Naxi and Tibetan Cultures, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Ancient Monasteries

Overview

Enjoy extended cultural interactions on this mid-trip extension to ancient Lijiang and Gyalthang in the eastern Tibetan highlands. Lijiang, a World Heritage Site, is the cultural capital of the Naxi, a unique minority descended from Tibetan nomads who settled here in the 10th century. Their language, style of dress, and cuisine are distinct from both the Tibetans and the Han Chinese. In centuries past, Gyalthang, the capital of China’s Dechen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, was a stopover on the tea caravan route between Yunnan and Tibet. Today it is still the heartland of the Khampa Tibetans, with their age-old traditions as swashbuckling horsemen and caravan traders.

Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-7
China Private Journey

Days 1-7 follow the China Private Journey itinerary

Day 8
Guiyang / Lijiang

Transfer to Guiyang for your flight to Lijiang, a beautiful and ancient city nestled below the inspiring form of Jade Dragon Mountain, an 18,000-foot snow peak. This afternoon, enjoy a stroll in Lijiang’s Old Town, a world of narrow cobblestone streets criss-crossed with narrow canals unchanged since the Ming Dynasty when the town was founded. Later, visit The Nature Conservancy exhibition center to see how natural resources in this region are being protected...BLD 

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Day 9
Yuhu / Xuehua Yi

A World Heritage Site, Lijiang is the cultural capital of the Naxi, a unique minority descended from Tibetan nomads who settled here in the 10th century. Visit the traditional stone-built Naxi village of Yuhu, where legendary Harvard “plant hunter” Joseph Rock lived on his botanical expeditions to China in the early 20th century. Later, visit Xuehua Yi, a delightful village of some 30 families, where you are greeted by the Bimo, a shaman of the Dongba animist religion of this region who will offer insights into the importance of the Dongba religion in the daily life of this village. After lunch at the Bimo’s home, return to Lijiang. Dinner this evening is with a local Naxi family...BLD 

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Day 10
Shigu / Tiger Leaping Gorge / Gyalthang

A scenic drive brings you to the Naxi village of Shigu, where local life has remained unchanged for centuries. Then, descend on roads hugging sheer cliffs into one of the world’s deepest gorges: Tiger Leaping Gorge, which roars with 34 rapids of the Yangtze River. Enjoy a walk to a viewpoint with stunning vistas of the gorge. Returning to the main road and continue through pastoral scenery of wheat fields to Gyalthang, set at 10,800 feet in the eastern Tibetan highlands. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and forests of pine and spruce, the historic trading town of Gyalthang is the capital of China’s Dechen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. In centuries past, it was a stopover on the tea caravan route between Yunnan and Tibet. Today it is still the heartland of the Khampa Tibetans, with their age-old traditions as swashbuckling horsemen and caravan traders...BLD 

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Day 11
Songzalin Monastery / Pudacuo National Park

Short morning hike to Songzalin, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan. Monks will guide you through the monastery’s kitchens, rooms, and other areas normally off-limits to visitors. Afternoon visit to Pudacuo National Park, the first national park in China, which The Nature Conservancy helped China establish. Located in one of the most biodiverse regions of the world, the 500-square-mile park contains more than 20 percent of China’s plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species, and almost 100 endangered species. The evening is spent with a local family in a Tibetan village, with a traditional Tibetan dinner, including yak-butter tea and yak cheese, and an evening of Tibetan song and dance...BLD 

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Day 12
Beijing

After breakfast, fly to Kunming and connect with a flight to Beijing (Day 8 of the China Private Journey). Days 13-14 follow the remainder of the China Private Journey (Days 9-10).

Details

Length: 4 days
Cost From: $2335  
Arrive: Guiyang, China
Depart: Beijing, China
Lodging: 3 nights hotels (with optional upgrades in Lijiang and Gyalthang)
Meals: Meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Wildlife & Natural History, Walking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

Walking tours, light optional hiking, and cultural exploration

Visa Requirements

A visa is required for U.S. citizens visiting China. Your visa must be obtained prior to arrival.