• China
  • 12 Days

The Yunnan to Tibet Tea Road Expedition

  • Multi Destination Journey
  • 12 days; 11 nights
  • 2 travelers
  • Shangri-La City to Lhasa
From the centre of the Three Parallel Rivers to the very highest mountain peaks, the Yunnan to Tibet route is designed for intrepid travellers to discover the region’s living heritage through comfort, authenticity, and an enlightened spirit of adventure. Extended across dramatic altitudes within the Tibetan plateau, the area is home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the demographic contains Tibetans and most of the twenty-five ethnic monitories found in Yunnan province, many of who still follow ancient traditions and customs. For centuries, people have been fascinated with the idea of Shambhala, a mythical kingdom and Buddhist pure land. It is rumoured to have inspired British author James Hilton who published the 1933 novel Lost Horizon in which Shambhala is called Shangri-La, a paradise on Earth hidden in a Tibetan valley. On this horse-riding adventure through breathtaking valleys and ancient villages, you will be immersed in the natural landscapes and century-old legends that inspired so many before us. If you're eager to find "your" Shangri-La, this is the right road to follow. Note: this is a private, fully-guided tour. Independent tours or group tours are also possible.read more

Your Local Expert

Earthtones Journeys

At Earthtones, we believe that tourism — when implemented thoughtfully and intentionally — can be a force for regeneration in the world: regenerative to local economic, social, and ecological systems. Partnering with individuals, guides, and communities rich in natural capital — from farmers to community land trusts and ranches — we're co-creating a network of local-powered, immersive nature experiences.

The Journey

Day 1


- Pick up from Diqing Shangri-La Airport and check into the hotel. - Welcome dinner at the hotel. - Relax to acclimatise to the altitude.

Day 2

Shangri-La to Meili

- After breakfast, visit Napa Lake and drive along the Yangtze River valley towards Benzilan (1.5-hour drive). - Stop off for lunch - In the afternoon, visit the 300-year-old Dongzhulin Monastery to learn about Tibetan Buddhism. - Continue onto Meili via Baima Snow Mountain (2-hour drive). - Arrive in Meili in the late afternoon and visit to a nearby local family - Dinner at the lodge.

Day 3

Road to Tibet

- After breakfast, drive to Meili Snow Mountain. - Pass through snow-capped mountains and the Mekong River valley officially entering Tibet (2-hour drive). - Visit the 1000-year-old salt fields to learn about the history and process of ancient salt making. - Savor a bowl of Jiajia Noodles, a local specialty, for lunch before crossing the Hongla Mountain and Lawu Mountain in the afternoon (3.5-hour drive). - Dinner at the lodge.read more

Day 4

Maiba Pasture

- After breakfast, visit Maiba Pasture (seasonal) to see the rich pasture land, yaks grazing, and the plateau pika (1-hour drive). - Lunch at the pasture. - Return to the lodge and relax in the afternoon. - Dinner at the lodge.

Day 5

Road to Rawu

- After breakfast, depart for Rawu (9-10 hours in total). - Reach the highest point of the journey at 5,130m over the Dongda Mountain Pass (2-hour drive). - Stop off for a picnic at the Bangda Grassland at noon (eat at a local restaurant in the winter). - In the afternoon, travel along the long and winding “Nu Jiang 72 Turns” (2-hour drive). - Continue to climb the 4,400m Anjiula Mountain Pass and arrive at your lodge in time to experience the spectacular sunset on the terrace (2.5-hour drive). - Dinner at the lodge.read more

Day 6

Duosong Tso

- Experience the magnificent sunrise on the lodge’s terrace in the morning. - After breakfast, head to Duosong Tso (a holy and secret lake without any tourists) to witness the pristine forest, blue lake, and snow-capped mountains. - Return to the lodge for lunch. - Free leisurely time in the afternoon or if you are feeling active, visit the ancient blue Laigu Glacier on foot (30-minute drive). - Dinner at the hotelread more

Day 7

Exploring Rawu & Guxiang Lakes

- After breakfast, drive to the mirror-like Rawu Lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. - Drive along the Palong Tsangpo River and through dense forest to your next mountain lodge (3-hour drive). - Have lunch at the hotel. - In the afternoon explore the tranquil and vast Guxiang Lake away from the town. - Dinner at the hotel.

Day 8

Zhuxi Glacier, Pulong Temple & Spruce Forest

- After breakfast, drive to Zhuxi Glacier and visit the 400-year-old Pulong Temple. - Return to the hotel for lunch. - In the afternoon, take a leisurely hike to the Spruce Forest (1.5-hour trek). - Dinner at the hotel.

Day 9


- After breakfast, drive to Lulang via the Tongmai Bridge. - Stop off for lunch. - Hike into Zhaxigang Village situated at the foot of the Jialabailei Summit (1-2 hour trek). - Pass by Lulang’s immense forest to see the snowcapped mountains, meadows, cattle and sheep. Arrive at Nyingchi via the Nyingchi Sejila Mountain Pass. - Dinner at the hotel.

Day 10

Road to Lhasa

- After breakfast, visit the Basong Tso holy lake and Tsozong Gongba Monastery located in the middle of the lake on Tashi Island (2-hour drive). - Stop off for lunch at a local restaurant in Bahe Town. - Follow the G318 highway to Lhasa (4-hour drive). - Check in and have dinner at the hotel.

Day 11

Potala Palace & Jokhang Temple

- After breakfast, visit Potala Palace, the iconic heart of Tibetan Buddhism and the highest palace in the world. - Return to the hotel for lunch. - In the afternoon, visit Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan pilgrims. - Afterwards go to Barkhor Street to experience the most vibrant bazaar in Lhasa. - Enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.

Day 12


After breakfast, transfer to Lhasa Gonggar Airport, or continue to your next destination.


  • Lodging

    Shared occupancy

  • Meals

    All meals, excluding breakfast and lunch on day 1, and lunch/dinner on day 12

  • Transportation

  • Local Guides

Not Included

  • Insurance

  • International Flights

  • Gratuities

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