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This trip takes you through stunning Himalayan valleys into up to the edge of the Tibetan Plateau – “the Roof of the World”. Travelers have long sought to unlock the secrets of Shangri‐la; a semi‐mythical paradise described by James Hilton in his book Lost Horizons. Now, you too can discover some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes and cultures, and maybe even find your heaven on earth.
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Guests arrive in Shangri-la in the evening or late afternoon, and check into Songtsam Shangri-la Lodge. It’s a cozy hotel locates right by the Songzanlin Monastery, with a large collection of Tibetan furniture and carpets. Depends on the arrival time, we will arrange welcome dinner.
We will have a private visit to Songzanlin Monastery in the morning. Guide will introduce the basic concepts of Tibetan Buddhism and daily religious practice. We then visit the Monastery and learn more about its history, its structure, and the daily life of monks.
In the afternoon, we drive to Shangri-La old town. An important trade town in the ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road, it is now boomimg once again, with shops and tea houses for travelers. We walk through the old parts of town, and then stop by a tea house for a cup of tea and to learn more about the history of Tea and Horse Caravan Road. We continue our exploration of the old town, and stop by a small cheese shop where you can find the yak cheese from nearby villages and a traditional Tibetan rugs workshop. During the old town excursion we also have a chance to visit some local and international Non-Governmental Organizations that work to protect and promote local culture.
We will drive for about 2 hours along Yangtse river to Benzilan. Stop at Nixi on the way and learn about their locally produced black pottery. Then, at Gonjo village, we will attend a handicraft workshop to learn how to draw a traditional lacquer wooden box.
After checking into the hotel, we will walk around the charming village where the lodge is located and visit some local families in their homes as well as the village center. We can also walk to near by pristine villages to meet the offspring family of previous landloard, followed by short hike into some of the most old grown original forest in the region.
Drive to Dongzhulin Monastery after breakfast, which sits overlooking the beautiful Jinsha River Gorge (Yangtze). Dongzhulin, though not as famous as Songzanlin, is more popular with the local Tibetans. It has several “living” Buddhas and each year the Mask Dancing Ceremony attracts thousands of followers. It was built in 1667, before Songzanlin, and at one time housed treasures which rivaled Potala Palace. Unfortunately it was badly damaged during the Cultural Revolution and the current structure was restored in 1987.
Meili Lodge is a traditional Tibetan mountain lodge built from quarried stone. It has fantastic views not only of the Meili Snow Mountain Range, but also of the village with a creek tumbling down the mountains.
After freshening up at Meili lodge, we will visit the small village of Meili which has a stunning view of the Meili Snow Mountain Range.
An early start in order to capture Kawagebo at sunrise – this is an excellent photographic opportunity.
A day hike will be arranged, depending on guests’ fitness levels. The Meili Snow Mountain Range has become a very popular destination for tourists; however our trip will enable you to explore some of the most untouched corners of the area.
Drive back to Shangri-la in the afternoon, we will have a farewell dinner at hotel or Old Town of Shangri-la.