5-Day Highlands around Lijiang Trek

This tour is for those who are keen to have the Tiger Leaping Gorge experience but would also like to explore deeper into the highlands around Lijiang, visiting Yi and Naxi villages that have little exposure to the outside world. On this trek, you will find a peace and serenity that is in stark contrast to the tourist mecca of Lijiang ancient town.

Tour starts/finishes: Lijiang
Fitness level required: Moderate
Time of year available: Anytime (possibly not July-August, depending on rain levels)
Time of year recommended:February-May, late September-November

Detailed itinerary

Day 1:  Lijiang-Yuhu Village-Wenhai Naxi Village (L, D)
Drive to Yuhu Village and hike for 3-4 hours up to Wenhai Naxi Village, a beautiful village set on a plateau above Lijiang. Have a late lunch in Wenhai then spend the afternoon exploring the surrounding Yi and Naxi villages.

Day 2: Wenhai Naxi Village-Longpan-Qiaotou
(B, L, D)
See the sunrise over Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the morning. Then set out on foot or horseback to Shanghai village, passing by Xuehua and Changsongping Yi villages on the way. Have lunch, then hike for a further 1.5 hours to reach Longpan, enjoying panaromic views of the Jinsha River on the way. Drive approximately 20 minutes to Qiaotou for overnight at Jane’s Guesthouse.

Day 3: Qiaotou-Naxi Family Guesthouse-Teahorse Trade Guesthouse
(B, L, D)
Walk for 2 hours to Naxi Family Guesthouse for a morning tea stop. Then hike for a further 3 hours, first braving the 900 metre ascent through the ’28 Bends’ then enjoying the panaroma of Yulong Snow Mountains from the summit as you hike along a flatter path to the Teahorse Trade Guesthouse. Have a late lunch and a relaxing afternoon at the Teahorse Trade Guesthouse.

Day 4: Teahorse Trade Guesthouse-Tina’s Guesthouse-Daju (B, L, D)
Hike for approx 3 hours from Teahorse Guesthouse to Tina’s Guesthouse, passing some beautiful cascades on route. Have lunch at Tina’s, overlooking the Middle Rapids of the Jinsha River. In the afternoon take a slightly dangerous 2 hour return hike to visit Tiger Leaping Stone. Cross the Jinsha River by ferry to arrive at Daju. Overnight at the Daju Inn.

Day 5: Daju-Yak Meadow-Lijiang (B, L)
Be picked up by a driver and transferred back to Lijiang, stopping at Yak Meadow on the way for a horse ride/cable car ride up to a plateau for spectacular views of Jade Dragon Mountain. 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. Please see price inclusions below for details.

2 people 3 people 4-5 people 6-7 people 8 + people
Single supplement
Budget 3550 CNY 2650 CNY 2350 CNY 2200 CNY 1950 CNY 350 CNY
Comfortable 4200 CNY 3200 CNY 2750 CNY 2400 CNY 2100 CNY 500 CNY

Price inclusions

  1. Accommodation: Budget: 1 night homestay, 3 nights in simple guesthouse accommodation; Comfortable: 4 nights in guesthouse accommodation
  2. Entrance tickets:  Tiger Leaping Gorge (50 RMB), Tiger Leaping Stone (10 RMB), Yak Meadow (65 RMB), Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (105 RMB)
  3. All transportation: Budget- Transportation is by public buses for the majority of the time and occasional hired vans; Comfortable: Transportation is in a 7 seater minivan for groups of up to 4 people, an 11-14  seater Jinbei vehicle for groups of 5-7 people and a 15 seater vehicle for 8-10 people.
  4. All transportation: Budget- Transportation is by hired local minivans; Comfortable: Transportation is by 2WD or Ruifeng business vehicle on Days 1, 2 and 5. The vehicle will stay with the group, allowing you to leave your luggage in the car during the hikes on Days 1 and 2.
  5. Meals : 4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 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 a combination of Chinese breakfast foods (noodles, steamed buns, eggs) and western food (pancakes, fried eggs) where available.
  6. Guide: An experienced English speaking tour guide

Price exclusions

  1. Horse hire for transporting luggage in the Tiger Leaping Gorge
  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.

Travellers’ feedback

Steve and Jo Turner write….

We had a fantastic trip that surpassed our expectations in many areas.  Our guide Jonathan really helped to make it.  We don’t think we could have had a better guide – good English, easy going, knowledgeable and great with the kids.  We cannot recommend him highly enough.

The itinerary we planned with you ran very well with the exception of the home stay in Shanghai village.  We didn’t really like the look of the place (we expected basic which it was but it didn’t seem very clean at all) so we carried on down the hill and Jonathan organized the driver to come up from Jane’s Guest House and we stayed there instead.  Whilst that made for a long trekking day, the kids managed it ok and the trek across from Wenhai was superb.

All the guest houses we stayed in were good.  Janes is looking a bit tired (coz its so busy I expect) but the Wenhai place, Teahorse and Daju were better than we expected.  Great food everywhere!

The scenery in the gorge speaks for itself – if you don’t enjoy that then you are on the wrong holiday!   We didn’t see anything at Yak Meadow though as it was a grim day in cloud.

We’ve been recommending this trip to many of our friends and I’m sure that we’ll be back trekking in China before too long.

Kathryn Radford writes…

Summit of Thousand Turtle MountainWe had such an amazing time in China, especially in Yunnan Province on the trek you had organized. Lily was lovely, professional, friendly, encouraging, easy-going and always very charming with our daughter. She really made the trek a success for us. And, we felt that we were in good hands with our drivers, Alishan and his cousin. As for the sights, we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the countryside, the mountains, and the gorge. The trek was challenging but we were up to it, certainly not for the faint of heart. Every day brought new and spectacular vistas and the local people we met along the way were always kind and welcoming. The guest houses were more than adequate, pretty much what we expected; thank goodness for electric blankets!

The cherry on top was the final guest house in Lijiang, Blossom Hill. We could have spent a few more days there. It was lovely!

Tania, thank you so much for organizing such a varied and interesting trek. We will definitely be recommending Backroads of China to anyone who expresses an interest in seeing more than just the usual. We’re already talking about our next visit to China…in 5 years.


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