Road to Shangri-la!

Mid-October 2019

Your Daily Schedule

Day 1  • Arrive in Kunming  

You'll begin your journey to the diverse and captivating province of Yunnan from the capital city, Kunming. Upon arrival at the Kunming International Airport, meet your local guide and transfer to the hotel.

Welcome and “Meet & Greet” at hotel


Day 2  • Kunming-Yuanyang

A day excursion of the Stone Forest, home to towering and bizarre karst limestone peaks. We then depart for ethnic villages to photograph locals going about their daily lives - we may even get lucky and be invited into their homes to better understand their way of life. Lastly, we make our way to Jianshui, check into our hotel and head back out to capture our first sunset over the Laohuzui rice terraces.

Day 3:  • Yuanyang

We'll start off the day shooting sunrise over the spectacular Duoyishu Rice Terraces, then a leisurely pace to visit/shoot Chaoyang Gate and Tuanshan village where we'll seek out the local community for daily life. We'll stroll through a photo-rich local market & bazaar where foodstuff are bartered, then experience local life Qingkou village (aka Mushroom house village). To end the day, we'll catch the last glimpse of sunlight over the beautiful Bada rice terraces - it should be a colorful display for the senses!

Day 4:  • Yuanyang-Jianshui

Our last early morning sunrise call to shoot over the rice terraces of Yuanyang, we'll make our journey to Jianshui ancient town for 700 year old history where the 2nd largest Confucian tempe resides. Ending our daily adventure in Tuanshan village (a recognized WMF site) and capture the Twin Dragon Bridge for sunset. 

Day 5: • Yuanyang-Kunming-Dali

We begin our journey northward aboard First-Class cabin on China's premiere Bullet Train to Dali and transfer to nearby Xizhou where we'll check-in at the enchanting Linden Centre in the middle of this 1500 year old ancient town. We'll then catch our breath, relax and stroll the streets of Dali Old Town. At your option, a foot massage may be calling your name! Since this is about the halfway point of our trip, we're providing time to explore on your own to relax and soak up the local calm and local vibe. We will also provide several activity options to choose from.

Day 6 • Dali/Xizhou

Morning shoot in the (rice, garlic or which ever crop is growing at the time) fields in back of the hotel to catch the sunrise over the Cangshan mountains - truly peaceful way to spend a morning before a cup of Yunnan coffee or tea. After breakfast, we'll head out for a photowalk through Xizhou's morning market before visiting Zhoucheng town where the local Bai community will show us their Tie-Dye ware's that date back over 1000 years.

Day 7  • Dali/Xizhou

After breakfast, we'll make our way to the symbol of Dali, Chongshen Monastery with a history of over 1800 years! We'll take a cableway up Cangshan and have a walkabout and take in the fresh crisp air, surrounding snow-capped peaks and enjoy a birds-eye view of Erhai Lake below. 

Day 8  • Dali-Lijiang

We continue our sojourn northward to leave the serene valley of Dali and hit the road for the endearing ancient town of Lijiang. Upon arrival of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, we'll stretch out our legs while making our way to the top of Lion Hill to the Wanggu Tower giving us a pano view of LJ old town and the surrounding countryside that's protected by the venerable Jade Dragon Snow Mountains. Visit Dongba Valley to enrich our understanding of ancient Naxi religious witchcraft. 

Day 9  • Lijiang

Morning drive to Ganhazi Meadow in Yulongshan scenic area, take a tramway up to Spruce Meadow ,visit Baishuihe, make our way to Blue Moon Valley, then treated to "Impressions of Lijiang"cultural show in its massive outdoor amphitheater - a visual show for the senses!

Day 10  • Lijiang

Morning drive to a Yi village for portrait sessions with locals with lunch in the village as well. After lunch, we head back down the mountain to the Naxi village of Yuhu and pay a visit to the former residence of Joseph Rock, a famed Botanist who helped bring the Naxi to recognition as a vibrant culture to be forgotten. Then, back to Lijiang for landscape/street shoot around town and Black Dragon Pond. 

Day 11  • Lijiang-Tiger Leaping Gorge-Shigu

Say goodbye to Lijiang for the First bend on the great Yangtze River - China's longest river. Visit Shigu Old Town for street, market and environmental portraiture. Witness the majestic Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of China's a largest and widest gorges.

Day 12  • Shigu-Shangri la

After breakfast, we'll make our way to Shangri-la! Along the way, we'll make a stop at Baishuitai, an ancient and mysterious crystalized calcium terrace wonder with a history of over 200,000 years! Later in the day, we'll have reached our Shangri-la! Time on your own to unwind, relax and wonder about the old town portion of Shangri-la.

Day 13  • Shangri-la

Morning landscape sunrise photoshoot across the Songzanlin Monastery, reputed as the "Little Potala Palace", followed by a visit inside to experience traditional Tibetan buddhism. Have a leisurely walkabout around the monastery (called a Kora) a daily pilgrimage for local Tibetans. After lunch, we'll visit nearby Renan and Nixi villages for more photo opportunities!

Early morning photo session of sunrise over the majestic mountains surrounding Shangri-la and Sumseling Monestary. Drive to Napahai Lake and Yila Grassland and visit with Tibetan family. Next up is Nixi Pottery village. Visit with local craftsman and photograph them making their wares. 

 Walk the Kora around the monastery, Visit Ganden Sumseling Monestary - Tibetan architecture. Learn to make Thangka (Tibetan art). Final group photo critique/share**. 

Day 14  • Shangri-la-Kunming

After breakfast, we pay a visit to Blue Moon Valley to take in the surrounding Tibetan beauty before visiting a Tibetan family to learn the ways of Thank, a traditional Tibetan artform.


Rest of day to explore the ancient town on your own before an evening departure for Diqing Airport to get you back to Kunming where it all started. Once we've arrived in Kunming, we will transport to our hotel. Full service ends.  

Day 15  • Kunming to your next destination ...

Transport from hotel to airport provide (one scheduled time)

** Group photo share and critiques are a vital part of this tour and will be inserted along our journey as time and location permits.

If you're curious about where we're staying, click below.

Interested in joining us?

Just drop us a quick line and we'll keep you updated for important dates to plan for.