Explore the real Shangri-La, from James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon. Our 10 night Beyond The Clouds Hidden Tibet Journey takes you on a once in a lifetime journey to Kham, Eastern Tibet, where the three parallel rivers of the Yangtze, Mekong and Salween flow. This is an extraordinary corner of the world, a paradise high on the Tibetan plateau where the culture and scenery remain a well kept secret.
This tour is designed for travellers who want to explore off the beaten track, whilst having the comfort of luxury boutique Tibetan lodges each night. It's ideal for a romantic getaway, or couple's vacation. Once we reach the Tibetan plateau, our hand-picked hotels are Tibetan owned and managed, totally unique, and reflect the community around them. All the hotels give back to the local Tibetan and other minority communities and provide employment and training opportunities for young Tibetans. Beyond The Clouds is delighted to work with these Tibetan businesses. You will be accompanied by an experienced English speaking Tibetan guide who will really look after you throughout your journey, and play a special part in your Shangri-La Tibetan experience.
Northern Yunnan is an area rich in Tibetan culture, but conveniently outside the Tibet Autonomous Region, meaning no difficult Tibet Travel Permits are required. Here the valleys are deep, the gorges are spectacular with rivers rushing through them, and the snow-capped peaks tower imposingly over the forested hills. The region around Shangri-La is dotted with small Tibetan villages, monasteries, and holy sites all hidden behind mountain folds and dense forest.
Lost Horizon first told the tale of an incredible utopia in the Himalayas, where man and nature co-exist and peace flourishes. So where can you find this so-called paradise of 'Shangri-La'? Hidden in Tibet, waiting for you.
10 night journey
DEPARTS: lijang, china
Maximum elevation: 4,290 m (maximum sleeping elevation is 3,600 m)
Availability: Late April/May/June & September/October
Minimum group size: 2 people
This trip can run as an 8-night trip. Contact us for information.
* Price is per person, based on a group of four (twin share). Single room supplement available on request.
Find out approximate trip price in your own currency here
- International airfare to Lijang, China and return from Chengdu, Tibet. (This can be arranged for you. Please contact us for details)
- China Visa
- Comprehensive travel insurance. Click here for an insurance quote.
- Additional activities not included in the itinerary
- Alcoholic or soft drinks
- Tips for guide & driver
- Private vehicle and driver
- All breakfasts, four lunches, three dinners, complimentary bottled water
- All accommodation, based on twin share
- All entrance fees and activities as included in itinerary
- Excellent English speaking Tibetan guide
- Use of a cell phone with local number for duration of the trip
Your journey begins in the city of Lijang which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The people here belong to the Nashi ethnic minority, famed as traders on the Tea and Horse Caravans. Lijiang is the perfect place to acclimatise before traveling to the Tibetan plateau. Explore Lijang’s fascinating old town before travelling to the fabled Shangri La, stopping at Tiger Leaping Gorge on the way. Explore the old town of Shangri La and Songzanlin Monastery built by the 5th Dalai Lama, modelled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Leaving Shangri La, we explore Napa Lake and Nixi Pottery village before arriving at Benzilan, an important stop on the ancient Tea and Horse Trade linking Tibet with India.
Our beautiful hotel here offers a tranquil retreat. Relax in the garden or library before dinner. We visit the ancient Dongzhulin Monastery before ascending to the village of Meili, which looks out on the Holy mountain, one of eight sacred mountains in Tibet. An important pilgrimage site for Tibetans, the Meili peaks tower at over 6000 metres. Wake up to sunrise over one of the world’s most beautiful mountain views. We return to Shangri La after visiting Shusong Nunnery. Fly to the city of Chengdu and visit China’s famous Panda Breeding Centre and Wushu Monastery before departure. Alternatively add on a trip to Lhasa with regular flights from Shangri La to Lhasa.
Lijang: Arrive in Lijang and meet your guide. Transfer to your hotel. Driving time: 45 mins Altitude: 2,400 m Overnight: Lijang No meals included
Lijang: Explore Lijang’s old town and Jade Mountain. Altitude: 2,400 m Overnight: Lijang Buffet breakfast included
Shangri-La: Depart Lijang for Shangri La stopping at Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world’s deepest canyons. Check into your hotel and relax to acclimatise to the higher altitude Driving time: 3 hrs Altitude: 3,300 m Overnight: Shangri-La Buffet breakfast included
Shangri-La: Visit Songzalin monastery and explore the old town in the afternoon. Later join a community dance. Altitude: 3,300 m Overnight: Shangri-La Buffet breakfast included
Benzalin: Visit Napa Lake and Nixi pottery village before reaching the Tea and Horse Trail town of Benzalin. Our hotel for the night is located in a peaceful village just outside the town, looking out on a temple. Driving time: 1 hr, 30 mins Altitude: 1,900 m Overnight: Benzalin All meals included
Meili: Visit Dongzhulin Monastery before ascending to the village of Meili. Driving time: 2 hrs Altitude: 3,600 m Overnight: Meili All meals included
Meili: Visit Kawa Gabo mountain Driving time: 1 hr 30 mins Altitude: 3,600 m Overnight: Meili All meals included
Shangri-La: Watch the sunrise over the mountains and travel back to Shangri La via Shusong Nunnery. Driving time: 3 hrs 30 mins Altitude: 3,300 m Overnight: Shangri-La Buffet breakfast and lunch included
Chengdu: Enjoy a last day in Shangri La before catching your flight from the roof of the world. Arrive Chengdu in the evening and transfer to your hotel. Flight time: 1 hr, 20 mins Altitude: 485 m Overnight: Chengdu Buffet breakfast included
Chengdu: Visit the Panda Breeding centre and Wenshu Monastery. Enjoy a vegetarian dinner at the monastery restaurant. Altitude: 485 m Overnight: Chengdu Buffet breakfast included
Drive to the airport for your departure. Buffet breakfast included