Finding Fabled Yunnan: Journey along the Tea Horse Road

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8 Days
Spring, Autumn
Lijiang
Shangri-La

Journey above the clouds to discover the history, culture, and traditions that converged along China’s ancient trade route. 

About this Journey

Together with LUX* Tea Horse Road and High Mountain Resorts, we’re thrilled to announce a new journey we’ve designed and developed together to provide a deeper immersion into the Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road that stretched from Southern Yunnan to Tibet.

What we love
  • Joining monks over butter tea at Songzanlin Monastery
  • Visiting Tibetan and minority villages and old trading posts along the Tea Horse Road
  • Taking a Naxi embroidery class in Lijiang
  • Dining in the shadow of the Meili Mountains
Where you're going
Itinerary

Day 1 - 2Lijiang

Enjoy VIP airport service upon your arrival at Lijiang Sanyi Airport • After breakfast, set off to visit your first stop along the Tea Horse Road – Lijiang’s three old districts, home to the Naxi people and other ethnic minority groups • Learn how to make traditional Naxi embroidery with local artisans • Explore the village’s well-preserved stone structures, with a view of the majestic snowcapped Jade Dragon Mountain in the horizon.

Day 3 - 4Benzilan

In the early morning, take a relaxing stroll under swaying willow trees along the Longdong River • Drive to Benzilan, with breathtaking views of the Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Gorge • Enjoy lunch at a scenic spot next to the Tiger Leaping Gorge • Get lost in a rainbow sea of flowers, unique to the region, at the Xiaozhongdian Meadow • Choose between a visit to Niding Forest Hike or to Balagezong Gorge.

Day 5 - 6Meili Snow Mountains

Set off in the morning for a drive through Moon Bay, where you can get a view of the U-shaped bend of the Jinsha River and Baima Mountain • Spend some time wandering through Tibetan Dongzhulin and Caishen Temples and observing the monks in prayer • Join monks in making a holy butter lamp – a traditional altar offering • Make your way to Feilai Temple for an unobstructed view of sacred Mt. Kawegebo – the highest peak of the Meili Snow Mountains and enjoy with its view.

Day 7 - 8 Shangri-La

Rise early for a golden sunrise over Mt. Kawegebo (if weather permits) • Spend time at Nixi Village on your drive to Shangri-La, once a key stop on the Tea Horse Road • Watch local craftsmen knead, fashion, and fire their famous black clay products • Stroll through the Dukezong Old Town, once an old trading post • Wander through the largest Tibetan lamasery in Yunnan, Songzanlin Monastery • Exchange stories over butter tea with the temple’s lamas • Enjoy a picnic lunch at Napa Wetland Park and explore its ephemeral lake on horseback • Spend an afternoon at the Shangri-La Craft Brewery.

Recommended Hotels
LUX* Tea Horse Road Sangushui

Located in the oldest settlement of the Naxi people, this luxurious 15-room retreat offers a corridor into thousands of years of culture. The Baisha Town resort blends traditional Naxi architectural elements with a contemporary flair. Rejuvenate to the sounds of the Yangtze River flowing parallel to the lodge and a breathtaking view of terraced Naxi-style rooftiles.

LUX* Tea Horse Road Lijiang

Tucked away in the cobbled lanes of Dayan Ancient Town is LUX* Tea Horse Road Lijiang. In the very heart of Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the rustic courtyard-shape residence embraces the traditional Naxi architecture, while delivering on exceptional modern comforts.3

LUX* Tea Horse Road Benzilan

Situated at the entrance of Benzilan, LUX* Tea Horse Road Benzilan offers an incredible gateway into Tibetan culture and locale. This luxurious mountain retreat – adorned with Tibetan architectural elements – is perfect for those getting ready to embark on a journey along the Tea Horse Road.

High Mountain Resort Deqin

Nestled high in the mountains, this cozy mountain retreat offers breathtaking views of the sacred Meili Snow Mountains. The Tibetan-style lodging, located at the foothills of the sacred Feilai Temple, provides comfort and tranquility after a day on foot or on horseback around Shangri-La.

High Mountain Resort Shangri-La

Located right beside Napa Lake, High Mountain Resort Shangri-La offers comfortable lodging for guests visiting the area. This 54-room serene escape is quietly tucked away among mountain ridges and around gentle verdant hills, with an unmatched view over the lake.

Recommended Seasons
Details

What’s Included

  • All overland transfers with private chauffeur and in-transport refreshments
  • All admission fees and activity expenses, as noted in the itinerary
  • All meals as noted in the itinerary with complimentary drinking water
  • Ground transportation, including airport transfers
  • Services of an English-speaking WildChina guide
  • Private chauffeur service to and from airport at start and end of your trip

What’s Excluded

  • International and domestic flights, domestic trains, plus relevant taxes
  • Chinese tourist visa, which is required for most foreign passport holders
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Meals, apart from those included in the itinerary, and alcohol
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Excursions and activities not included in the itinerary
  • Discretionary gratuities for guides and drivers
Why WildChina

We’re on the ground with you

Our team of advisors will design every detail of the trip with you through close consultation, then orchestrate your entire journey while on the ground. We’re in the same time zone as you, so we can fulfill requests and handle issues without a hitch. With over 40 staff in Beijing and an expansive network of operational partners across the country, we have the manpower to ensure your journey is safe, reliable and comfortable from beginning to end.

Your trip, your way

Flexibility is our highest-ranking compliment. We pull off journeys for pioneers with a 6-hour layover to Hollywood’s elite, and everywhere in between. Our team regularly pulls off unprecedented logistical feats; nearly any time frame or budget is within our realm. No matter how you wish to experience China, we are here to bring that dream to life.

We embody passion

WildChina guides are carefully handpicked for their knowledge and charisma, then meticulously trained to maintain our exceptional service standards. They are expert storytellers and passionate natives of the regions where they guide, having the perfect combination of local insights and service know-how to bring you seamless once-in-a- lifetime moments all across China.

The little things, the big picture

Supporting inspired local economies allows you to experience the soul of the destination, while also protecting and cultivating China’s artisanal culture. From watching artisans hand make shoes in Yunnan, to picking organic vegetables for dinner on a local farm in Fujian, our tours are designed to showcase and protect China’s heritage, both natural and human.