At the Foot of the Himalayas

Route: Lijiang - Zhongdian

If you decide not to visit Tibet due to its high altitude or due to lack of time, this module will at least give you a sense of being in Tibet. If you are travelling to Tibet as well, this is the perfect place to acclimatise and you can fly straight to Lhasa after your Zhongdian tour. 

This is where the Tibetan world begins. You’ll travel from Lijiang through the Himalayan foothills to the Tibetan village of Zhongdian. During your Zhongdian tour you'll visit a Tibetan monastery at an altitude of 3200m. 

If you prefer to see the grasslands and nomadic people instead of white mountain tops, visit Xiahe and experience the Monks on the grassy plains module

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  • China adventure - monk at the monastery
  • China adventure - Zhongdian view
  • China adventure - time for food

Duration:              3 days / 2 nights             
Price:                   £95 per person - based on 2 people sharing

Accommodation:  2 nights in in a simple hotel in Zhongdian
                            Accommodation comfort level 2
                            (see accommodation).

Transport:           Local bus Lijiang - Zhongdian (one-way)

Includes:             Transfer from Lijiang, accommodation

Excludes:             Meals, drinks and entrance fees

China adventure - beautiful architecture

Day 1: Lijiang - Zhongdian

Elevation 3200m

In all likelihood, you'll add this tour after your Lijiang’s Chinese Lanterns trip, so we'll arrange a local bus to the start of your Zhongdian tour, a 200km journey. During the drive you’ll pass through mountain passes and valleys. You’ll travel by bus and experience what it’s like to travel by public transport through China. At times your sitting space may be limited; however you’ll be sitting in between locals and enjoying cheerful- albeit mostly unintelligible- music. 

After about 5 hours you’ll reach Zhongdian, which thanks to a Chinese publicity stunt is also known as Shangri-La. You’ll be awaited by our driver who will take you to your simple hotel, just outside of town. During your stay in this Tibetan region, it may be a little more difficult to communicate.... but eventually, perhaps even using your hands or paper and pen, you'll get your point across.

Day 2: Zhongdian

The following day is free for you to explore the city. We would recommend visiting the 300-year old Tibetan Ganden Sumtseling Gompa Monastery (also known as the Guihua Monastery), located just outside Zhongdian. The monastery is home to more than 600 monks and is the most important Tibetan complex in south-western China. You can go inside the monastery after paying an entrance fee of approx. 85 Yuan.

After your visit to the monastery you can explore the old town with it's cobbled streets and take in the Tibetan atmosphere. It is worth bearing in mind that the fire in early 2014 has destroyed some of the wooden buildings in the Old Town here but you can still see the history and culture of this area.

China adventure - take in your surroundings

China adventure - prayer flags

Day 3: Depature from Zhongdian

Today this Zhongdian tour will end and you’ll arrange your own transport to the Zhongdian airport. If you’d like to visit Tibet, there are two morning flights to Lhasa each day. You can also visit the karst mountains near Guilin (transfer in Kunming) with the Bamboo sailing through karst mountains module. If you like you can also travel back to Lijiang, perhaps to hike the Tiger Leaping Gorge, or travel to Dali by bus.

Best time of year for a Zhongdian tour

The best time to travel to Zhongdian is May - September. It’s very cold during the rest of the year and we wouldn't recommend travelling here during those months. 

If while travelling between Lijiang and Zhongdian you’d like to do the Tiger Leaping Gorge trek, we suggest doing the two-day trek during the months June - August. You’ll walk along the top of the canyon and the weather conditions are most favourable during these months.

China adventure - meet the locals

A Peek at our Standard Accommodation (click to enlarge)

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This tour works well in combination with:

Lanterns in Lijiang

Lijiang is a popular attraction in China’s beautiful Yunnan province and a highlight of any China tour. The ancient city centre is home to the Naxi minority and provides a picturesque scene of canals, bridges, red lanterns and small wooden houses. Lijiang lies in the foothills of the Himalayas and is the perfect starting point for a bike ride with nothing but blue skies, mountains and Chinese country life surrounding you.

Lanterns in Lijiang

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Rickshaw Travel also offer great trips to the following destinations:

South East Asia: Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, CambodiaMalaysia, Indonesia

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