Songzanlin Monastery
Essence of Shangri-La
Home China Tours Yunnan Tours 4-Day Shangri-La Exploration Tour

4-Day Shangri-La Exploration Tour

Shangri-La, located in the mountainous area in the northwest of Yunnan, means 'the sun and the moon in the heart' in Tibetan. It is the paradise that James Hilton described in his novel. It is the homeland loved by local Tibetan people.

This 4-day Shangri-La tour will not only impress you with the charming landscape and the holy Songzanlin Lamasery but will also connect you with local people. They will give you the best explanations about Shangri-La.


  • Visit the biggest lamasery in Yunnan Province — Songzanlin Lamasery — to listen to stories about the Gelug.
  • Talk with a lama in his dormitory's study room. Get close to the lama's lifestyle and inner world.
  • Explore the quiet Nixi Tibetan village to see a homeland loved by Tibetan people.
  • Visit a Tibetan family's house on the bank of Napa Lake to discover their hospitality and hardworking nature.
  • Learn how to paint a thangka and take the good wish from Shangri-La back home with you.
Day 1Shangri-La Arrival

Meet your guide in the arrivals hall at the airport. A private vehicle will transfer you directly to your hotel. Your guide will help you to check-in. Relax for the rest of the day.

Hotel options:
The 5th Meteorite ∙ Light-year Hotel
Songtsam Retreat at Shangri-La

Day 2Songzanlin Lamasery, Visit a Lama's Dormitory, and Pudacuo National Park Tour

breakfast and lunch

Visit the largest Tibetan Buddhist lamasery in Yunnan Province – Songzanlin Lamasery – which was built in the style of the Potala Palace in Lhasa and represents the Tibetan culture, housing Buddhist statues and many precious cultural treasures.

After visiting the halls of the lamasery, your guide will take you to a lama's dormitory right by the lamasery. You will have the chance to get a glimpse into the lama's lifestyle. The lama will be happy to answer your questions about his study and religious beliefs and practices.

Have an authentic Tibetan lunch in a local restaurant. Your guide will recommend some typical Tibetan dishes.

Songzanlin Lamasery Songzanlin Lamasery
Talk with a lama in his dormitory Talk with a lama in his dormitory

Then you will visit Pudacuo National Park. It retains a well-preserved ecosystem within the virgin forests. The must-see scenery in this park is Shudu Lake. Shudu Lake is surrounded by a forest of fir, spruce, and silver birch, and is home to lots of wild animals, such as squirrels, golden cats, and pheasants.

Pudacuo National Park Pudacuo National Park

Day 3 Nixi Tibetan Village, Visit a Tibetan Family, Napa Lake, Shangri-La Old Town, and Learn about Thangka

breakfast and lunch

You will get close to the lifestyle of local Tibetan people in the morning. After a 40-minute drive from Shangri-La, you will arrive in Nixi, which is in a valley. Walking along the peaceful country road, you will see what the villagers are growing in the fields and see some cows wandering around.

Nixi Pottery Village is known for making traditional black pottery. About 70 of the 100 families in the village are engaged in this business. Your guide will show you a small black pottery workshop. A famous local craftsman might be making a clay pot while you're there.

Nixi Tibetan village The black potteries made by local Tibetan people

Visit a Tibetan family's house on the way back. Your host will show his/her hospitality with some homemade Tibetan snacks. Sit down and talk with the family members. You will understand more about the lifestyle of Tibetan people.

Drive around Napa Lake to enjoy the scenery along the way. The green lake, blue sky, and peaceful villages form a picture of paradise. Your guide will remind you to stop at some good places for pictures.

Napa Lake Napa Lake

Drive back to Shangri-La for lunch. Afterward, your guide will show you around the old town, including the Depositary of Buddhist Texts.

Finally, you will visit Shangri-La Thangka Center. The thangka master will introduce the history to you, tell you about the pigments in a thangka and the steps for making one, and will also tell you some stories about some beautiful thangkas. Afterward, you will have the chance to try to paint your own thangka.

Shangri-La Tangka Center Paint your own tangka in Shangri-La Tangka Center

Day 4Shangri-La Departure


Say goodbye to Shangri-La. Your guide and driver will escort you to the airport.

Trip Notes

1. About the Altitude

The altitude of Shangri-La is 3,300 meters above sea level. Most of our clients don't experience any problems. If you have a problem with your breathing or blood pressure, please ask your doctor if you can visit Shangri-La.

2. About the Climate

Shangri-La has a plateau climate. There is no "summer" in this area. The temperature difference on one day could be as big as 20°C (36°F). The rainy season is from June to mid-September. The vegetation becomes yellow in winter (November to March). The scenery in winter is not as beautiful as it is in other seasons.

3. About visiting Lama's dormitory

This visit cannot be arranged in March, October, or November due to the religious activities of the lamas during these times. It could also be suspended at other times if the lamas need to attend to some activities, such as being invited by villagers to host a ceremony.

Inquire about this tour by filling in the form on the right
From USD499 p/p

based on 2 persons and 4-star hotel

Service Includes
  • 1-1 consultancy from an experienced travel expert
  • Private air-conditioned business car with big windows and ample space
  • English speaking local guide
  • Activities, hotels, and meals listed in the itinerary
  • 24/7 helpline for while you are traveling