Songzanlin Monastery
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Home China Tours Yunnan Tours 6 Days Shangri-La Adventure Tour

6-Day Shangri-La, Deqin and Tacheng Adventure Tour

Where is Shangri-La? Is it a paradise on the lost horizon? The answer is hidden in the wrinkles of the Hengduan Mountains in the northwest of Yunnan Province.

Shangri-La could be in the chant of the lamas in Songzanlin Lamasery, it could be at the top of the Meili Snow Mountains, which have never been summited, it could be in the valley of the Three Parallel Rivers, and it could be in the forest where the Yunnan golden monkeys live. This 6-day Shangri-La adventure tour will take you off the beaten path and help you find the hidden door to the paradise in your heart.


  • Unlock the stories of the biggest school of Tibetan Buddhism — the Gelug — in Songzanlin Lamasery.
  • Indulge in the incredible view of 13 peaks belonging to the sacred Meili Snow Mountains.
  • Drive alongside the Lancang River (the Mekong River) to discover the untouched natural beauty.
  • Meet the first-grade state protected animal — the Yunnan golden monkey — in an old-growth forest.
  • Have a memorable time in the lodges and retreats of Songtsam, the best local boutique hotel brand in China.

Tour Map

6-Day Shangri-La Adventure Tour map
Day 1Shangri-La Arrival

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

Hotel options:
Songtsam Linka Shangri-La

Songtsam Retreat at Shangri-La Songtsam Linka 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. It represents the Tibetan culture, housing Buddhist statues and many precious cultural treasures. Your guide will unlock the stories of the "Yellow Hat", the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism.

There are about 400 lamas living in the dormitories right by the lamasery. You will have the chance to talk with a lama in the study room of his dormitory, which is not normally open to tourists. The lama will be happy to answer your questions about his study as well as his religious beliefs and practices.

Feel the Tibetan Buddhism in Songzanlin Lamasery Feel the Tibetan Buddhism in Songzanlin Lamasery

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

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.

Enjoy the beautiful scenery at Shudu Lake Enjoy the beautiful scenery at the Shudu Lake

Day 3 Shangri-La to Deqin, Dongzhulin Monastery, the Meili Snow Mountains, and Feilai Lamasery

breakfast, lunch and dinner

You will drive for about 4 hours from Shangri-La to reach Deqin. Enjoy the plateau scenery along the way. The mountains, meadows, forests, the Jinsha River, and the Tibetan villages make the car ride interesting.

Stop at a platform for a great view of the big bend of the Jinsha River, which is the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. Then continue on to visit the Dongzhulin Monastery, which is located on the slope of a mountain.

After going through the 5-kilometer Baima Snow Mountain tunnel, the Meili Snow Mountains will soon appear in the distance. Go up to Wunongding Viewing Platform for a panoramic view of the Meili Snow Mountains.

Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Maili Snow Mountain Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Maili Snow Mountain

Have lunch in your hotel. Then drive for about 25 minutes to reach Feilai Lamasery, where you can have a closer view of the Meili Snow Mountains. The white pagodas stand on a platform, facing the mountain, adding even more of a holy atmosphere.

Hotel options:
Songtsam Meili Lodge

Songtsam Meili Lodge Songtsam Meili Lodge

Day 4Deqin to Tacheng, Cizhong Church

breakfast, lunch and dinner

You will drive alongside the Lancang River (the Mekong River) from Deqin to Tacheng. As the altitude gradually decreases, the landscape, vegetation, crops, and villages will differ.

After a 2-hour drive, you will reach Cizhong Village. There, you will discover a Catholic church, which was built in 1921. It was built in a Gothic style but combines features of Tibetan architecture. It is unbelievable to find aspects of Western culture hidden among the mountains in the remote southwest of China.

In the vineyard next to the church, a type of grape is grown called Rose Honey. It is said that it was taken there by French missionaries and it cannot be found nowadays in France. The local people there still use the method for making wine that was taught by the missionaries.

From Cizhong to Tacheng, the drive is about 4 hours. You will be impressed by the beautiful countryside along the way.

Hotel options:
Songtsam Tacheng Lodge

Meet local Tibetan people Meet local Tibetan people
Songtsam Tacheng Lodge Songtsam Tacheng Lodge
Day 5Tacheng to Lijiang

breakfast and lunch

Visit Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park after breakfast. Located between the Yangtze and Mekong rivers, Tacheng has the best old-growth forests. It is the hometown of the Yunnan golden monkeys. They are the only primates living at an altitude of 3,000–4,500 meters above sea level, excluding humans. Just like pandas, they are a national treasure of China.

The Yunnan golden monkey Meet a Yunnan golden monkey

The national park's staff feed the monkeys in the forest every morning. The monkeys appear suddenly when hearing the staff whistling. Most of the staff are from the nearby Lishu villages and are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Have lunch in your hotel and then drive to Lijiang.

Hotel options:
Songtsam Linka Lijiang

Songtsam Linka Lijiang Songtsam Linka Lijiang

Day 6Lijiang Departure

Your guide and driver will escort you to the airport.

Trip Notes

1. About the Travel Time

Normally, the best time to see the Meili Snow Mountains is from mid-April to May and from October to mid-December. June to September is the rainy season so the possibility of seeing the peaks of the Meili Snow Mountains is reduced. It is too cold from late December to March. The vegetation is dry and yellow.

2. About the Hotels

For this trip, we have selected boutique Songtsam lodges or retreats, which feature the Tibetan culture. They will help you experience and understand more about the Tibetan culture and people. They are not located in the same area that most of the hotels are located in, but their locations help you get close to nature and the local people. However, if you prefer to be closer to the commercial area, please let your travel adviser know.

3. About the Altitude

The highest place in this trip is Deqin. It has an altitude of 4,200 meters above sea level. The altitude of Shangri-La is 3,300 meters above sea level. The altitude of Tacheng is 2,020 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.

4. 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.

From USD1,689 p/p

based on 2 persons and 5-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