14 Days Yunnan Cycling Tour from Shangri-La to Lijiang and Dali

In this 14 Days Cycling Tour from Shangri-La to Lijiang and then to Dali. You will enjoy the top attractions of Shangri-La, Lijiang and Dali. Moreover, you will pass by many wonderful sceneries such as Baishuitai Terraces and Tiger Leaping Gorge, etc. Besides natural sceneries, you will step into ethnic villages of Tibetan, Naxi and Bai to fully appreciate the ethnic cultures and daily lives of local people. Spend your leisurely time in ancient towns such as Dukezong, Lijiang and Dali Ancient Town. This is a wonderful cycling tour of Yunnan.


  • Cycling along the Ancient Tea-Horse Trade Road with the fabulous natural views of Yunnan – national parks, snow mountains, grand canyons, rapid Yangtze River and blue lakes.
  • Meet colorful ethnic villages and tribal groups to appreciate the diverse ethnic cultures of Yunnan.
  • Visit ancient towns with profoud history and ethnic cultures – Dukezong Ancient Twon, Baisha Old Town, Lijiang Ancient Town, Shuanglang Old Town and Dali Old Town.

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Shangri-La Arrival
  • Day 2: Shangri-La
  • Day 3: Shangri-La – Baishuitai
  • Day 4: Baishuitai – Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Day 5: Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge – Daju Town
  • Day 6: Daju Town – Yulong Snow Mountain – Baisha
  • Day 7: Baisha – Lijiang Ancient Town – Baisha
  • Day 8: Lijiang – Lashihai – Shigu
  • Day 9: Shigu – Jianchuan – Shaxi
  • Day 10: Shaxi – Liantie
  • Day 11: Liantie – Xiashankou
  • Day 12: Xiashankou – Dali – Shuanglang
  • Day 13: Shuanglang – Haidong – Dali
  • Day 14: Dali Departure

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1  Shangri-La Arrival

Sightseeing and Activities:Arrive in Shangri-La

Arrive in Shangri-La. Picked up by the tour guide and transferred to your hotel.

Day 2 Shangri-La

Sightseeing and Activities:Songzanlin Monastery, Naphai Lake, Dukezong Ancient Town, Guishan Hill, Tibetan Family

Cycling to Songzanlin Monastery in the morning, after lunch, ride around Naphai Lake and the grassland. Visit Dukezong Ancient Town and the largest Prayer Wheel on the top of Guishan Hill. Enjoy the Tibetan Family with Tibetan dance and music at night.

Day 3 Shangri-La-Baishuitai

Sightseeing and Activities:Pudacuo National Park, Baishuitai, Haba Snow Mountain

We begin with a short transfer out of town, passing through arid plateau on towards Pudacuo National Park where to start the day’s cycling. We set off on the bikes with a downhill stretch on good road and continue during the day to cycle a series of valleys and mountains through a changing rural scenery gradually descending to the village of Baishuitai. Our final stretch of the route brings us through conifer forest. Located below the Haba Snow Mountain(the other side of Tiger Leaping Gorge), Baishuitai is famed for its natural mineral terraced White Water Tables created by calcium carbonate deposits from the melting mountain spring water.

Day 4 Baishuitai-Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge

Sightseeing and Activities:Haba village, Yangtze River Valley
Accommodation:Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge

We set off today with a few gentle hills before challenging a more serious climb. Once we reach the top of the pass we will have views of the magnificent Haba Mountain peaks. The highest point is at a dizzying 5,396m. With alpine moraine lake, endless clusters of azalea and waterfalls cascading down snow-covered cliffs, the glacier on the Haba Snow Mountain is the southmost glacier in China. We make a short descent into Haba Village, whose resident minorities include Naxi, Hui (Muslim) and Yi peoples, as well as a few Tibetans. 

This afternoon we climb to our next pass then cycle down into the Yangtze River Valley. At the village of Yonke we turn into the legendary Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world’s deepest ravines. Cutting its path between Haba Mountain and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain your surroundings will be as dramatic as the place names suggest.

Day 5 Tiger Leaping Gorge – Daju Town

Sightseeing and Activities:Tiger Leaping Gorge
Accommodation:Daju Town

Enjoy the nice view of Tiger Leaping Gorge today. A day off the bikes and time to enjoy your beautiful natural surroundings. The home of ancient Lijiang culture, there are a series of caves populated in ancient times where you can see rock paintings and artifacts that tell the story of times past. At the mouth of the gorge is the famed Tiger leaping boulder where the pounding waters swirl dramatically and legend has it that the mythical big cat crossed the river.
Ride to Daju Town for overnight.

Day 6 Daju Town-Jade Dragon Snow Mountain-Baisha

Sightseeing and Activities:Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Baisha Old Town

Trip to Baisha Old Town and Former Residence of Shali in Lijiang

From the west end of the gorge we cycle towards the Yangtze, and up over the pass with a long 1475m climb up the southern slope of the Dragon Snow Mountain for 36km to the top. Then is downhill all the way to Lijiang. Snow-capped and often shrouded in mist, Dragon Snow Mountain is a sanctuary for rare animals and wild plants with unique micro climates on the different slopes. It is also known as a natural glacier museum and is now a famous scenic spot for tourists and scientific research.
We ride down from the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and arrive at Baisha Old Town in the late afternoon.
Stay at Baisha Holiday Resort Lijiang which is a typical Naxi ethnic courtyard with a nice view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain from a far.

Day 7 Baisha – Shuhe- Lijiang Old Town-Baisha

Sightseeing and Activities:Shuhe Old Town, Lijiang Old Town, Black Dragon Pool, Dongba Culture Museum

Black Dragon Pool in Lijiang

Ride 3 KM from Baisha Old Town to Shuhe Old Town in the morning.
Surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery, Lijiang Old Town is a well-preserved city of diverse ethnic minorities, rich in traditional culture. With narrow streets and traditional buildings, the Old Town is built along the lie of mountains and the flow of rivers. We have a day off the bikes to wander the cobbled lanes, learn about Naxi culture and marvel at the detail and blend of architectural influences in the town. The stone bridges and intricately carved buildings lead away from a central square in four directions which ever way you wander you’ll follow lanes decoratively decked in traditional lanterns and an array of flowers. 
Ride to visit Black Dragon Pool and Dongba Culture Museum after visiting Lijiang Old Town.
Ride 10KM back to Baisha Old Town in the afternoon.

Day 8 Lijiang-Lashihai-Shigu

Sightseeing and Activities:Lashi Lake, Shigu Town, First Bend of the Yangtze river

Lashihai Lake in Lijiang

Leaving Lijiang we cycle a gentle 8km to reach the beautiful Lashi Lake (New Basin), a nature reserve rich in biodiversity. The endangered black necked crane can be seen here. The Naxi and Yi minorities live in this area. We loop around the lake beginning on paved road which leads us through Naxi villages. The terrain becomes rougher as we loop back. Joining a bigger road, we continue on uphill towards a 2,900m pass through a scenery of fields and pine forest with the white towering peaks of Jade Dragon Snow mountain coming into view.

Over the pass, we cycle down toC encountering the famous First Bend of the Yangtze River where the waters take a dramatic 90 degree turn. The the Red Army crossed the Yangtze here en route to Tibet and a sculpture marks the spot. We take a boat to cross to our accommodation for the night.

Day 9 Shigu-Jianchuan-Shaxi

Sightseeing and Activities:Shaxi Old Town

Shaxi Ancient Town in Dali

We cycle mainly downhill today through more rural landscapes of mountain and valley following the old Tibet highway.  There is little in the way of traffic and toward the end of today’s ride we journey through a forest of Eucalyptus and conifers to reach the traditional Shaxi Old Town. Known as the last Tea Horse town Shaxi village is home of the Bai people, a matriarchal community where children take their mother’s name.

With more sunshine, annually than California the area has rich natural biodiversity. Victorian botanists and flower hunters were drawn here to collect specimens for the ornamental gardens of Europe and America including orchids, roses, rhododendrons, azaleas, and magnolias, to name but a few. There is an interesting Caravan Museum in the town.

Day 10 Shaxi-Liantie

Sightseeing and Activities:Heihui River

Heihuijiang River, Dali

We have a gentle day, we leave Shaxi riding through valley along the Heihui River passing farms and rice terraces.  We pass through several small villages. The road was used by the horse caravans transporting tea and salt between villages travelling as far as to Tibet and India. It was named the tea horse road because of the common trade of Tibetan ponies for Chinese tea. 
We arrive in Liantie Town of Eryuan County in the late afternoon.

Day 11 Liantie-Xiashankou

Sightseeing and Activities:Xiashankou Hot Spring Village

We begin cycling with a tough but scenic 22km climb up CangShan mountain taking us to the pass at 3,022m. There is an exhilarating 22km downhill on the other side, though we need to take care over the rough surfaced road. We ride another 10 km to reach XiaShanKou Hot Springs Village where we can soothe our sore muscles in the famous hot springs.

Day 12 Xiashankou-Dali-Shuanglang

Sightseeing and Activities:Erhai Lake, Shuanglang Town

We set off for our last day on the bikes as we head to the historical town of Dali. We cycle along a flat paved road between the towering Cangshan Mountain range and Erhai Lake. One of China’s largest freshwaters Er Hai is an alpine fault lake. Its name means “Ear-shaped Sea”.

Ride along the Erhai Lake to Shuanglang Town.

Day 13 Shuanglang-Haidong-Dali

Sightseeing and Activities:Erhai Lake, Haidong Town, Dali Old Town

Today cycle around Erhai Lake from Shuanglang Town to Dali via Haidong Town.
Arrive in Dali Old Town in the late afternoon.

Day 14 Dali Departure

Sightseeing and Activities:Departure from Dali

Departure from Dali. Service ends.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostels
Shangri-La Shangri-La Hotel E-outfitting Boutique Hotel Bodhi Boutique Hotel Wu Fu South Yunnan Boutique Inn
Baisha Solo Wandering Snow Mountain Manor Prajina Homestay Baisha Holiday Resort Lijiang Zhuzhu Zaijia Inn
Lijiang InterContinental Lijiang Ancient Town Resort E-outfitting Boutique Hotel Liwang Hotel Flowers Hall Inn
Shaxi Shaxi Lanlinge Hotel Shaxi Aoding Courtyard Shaxi Xia La Zhe Yododo Inn Another Encounter
Dali Hilton Dali Resort and Spa E-outfitting Boutique Hotel Gnosis Hotel Fengxuegucheng

Service Included:

  • Admission fees for all of the sightseeing spots listed in the itinerary;
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary;
  • Hotels as listed in the itinerary;
  • Private English-speaking tour guide;
  • Private vehicle for transfers & sightseeing with skilled driver;
  • Service charge & government taxes;
  • Luggage transfers between airports and hotels.

Service Excluded:

  • Any arrival and departure international airfares or train tickets;
  • Chinese visa fees;
  • Excess baggage charged by Airlines;
  • Single room supplement;
  • Tips to guides and drivers;
  • Personal expenses and gratuities to service staff;
  • Personal travel accident insurance;
  • All optional programs.