18 days / 17 nights. 18-Day Tibetan Areas Trekking
– Adventure trip to Tibetan areas of Yunnan and Sichuan in the heart of Kham with 8 days trekking off the beaten tracks;
– Close encounter with local Tibetan people and pilgrims;
– Trekking at high altitude (around 4’000 meters) with breathtaking views.
TREKKING TOUR AT HOLY MOUNT GENYEN IN TIBETAN YUNNAN AND SICHUAN
This tour takes you from Kunming to the north of Yunnan province. After visiting Lijiang and Shangri-La we take you deep into the heart of Tibetan Kham. This trip is especially designed for trekking enthusiasts, who are looking for an unforgettable experience and would like to gain an in-depth view of the Tibetan culture in this region. On an 8-day trekking tour off the beaten tracks, you have the chance to interact with local nomads and pilgrims and learn more about the area of holy Mt. Genyen – an important destination of pilgrimage.
From the physical point of view, this tour is rated as an intermediate trek, but with 8 days trekking at around 4’000 meters, high altitude experience is helpful.
– Best travel date: May to September;
– Destinations: Kunming, Lijiang, Shangri La, Litang, Mt. Genyen;
– Duration: 18 days;
– Starting in: Kunming;
– Ending in: Kunming;
– Group size: minimum 8 people, maximum 14 people.
The trip takes us first from Kunming – the provincial capital of Yunnan – to Lijiang. The old town of Lijiang has been inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites. To ensure proper acclimatization we spend two nights in this lovely town, which is home to the matrilineal Naxi minority and its mysterious Dongba shamanism.
From Lijiang we travel further north to Shangri-La, the first Tibetan town on the trip. From Shangri- La we descend to the valleys of Mekong River (at an altitude of approx. 2’350 meters) to flood our bodies with oxygen before we spend the next 10 days above 4’000 meters. Once arrived in Litang – one of the most important towns in the whole region – we start our 8 days trek along the slopes of holy Mount Genyen. Impressive and breathtaking views await you as well as great opportunities to gain an in-depth view on the lifestyle of the local nomads and also the pilgrims who come from all over Eastern Tibet to pray at Mt. Genyen. During these eight days we will stay overnight in tents. After the trek we return to Shangri-La and from there back to Kunming.
DAY 1. KUNMING (D)
Upon arrival, you will be picked up at the airport by our guide and transferred to a five star hotel, which is conveniently located in the center of Kunming. After a first short sightseeing tour of the city and a visit to one of the lively local markets, you will enjoy a welcome dinner in an excellent local restaurant.
DAY 2. KUNMING – LIJIANG (2350 M) (B/L/D)
After breakfast visit the Green Lake Park and the nearby Yuan Tong Monastery, a unique Buddhist site which unites all 3 great schools of Buddhism. Around noon we transfer to Shilin Stone Forest to explore the picturesque karst formation. In the early evening we take the flight to Lijiang. After check-in at the Grand Lijiang Hotel, we will stroll through the nearby old town which is enlisted on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites and attracts visitors from all over the world. In the small and winding alleyways you will find many cozy restaurants, bars and countless shops selling local handicraft and antiquities.
DAY 3. LIJIANG (2,350 M) (B/L/D)
After breakfast transfer to Yuhu, home to Austrian-American explorer Joseph Rock, who lived there from 1922 until 1949, pioneering in exploring the indigenous flora and various peoples in the Sino-Tibetan border area. From his home, we go to the Yufeng Temple and further to Baisha Village, the former capital of the Naxi Kingdom, located on the Lijiang plains, through which the Mongols led by Kublai Khan invaded the Nanzhao Kingdom and conquered the Chinese Imperial armies in the 13th century. Baisha’s old Taoist/Buddhist frescoes are some of the last of their kind in China and show a gathering of immortals and deities of both religions.
DAY 4. LIJIANG – SHANGRI LA (3,300 M) (B/L/D)
In the morning, we make an excursion up onto Lion Hill, with its beautiful views over the tiled roofs of the old town of Lijiang and its quiet surrounding park. Before lunch, we travel on towards the Tibetan Plateau. On the way you will visit the Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world. During the millenniums, the Yangtze River carved a gorge into the massifs of the Haba and Jade Dragon Snow Mountains, both over 5’000m high with their glacier peaks towering over the rice terraces on the Yangtze banks. In the afternoon arrival at the plain of Gyalthang/Shangri-La, at an altitude of 3’300 meters the highest municipality of Yunnan province. Overnight at downtown four-star hotel and local Tibetan dinner.
DAY 5. SHANGRI LA – XIANGCHENG (2,350 M) (B/L/D)
Today we drive further north through picturesque Tibetan villages to the “Big Snow Mountains”-Pass (4’490 m) and on to the fertile valley of Xiangcheng, border city between the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan. Arrival in the afternoon, overnight and dinner at a simple, but clean three-star hotel.
DAY 6. XIANGCHENG – LITANG (4,020 M) (B/L/D)
Today’s route takes you along Yisho River up to the Daocheng-Litang Plateau. The area is surrounded by several high mountain passes. Because of its strange rock formations such as the “rabbit ear mountain” it resembles a moon landscape. Arrival in Litang in the early afternoon and check-in at a simple local hotel in the center of Litang. The town is famous for being the birthplace of the 7th Dalai Lama as well as for their hot-tempered inhabitants.
DAY 7. LITANG (4,020 M) (B/D)
On this rest day you get the opportunity to explore Litang – an important center for the rural population and nomads of the border area of Yunnan, Sichuan and the Tibetan Autonomous Region. In the late afternoon we will visit the well-known Litang Choede Monastery which was built in the 16th century under the reign of the 3rd Dalai Lama and is considered as one of the most powerful monasteries in Eastern Tibet.
DAYS 8-14. MOUNT GENYEN TREKKING IN THE HEART OF KHAM (B/L/D)
Surrounded by seemingly endless steppes and high mountain ridges, Mt. Genyen has been the holy mountain of the half-nomads of the Litang area and destination of Buddhist pilgrims for centuries. The trek starts in a small village situated about 4 hours drive away from Litang. The path follows a river into Shambala valley. The meadows on the way offer excellent camping opportunities, most of them with stunning views on the glaciers and slopes of the holy mountain.
From the picturesque Nyigong monastery the hike leads south towards Xiangcheng through an untouched landscape with many rare plants and animals. En route there are several passes to be traversed, many of them over 4’700 meters high, offering breathtaking views over the mountains of southeast Tibet.
Apart from the fantastic landscape, the trek offers a great opportunity to get in touch with the Tibetan nomads and pilgrims in an area which is well known for their strong religious belief and tradition. As much of the region is above 4’000 meters, this trek is quite demanding. However, you have the option to ride a horse instead of walking.
DAY 15. CAMP – REDA CHOEPELING – DERONG (1.5 HOURS) (B/L/D)
From the last camp, another 1.5 hour hike takes us to the road where our driver awaits us. At the end of the valley we will visit the large Reda Choepeling monastery and have lunch in a small village near the monastery. Then we drive through the beautiful Sun Valley to Derong. Dinner and overnight in the quite comfortable Sun Valley Hotel (2*).
DAY 16. DERONG – SHANGRI LA (3,300 M) (B/L)
After a good night’s sleep, a 4-hour drive takes us back to Shangri-La. The rest of the day is at your own disposal.
DAY 17. SHANGRI LA (3,300 M) (B/D)
The last day in Yunnan is dedicated to relaxing and recovering as well as to recall the experiences of the past few days. You will have a farewell dinner in a selected restaurant with either Western or Tibetan food.
DAY 18. SHANGRI LA – KUNMING (B)
Transfer to the airport and flight to Kunming for your connecting flight.
Contact us per mail for a tailor-made itinerary and cost details.