Have lunch at the Songsten Hotel, filled with the owner’s excellent collection of rare Tibetan antiques.
Visit the Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in Yunnan Province. Join the monks for a private blessing ceremony, before having tea with a senior lama in his private chambers. You will be able to visit parts of the monastery normally off-limits to visitors, including the kitchen, bedrooms and storage rooms.
Enjoy an authentic traditional dinner and cooking demonstration in the home of a local family. Savory yak-butter tea, stewed yak meat, and cheese made from yak milk are all staples in the local diet, highlighting the importance of the hardy animal to the people of this remote region. After dinner, join the locals for a dance in the village square, a unique local tradition that goes on most evenings.
Drive into Zhongdian and explore the Old Town. Shop for Himalayan arts and crafts, such as prayer flags, thangkas, or painted, embroidered silk tapestries, jewelry and traditional clothes. Afterwards, visit the Zong Gu Monastery, home to the world’s largest prayer wheel, a towering, gold-painted monolith.