Prayer flags in Songzanlin Monastery, Shangri La, Yunnan, China

Lijiang, Shangri La and Yunnan

Yunnan, meaning ‘Beautiful clouds in the South’ is one of China’s most diverse and naturally beautiful provinces with terrain ranging from snow-capped, alpine mountains to tropical rainforests.

China is home to more than 56 minority groups, over half of which can be found in the South West of the country within the provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou.

During a trip to Yunnan you will find cormorants still being used to catch fish on Erhai Lake, trading communities living in bamboo houses in the sub-tropical regions along the Burmese border, volcanoes in the west and excellent walking in the mountains, where you can get a true taste of the diverse range of flora and fauna on offer.

Tibetan Monastery town shrouded in low cloud, reflected in river.
Sumtseling Monastery, Shangri La, China


Yunnan is home to the towns of Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled beneath the Jade Dragons Mountains with a wonderfully atmospheric old town and Dali with its lakeside location. The province stretches to the borders with Tibet and as one journeys beyond the famed Tiger Leaping Gorge towards the town of Zhongdian it is possible to get a real feel of Tibetan life at the 300-year-old Tibetan Monastery of Ganden Sumtseling Gompa which is still home to around 600 monks.

Miao Minority Muskateer Heritage, Biasha Village, Guizhou, China
Congjiang, China


Guizhou is well known for its hospitable people and enjoys more folk festivals than any other province in China – the colourful clothing, traditions and individual cultures, which are particularly prominent at festival times, are still an unexpected sight in China. The unusual and varied scenery of Guizhou includes striking karst formations, rolling mountains, terraced fields, limestone caves, verdant forests and Asia’s biggest waterfall.

Giant Panda, China
Giant Panda, China

Giant pandas in Sichuan

A visit to the province of Sichuan in the South West is also the place to see China’s most iconic animal, the Panda at the Giant Panda breeding research centre in Chengdu or for the more adventurous you could trek into the mountains to search for these elusive creatures in their natural habitat.


What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Novice Monks at Monastery, Yunnan, China

Discover Shangri La

Journey to Shangri La for a glimpse into Tibetan culture.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Local woman and child, Yunnan, China

Tibetan Family Experience

Take a traditional yak butter tea with a Tibetan family in northern Yunnan.

Suggested Holiday Idea

The streets of the old town of Shaxi, Yunnan

Overnight in a Local Village

Spend a night in a traditional courtyard hotel in the sleepy Yunnan village of Shaxi, home to ancient stone bridges a traditional wooden theatre and a local Friday market.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Exterior and Grounds, Songtsam Tacheng Lodge, Tacheng

Travel the Songtsam Trail

Travel between a group of five intimate and hospitable lodges, nestled in the dramatic landscapes of remote north western Yunnan, close to villages populated by minority tribes.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Tibetan Flags Ringha Temple, Banyan Tree Ringha, Shangri La, China

Discover Tibetan Culture

Explore the soaring mountains and Tibetan culture of North West Yunnan, from the charming city of Lijiang to the Buddhist Monasteries of Shangri La.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Tiger Leaping Gorge, Lijiang, Yunnan, China

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Trek a section of the dramatic Tiger Leaping Gorge amidst the mountains of Yunnan.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Giant Panda, China

Seek Wild Giant Panda

Trek in the Qinling Mountains in search of giant panda and golden monkey.

Where to Stay

Every captivating tailor-made itinerary needs a perfect base. Our team has handpicked this collection of properties to give you luxury options in styles to suit any adventure.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Craven

Paul is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.

Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz.

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Clare Higginson

It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.

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  • 01285 880 980

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