In the Hengduan Mountains, the Yangtze, the Mekong and the Salween Rivers flow parallel to each other through snowy peaks that measure almost 20,000 feet high in parts. The quiet valleys within this rugged landscape are rich in biodiversity and are home to several ethnic groups. On this 8-day journey, you'll travel a circuit around the region, visiting remote mountain villages, navigating through the region’s tallest mountains, exploring thick forest and discovering the beauty of this UNESCO-listed zone.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
You'll begin your journey in Lijiang, where a guide will meet you and drive you to Tacheng, four hours away, at more than 6,600 feet elevation. You'll be taken to your hotel, where you can acclimatize to the altitude and prepare for your upcoming trip. In Tacheng, you’ll stay at the Songtsam Tacheng, housed in a beautifully-designed Tibetan house, offering spacious rooms, traditional wood furnishings and panoramic valley views. Your afternoon is free to explore the gardens and fields surrounding the hotel.
This morning, you will visit Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park, hiking an hour or two into the forest to try and catch a glimpse of the endangered golden snub-nosed monkey. The park provides excellent opportunities for avid photographers, especially those who manage to sight some of these photogenic creatures. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the park, then pay a visit to a local family, who will offer you samples of homemade honey created from the nectar of wild flowers. Return to Songtsam Tacheng tonight.
Drive to Benzilan today, at an altitude of 6,200 feet. You'll be taken directly to the Songtsam Benzilan, where you can freshen up before visiting some more of the area’s scenic mountain villages. Enjoy the cool climate and brisk air with a forest walk, and in the evening, visit the village prayer pavilion where elders come most evenings to pray. Settle into Songtsam Benzilan tonight, nestled in barley and wheat crops by the Yangtze River.
Make your way to Meili today after breakfast, where en route you'll visit Dongzhulin Monastery, positioned atop a cliff, offering majestic valley views. Dongzhulin Monastery is the second-largest monastery in the region, home to more than 500 Yellow Hat monks. On the way to Meili – at 11,800 feet - you'll traverse Baima ("Horse") Snow Mountain, named for the snow-covered peaks that, from a distance, look like galloping horses. Check into the Songtsam Meili this afternoon, where you can enjoy unforgettable views of the Meili Mountains from your room. Take a walk around the village in the evening if you would like.
Rise early today to witness sunrise at Kawagebo, the highest peak in Yunnan at more than 22,000 feet. You can hike around the mountain today, following trails that take from three to eight hours – which direction you take is entirely up to you. For lunch, enjoy a gourmet picnic with a view. In the evening, return to the Songtsam Meili for a hot shower and a comfortable bed.
Today you'll make your way to Shangri-La, where you'll visit the village of Nixi, famous for its black pottery. Take part in a handicraft workshop lacquer-painting bowls, then check into the Songtsam Shangri-La, beautifully-decorated in traditional Tibetan style. The spacious rooms of the Songtsam are luxurious and equipped with all modcons, while immersing guests in a traditional Tibetan ambiance. The Banyan Tree Ringha is another excellent option.
Today you'll get to explore the surrounding hills and valleys on horseback – the time-honored method of traversing this stunning terrain. You'll also have the opportunity to see the small village of Xiaozhong Tian, including the vividly-decorated Wenfeng Monastery and the village's authentic Tibetan farmhouses. In the afternoon, explore the Old Town of Shangri-La, enjoying a traditional Tibetan farewell dinner.
Neighboring the ethnic Lisu farming community of Tacheng, the area surrounding this property is known for its fresh produce, with organic rice in particular one of the most significant local harvests. Beekeeping is also a popular trade in this fertile zone, also known for being the playground of endangered Yunnan Golden Monkeys, no doubt attracted by the abundance of fresh fruits and nuts. The Lisu community offer plenty of opportunities for guests to learn about local farming culture, with home visits a highlight of any stay. The onsite pool is also a popular venue for guests looking to relax with a commanding view of the surrounding mountainous terrain.
The tranquil village of Benzilan sets the scene for this property - an idyllic pastoral backdrop of wheat, barley and rice fields. The pace here is relaxed, giving harried travelers a chance to experience rural living, largely unchanged for centuries. Within the property, guests can enjoy all modern conveniences, with WiFi throughout the public zones and gourmet meals prepared by local chefs. The garden provides plenty of onsite space for chilling out and enjoying the breathtaking views of this unique location, while the nearby village provide endless hours of cultural discovery, interacting with the community and experiencing an almost forgotten way of life.
This charming hotel must be one of the most remote hotels in the world, located in a tranquil village with just five families. It looks out onto one of China’s proudest features - the incredible Meili Xue Shan mountain range, of which each room in the hotel has a fabulous view. Since meals are included in the room price, guests need not worry about carrying around their wallet in this tranquil and relaxed environment. Instead, they may dine in the communal Tibetan restaurant, on anything from Western dishes, to traditional Tibetan yak cheese and barley wine. The cozy book bar provides an array of reading material for guests to enjoy, and bonfire parties are a wonderful occasion for guests to let their hair down, interact with other guests, and enjoy some traditional local performances.
Banyan Tree Ringha is in China’s Yunnan province, in a mountainous area that has been officially designated “Shangri-La” by the Chinese government and is part of Greater Tibet, both historically and culturally. The architecture reflects the local Tibetan culture: the 32 spacious lodges and suites are traditional Tibetan farmhouses with intricate woodcarvings, enormous pine pillars, smoky fireplaces and wooden balconies that have valley or river views. There are three restaurants to choose from: Llamo, which serves Chinese and Western dishes, Chang Sa, for Tibetan specialties, and Jakhang, a cozy teahouse with a large fireplace and an encyclopedic collection of teas. The Ringha has a divine Banyan Tree spa and a business center, but no fitness center or pool. The Shangri-La Airport (DIG) is a half-hour drive from the hotel.
Set in the high hills outside Zhongdian, Songtsam Shangri-la brings a new level of five-star luxury to this wind-swept, scenic area. Each of the resort’s rooms feature a collection of hand-made fixtures, from antique furniture to Tibetan textiles and carpets; in addition, all rooms offer amenities such as cable and satellite television, complimentary high-speed Internet access, and large, expansive windows. Songtsam is home to a restaurant serving Tibetan specialties as well as creative, fusion dishes, such as pizza with Tibetan cheese. Additional amenities include a conference room, a rooftop that offers guests wonderful views of historic Songzanlin Monastery, as well as a delightful, spacious courtyard for guests to browse at their leisure. Songtsam Shangri-la lies twenty minutes from Zhongdian’s Diqing airport.
Get a real feel for China on this luxury 10-day tour that whisks you through Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, and Shanghai. Stay at some of the country’s most prestigious hotels while taking in key sights, from the Temple of Heaven, to the Great Wall of China, to the Terracotta Warriors, Yu Gardens, and more.
Stroll along one of the world’s wonders, the Great Wall of China, when you embark on this 8-day luxury train journey through Beijing and Lhasa. It’s a step back in time with ancient sites and breathtaking natural features, and a thrilling trip along the world’s highest train journey to the Tibetan Plateau.
Travel through the spiritual heart of Asia to Vietnam, Laos, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka focusing on wellness, mindfulness and the diverse cultures of these four fascinating countries.
Journey through China’s most picturesque landscapes on this exciting 13-day luxury journey. You’ll hike through the stunning Yellow Mountain and Jiuzhaigou National Park, tour Tibetan villages of the Zharu Valley, and play with Pandas in Chengdu, while staying at luxury hotels like Amanfayun or Banyan Tree.
Journey across China’s ancient trade route, meandering from Shanghai, to Xian, Dunhuang, Urumqi, and Kashgar. You’ll stay in hotels fit for aristocrats as you learn about what life was like for traders at sites like the Bund, the Terracotta Warriors, the City of Sands, White Horse Pagoda, the Grand Bazaar, and more.
Immerse yourself in the different faces of China in this exciting journey of cities and slopes. Split your time in this magnificent country between the bustling metropolis of downtown Beijing and the peaceful winter wonderlands offered by the area’s best ski resorts.
Travel through the remote, stunning corners of Northwest China on this colorful journey that will take you from Beijing to undiscovered Zhangye Danxia and Jiayuguan. Your camera will be challenged to capture the real life epic beauty at sites like Jiayuguan Fortress, the Danxia landforms, Bingguo Rock area, and more.
Step back into China’s indelible past on this insightful 4-day journey through Datong and Pingyao. This luxury tour will take you to ancient monasteries and UNESCO-listed sites, including the Yungang grottoes, Shanhua Monastery, and the Nine Dragon Screen, while staying at the luxurious boutique Jing’s Residence.
Soak up the culture, history, sights and sounds of Canton on this six-day exploration of southern China’s most stylish province. From the bright lights, art galleries and markets of Hong Kong, immerse yourself in beautiful Conghua, where golf, hot springs and historic artifacts await amid gorgeous mountain scenery.
Meander in luxury down Asia’s longest river, the Yangtze, on this phenomenal 4-day boat journey that passes by some of China’s most stunning landscapes and fascinating cities, moving from Chongqing, past the Three Gorges Dam Project, and on to Xiling Gorge, being rocked to sleep at night aboard your cruise ship.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands – a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
From the Cultural Revolution and Chinese millennials to the Kangxi Emperor and hutongs, this list of books to read on your trip through Beijing will keep you entertained, informed, and enlightened.
In Nepal, India, Bhutan, China, and beyond, the unique landscapes and cultures of the Himalayas are a paradise for travelers looking for peace — from the wildlife and mountains to the history and spirituality.
Here is a small selection of the kind words our guests have said about us, as well as features by journalists and travel writers.