Chengdu to Shangri-La Overland Tour
This epic journey through the heartland of Kham across the Tibetan Plateau to Shangri-la has attracted explorers and adventurers, pilgrims and traders. On this journey there are more and more people traveling through virgin forest, boundless grasslands and traditional Tibetan villages.
On the trip we will pay visit remote monasteries and search out the thousands of different blooming medicinal herbals throughout the Kham region. You will start your trip in Chengdu and go to Kangding, which is the main gateway Tibet and China. Lhagang is a very traditional Tibetan village which offers great short hikes around the grassy hillsides. Lithang is home to Tibetan warriors and also has the best horse festival in Tibet. Afterward, we will drive to Shangri-la, which is a popular destination of travelers throughout Tibet and China. Gyelthang supports over 7.000 species of native plants and 200 types of rhododendron. Shangri-la is known as the world’s George Forrest. More than 20 minorities have lived there for centuries, and the Gyelthang horse festival dates back to 17th century. Explore the mystical Shangri-la!
Departure Date: Year-round.
The cots: Contact us for tour price details.
Duration: 10 days and 9 nights.
On the tour, we will visit the Tibetan Area Kham in west Sichuan and Tibet part of north Yunnan. Besides, we will meet Naxi and Bai people in Yunnan. After having an experience of the leisure life in Chengdu, we will go to Kangding, on the way there, we will visit pandas in Wolong, the first panda reserve in Sichuan. The next destination is the Tagong grassland, honored as the most beautiful villages and rich Tibetan Buddhism culture. Then we reach Tagong, the “Buddha’s favorite place”. Afterwards we pass by Litang - the culture center of Kham, go to Yading, Daocheng. In Yading we walk among snowy mountains, holy lakes and alpine valleys. Continuing to Yunnan along the Jinsha (Golden Sand) Rive. We explore the myths of Shangri-La, feel the stories of Lijiang, follow the footsteps of Josef Rock, discover the ancient tea-horse-road, and visit Bai people and their traditional residences.
Day By Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Chengdu - Dartsedo(Kangding) 355km, 6 hours.
You will begin your Himalayan journey, heading to Dartsedo, today commonly known as Kangding in Chinese; it is one of the main gates between Tibet and China, Dartsedo is also the centre for the tea trade between Tibet and China. Tibetan traders carry herbal medicines from the high Tibetan Plateau to sell in exchange for tea grown in China. We’ll spend the night in Dartsedo.
Day 2: Dratsedo - Lhagang 135km, 2 hours.
Today we’ll drive to Lhagang, which is a very traditional Tibetan village surrounded by grassy rolling hills and you will discover excellent short hillside hikes here. Here the hills and valley are filled with romantic legend and gods. Lhagang Monastery is one of most important pilgrimage sites in Tibet and is surrounded by a perimeter wall of prayer wheels with over 100 stupas of various sizes. Also you will have a chance to spend the night with local Tibetan family.
Day 3: Lhagang - Lithang 265km, 5 hours.
Today we’ll drive to Lithang, the route takes us through the forest expanses of Tibet’s “wild west” to Lithang. Lithang, which is the world’s highest town on the high plateau in Kham region and home 2 incarnations of Dalai Lamas’ lineage. Once there we will rest to get acclimatized to the high altitude. We’ll visit the Lithang Monastery and see the traditional Tibetan villages around the town. The Lithang Horse Festival is widely known in Tibet and attracts thousands of foreign travelers from oversea. During the horse festival all the Kham people dress very traditionally and colorfully. Usually the horse festival is held in the first part of August. Spend the night at Lithang.
Day 4: Lithang - Daochen - Yading Nature Reserve.
After breakfast, drive to Yading Nature Reserve, en route pass Daochen, Enjoy the landscape on the way, if you find any beautiful place to stop by and take photos, you can just tell the driver accordingly. Stay overnight in Riwa town.
Day 5: Yading Nature Reserve Luorong Pasture / Yading [3,600m].
Morning take the local sightseeing bus to LongLong Ba, then hike or ride horse to Chonggu Temple (hike about 1 hour, horse ride about 20-30minutes, costs 40RMB up and 30RMB down), see the scenery of Chonggu Temple and holy peak Xiannairi. After that take the local storage battery bus to Luorong Pasture (about 15 minutes). After arriving at Luorong Pasture, you can choose to hike up to Milk Lake (4500m high) and Multi-color Lake (hike at least 3.5 hours), or you may consider to ride horse to visit Milk Lake (about 2-3hours, costs 300RMB/45USD per person). Afterwards return to Luorong Pasture and then take the bus to Chonggu temple, here you need walk down or horse riding to Longtong Ba. Stay overnight at Yading village guest house.
Day 6: Yading Nature Reserve [3,740m].
Morning take the local sightseeing bus to LongLong Ba, then hike or take a horse-riding to Chonggu Temple (hike about 1 hour, horse ride about 20-30minutes, costs 40RMB up and 30RMB down), see the scenery of Chonggu Temple and holy peak Chenrize. From Chonggu Temple trekking up to Drolma-la tso ( Pearl Lake) or take a green car (about 20minutes for one way, costs 40 RMB for round trip). Enjoy the breathtakingly landscape of Yading Natural Reserve and late in the evening ride the bus back to the Riwa town. Stay overnight in Riwa.
Day 7: Yading - Mt. Echu - Gezan - Shangri la 195kms / 5 hrs.
Today we’ll drive to Gyelthang, a very important trade route between East Tibet and Burma, Yunan and Northest India. Also Gyelthang Horse Festival is quite important in the Kham area. Today Gyelthang is also known as Shangrila. Once you are there in Shangrila, if you are not too tired from the long ride in the car, you can join the local people dancing in Tibetan circle dance at the old town of Shangrila.
Day 8: Explore Shangri La.
In the morning pay a visit to Sungtsenling Monastery and the grant prayer wheel, this prayer wheel is the largest Prayer wheel in the world. Afterward, to see the Napa lake Nature Reserve, which is the home to the black-necked crane in winter. Along the way visit traditional Tibet villages. Explore the old town once back in Gyelthang.
Day 9: Depart from Shangri La.
Leave Shangri la for your next destination by flight, our Tibetan guide and driver will drop off you at the Shangri la airport. End your tour.
- Leisure time in Chengdu
- Dujiangyan Irrigation System, UNESCO culture heritage
- Panda in Wolong, Giant Panda Habitat, UNESCO nature heritage
- Overland tour from West Sichuan to North Yunnan
- Meet Gyarong Tibetan, Khampa Tibetan, Naxi and Bai Minority
- 1000-year-old block houses and beautiful Tibetan villages
- Active Tibetan Buddhism monasteries: Tagong Monastery, Gyergo Nunnery, Litang monastery, Bangtuo Monastery
- Hiking in the fantastic landscape: Three holy mountains in Yading and Tiger Leaping Gorge.
- In search of “Shangri-La” at the “Lost Horizon” in northwest Yunnan
- Impression of ancient tea horse road
- One day biking in mystical Shangri-La
- Half day biking in Lijiang, UNESCO culture heritage
We must point out that you counter a basic tourism infrastructure in this region. You stay overnight mostly at simple hotel/guesthouse. Long journeys on bad roads and on high altitude and delays require good physical fitness, resilience and flexibility of the participants. Program and route changes due to unforeseen events are expressly reserved. If you desire the unknown and have an understanding of contingency, this is the right trip for you.
Map coming soon...