How to Plan a Shangri-La Tour

Shangri-la is no doubt an amazing place in Diqing of Yunnan Province. In Tibetan language, its name means the sun and moon in the heart. Shangri-La, with an average elevation of about 3459 meters, is regarded as the pearl on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It owns unique beauty in the world and is a paradise in real life. Whether in China or in the world, this wonderland is always people’s dream world, full of mystery and tranquility. As James Hilton wrote in his book lost Horizon, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, lush forests and beautiful blue lakes, so harmonious and fair, it is a real Shangri-La, a true paradise exists in this world. It will be an unforgettable experience to spend at least 1-3 days in Shangri-la, an earthly paradise. You will immerse yourself in the historical ancient town, mysterious monasteries and picturesque lakes, as well as meet the enthusiastic and hospitable Tibetan people. Surely, combining Shangri-la tour with Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and other popular destinations will delight you more. 

Choose a Gateway City

Choose a gateway city in China to take a flight or rent a car to Shangri-la. Kunming and Lijiang are the most popular gateway cities to start a shangri-la tour among tourists. Moreover, you can also start your tour from Beijing, Shanghai and other cities to appreciate more about China’s charm.

Make Travel Duration Sure(How Long to Stay)

Visit Shangri-la in one day

If you only spend one day visiting Shangri-la, you are recommended to visit the most famous Lamaist monasteries like Songzanlin Monastery, Baiji Monastery and Dabao Monastery in Shangri-La, or cycle around the Napahai Lake and visit some Tibetan Villages to discover the Tibetan culture. During a day trip, Songzanlin Monastery is not to be missed.

1 Day Shangri-La Lamaist Monasteries Tour
1 Day Napahai Lake Cycling Tour with Tibetan Village and Songzanlin Monastery

Visit Shangri-la in 2-3 days

If you want to visit more main attractions in Shangri-la, 2-3 days may be enough.

What to Do for 2-3 days Tour in Shangari-la

2 Days Kawa Karpo Meili Snow Mountain Tour from Shangri-La
2 Days Shangri-La Tacheng Snub-nosed Monkey National Park Tour from Shangri-La
3 Days Shangri-La Niru Village Hiking Tour

Travel Shangri-la in 4-7 days

For a 4-7 days tour in Shangri-la, You can add some adventure to your journey and more fully experience the beauty of Shangri-la.

What to Do for 4-7 days Tour in Shangari-la

  • Step into Ganden Sumtseling Monastery to experience Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Enjoy the natural scenery of Pudacuo National Park.
  • Go cycling around the Napahai Lake.
  • Start your hiking adventure tour at Tiger Leaping Gorge.
  • Take a walk in Dukezong Ancient Town.
  • Explore the ethnic villages and discover the profound culture of local Tibetan.
  • Visit the magnificent natural scenery of snow mountains, glaciers, canyons, forests, meadows, lakes and fresh air.
  • Enjoy the splendid view of Meili Snow Mountain and the beautiful scenery of Haba village and Baishuitai on route.

4 Days Shangri-La City Tour
5 Days Haba Snow Mountain Climbing Adventure (Camping at 4800M) with Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour
7 Days Shangri-La Meili Snow Mountain and Yubeng Village Trekking Tour

Tour Shangri-la in more days

If you are planning a tour to Yunnan for more than 7 days, Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-la Classic Tour is recommended. You can start your classic tour by high-speed bullet train or by flight. During the tour, you will:

  • Visit the highlights of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-La.
  • Step into ethnic villages to meet colorful and mysterious ethnic cultures.
  • Hiking along the Tiger Leaping Gorge to feel the grotesque and raging rapids of the magnificent gorge.
  • Discover the ethnic culture of Yis, Bais, Naxis and Tibetan.
  • Visit the famous attractions of Yunnan: Stone Forest, Dali Old Town, Three Pagodas, Erhai Lake, Lijiang Old Town, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Songzanlin Monastery and Pudacuo National Park and the like.

8 Days Yunnan Classic Tour by High Speed Bullet Train
8 Days Yunnan Classic Tour by Flight
8 Days Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-La Overland Tour
8 Days Best Yunnan Small Group Tour-Kunming-Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-La

Read more: Shangri-la Tour

Make the Tour Theme Sure

Shangri-la tour involves many theme tours, such as Hiking Tour/Trekking Tour, Monastery Tour, Cycling Tour, Monkey Tour, Rafting Tour, Meili Snow Mountain Tour, Ethnic Minority Tour, Classic Tour, Bird watching tour, Panorama Tour. Tour packages including Shangri-la range from one day to 46 days.

Hiking Tour/Trekking Tour(Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tours)

When it comes to Shangri-la hiking tour, there must be Tiger Leaping Gorge. Tiger Leaping Gorge is spectacular and crown as the deepest gorge in the world. Foreign backpackers started hiking in the area in the 1980s and now Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour has been one of the most famous hiking tour all around the world. If you want to hike at Tiger Leaping Gorge only, there are 1-3 days Tiger Leaping Gorge hiking tours you can choose. Furthermore, tiger leaping gorge is divided into Shangri-la section and Lijiang Section, therefore, this hiking tour usually starts from Lijiang, and you can visit the highlights of Lijiang, like Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Lijiang Ancient Town, before trekking tour. Accordingly, 1-2 more days need to add.

Monastery Tour, Cycling Tour and Monkey Tour

Tourists usually need to spend 1-2 days for a monastery tour, a cycling tour or a monkey tour. These three different travel themes have different highlight; Lamaist Monasteries in Shangri-la are really worth visiting as the unique buildings. For a monastery tour, the highlight is to visit the most famous monastery in Shangri-la – Songzanlin Monastery; For a cycling tour, the highlight is going cycling around the Napahai Lake in the morning. You can not only enjoy the wonderful scenery of Napahai Lake, but also discover the Tibetan ethnic culture when visiting the Tibetan villages on the way; The highlight of monkey tour is to watch the snub-nosed monkey in Tacheng Black Snub-Nosed Monkey National Park of Weixi County

Rafting Tour

River rafting could be a very exciting experience in a foreign country. A rafting on Yangtze River makes the tour more interesting and special. The First Bend of Yangtze River Rafting tour takes at least 3 days, and after finishing the tour at Qiaotou Town(Or Tiger Leaping Gorge Town), you can transfer to visit Tiger Leaping Gorge.

3 Days The First Bend of Yangtze River Rafting and Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour
7 Days the Upper Yangtze River Rafting Tour from Deqin to Lijiang

Meili Snow Mountain Tour

Located 10 kilometers northeast of Deqin County of Yunnan Province, sitting on the border of Yunnan Province and Tibet, Meili Snow Mountain is one of the most sacred mountains of Tibetan Buddhism. In the 1930s, they were praised by American scholars as the most beautiful mountains in the world. Meili Snow Mountain boasts numerous snow-clad ridges and peaks, thirteen of which are more than 6,000 meters above the sea level. The highest peak Kawagebo, which rises to 6,740 meters, has never been summited. Facing the main peak of Meili Snow Mountain, Feilaisi is famous for its viewing deck for amazing sunrise and sunset view of snow mountains.

Yubeng Village Trekking

Yubeng Village is known for the beautiful valley it lies in and the trekking which departs from it. Under the extraordinary craftsman by nature, Yubeng village is called the miniature version of the real Shangri-La. When trekking in Yubeng Village, tourists will have a sense of walking in Shangri-La. Located at the back of the Meli Snow Mountain, it is surrounded by mountains. Because of its unique location, there are only 20 households living here and connects outside world only with one small road. Yubeng Village is divided into upper village and lower village. From upper village, tourists can go to the base camp of the Joint Sino-Japanese, while from the lower village, tourists can go to Yubeng, Ancient Seal Character and other scenic spots. Therefore, Yubeng village trekking is usually associated with Meili Snow Mountain. 

Tour packages including Meili Snow Mountain take at least 5 days: 5 Days Shangri-La Discovery with Meili Snow Mountain Pilgrimage; 7 Days Shangri-La Meili Snow Mountain and Yubeng Village Trekking Tour.

Haba Snow Mountain Climbing Tour

Haba Snow Mountain is the best mountain for climbing tours in Yunnan with an elevation of 5396 meters in the summit. Haba Snow Mountain allows you to experience the typical process of climbing a snow mountain. It is not a hard climbing route. The most difficult is to overcome the altitude sickness. For 5 days Haba Snow Mountain climbing tour, you will have one more day for adapting high altitude from Base Camp to Base Camp 1. If you often go to high altitude areas and want to have a try to reach the summit of a mountain at 5396 meters, please don’t hesitate to join our snow mountain climbing tour. And usually, before the climbing tour, you will experience the magnificent Tiger Leaping Gorge first on the way. 

4 Days Haba Snow Mountain Climbing Adventure with Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour
5 Days Haba Snow Mountain Climbing Adventure (Camping at 4800M) with Tiger Leaping Gorge Tour
7 Days Haba Snow Mountain Climbing Tour and Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking Tour

Others Tours

A Yunnan classic tour takes at least 7 days, during the tour, you will visit the highlights of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-la and discover the ethnic culture of Yi, Bai, Naxi and Tibetan. For a birding watching tour, except for visiting the highlights of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-la, beautiful lakes in Yunnan including the Green Lake, Dianchi Lake, Erhai Lake, Lashihai Lake, Lugu Lake, Napahai Lake and the like will be visited. As for a Panorama Tour, it will spend a long time since this tour is usually designed to cover most of the popular places in Yunnan , even China. 

There are a lot of tour packages including Shangri-la, we can’t list all of them at a time. Read more about Shangri-la tour, contact us YunnanExploration by Email: or Telephone: +86-871-63511469. Our attentive consultants will arrange the tour packages you choose or customize a tour according to your need.

Know the Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit Shangri-la

The best time to visit Shangri-la is May to October, especially from May to June. 

May to June: Through the end of spring and early summer, it is the most beautiful time of Shangri-La because of the full bloom of rhododendron(but the bloom time may delay along with the change of weather). In the middle of June, there are wild flowers in blossom, such as irises.
July to August: All kinds of wild flowers bloom. However, it is at a time of rainy season.
September to October: Rich colors of autumn beauty are suitable to photography.
November: The month of first snow with single color and cold weather.
December: Tourists can appreciate black-necked crane and snowy scenery.
Crowded Season: Chinese Spring Festival(Late Jan. or early Feb.), Labor Day(May 1-3) and National Day(Oct. 1-7). Read more: Shangri-La Climate

What to Eat in Shangri-la

Foods in Shangri-La are dominated by highland features, such as highland barley, buttered tea, yak beef, yoghurt and Zanba, which you can eat in the highland areas of China. Even more noteworthy is the Tricholoma matsutake, mainly produced from Shangri-La, it is a rare wild plant with rich nutrition. In addition, Pipa meat is also worth a try. It is a Tibetan bacon named for its appearance looks like Pipa, a traditional Chinese instrument.

Where to Stay in Shangri-la

With the popularity of Shangri-La in the world in recent years, more and more people come to visit this wonderland. Shangri-la has many modern or traditional Tibetan hotels to choose from. You can choose your favorite hotel during the Shangri-La tour, because the right hotel can make your days on the plateau more comfortable. You can choose to live in the downtown of Shangri-la, where there are many more options. You can also live in Dukezong Ancient Town, where is not far from the downtown and convenient to eat and shop. It is quieter than staying in the downtown. Read more: Shangri-La Accommodation

How to Get in Shangri-la

Three popular ways to Shangri-la: airplane, car and long-distance bus. 

1. By Flight

There are 42 flights on 10 different routes from Shangri-La Diqing Airport, connecting Shangri-la to 10 different cities. The most popular routes connect Shangri-La to Kunming, LhasaChengduChongqing and Xi’an. There are flights from Kunming to Shangri-la everyday and takes only 55 mins. Boarding procedures should be completed 90 minutes prior to flight departure time. Check-in counters are closed 30 minutes before flight departure. The specific requirements should follow the passenger guides shown on air tickets. 

2. By Car or Long-distance

Except airport, the highway is the main transportation to Shangri-la. You can rent a car or take a long-distance bus to Shangri-la. Many people choose to go to Shangri-la by long-distance bus because they can have different experiences of the scenery along the way. Buses to Shangri-la are available from Kunming, Lijiang, Dali and Deqin in Yunnan Province, Panzhihua, Daocheng Yading and Xiangcheng in Sichuan Province, as well as Lhasa in Tibet.

3. By Train

The Lijiang-Shangrila Railway is under construction. After the completion, it will take six hours from Lijiang to Shangri-La. Read more: Shangri-La Transportation

Prepare for the Tour

What to Know

1. Know some basic information about Shangri-la, Yunnan and China, which can help you understand the local culture well.

2. Learn some tips about prevent altitude sickness.

3. Do not move too fast due to the high elevation.

4. Eat more vegetable and fruit, as well as drink more water may help you acclimatize to high altitude in Shangri-la.

What to Take

1. Pay attention to keep warm. Because of the relatively high altitude, the temperature difference is large between day and night, it is suggested to  bring the thick coat and windproof jacket. Outdoor clothing will be good.

2. Pay attention to sun protection. Due to the strong solar radiation in the daytime, sun cream, sun hat, sunglasses and other sunscreen products will be needed.

3. Do remember to take the umbrella and rain gear in the rainy season, especially in July and August.

4. Bring some medicines for emergency, like cold medication and medicines for preventing altitude sickness.

5. Don’t forget your Chinese visa and passport. If you will go further to Tibet, Tibet travel permit is also required.

Main festivals 

As the main minority inhabited in Shangri-La, Tibetans created brilliant culture and customs, among which the unique traditional festivals of Tibetans enjoy high reputation and attract tourists home and abroad to visit. These festivals include Horse Racing Festival, Dengba Festival, Gedong Festival and the like. More Shangri-La Festivals and Activities.

Best Things to Do

1. Experience the Buddhist Culture at Songzanlin Monastery

Built in 1679, Songzanlin monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple complex in Yunnan province and one of the famous monasteries in the Kang region, which belongs to the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism of the Gelukpa order of the Dalai Lama. It is reputed as the Little Potala Palace due to its complex of Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Located in the capital of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, it is also the most important monastery in southwest China. Each year from 26th to 29th November in Tibetan calendar, Gedong festival is held there. 

2. Go Cycling along Napahai Lake

With a total area of 31.25 square kilometers and an elevation of 3266 meters, the state-designated wetlands area Napahai Nature Reserve is located in Shangri-la city, Yunnan province. Established in 1984, it is a wetland ecosystem protection zone to plateau seasonal lakes and marsh meadows. The natural reserve is flat, surrounded by mountains. When October steps in, flocks of black-necked cranes, bar-headed geese, white cranes, sheldrakes regularly come here looking for food and for fun. You can go cycling along the Napahai lake or ride a horse on the grassland to enjoy the beautiful view. 

3. Take a Walk in Pudacuo National Park

Being one of the most bio-diverse regions in China’s Yunnan Province, Pudacuo National Park is the first national park in Chinese mainland which was announced on June 25, 2007. With its crystal-clear lakes, undulating mountains and gurgling streams, Pudacuo National Park is definitely a wonderful natural wonderland. Among China’s 2,500 nature reserves, Pudacuo is the only one meets the standards for national parks established by The World Conservation Union. In addition to its rare vegetation and mammal species, the stunning natural beauty of landscape is unmissable for visitors as well.

4. Enjoy the Splendid View at Meili Snow Mountain

Meili Snow Mountain is the highest peak in Yunnan Province and one of the four holy mountains of Tibetan Buddhism. It is known as the most beautiful snowy mountain in the world and is famous for its rich and precious medicinal herbs. We have to mention that the sunrise above the Meili Snow Mountains, when sunlight goes through the clouds and reflects on the mountain, the summit of snow mountain changes its pure white color to gold, which lasts only about 20 minutes, and it is rare seen in life.

Read More: Shangri-La Attractions