Hidden Tibet

Explore the real Shangri-La, from James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon. Our 10-night 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. 


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9 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

Single room supplement available on request.

Tibet Map Shangri La Kham Lijiang.jpg


  • International airfare to Lijang, China and return from Shangri- La, Tibet.

  • China Visa

  • Comprehensive travel insurance. Click here for an insurance quote.

  • Additional activities not included in the itinerary

  • Alcoholic or soft drinks

  • Laundry

  • Tips for guide & driver

Trip Inclusions

  • Private vehicle and driver

  • All meals and complimentary bottled water

  • All accommodation, based on twin/double share

  • All entrance fees and activities as included in itinerary

  • Excellent English speaking Tibetan guide




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. for the end of the Journey Add on a trip to Lhasa with regular flights from Shangri La to Lhasa to explore more.




Lijang:   Arrive in Lijang and meet your guide. Transfer to your hotel.
Driving time: 45 mins
Overnight: Lijang
Altitude: 2,400 m


Lijang:  Explore Lijang’s old town and Jade Mountain.
Overnight: Lijang
Altitude: 2,400 m


Tacheng: Pass the first bend on the Yangtze river stopping at Shi Gu Village before continuing to the delightful village of Tacheng, surrounded by rice and flower fields.

Overnight: Tacheng
Altitude: 1,900 m

DAY 4 

Tacheng: Visit the Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park and hike in the reserve ( 1-2 hours). After lunch visit Hada village and learn to make soya milk and tofu with a local family in their courtyard.

Overnight: Tacheng
Altitude: 1,900 m

DAY 5 

Cizhong: Visit the Dharma Cave and follow a pilgrimage walk ( 2 hours). After lunch drive along the Upper Mekong river to Cizhong, where a hundred years ago, French missionaries constructed a catholic church combining Gothic and Chinese architecture. Here Christians and Buddhists live peacefully together. Your hotel is situated in this lovely Tibetan village surrounded by grapevines.

Overnight: Cizhong
Altitude: 1,800 m


Meile: Visit Yuzhu Temple before continuing to Meile, where each year Tibetan pilgrims come to worship Kawagebo Mountain, one of the holiest most spiritual peaks in Tibet. Your comfortable lodge combines rustic charm with modern comforts and cozy fireplaces. After lunch explore the village and visit a family home to print Tibetan prayer flags.

Overnight: Meile
Altitude: 3,400 m


Meile: Experience the sunrise at Meile and after breakfast, take part in a small ceremony paying homage to Kawagebo Mountain with the prayer flags you printed yesterday. Do a day hike with a picnic lunch, follow in the footsteps of plant hunters or go on a bike ride or leisurely walk to the viewing platform facing Kawagebo Mountain.

Overnight: Meile
Altitude: 3,400 m


Shangri-La:  Glimpse the sunrise from Meile one last time before departing for Shangrila via Dongzhulin Monastery, a significant destination for local Tibetans. After lunch at Benzalin, which was once one of the most important stops on the ancient Tea and Horse Road, continue to Shangri- La stopping off at Napa Lake. Located in a wide valley, Shangri- La is located in a wide valley surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides. Hidden in the city’s peaceful and green valleys between Tibetan villages and Himalayan barley fields, our hotel is located a short distance away from the Songzanlin Monastery.

Driving time: 3 hrs
Overnight: Shangri-La
Altitude: 3,300 m

DAY 9 

Shangri-La: Visit Songzalin monastery and explore the old town in the afternoon. Later join a community dance in the old town of Shangri-La. 
Overnight: Shangri-La
Altitude: 3,300 m

DAY 10 

Depart:  Enjoy a last day in Shangri La before ending your journey through the roof of the world.
Altitude: 3,300 m

Note: Additional day can be arranged returning to Lijang for alternative to Shangri- La departure.


Other Trips you may be interested in

Road to Shangri-La


Ancient Tibet

Authentic Amdo