Code: YUNNAN03

5 Days Yunnan Essence Tour from Lijiang to Shangri-La

► Route: Lijiang Old Town Lashi Lake Shuhe Ancient Town Baisha Murals Tiger Leaping Gorge Shangri-La Dukezong Ancient Town Meili Snow Mountain Mingyong Glacier Songzanlin Monastery Potatso National Park
Day 1 Lijiang Old Town Day Tour
In the morning, it is recommended that you go to the Lashi Lake from the Lijiang Old Town to experience the charm of this plateau wetland. You can enjoy the waterscape and flowers, take photos, go boating, and ride a horse along the lake. From December to February the next year, tens of thousands of water birds come here to spend the winter, which is a lovely scene at the Lashi Lake.

► How to Get There: A taxi takes 30 minutes and costs CNY 30 to 40 from the old town to Lashi Lake. Or you can take bus line 31 or 32 from Zhongyi Market stop near the south entrance of the Lijiang Old Town, get off at Anzhong Village bus stop, and then walk 10 minutes west to the lake. It takes about 1 hour and costs CNY 4.
► Opening Hours: 9:00 – 19:00
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 3 to 4 hours
► Ticket Price: CNY 30; extra fees for boating and horse riding.

After lunch, return to the Lijiang Old Town in the way you came by taxi or bus, and start a walking tour. The Lijiang Old Town, also called Dayan Old Town, is the core treasure of Lijiang’s World Heritage. You can visit the Mu’s Residence to know the summit of the local ancient architecture, wander through the intricate alleys, taste delicious food, and climb up the Lion Mountain to have a panoramic view. In the evening, you can relax yourself in the bustling bar street.

► Best Attractions: Big Waterwheel, Sifang Street, Mu’s Residence, Lion Mountain, Qiyi Street, Wuyi Street, Dayan Huaxiang, Bar Street, Big Stone Bridge, Naxi music and dance show…
► Opening Hours: The town opens all day long; Mu’s Residence: 8:30-17:30; Lion Mountain: 8:30-18:30.
► Recommended Time for a Visit: one day
► Ticket Price: CNY 50 for the Old Town Maintenance Fee; separate charges for small attractions inside.

Day 2 Shuhe Ancient Town, Baisha Murals & Yuhu Village
Today you are recommended to explore the more secluded and beautiful places. The first is the Shuhe Ancient Town, which boasts a layout similar with the Lijiang Old Town, but with fewer tourists, and you can enjoy a better sightseeing experience.

► How to Get There: Take a taxi from Lijiang Old Town to Shuhe in 20 minutes at a cost of CNY 20. Or take the bus line 111 from Dayan Huaxiang to the south entrance of the Shuhe Ancient Town, taking 50 minutes and costing CNY 2.
► Opening Hours: All day long
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 3 hours
► Ticket Price: Free

The major destination of this afternoon is the Yuhu Village. On the way, you can drop by the Baisha Ancient Town, famous for its mysterious ancient murals. You can take a taxi to get there in 10 minutes at a cost of CNY 10 to 15, or take bus line 6 from Shuhe Wenming Village to the town in 30 minutes for CNY 2. The town is free to enter all day long. The mural exhibition hall inside is open from 8:00 to 17:30, and requires a ticket of CNY 30.

After appreciating the murals, continue to go northward to the Yuhu Village, a primitive village inhabited by Naxi people at the foot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

► How to Get There: Take a taxi from Baisha Town to Yuhu Village in 20 minutes at a cost of CNY 30. Or walk 20 minutes east to the Baisha Zhuantai stop to take bus line 17 running to the village. It takes one hour and costs CNY 2.
► Opening Hours: All day long
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 3 to 4 hours
► Ticket Price: Free

An Austrian American explorer Joseph Charles Francis Rock (1884-1962) arrived in 1922 and lived here for 27 years. His writings and photos recorded the way of life of Lijiang and Naxi people. You can learn about his stories at the Former Residence of Rock in the village. The ticket price is CNY 40.

The main peak of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Shanzidou, is just like a protective deity of the village and can be seen from anywhere. You can hike through the village or ride a horse to the edge of Jade Lake to admire the majestic snow mountain and its reflection. If you still have time, the nearby attractions like Yuzhu Qingtian and Dongba Gods Garden are recommended.

In the end, take a taxi back to the Lijiang Old Town, taking 40 minutes and costing CNY 60 to 70. Bus is not recommended for it needs transfers and takes more than 2 hours.

Day 3 Tiger Leaping Gorge between Lijiang and Shangri-La
Get up early in the morning and head for Lijiang’s most famous hiking resort with breathtaking scenery, the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

► How to Get There: Take the bus leaving at 8:00 from Lijiang Bus Station to the Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge. It takes 2 hours and costs CNY 25.
► Opening Hours: 8:00 – 18:00
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 2 hours
► Ticket Price: CNY 65 for entry from Lijiang; CNY 45 for entry from Shangri-La

After a simple hike of the Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge, get back to Hutiaoxia Town, where you can catch a bus to Deqin. If you miss the direct bus to Deqin, you can take a 2-hour bus to Shangri-La, and then transfer to a bus to Deqin in 3.5 to 4 hours. The bus fare totals about CNY 120.

After arriving at Deqin Bus Station, transfer to a minibus to the Feilai Temple Sightseeing Platform and stay overnight in a nearby hostel. It takes about 20 minutes to arrive and costs CNY 5 to 10. If you can get there before dark, you can enjoy the sunset scenery of Meili Snow Mountain on the sightseeing platform.

► Note: CNY 228 for a combo ticket of Meili Snow Mountain, including the Great Bend of Jinsha River, Wunongding Sightseeing Platform, Feilai Temple Sightseeing Platform, and Mingyong Glacier.

Day 4 Meili Snow Mountain & Mingyong Glacier
The sunrise over the Meili Snow Mountain is a must-see. The sunrise times vary from 6:30 to 8:15 throughout the year. You can check the specific daily sunrise time on the bulletin board at the Feilai Temple Sightseeing Platform the evening before, or ask the hotel staff.

Get up on time in the morning, and go to the sightseeing platform to wait for the sunrise. If the weather is clear and cloudless, you can see the wonder of ‘Golden Mount Meili’, bringing you good luck for the year. Every winter from November to the next May, when the weather is fine and the air is dry, the chances of seeing a sunrise are greater.

Meili Snow Mountain is honored as a sacred mountain in Tibetan areas. On the sightseeing deck, there are 13 white pagodas, representing the 13 peaks of the mountain, and making a good foreground for shooting the snow mountain. The main peak Kawagebo, tall in the center, looks extreme sacred and elegant in the golden glow.

After staying at the sightseeing platform for about one hour, you are recommended to head for the Mingyong Glacier to explore the ice and snow scenery in the hinterland of the Meili Snow Mountain.

► How to get there: Around 8:00 every morning, there are local cars running from Feilai Temple Sightseeing Platform to the Mingyong Glacier. You can share a car with other travelers. It takes 40 to 50 minutes to reach the glacier and costs CNY 20 per person.
► Opening Hours: 8:00 – 18:00 (last entry before 16:00)
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 3 to 4 hours
► Ticket Price: CNY 78 included in the combo ticket of Meili Snow Mountain.

Mingyong Glacier, with a history of tens of thousands of years, is the largest and longest valley glacier with the lowest elevation in Yunnan Province. In winter, its ice tongue can stretch 11.7 km (7.3 mi) in an arc from the Meili Snow Mountain at an altitude of above 6,000 m (19,685 ft) down to the primitive forest at 2,800 m (9,186 ft), just like a silver dragon.

At the entrance, buy a ticket of the battery car which costs CNY 75 for a round trip to the starting point of the plank road. Walk up the sightseeing plank road to approach the glacier. This is a beginner's hike that takes 3 to 4 hours and can be completed by normal tourists in good health. If you are not fit enough, you can also hire a horse at the entrance of the scenic spot to ride up the mountain.

After visiting the glacier, share a car with other travelers to go to Deqin Bus Station. It takes 1 hour and costs about CNY 30 per person. From Deqin Bus Station, take a bus to Shangri-La. The bus departing at 14:40 is recommended.

► Bus Schedule: 8:30, 10:50, 12:30, 14:40, 16:30
► Distance: 192 km (119 mi)
► Duration: 3.5 hours
► Fare: CNY 62

Upon arrival, take a taxi to the Dukezong Ancient Town of Shangri-La to stay overnight. It takes 10 minutes and costs CNY 15. Bus line 1 can also takes you there in 30 minutes at a cost of CNY 1. The town is free of charge. You can have a stroll to its central Moonlight Square to appreciate the large prayer wheel and the delightful night view.

Day 5 Shangri-La Day Tour
On the last day, you are recommended to visit the Potatso National Park in the morning.

► How to get there: There are 3 buses running from Shangri-La Bus Station to the Potatso National Park, departing at 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30. You are recommended to take the earliest one. It takes half an hour for a single trip and costs CNY 15. Please check with the driver for the time of the return bus. You can also hire a taxi to go there at a cost of CNY 70 to 100 for a single trip.
► Recommended Touring Routes: Luorong Village Hiking Route with a length of 2.2 km (1.7 mi), featuring primitive paths, alpine forests and streams; Shudu Lake Ring Route with a length of 3.3 km (2.1 mi), featuring lakeside plank road, wetlands, water plants, and small wild animals.
► Opening Hours: 8:30 – 16:00
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 3 to 5 hours
► Ticket Price: CNY 80

After lunch, you can head for the Songzanlin Monastery for a visit. Grand in scale and exquisite in architecture, the monastery houses many religious artifacts and precious cultural relics, like a museum of Tibetan art.

► How to Get There: A taxi from the Potatso National Park to the monastery takes half an hour and costs CNY 80 to 100. Alternatively, you can take a bus from the park back to downtown Shangri-La (half an hour, CNY 15), and take a taxi to the monastery in 10 minutes at a cost of CNY 10.
► Opening Hours: 8:00 – 18:00
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 2 to 3 hours
► Ticket Price: CNY 90

From Shangri-La, you can take a bus back to Lijiang or Dali, or take a plane or bus to Kunming for your return trip.