Trekking the Tea Horse Road

13 days from £3,195pp

Ready for a trip you’ll never forget? After a relaxing start in Kunming, it’s on to the ancient town of Shuhe where you’ll learn about local life, visit temples and meet the only matriarchal ethnic group in China. After conquering the 5,500m Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the Tiger Leaping Gorge, it’s on to Shangri-La (also known as Zhongdian) to immerse yourself in Tibetan culture. Stay in a town encircled by rivers and catch an extraordinary sunset over Meili Mountain before hiking across a sacred glacier. You’ll finish up in Chengdu with time to spare for tea. 

 

Highlights

  • Try traditional Yunannese food in Kunming

  • Explore ancient towns, villages and temples around Lijiang

  • Explore the high up meadows of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

  • Climb through the tricky and beautiful terrain of Tiger Leaping Gorge

  • Explore Tibetan monasteries and magnificent Tibetan countryside

  • Catch a striking orange sunrise at Meili Mountain

  • See the first bend of the Yangtze River at Benzilan

Eline
Travel Designer
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The sparkle of Southeast Asia really needs to be experienced first hand. My time living in Vietnam and exploring its neighbouring countries was incredibly special and I only wish that everyone could experience the incredible hospitality and sensory delights for themselves.

Trekking the Tea Horse Road

13 days from £3,195pp

Itinerary

This exciting trip to China includes international flights, a private car and driver, excursions, accommodation, and some breakfasts. 

From the first conversation until you arrive home from your holiday, you’ll be looked after by one of our Travel Designers who has travelled extensively in the region and will give advice from their personal experience on how to make the most out of your trip.

All of our trips are entirely bespoke and we will continually refine your itinerary until it’s perfect.

 

Day

Location

Type

1-2

Kunming

General Tour

After arriving in Kunming, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. Spend the afternoon as you please. Take a trip to the nearby Cuihu Lake or head to Yuantong Temple where the temple pools often have turtles swimming in them. In the evening, head to a hidden courtyard restaurant, A Trace, for traditional Yunannese food surrounded by Qing era buildings.

3-5

Lijiang

Activity and Adventure

Next, it's on to Lijiang, where you'll be staying in the ancient Naxi minority town of Shuhe. After entering the town through the traditional Chinese gate, explore the cobbled streets and following the winding streams. The next day wake up ready for a day exploring the minority towns that are situated around Lijiang.

Spend the afternoon in Lijiang Old Town where you will visit Baisha, one of the most idyllic villages in the region and the capital of the Naxi Kingdom. Check out the embroidery, it's the local craft of choice and makes for a wonderfully authentic souvenir. You'll also explore some temples and frescos before swinging by Yuhu where the houses are built out of monkey stone. Finish up in Luoshui Village, home to the Mosuo people, the only matriarchal ethnic group in China. During your time here learn more about how this society structures itself and soak up the tranquil surroundings of Lugu Lake.

After a day of culture, it's on to a day of hiking. Ascend Jade Dragon Snow Mountain by way of the chairlift, cable car and walking, reaching an altitude of 5,500m and explore the dry Sea Meadow, the perfect place for a photograph. At the top is a glacier, so be sure to dress warmly - but the view is well worth it, offering one of the most spectacular vistas you will ever see.

Places to Stay

Things to do

6

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Activity and Adventure

It's time to hit the road and continue to Tiger Leaping Gorge where you'll spend five hours climbing over tough terrain and admiring the vast mountain scenery with views of the river 1,000m below. You'll walk with a guide, so don't worry about getting lost. Spend the night halfway along the gorge at a gorgeous spot boasting a spa and balconies from every room. Anyone for a massage for their aching muscles?

Places to Stay

Things to do

7-8

Zhongdian

General Tour

In the morning you will finish your hike and then it's back on the road heading north. You'll arrive in Zhongdian, which at 3,200m is the highest point of your journey so far. It’s also a great place to immerse yourself in Tibetan culture and explore the numerous Tibetan Buddhist monasteries surrounded by mountains and grasslands.

The next morning you'll swing by the Songzanlin Monastery, one of the most significant centres of Tibetan Buddhism. Built in the 17th century, it is also the largest temple in Yunnan. Admire the gold painted roofs, which stand out dramatically against the natural backdrop of mountains and grasslands. In the afternoon it’s time to trek around Napahai, a large grassy meadow which turns into a lake during the wet season. It attracts rare species such as the black-necked crane as well as more common yaks.

Places to Stay

Things to do

9

Benzilan

Activity and Adventure

Continue your journey and visit the Jinshan River and Nixi Pottery Village before heading on to Benzilan. Located in the beautiful Three Parallel Rivers area, the town is surrounded by the Yangtze, Mekong and Salween rivers. The landscape here is something else, with its snow-capped peaks, glacier-forged gorges and traditionally terraced fields. Make the most of this lush area and head off on a hike, before returning to your lodge to relax in the Tibetan-style surroundings.

10-11

Meili Snow Mountain

Activity and Adventure

Continue to Meili Snow Mountain National Park, a journey of around four hours through spectacular scenery. On the way visit the Tibetan Dhondrupling Monastery. Continue to Meili which is on the border with Tibet and allows you to get close to the Himalayas without requiring a Tibetan Travel Permit. All the rooms at your lodge have stunning views of the glacier.

The next day you'll rise early ready to visit the Feilai Temple in time for sunrise at Meili Mountain. As the sun rises, the dawn light bathes the mountain in golden hues of orange and red – it’s quite a remarkable sight. From here it’s on to Mingyong Glaciers. It’s considered a sacred spot, so be sure to keep respectfully quiet on the hike.

12-13

Chengdu

General Tour

You'll finish up in Chengdu where you can spend your remaining time in China as you please. Relax at a local teahouse or tuck into some traditional Sichuan cuisine and reflect on everything you’ve learned and conquered during your time in this extraordinary country.

Places to Stay

Things to do

Map of your trip

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