11-Day Nujiang Gorge Adventure Trek

This stunningly scenic area of rugged mountain ranges and carved canyons is home to seven minority groups including the Lisu, Bai, Nu and Pumi. On this trip, you will village hop your way along the Nujiang River to the idyllic village of Dimaluo, then embark on a 3 day trek over Biluo Snow Mountain, past yak pastures, alpine lakes and and colourful rhododendron forests. A great adventure for those who enjoy camping and the great outdoors.

Tour starts/ends: Dali/Zhongdian
Fitness level required: Moderate-High
Time of year available: May to early November
Recommended time:May and June, late September-October

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Dali- Liuku (L, D)
Travel for 6 hours from Dali to Liuku, the major town of Nujiang prefecture. In the afternoon explore Liuku city or visit the Hot Springs in the north of the city. Overnight in Liuku.

Day 2: Liuku-Abandoned City Zhiziluo – Laomudeng Christian Church (B, L, D)
Drive for 3 hours, passing some pretty cascades over sheer cliffs, and progressively higher and steeper mountains. Visit the abandoned city of Zhiziluo, the capital of the Nu River Lisu Ethnic Group Autonomous County from 1949-1972. Built as a model communist town, this attractive city perched high on a mountain was deemed “unsafe” by government engineers and evacuated. 10 years later, the town still hadn’t fallen into the river, so about a thousand members of the Lisu and Nu ethnic groups returned to live in the abandoned buildings. Climb the old Ba Jiao Lou Pagoda to see the whole Nujiang Gorge. Hike for 40 minutes to Pihe village to visit Laomudeng Christian Church, the biggest and one of the oldest in the area. Overnight in the local guesthouse at Laomudeng.

Day 3: Laomudeng Church – Shiyueliang- Bingzhongluo (B, L, D)
Drive for 2 hours to Shiyueliang (Stone Moon), a natural stone arch in the Gaoligong Mountains. Then keep driving for 2.5 hours to Bingzhongluo which means “Tibetan villages set in a bamboo grove”. Along the way you will see Lisu, Nu and Yi people dressed in their traditional clothing,  and locals using the traditional means of overhead cables to glide across the river. Overnight in Bingzhongluo.

Day 4: Bingzhongluo- Shi men guan—Wuli village (B, L, D)
Drive for half an hour to the entrance to Wuli village, passing by Shimengguan (Stone Gate Pass), the narrowest site of the Nujiang River where sheer cliffs close in around the river.  Walk for 2 hours along the so-called “Tea-Horse Caravan Route” to Wuli village, a path used by traders ferrying their goods between Yunnan and Tibet.  At the end of the trekking road, an old hanging bridge and a new one-year-old bridge swing side-by-side. Overnight in Wuli village.

Day 5:  Qiu Na tong-Dimaluo
(B, L, D)
Drive 10 minutes to the entrance to Qiunatong, then hike for 2 hours to Qiunatong village.  In the afternoon, continue driving north along the Nu River to Dimaluo (2800m), a conglomeration of twelve natural villages, with a population of just over 2,300 people, comprising of Nu, Tibetan, Lisu, and Dulong groups, most of which are Catholics. Overnight in Dimaluo.

Day 6: Dimaluo –Baihanluo
(B, L, D)
Start trekking up Biluo Snow Mountain (4652 metres), between the Nu River and the Mekong River. Today’s hike of 3 hours takes you to Baihanluo, a beautiful village where you will visit the local Catholic Church (200 year history) and relax for the rest of the afternoon. Overnight in a local villager’s house.

Day 7: Baihanluo – Chuka Yak meadow (B, L, D)
Climb for 3 hours to reach the highest peak, Balagong Pass, on Baihanluo Mountain (3900 metres), then spend approx 2 hours climbing down the mountain to Chuka Yak Meadow (Elevation: 2400m). Camp for the night in Chuka Yak meadow.

Day 8:  Chuka Yakmeadow- Shelalaka Pass-Lazha Yak Meadow-Cizhong (B, L, D)
Start trekking up to the Shelalaka Peak ( 4300m ) of Biluo Snow Mountain. This is a very steep, challenging climb which will take approx. 3 hours. On the way, you will be rewarded with beautiful lakes and cloud covered snow mountains. Climb down the mountain passing through azaleas forests and Lazha Yak Meadow (3500m). Make one final ascent to Zhanala Mountain then back down to reach Cizhong Village by the side of the Mekong River. Upon arrival in Cizhong visit the 100 year old Catholic church and sample some of their home grown red wine. Stay overnight in Cizhong village at Teacher Zhang’s guesthouse.

Day 9: Cizhong-Deqin-Feilaisi- Mingyong Glacier-Feilaisi (B, L, D)
See the sun rise over the Meili Snow Mountains. Drive to Deqin (3 hours), and onto Mingyong. Trek (or horseride) for approx. 2 hours up to Mingyong Glacier. Drive back to Feilaisi for overnight.

Day 10: Feilaisi- Zhongdian (B, L, D)
Drive from Feilaisi back to Zhongdian, stopping along the way to visit Baima Snow Mountain, the “Omega” (First Bend of the Jinsha River) and Dongzhu Monastery. Arrive in Zhongdian in the late afternoon.  That night, watch the local Tibetans kick up their heels in the Old Town Square.

Day 11: Zhongdian (L)
Enjoy a dawn visit to the Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhism monastery in Yunnan province. It was built over 320 years ago on a site chosen by divination by the 5th Dalai Lama, and is now home to over 700 monks and lamas. Watch the mist rise up over the town. Visit the local Zhongdian market to see the Khampa Tibetans in their traditional ethnic dress buying and selling their local wares: everything from yak cheese to noodle soup to black clay cookware. Tour concludes.

Tour prices

The following table shows the price per person for groups of varying sizes. The budget and comfortable options differ in terms of transportation and accommodation. For details, please see the price inclusions below.

2 people 3 people 4-5 people 6-7 people 8 + people
Single supplement
Budget 7800 CNY 5800 CNY 4950 CNY 4700 CNY 4300 CNY 700 CNY
Comfortable 9300 CNY 7200 CNY 5900 CNY 5150 CNY 4750 CNY 1000 CNY

Price inclusions

  1. Accommodation: Budget: 1 night homestay, 1 night camping, 6 nights in simple guesthouses, 2 nights in nice guesthouses with private bathrooms; Comfortable: 1 night homestay, 1 night camping, 3 nights in simple guesthouses and 3 nights in 3 star standard hotels
  2. Entrance tickets: Liuku Hot Springs, Nujiang River Gorge (50 CNY), Mingyong Glacier (70 CNY), Dongzhulin Monastery (30 CNY), Omega Bend of the Jinsha River (30 CNY), Songzanlin Monastery (85 CNY)
  3. Camping equipment: Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads
  4. All transportation: Budget- Transportation is by public bus on Day 1 and Day  10 and hired vans the remainder of the time; Comfortable: Transportation for the duration of the tour is by 2WD or Jinbei vehicle.
  5. Meals : 9 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 10 dinners as indicated on the itinerary. Lunches and dinners will be standard Chinese food including rice and a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. Breakfasts will be Chinese breakfast foods (noodles, steamed buns, eggs). For the three day trek from Dimaluo to Cizhong the food will be simple consisting of chicken and vegetables, rice and noodles as well as some snack foods such as chocolate, biscuits, dried fruit etc.
  6. Guide: An experienced English speaking tour guide
  7. Horse(s): For the 3 trekking days, one horse will be provided for every 4 travellers to carry the camping equipment and food supplies.

Price exclusions

  1. Horses or porters to carry your personal belongings
  2. Snacks, drinks and western food
  3. Travel insurance
  4. Personal expenses such as phone calls, laundry or porters’ fees


  1. Surcharges will be charged for peak travelling times such as Chinese New Year, May Day (May 1st-7th) and National Day (October 1st-7th). For tours at these times please contact us for a customized quote.
  2. The prices quoted are to be used as a guide only. A final tour quote will be provided to you at the time of enquiry which may be higher or lower than the price listed above.


Below are some images from previous tours in this area. Click to view larger images.


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