The Laojun Massive is hidden away from visibility right in the heart of the province’s northwest. Every spring, we organize a Rhododendron viewing expedition around the mountain in a clockwise fashion, properly honoring the fabulous natural surroundings. Although this hiking expedition is relatively accessible, we will be camping on outstretched Yak fields, alpine lakeshores, and deep old-growth primary forests. The trekking portion is 6 days and 5 nights, and the rest of the time we will use to explore the amazing cultural heritage of the Dali-Lijiang area, all in the periphery, away from the masses.
DAY 1 – Saturday the 18th of April 2020 – “The Courtyard Feast”
Arrival in Dali. Transfer to Weishan. Welcome dinner.
The weather in spring will be relatively mild. Outside of our mountain excursion, we can expect hot temperatures in the valleys and plains, and we have to take good care of sun protection. This makes a sun hat, sunscreen and glasses an absolute must. With meteorological patterns getting more and more unpredictable, we have to warn you for possible cold temperatures in the mountains. We will barely get any higher than 4000 meters, but we have to prep for some chilliness at these altitudes. In 2015, we encountered quite some snow while we were camping on the lakeshore. It was unexpected but beautiful, a great contrast to all the pink and purple rhododendron. Usually, it doesn’t really get wet in this season but also we can’t say for sure. We have more info about prepping in the FAQ, and please do not forget our extensive packing list downloadable below:
We have ranked this expedition in the “INTERMEDIATE” category. This means accessibility is relatively high, altitude is moderate (2000 – 4000 meters) and there are no real technical trails or exposed terrain. All of the expeditions in the INTERMEDIATE category are suitable for outdoor lovers with some hiking experience, and even for some enthusiasts who participate in something like this for the first time. We will provide very detailed information about all the distances and how to deal with the thinner air. We travel with a small group, so we can still give a very customized service. The big luggage will be carried by local Yi porters. As long as you are relatively fit and love to move, this is a suitable option. We are able to organize shorter more challenging excursions from the campsites for the more experienced members of the group.
DAY 1-2 – Weishan (x2)
Beautifully restored courtyard now serving as a boutique inn, run by a local family.
We’ll be traveling with an 18-seat officially registered tourist van, operated by one of the best drivers in Yunnan, Dali local Yin Guangtao.
We have 2 subscribers for this tour. The tour will leave if we get 6 people to join. If we get to the maximum of 8 people participating in the tour, we will give $ 100 USD discount to everyone on the trip:
$ 2495 USD $ 2395 USD per person
Please let us know if you want to book this tour privately.
We’ll start this trip with a nose dive straight into the colors, flavors and rhythms of Yunnan’s historical heart. After our welcome dinner in an old courtyard, we’ll explore the lively old town and get a good sense of the local dynamic. After a cozy night’s sleep in our comfortable boutique hotel, we’ll climb the country’s most significant Daoist mountains to learn the basics of Qi Gong exercise and explore the local myths and legends. Hidden behind a mountain flank is a deserted village with courtyards of which the earthen walls have melted like a scoops of ice cream. It is both eerie and interesting to imagine life here just a few years ago, before most of families have moved to new concrete houses in the valley.
The incredible diversity of Yunnan becomes more tangible when we travel to the Muslim area between Weishan and Dali. In an old trading village, we’ll view the traditional Chinese Mosque which is built in the Qing dynasty, and learn all about the towns most influential trading family. We’ll have a fabulous meal in one of their lavish courtyards. Close to the Red River source, we’ll visit a friendly family in an Yi village.
The incredible diversity of Yunnan becomes tangible when we travel to the Muslim area between Weishan and Dali. In an old trading village, we’ll view the traditional Chinese Mosque which is built in the Qing dynasty, and learn all about the towns most influential trading family. We’ll have a fabulous meal in one of their lavish courtyards. Close to the Red River source, we’ll visit a friendly family in an Yi village.
Shaxi has always been a bastion of tranquility and tradition on this northwestern route. We’ll take out time to explore the valley, relax in the comfortable hotel, understand the people’s complex spiritual world. One of the country’s most significant and well-preserved Buddhist mountains is just outside of town, and we’ll spend an entire day walking, enjoying the view and entangling some really engaging local stories. On the last day we’ll participate in Shaxi’s weekly market (Friday) and dive straight into the kitchen with our hostess, who will teach us how to cook delicious Chinese vegetarian food in only a couple of minutes and with a mere handful of fresh ingredients.
Behind the county town of Jianchuan are some vast mountain lands. Sparsely inhabited by some friendly Yi people, they are abound with pristine primary Rhododendron groves, Yak fields, snowy peaks and alpine lakes. It will be the ideal environment to organize an ode to nature and traditional culture. We’ll take a team of knowledgeable Yi friends with us who will help us with logistics and we will learn a lot about their lands and life. The weather is bound to be gorgeous, mild and dry.
Famous all over the world, the Tiger Leaping Gorge is truly a site not to be missed. The longest and one of the biggest rivers of China, squeezing itself through the rocky canyon between the Haba and Jade Dragon Snow Mountains. The scenery is absolutely spectacular. We will get the timing for your visit absolutely right and get the maximum out of all possible walking. To top that off, we’ll take the ferry over the river and spend the night in the sparsely visited Daju, and immerse ourselves in Naxi culture.
The majority of our time around Lijiang will be on an incredibly scenic road on the slopes of the Jade Dragon Snow mountain. When we arrive in the valley, we’ll give homage to one of our early predecessors, botanist and adventurer Joseph Rock. In Lijiang we’ll make sure we end in a nice and comfortable way, with a big feast in the best restaurant in town and a gorgeous boutique hotel.
#handcrafted by your guide