Ancient Lijiang & Tea Horse Route Trek (8D7N)


Suitable Months:

March – November



Trip Type:

This is a sightseeing trip Sightseeing

This is a trekking trip Trekking


Lijiang old Town, officially known as “Dayan Town” (大研古镇). “Dayan” literally means a “great ink stab”, a graphic description of the town’s location on a piece of rich flatland fed by a river and surrounded by green mountains. Dayan Town is the large Naxi settlement first built during the Southern Song Dynasty some eight centuries ago. Dayan Town is one of the few places in China with well-preserved old style folk buildings. In December 1986, the State Council designated the place as a famous ancient historical and cultural city of a national caliber. In 1997, the UNESCO put Lijiang on a list of the world’s major cultural heritages.

There is no other town in China like Dayan which incorporates the folkways of so many people and the architectural styles of both north and south China. The town is on flatland about 2,400 meters above sea level. Bridges are seen everywhere, linking streets and lanes, many built during the Ming and Qing period from the 14th to the early 20th centuries which have survived the wars and earthquakes. For all this, the town is known as the “Venice of China” or the “Suzhou on the plateau”.

This is an interesting trip combining sightseeing and trekking along the ancient Tea Horse Caravan Route (茶马古道) . It was a network of mule caravan paths winding through the mountains of Yunnan Province in Southwest China. It is also sometimes referred to as the Southern Silk Road. From around a thousand years ago, the Ancient Tea Route was a trade link from Yunnan, one of the first tea-producing regions: to Bengal and India via Burma; to Tibet; and to central China via Sichuan Province. In addition to tea, the mule caravans carried salt. Both people and horses carried heavy loads, the tea porters sometimes carrying over 60–90 kg, which was often more than their own body weight in tea.

You will get to experience great sceneries along the short 1.5 days trek with the Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡) as highlight of the trek. After the trek, we will drive to Shangri-la (香格里拉), a primarily Tibetan county in northwestern Yunnan. Shangri-la is also synonymous with any earthly paradise and mythical utopia – a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world.



Day 1: Depart Singapore

We depart Singapore early morning for Hong Kong for transit to Lijiang City. Arrive at Lijiang airport at 9:30pm and transfer to Lijiang Old Town for check-in to hotel. Rest for the day as it has been a long journey.

Meals provided: -


Day 2: Around Lijiang

Early morning, you can have breakfast at eateries nearby the hotel. There are plenty of choices available for everyone.

After breakfast, take some time to wander the streets and alleyways of Lijiang Old Town, sampling Lijiang Baba (pancakes) at the local market and visiting the Black Dragon Pool. Then drive out to Yak Meadow for a cable car ride up to the top of the mountain. From here you will get stunning views of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountains up close. Return to Lijiang, visiting Baisha Village on the way. Baisha, the former capital of the Naxi Kingdom, is famous for its 15-16th century frescoes which harmoniously combine Daoist with Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist iconography. Tonight after dinner take a walk up to the top of Lion Hill to see the Lijiang night view.

Overnight in Lijiang.

Meals provided: Lunch


Day 3: Lijiang – Shigu – Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike

In the early morning after breakfast, drive approximately 2.5 hours to arrive at Qiaotou, the gateway to the Tiger Leaping Gorge. On the way we will stop in Shigu, the first bend of the Yangtze River, for a short visit. Set out at around 11am for the two hour uphill walk to the Naxi Family Guesthouse. Stop there for a late lunch. Then hike for a further 3-4 hours to Teahorse Trade Guesthouse, first braving 900 metre ascent through the ’28 Bends’ then enjoying the panaroma of Yulong Snow Mountains from the summit.

Overnight at the Teahorse Trade Guesthouse.

Meals provided: Lunch, Dinner


Day 4: Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike – Walnut Grove

After breakfast, continue hiking in Tiger Leaping Gorge passing some beautiful cascades on route to the Middle Gorge (3 hours). Have lunch at Tina’s guesthouse, overlooking the Middle Rapids of the Jinsha River, then brave the 2 hours return journey to the Tiger Leaping Stone. Take a van to Walnut Grove for overnight at Woody’s Guesthouse.

Overnight in guesthouse.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 5: Walnut Grove – Haba Village – Baishuitai – Shangrila

Today, after breakfast, we will drive to Haba Village, an interesting village with a mixture of Hui (Muslim), Yi, Naxi and Han people. Take a walk up to the two Hui villages at the foot of the mountain, each with their own mosque. Then drive on to Baishuitai, a series of spectacular terraced pools formed over thousands of years from minerals deposited by spring water. Drive onto Shangrila Old Town.

Tonight you can join with the local Tibetans in the town square for some spirited dancing.

Overnight at inn.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 6: Around Shangrila

Morning at leisure to enjoy breakfast.

Spend the morning exploring Zhongdian Old Town, including visits to the Thangka Painting Centre and Tibetan Handicrafts Centre. In the afternoon visit Four Tibetan Village and “drop in” on a local Tibetan family, sampling their own home-made yak butter tea. Take a walk through the yak meadows to Dabao Temple, an 800 year old earthen monastery, occupied by two Buddhist monks.

Tonight you can sample Tibetan hotpot and join in the local Tibetans for some spirited dancing in the town square. Drive onto Zhongdian for overnight in the old town at the inn.

Meals provided: Lunch, Dinner


Day 7: Songzanlin Monastery – Zhongdian market – Lijiang

Today after breakfast, we will take an early morning visit to the Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan temple in Yunnan. Watch the morning mist rise up over the mountains, and the 700 plus monks gathering for their daily prayer rituals. Visit the Zhongdian market, where the local Khampas in traditional dress get together to buy and sell their wares – everything from yak cheese to black earthen clayware.

After lunch in Shangrila, drive approximately 4 hours back to Lijiang. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Lijiang.

Overnight in Shuhe at an inn.

Meals provided: Lunch


Day 8: Depart Lijiang

Depart from Lijiang in the early morning.

Meals provided: -


Note: Numerous factors such as weather, road conditions, the physical ability of the participants, etc., may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on the tour. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of the trip participants’ safety, comfort and general well-being by informing the principal agent and with their approval.


Tour Price

Please contact us for pricing.

** Prices quoted are for LAND TOUR only. Please refer to package exclusions for more details)


  • Feel the “air of ancient time” in ancient old town of Lijiang
  • Experience Naxi culture
  • Superb scenic view while trekking along Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Experience the pristine and raw beauty of some of the most beautiful places in the world
  • Trek on the route known as Tea Horse Caravan Route used by mules caravan and porters thousand of years ago
  • Experience the pristine and raw beauty of Shangrila
  • Dance with local Tibetans in Shangrila

Package Inclusions

  • 7 nights accommodation based on Twin/Double sharing room
  • Meals as mentioned in above itinerary
  • Transportation by private, air-conditioned vehicle for the duration of the tour
  • Experienced English speaking guide
  • Entrance Fees for: Lijiang Ancient Town Protection Fee, Lion Hill, Yak Meadow, Baisha Frescoes, Tiger Leaping Gorge, White Water Terraces, Songzanlin Monastery

Package Exclusions

  • International airfare (Singapore - Hong Kong – Kunming – Lijiang – Kunming - Hong Kong – Singapore) and airport tax
  • Visa fees (if applicable)
  • Travel insurance
  • Any horse to ride or carry luggage in Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Donations to Monument, Monasteries & Museums (if any)
  • Personal expenses (e.g. Drinks, laundry, shopping and etc.)
  • Additional meals not mentioned in above itinerary
  • Tipping or gratitudes for driver/guide
  • Any activities or entrance fees not listed in itinerary
  • Optional tours

Flight Recommendations

Important Note: Please note that flight information is purely for information purposes. We do recommend our customers who signed up with us to take the same flight though.


Singapore to Hong Kong:

Tiger Airways (TR 2962) 0650hrs – 1040hrs


Hong Kong to Kunming:

China Eastern (MU 734): 1640hrs – 1840hrs


Kunming to Lijiang City

China Eastern (MU 734): 1930hrs – 2030hrs



Lijiang City to Kunming:

China Eastern (MU 5759): 0850hrs – 0940hrs


Kunming to Hong Kong:

China Eastern (MU 733): 1340hrs – 1540hrs


Hong Kong to Singapore:

Tiger Airways (TR 2967): 1845hrs – 2225hrs




We will get in touch within 72 hours unless we are travelling (even so we will try our best to respond)

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