Useful information about the trek
- During the 6 first days exploring the villages between Lugu and Tiger Leap Gorge, accommodation will be in modest conditions, but always with a warm and friendly welcome from local people.
- Anyone in good shape and used to hiking could do this hike.
- Hikers will need to carry everyday their necessary items for daytime, the other items will be carried by horse or by car.
- Hiking times indicated are an estimation of moderate rythm including pauses, photo stops and visiting the villages.
When is the best time for this hike?
The trek from Lugu to the Tiger Leap Gorge, combined with visiting the Lijiang and Shangrila regions, can be done all year long but preferably not from June to August during the rainy season when the risk of falls on slippery trails is higher. Besides Shangrila whose Altitude is 3200 m, the hike takes place at an average altitude of 2000 – 2400m. The best time of the year is from March to May, then from September to November.
Daily program: Hike in Northern Yunnan from Lake Lugu to Shangri La
Day 1 : Arrival in Lijiang ~ 40min drive
Arrival in Lijiang on flight… Welcoming at your arrival at the Airport and transfer towards Lijiang Old Town (entry : 80 RMB per person). Check In in the charming hotel Manty House. Rest of the day free. Overnight at charming Manty House 3*.
Day 2 : Lijiang - Lugu Lake (B) ~ Altitude : 2680m
Meet your local driver and guide at 09 am. Long half day drive from Lijiang to Lugu Lake. Free lunch on the way. Small cruise on the lake after your arrival, reach Liwubi Island where you will be exactly at the border between Yunnan and Sichuan. Overnight in a charming guest house close to the lake.
Day 3 : Lugu Lake – Zhuangzi (B, L, D) ~ 6h trek. Ascending / descending elevation : +600m/-600m
Transfer to Yongning City. Then 3 hours walk on an ascending track through a Mosuo Minority Village then another Yi Village. Keep on walking for about 3 hours through a beautiful azalea and Rhododendron forest, including a 3600m Pass with a small spring where you might see a few goats water themselves. Way down until you reach Zhuangzi Pumi Village (elevation 2700 m.). Diner and overnight in a local family house (common bathroom and shower).
Day 4 : Zhuangzi - Baojiahe (B, L, D) ~ 4 to 5h trek. Ascending /descending elevation : +300m/-600m
4 to 5 hours walk today through Mosuo, Pumi and Lisu villages in a wild countryside to access to Baojiahe Lisu Minority village, in the mountains, elevation 2100 m. Overnight in a Lisu local family house (basic shower in the farm’s backyard).
Day 5 : Baojiahe - Zizhuang (B, L, D) ~ 6-7h trek. Ascending / descending elevation : +800m/-800m
Morning walk to reach a first pass after about an hour, then 3 hours walk down to the Yangtsé River. Lunch in a local restaurant on the road then walk the way up on the other side of the valley for about 4 or 5 hours (you can take a shorter but steeper shortway if you want to climb faster), up to Zizhuang Naxi Village, elevation 2200m. Overnight in a local family house at the end of the road, in the highest farm of the village, the hostess will probably offer you a glass of rice or corn alcohol and sing traditional songs for you, beware of her alcohol resistance.
Day 6 : Zizhuang – Liuqing (B, L, D) ~ 6h trek. Ascending / descending elevation : +800m/-700m
2 hours walk down to the Yangtse River, that you will cross on a small bark. Walk up again on the other side until Lianhu Wan Naxi Village, then to the upper Liuqing Village (2h walk). Lunch. Keep on walking towards lower Liuqing village, elevation about 2350, about 2 hours walking this afternoon. Accommodation in a Naxi family in the Higher Liuqing village (common bathroom, basic shower). The local specialty in Sichuan pepper, if you like this condiment you can get the best quality directly to the producer.
Day 7 : Liuqing - Baoshan (B, L, D) ~ 5 to 6h trek. Ascending / descending elevation : +300m/-750m
5 to 6 hours walk today, first towards the top of the said ” Prince ” Mountain (2470m), and then going through 2 tunnels dug in the mountain (90m and 60m long), those tunnels were dug by the postal services network during the Great Leap Forward under Chairman Mao and which allowed to carry the mail from a valley to another in 24 hours instead of 3 days before the tunnels were dug. Keep on walking on an impressive track downwards on the mountainside down to Baoshan Village (1900 m. elevation), build on a giant rock and reminding for some the Machu Pichu. Accommodation at Mu’s Family’s Guest House (private toilet and shower), much probably the guest house with the most beautiful view in Yunnan with its terrace!
Day 8 : Baoshan - Daju - Tiger Leaping Gorge (B, L) ~ 2h Trek. Ascending / descending elevation : +200m/-200m
Short walk then drive to Daju village (about 5 hours drive), located at the entry of Tiger Leaping Gorge in a beautiful valley. Cross the Yangtse River on a motorised barge. Walk on a steep track towards the lower Gorge, right next to this prestigious river. Way upon another steep track with a 200m ascending elevation, in the Middle Gorge where you will spend the night at Sean’s Guest House (1800m elevation)
Day 9 : Tiger Leaping Gorge - Shangri La (B) ~ 4h drive. Altitude : 3200m
Beautiful road to the Tibetan region of Shangri La, going through the Haba Valley. Halfway, you will discover the astonishing Baishuitai Limestone Terraces. Followed by a road with nice views on the Haba Mountain and Jade Dragon Mountain. Check in at Timeless Inn Tibetan Guest House, in the very heart of Shangrila Old City. Rest of the day free.
Day 10 : Shangri La (B)
Walk on the local market then discover Songzanlin tibetan monastery this morning. Walk around Shangrila‘s old town, including Baijisi Temple located on a hill with nice views on Shangrila and the Shika Mountains. Free lunch. This afternoon you will be able to discover the local Tibetan countryside on foot or riding a bicycle : various itinerary are possible, upon which you can agree with your guide in the morning according to your wills and skills. You can visit a random Tibetan local family, meet the local people and try the famous Yak Butter Tea, the Tsampa and the Yak Butter cheese. Tonight you can see and take part to the spontaneous dances with local people on the old town’s square. Free dinner. Overnight in your Tibetan Guest House.
Day 11 : Departure from Shangri La (B)
Transfer to Shangri La airport and check in to your next destination.
End of our services. Our team wishes you a nice way back home with beautiful memories in mind !
Extension - Day 9 : Tiger Leaping Gorge - Liming (B) ~ 3h Trek. Ascending /descending elevation : -400m/-400m
Meet your new English-speaking driver and guide and new impressive hike close to the river, free lunch after the hike and road towards Liming. Check in in a beautiful wooden guest house and first visit of the village. Free dinner and overnight at Nuomadi.
Extension - Day 10 : Liming - Tacheng (B) ~ 4h Trek
Today you will hike in the 1000 Turtles Mountain, for half a day or more in this protected natural park. Free Lunch and road towards Tacheng. Free dinner. Check in and overnight in Habudayun Guest House
Extension - Day 11 : Tacheng – Meili (B) ~ 2h30 drive. Altitude : 3300m
This morning you will meet the Yunnan Golden Monkeys, they are quite early riser, we recommend to go for a walk in the forest about 7.30 am in order to get more opportunities to meet them, they become much more discreet after 11.30 am. Then drive to Meili by the Mingyong Glacier’s road, where you will already have a beautiful view on the road and when you get there. Free dinner, check in and overnight at the Once Upon a Time in Meili.
Extension - Day 12 : Meili - Xidang - Yubeng (B, D) ~ Altitude : 3200m
Road to Xidang Tibetan village (2500m), following the Mekong Valley. Leave your things in the car parked in a safe parking lot and start today’s hike, first up to Namzong Pass at 3600m, then down to Yubeng village (3200m), located at the foot of the mountain. Dinner and overnight in a family guest house. About 2h drive and 6h walk today. Overnight in a hiker’s cabin.
Extension - Day 13 : Yubeng - Ninong - Meili (B) ~ Altitude : 3300m
5 to 7 hours hike to Ninong Village following the Yubeng river until it flows into the Mekong River, along impressive gorges. Road to Mingyong Village. Discover the Mingyong Glacier with a local shuttle to access it. Then drive to Feilaisi Village. Free dinner. Check in and overnight at the Once Upon a Time in Meili.
Extension - Day 14 : Meili - Benzilan - Shangri La (B) ~ 4h drive. Altitude : 3200m
Road towards Shangrila and first visit this morning of the Dongzhulin Monastery and a little nunnery above Benzilan, then towards Shangrila, going through Nixi Village where potters work with black pottery in a traditional way. Arrival in the afternoon and check in at Timeless Inn guest house in Shangrila’s old center. Rest of the night free. Overnight at Timeless Inn.
And continuation of the itinerary from day 10 on the original program.
Discover our PDF with every information you should know about this tour, the 5-day extension, and the hotels.