7 Days the Upper Yangtze River Rafting Tour from Deqin to Lijiang

This is a 7-day rafting tour in Jinsha River which is the upper reach of Yangtze River in Shangrila and Lijiang. It will take you to experience the wonderful scenery along the Jinsha River from Benzilan Town to Tiger Leaping Gorge. Most of the rafting is easy, but you have to challenge the 3-class water in the exciting trip. You also visit the wonderful attractions such as the Great Moon Bend of Jinsha River in Deqin County, the First Bend of Yangtze River in Shigu Ancient Town, as well as the deepest gorge in the world in Tiger Leaping Gorge. 


  • Experience the exciting trip by rafting.
  • Enjoy the encharting landscape and breathtaking view on the way.

Brief Itinerary:

  • Day 1 Shangrila-Benzilan Town
  • Day 2 Benzilan Town-Kaizhongshui Village
  • Day 3 Kaizhongshui Village-Tuoding Town
  • Day 4 Tuoding Town-Tacheng Town
  • Day 5 Tacheng Town-Judian Town
  • Day 6 Judian Town-Jinjiang Town
  • Day 7 Shigu Ancient Town-Tiger Leaping Gorge Town-Lijiang

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Shangrila-Benzilan Town

Sightseeing and Activities: Dongzhulin Monastery, the Great Bend of Jinsha River
Accommodation: Benzilai Town
Meals: Lunch

Arrive in Shangrila, transfer to Benzilan Town in Deqin County. Visit Dongzhulin Monastery and the Great Bend of Jinsha River. Prepare for the Jinsha River rafting tour from Benzilan Town.

Day 2 Benzilan Town-Gelangshui Village-Jiangtong Village-Kaizhongshui Village

Sightseeing and Activities: rafting, upper Yangtze River
Accommodation: Camping at Kaizhongshui Village
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, start the rafting tour in the upper Yangtze River from Benzilan Town to Kaizhongshui Village.
Camping at Kaizhongshui Village.

Day 3 Kaizhongshui Village-Luotong Village-Cilatong Village-Tuoding Town

Sightseeing and Activities: rafting
Accommodation: Camping at Tuoding Town
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Raft in Jinsha River-the upper reach of Yangtze River from Kaizhongshui Village to Tuoding Lisu Autonomous Town. Camping at Tuoding Town.

Day 4 Tuoding Town-Wujing Town-The Ancient Iron Bridge-Tacheng Town

Sightseeing and Activities: rafting
Accommodation: Camping at Tacheng Town
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Raft in Jinsha River-the upper reach of Yangtze River from Tuoding Town to Tacheng Town. Camping at Tacheng Town. 

Day 5 Tacheng Town-Jigong Rooster Stone-Shangjiang Town-Judian Town

Sightseeing and Activities: rafting
Accommodation: Camping at Judian Town.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Raft in Jinsha River-the upper reach of Yangtze River from Tacheng Town to Judian Town. Camping at Judian Town.

Day 6 Judian Town-Jinzhuang Town-Zhongxin Village-Jinjiang Town

Sightseeing and Activities: rafting
Accommodation: Camp at Jinjiang Town
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Raft in Jinsha River-the upper reach of Yangtze River from Judian Town to Jinjiang Town. Camp at Jinjiang Town.

Day 7 Shigu Ancient Town -Longpan Town-Tiger Leaping Gorge Town-Lijiang

Sightseeing and Activities: rafting, First Bend of Yangtze River to Tiger Leaping Gorge Town
Meals: Breakfast

Raft from the First Bend of Yangtze River to Tiger Leaping Gorge Town, finish the rafting tour and transfer to Lijiang City.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostels
Benzilan Town / / / Songtsam Benzilan Hotel
Kaizhongshui Village / / / Camping
Tuoding Town / / / Camping
Tacheng Town / / / Camping
Judian Town / / / Camping
Jinjiang Town / / / Camping

Service Included:

1. Cooker, English-speaking tour guide, skilled driver, boatman.
2. Camping equipment ;
3. Rafting fee;
4. Accommodation(camping);
5.Meals as mentioned;
6.All land transfers & transportation with an air-conditioned coach;
7. A van which is used to carry the camping equipment;
8.All entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary;
9.Service charge & government taxes.

Service Excluded:

1.Any arrival and departure international airfares or train tickets;
2.Chinese visa fees;
3.Excess baggage charged by Airlines;
4.Tips to guides and drivers;
5.Personal expenses and gratuities to service staff;
7.Personal travel accident insurance;
8.All optional programs.

Travel Tips:

1.Always wear a life jacket, or personal flotation device (PFD).
Although just because you wear a life jacket, it doesn’t mean it will save your life.  It must be worn correctly. All buckles must be clipped and the jacket should be fitted snug to your body.  The trick here is to have the jacket fitted so you can breathe yet the jacket should not be able to be pulled up over your head.  Always have your professional guide fit your jacket.  This will insure a perfect fit.

2. Make sure you have the right outerwear for the day.
In early Spring, the water may be a little chilly. Wearing a wet suit, splash jacket, and proper river shoes can make the trip much more comfortable, allowing you to enjoy the thrill without the chill.  Some outfitters rent this gear.  A reputable outfitter will have gear for you.  Find out before you book if the outfitter has gear for you. Raft Masters includes this gear as part of the package at no additional cost.  On the other side of the spectrum: be prepared for sunny clear days. This can be accomplished by wearing quick drying clothing like polypro and wearing sunscreen and a cheap pair of sunglasses with UV protection.  Raft Masters sells sun screen, sunglasses, and straps for your sunglasses so you don’t lose them.  Remember sunburns can happen fast at higher elevation and can be severe.   Sunburns or hypothermia are no fun.

3.Hold the paddle properly.
Holding the paddle properly can be a huge safety concern.  One hand should be at the base of the paddle on the shaft.  The other hand should ALWAYS be on the end of the shaft over the “T” grip.  The “T” grip is made of hard plastic and can blacken eyes and knock out teeth.  Keeping your hand over the “T” grip will keep control of the paddle and cushion the blow if it should happen.  Ask your professional commercial guide for the proper technique.

4.Stay in the boat!
This sounds like common sense, but it can happen.  One minute you are in the boat and the next you are swimming next to it.  When rafting, pay attention and watch for rocks coming from downstream.  Your guide may use a command called “Bump” just before the boat hits a rock.  If your guide calls out, “Bump!” lean in while placing your paddle “T” grip on the floor of the boat.  Make sure you still keep your hand over the grip.  If the “Bump” command is executed correctly your blade end of the paddle will be up in the air and your fist over the grip will be on the floor of the boat.  This should keep you in the boat. After the boat collides with the rock, return to your seat and be ready to paddle.  If you fall out of the boat, the most important thing to do is… DON’T PANIC!  Find your boat.  Most times when someone falls out of the boat they pop up right next to the boat.  Grab it so you don’t float away.  If you are a couple of feet away from the boat, swim to the boat.  If you pop up and you are far from the boat, look for other rescue options, other boats or the riverbank. Remember, there are two riverbanks for your convenience, one on either side of the river. If you are panicking you won’t think about getting back to the boat and the rescue becomes more difficult.  Your guide will go over this in great detail during the safety talk before the trip.

5.Know the proper swimming techniques
When swimming in the river, whether you fall out or you jump in for fun, there are two techniques.  The first is the “Down River Swimmers Position”.  This is on your back, nose and toes to the sky with your head up so you can see where you are going. Feet down stream with your knees slightly bent.  This way if you come in contact with a rock you can use your feet and legs as shock absorbers and push off the rock.  Arms should be out to your side to help keep yourself in control.  A helpful hint here: keep your butt up.  If you sit with your butt low in the water, you will find a rock and bring home some interesting bruises.  Guys, keep your legs together.  If you hit a rock we call this “romancing the stone. “ There is no romance for a couple of weeks afterwards.  The second swimmers position is becoming more popular and more excepted in rescue situations.  This position is on your stomach doing your best Michael Phelps impersonation.  Point to where you want to go and go.  Swim until you are out of the river.  Again your guide will explain when it is best to use which swimming position.
If you choose to swim to the shore, swim all the way to the shore. NEVER stand up in moving current.  Most guides never walk in water over their shins.  This prevents a situation called “Foot Entrapment” which is where you put your size 9 foot in a size 8 hole or crack in the bottom of the river.  This is not a good place to be but it is so easy not to get in this situation, just don’t walk in the river.  It is just that easy.

6.Listen to your guide during the safety talk and on the water.
Your experienced Raft Masters’ guide is trained to know exactly how to handle any type of situation encountered while on the river.