Fabled Shangri-La

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4 Days
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Known as Gyalthang in Tibetan and Zhongdian in Chinese, could this small city in the foothills of the Himalayas really be James Hilton’s mythical paradise? Get swept off your feet by views of Mount Meili and become immersed in Tibetan culture as you surround yourself with people in the market. Then, lose them all again and stroll through the silent, incense-filled rooms of Yunnan’s largest Tibetan Lamasery.

About this Journey

Was the mythical paradise just that – a story? Or is there more behind the myth, tucked away in the back streets or hills that surround the real city of Shangri-La? Mount Meili dominates the view from the moment you reach the city and your first day sees you climbing a winding path upwards, taking in fresh mountain air and admiring a landscape so remote, you feel a world away from the life you’re used to. Another life awaits you in Shangri-La, a life of Buddha’s relics interred in white stupas, of yak-butter tea simmering on the stove, and of incense burning in golden-rooved temples.

What we love
  • Chanting sutras with a Lama at Gadan Dongshulin Temple
  • Hiking the trails that snake around Mount Meili
  • Wandering through the gilded pillars and incense-filled rooms of Songzanlin Monastery
Where you're going
Shangri-La map

Day 1 Shangri-La

Arrive into Shangri-La and receive a warm welcome from your WildChina local guide and driver • Spend the day at your leisure acclimatizing to the higher altitude.

Day 2Meili

Take in the fresh air as you set out along one of the trails snaking around the glistening peaks of Mount Meili • Stop by Gadan Dongzhulin Temple • Focus your energy and chant sutras with a Lama • Pass by the Baima Snow Mountains • Arrive at Songtsam Meili before nightfall and savor a well-deserved Tibetan dinner.

Day 3 - 4Shangri-La

Travel back to Shangri-La in the morning • Follow the narrow winding lanes of Shangri-la Old Town • passing by white stupas and outdoor market • Wander through the gilded pillars and incense-filled rooms of Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan lamasery in Yunnan. If time permit, duck into the foliage of Pudacuo National Park for a chance to escape the crowds as you wander deep into the heart of Shangri-la’s wilderness • Take your late afternoon departure flight to your next destination.

Recommended Hotels

Recommended seasons





What’s Included

  • All overland transfers with private chauffeur and in-transport refreshments
  • All admission fees and activity expenses, as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals as noted in the itinerary with complimentary drinking water
  • Ground transportation, including airport transfers
  • Services of an English-speaking WildChina guide
  • Private chauffeur service to and from airport at start and end of your trip

What’s Excluded

  • International and domestic flights, domestic trains, plus relevant taxes
  • Chinese tourist visa, which is required for most foreign passport holders
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Meals, apart from those included in the itinerary, and alcohol
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Excursions and activities not included in the itinerary
  • Discretionary gratuities for guides and drivers


We would be delighted to recommend our favorite hotels for this journey. Please just fill up the form on the right of this page or email us via info@wildchina.com. One of our experienced travel designers will get back to you within 24 hours.

Why WildChina

We’re on the ground with you

Our team of advisors will design every detail of the trip with you through close consultation, then orchestrate your entire journey while on the ground. We’re in the same time zone as you, so we can fulfill requests and handle issues without a hitch. With over 40 staff in Beijing and an expansive network of operational partners across the country, we have the manpower to ensure your journey is safe, reliable and comfortable from beginning to end.

Your trip, your way

Flexibility is our highest-ranking compliment. We pull off journeys for pioneers with a 6-hour layover to Hollywood’s elite, and everywhere in between. Our team regularly pulls off unprecedented logistical feats; nearly any time frame or budget is within our realm. No matter how you wish to experience China, we are here to bring that dream to life.

We embody passion

WildChina guides are carefully handpicked for their knowledge and charisma, then meticulously trained to maintain our exceptional service standards. They are expert storytellers and passionate natives of the regions where they guide, having the perfect combination of local insights and service know-how to bring you seamless once-in-a- lifetime moments all across China.

The little things, the big picture

Supporting inspired local economies allows you to experience the soul of the destination, while also protecting and cultivating China’s artisanal culture. From watching artisans hand make shoes in Yunnan, to picking organic vegetables for dinner on a local farm in Fujian, our tours are designed to showcase and protect China’s heritage, both natural and human.

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