild climate that travelers can visit all year round. Rarely very cold in winter, summers are constantly cool and the thermometer rarely goes above 30 degrees.

It is cold in Shangri-La in winter from December to March of the following year. The temperature is 10 degrees during the day and below zero in the evening. Warm clothes are essential.

Lijiang: Winters in Lijiang are sometimes cold, but never wet. While the winter days remain pleasant (average of 15/20 degrees). Summers are often hot (sometimes 30 degrees during the day) but never excessive. This pleasant climate is suitable for exploring the region all year round.

Tibet climate’s info:

 – May, June, September, and October are the best months to travel or take outdoor activities in Tibet, for the mild temperature in the day with the nice light, the day clear and dry.

From November to April: the dull season, with very few tourists and prices tumbling. It’s ice-cold, but the landscape is also attractive. Please notice, on the plateau with cold weather, so visitors should foresee difficult conditions.

July and August: peak season, had better avoid. It gets rain, especially near the Himalayas, and is usually cloudy.

Tibet entry formalities

For your trip to Tibet, it must have:

  • Chinese Visa;
  • Tibet Entry Permit: get it by an authorized travel agency holding a government license. And it is also necessary to follow an itinerary defined by the agency.

– It is best to do this at least 2 months in advance.

– We will provide you the necessary documents to obtain the Chinese visa, and we will also be in charge of the Tibet Entry Permit application.

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