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We had a wonderful time in Tibet. We have learned a lot about this unique destination because of the wonderful guide Degyi who is so knowledge and always available towards our tours. We stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa, and we would never imagine a Tibet travel could be so nice and amazing without the help of Degyi.

Also, thanks a lot to our Tibetan driver Mr.Wongdun for his safe driving and a good sense of service along the way.

We shall return Tibet in the near future!

P.B. and A. A - Europe
Tibet Travel

June 2018 (Private Tibet Journey from Kathmandu)

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  You are here: Home > Off The Beaten Track > Self-drive Holidays in China > Along the Edge of Tibet
Along the Edge of TibetTour Name:         Along the Edge of Tibet
Tour Code:          M75D357
Duration:            23 Days & 22 Nights
Destination:        Chengdu, Ya'an, Mt.Four Sisters, Danba, Kangding, Tagong, Garze, Derge, Pelyul, Litang, Yading, Derong, Dechen, Shangri-la, Lijiang, Shaxi, Dali, Kunming
Features:            An epic driving journey in China, Along the Edge of Tibet. On this journey you will travel through a breathtakingly beautiful region that spans the Tibetan Kham in Sichuan and Yunnan. Driving across high mountain passes and past shimmering holy lakes on the Tibetan highlands, a trip of a lifetime and an amazing opportunity to discover the lands that inspired the legend of Shangri-La. This is a beautiful holiday that will also take you to some of Yunnan's premier destinations -Shangri-La, Lijiang, Dali and Kunming. Enjoy the journey!
Departure Date:
 You Choose!
Tour Price:          From $ P.P

Trip Summary

Detailed Itinerary

Dates & Prices

 Tour Dates


 Tours & Services





Arrive in Chengdu, be met and transferred to hotel.  N/A

Buddha Zen Hotel



Drive your vehicle on good road southwards to Ya'an for a trip of giant pandas at Ya'an Bifengxia Breeding Base. B, L, D

Hongzhu Hotel



Drive via Baoxing and seeing Giant Panda's Natural Habitat at Fengtong Zhai Nature Reserve to Rilong below the Mt.Four Sisters. B, L, D

Local Hotel


 Mt.Four Sisters

One day excursion at the Double Bridge Valley (Shuangqiao Gou).  B, L, D

Local Hotel



Drive to Danba, on arrival Danba, take photos at Blocked Towers at Suopo Village, homestay at Jiaju Tibetan village.  B, L, D

Village Homestay



Drive along the Dadu River to Kangding, after short break travel onwards to Bamei, visit Lhagang Monastery and see the nomads on the grassland. B, L, D Local Lodge


Enjoy a leisure driving to Garze on the north route, visit Chaggo Monastery and Garze Monastery. B, L, D Golden Yak Hotel


Leave for Derge, visit Yilhun Lhatso lake and Derge Parkhang Scripture Printing House and Monastery. B, L, D Chola Hotel


Driving along the Golden Sand River to Pelyul, and visit Pelyul Monastery. B, L, D Local Hotel


Leave in the morning for Garze, en route enjoy the highland meadows at Changtai and driving across spectacular Haizi Shan. B, L, D Golden Yak Hotel



Drive along the river valley of Yalung southwards to Lithang. B, L, D

Highland Hotel


Riwa Village

Morning explore the town of Lithang, visit Lithang Monastery, then head for Riwa Village near Yading Natural Reserve. B, L, D Shengting Yading Hotel

 Yading NR

Full day tour inside Yading Natural Reserve, photo shoot at alpine lakes, forests, snowy peaks, grazing castles and temples. Back to Riwa before dinner time. B, L, D Shengting Yading Hotel


Drive to Derong in the Sun Valley and en route visit a local temple in Xiangcheng.  B, L, D Local Hotel


Drive cross the Golden Sand River at Benzilan and join road in Yunnan, head north to Feilaisi and seeing the Baima Snow Mountain on the way. B, L, D Local Lodge


Enjoy sunrise over the mighty Mt. Kawa Karpo, later of the day drive to Shangri-la through conifer woodlands and nice villages. B, L, D Gyalthang Dzong Hotel


A day tour in Shangri-la to visit Songsamlin Monastery, Ringha Temple, Napa Lake and local Tibetan family, later the day have a walk in the ancient town of Zhongdian (Shangri-la).  B, L, D Gyalthang Dzong Hotel


Leave for Lijiang. En route visit Tiger Leaping Gorge, First Bend of Yangtze River. On arrival Ljiang have a trip to the Black Dragon Pool in the ancient Town. B, L, D Lijiang Wangfu Hotel


Full day visit Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (including round trip cable car up to Spruce Terrace and overlook the Snow Mountain), Dongba Village  Yufeng Temple, Dongba Culture Museum and Lijiang Ancient Town. B, L, D Lijiang Wangfu Hotel


Leave for Shaxi Old Town on the ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road, en route to Shaxi visit Stone Grottoes on ShiBao Shan Mountain.  B, L, D Local Lodge


Driving to Dali and en route visit Xizhou Ancient Town, take a walking in the old town of Dali, visit Three Pagodas and take a boat trip on Erhai Lake. B, L, D Landscape Hotel


Drive to Kunming and explore the Stone Forest. Enjoy last dinner in Kunming. B, L, D Kunming Jinjiang Hotel


Transferred to airport for your departure flight. Trip ends.  B  N/A

Day01 Arrival Chengdu
Today you arrive in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. Greeted and received by your local guide and escorted to your hotel in downtown Chengdu. The rest of day is at your own disposal.

Day02 Chengdu - Ya'an (B, L, D)Giant Panda at Bifengxia Gorge,Ya’an,Sichuan
Leave in the morning for Ya'an. It's a leisure drive through rustic landscapes. In the afternoon you will visit Giant Pandas at Ya'an Giant Panda Breeding Centre. Most of the pandas at Ya'an Base were moved from Wolong Preserve after the earthquake in May 2008. You will have a walking in the gorge. 

Day03 Ya'an - Rilong (B, L, D)Snowy Peaks,Jiajin Mountain,Sichuan
This morning we shall leave for Rilong. A side trip to the old local Cathedral at Dengci Valley offers you more information on the story how the giant pandas were known to the West. Going further you will drive across Giant Panda's Natural Habitat at Fengtong Zhai Nature Reserve. Later in the afternoon you arrive in Rilong, a small town outside the Mt.Four Sisters. Overnight at a local hotel

Day04 Mt.Four Sisters (B, L, D)Four Sisters Mountain,Sichuan
This morning you will take a tour bus to explore Shangqiao Valley (Double Bridge Valley), one of the three open valleys of Mt. Siguniang (Four Sisters Mountain). Standing on the borderline of Xiaojin and Wenchuan in Western China's Sichuan Province, Siguniang Shan offers some of China's most pristine and less visited mountain sceneries.

Day05 Rilong - Danba (B, L, D)Tibetan Village in Danba,Kham,Sichuan
Drive towards Danba. Danba is 1900 m locates at the east end of the Tibet Plateau. The local people are called Jiarong (Gyarong) Tibetans. It is said that they are the descendants of the people of the ancient Xixia Kingdom, who merged with the local people after they fled from Gansu and settled here. Danba has long been acclaimed as the Kingdom of Thousands of Ancient Blockhouses. Upon arrival Danba you will take photos at Suopo Village. They were made of clay and block and look fine from outside with solid thick walls. This night you will stay at a local Tibetan's home at Jiaju Village.

Day06 Danba - Xinduqiao - Bamei (B, L, D) Scenic Drive Danba to Bamei,West Sichuan
You shall drive along the Dadu River to Kangding, after short break travel onwards to Bamei, visit Lhagang Monastery and see the nomads on the grassland. Right out of Kangding, you will start ascending up to Tsedo Mountain which is over 4,000 meters/ 13.125 feet above sea level. The scenery on the pass is amazing. From here we go to Xinduqiao and Tagong (Lhagong) in the valley. We will visit the Lamasery Lhagong Monastery. If weather is good you could have chance to take a good photo to the holy mountain Yala from a higher terrace at Tagong. Overnight at a lodge at Bamei

Day07 Bamei - Garze (B, L, D)Buddhist Chortens in Garze,Kham,Sichuan
Enjoy a leisure drive day. Head out for Garze on quite good road. And on arrival Luhuo, make a stop for Drango Gompa (monastery) and driven to Garze to visit its Garze Monastery. On the way you will have a short way by the lake of Kasa. Drango Monastery built in AD850 so far it has a history over 1000 years. It was converted from a Black Sect and Nyingmapa Sect School to the Gelupa tradition. The monastery became one of the 13 most influential Gelupa Sect chapels throughout Kham ever since the year 1650. Garze Monastery sits in a hill slope that overlooks the town which is a splendid Gelupa monastery in the entire Tibetan culture realm. You will be astonished from afar by the shinning gilded golden roof of the monastery.

Day08 Garze - Derge (B, L, D)Derge Printing House,Kham,Sichuan
Head northwest to Derge. Drive to Yilhun Lhatso, a turquoise lake beneath the Chola Mountain. The road is winding up to the Chola Pass and a descending along the river valley will bring us to Derge. Visit Derge Scripture Printing House and Gonchen Monastery. Derge (3300m/10,830 feet) is former capital of one of the 5 kingdoms of Kham, located at the bottom of a gorge. The extraordinary "Parkhang" (printing house) has about 217 000 plates woodcuts. Founded in 1729, the printing is still being conducted from the old boards, the "Kangyur" sutras Tibetan Buddhist "tangyurs" sacred texts and commentaries by great scholars. Its current structure dates from 1744 and is the most famous printing of all Tibet (so far 300 people working there). Besides, you will also visit Gonchen Monastery not afar away from the Printing House. The Gonchen Monastery is a large Sakya Tibetan Buddhist monastery which was founded in 1448 by the first Dege King Tashi Sengge and the famous ascetic Tang Tong Gyalpo.

Day09 Derge - Pelyul (B, L, D)Pelyul Monastery,Kham,Sichuan
Leave in the morning for Pelyul alongside the Golden Sand River that partitions Tibet and Sichuan Province. In the afternoon you arrive in Pelyul and visit Pelyul Monastery of Nyingma School. Means the place of auspicious and blessing in Tibetan, Pelyul is a lovely county where the Golden Sand River flowing through from north to south and the town is facing Tibet. A leisure walk in the mountainous town of Pelyul is very enjoyable.

Day10 Pelyul - Garze (B, L, D)Drive Tour in Garze,Kham,Sichuan
Enjoy a tranquil morning in Pelyul before your departure. You will drive cross several high mountain passes alongside nice natural views on the plateau. Sit back and relax and you will have some photo opportunity en route. Enjoy some free time on arrival Garze in the early afternoon.

Day11 Garze - Lithang (B, L, D)Yarlung River Gorge,Kham,Sichuan
Today's drive is through Xinlong County (Nyarong in Tibetan) along the deeply cut Yarlong River Canyon. It is refreshing and beautiful sceneries during the drive. The County Xinlong is of great natural beauty, heavily forested, with steep watersheds, grassy alpine pastures, and the deep turquoise ribbon of the Yarlong River. It is on the same day we traverse from the transitional area of farming to the herding pasture from fixed village houses to black tent camps.

Day12 Litang - Riwa Village (B, L, D)Choekorling Monastery,Lithang,Kham
Breakfast at your hotel (or eat outside at a local restaurant). You will then visit Lithang Choekorling Monastery (Litang Monastery), an important site in the Geluk sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Then you will drive to Daocheng via Mt. Haizi Shan, a right place to study the structure of terrain and the formation of glacier. On the way visit the Bangpu Si, the oldest temple in Daocheng, which has over 900 years history. Then drive to visit Gongga Langjiling Temple near Yading, the largest Gelugpa Order temple in Daocheng. Late in the afternoon we reach Riwa village near Yading Preserve.

Day13 Yading Natural Reserve (B, L, D)Yading Natural Reserve,Sichuan
Drive approx. 30km to Longlong Ba, the gate of Yading Preserve. From the reserve entrance we will traverse a beautiful wooded pathway leading to a valley set at the foot of the spectacular Mt. Chanadorje. We'll pass piles of mani stones by the side of the pathway and at the base of the Reserve's most stunning vistas. We'll also visit Tshonggo Gonpa (Chonggu Si in Chinese) - a small Tibetan temple, which Joseph Rock nicknamed "Bandit Monastery"(Joseph Rock, a botanist and explorer, conducted extensive explorations to NW China and Tibet for Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology and National Geographic in 1924.) We will continue our hike to the foot of Mt Chenresig, where we'll ascend a small but steep hill to view a beautiful mountaintop emerald green lake. Local lore has it that this magical lake can reveal your future if you spend a few moments in quiet contemplation by its side. Continue to hike to the Luorong pasture (4,100 m). On this vast valley alluvium, yaks and horses enjoy eating their grass. The red firs and poplar on the hill are extremely beautiful with the help of their bright color. After exploring the areas nearby Luorong pasture we hike to Longlong Ba, get picked up by our driver and transfer back hotel.

Day14 Riwa - Derong (B, L, D)Yading Natural Reserve,Daocheng,Sichuan
Today you will get to Derong, a little border town in Sichuan near Yunnan Province located in the Sun Valley. On the way you could take photos to the river valley passing through and the swamp land flanked by roadside colorful birches and white poplar trees near Daocheng. On arrival Xiangcheng you will visit a local temple only a few hundred meters away from the main street in town. Overnight at local hotel at Derong

Day15 Derong - Feilaisi (B, L, D)Kawa Karpo,Yunnan
This morning we head south drive cross the Golden Sand River at Benzilan and join road in Yunnan, head north to Feilaisi and seeing the Baima Snow Mountain on the way. Feilasi is a nice village only 15 minutes drive from Dechen Town. Check in hotel at Feilaisi and enjoy sunset at the Kawa Karpo.

Day16 Feilaisi - Shangri-la (B, L, D)First Bend of Yangtze,Yunnan
Enjoy sunrise over the mighty Mt. Kawa Karpo, later of the day drive to Shangri-la through conifer woodlands and nice villages.

Day17 Zhongdian (Shangri-la) (B, L, D)Shangri-la,Yunnan
A full day guided tour in Zhongdian. You will visit Songzanlin Monastery, which was created in AD1679 by the Fifth Dalai lama. Often called Ganden Sumtseling Monastery or Guihua Monastery, is located at the foot of Foping Mountain near Shangri-La County in Yunnan Province. The monastery was built on a hillside and looks like an ancient fort. The Songzanlin Monastery is often called as the little Potala Palace because of its traditional Tibetan architectural style. Then you will visit Napa Lake and have some time in the home of a local Tibetan family. Afterwards you will have some nice walking to the Ringha Temple, also been called as the "Temple of the Five Wisdom Buddha". The temple still remain the mysterious, it keeps an essential place in the Tibetan community that they consider there as the one of the five most important Tibetan monasteries among Yunnan. Date back for at least 700 years; the temple was visited by the 5th Dalai Lama. While the principal buildings were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), the villagers raised the funds to rebuild the principal lobby, with a simple and modest structure. Today there are three small original statues in the temple. Driven back your hotel after the walking.

Day18 Shangri-la - Lijiang (B, L)Tiger Leaping Gorge,Yunnan
In the morning set off for Lijaing. You will 220 kilometers along Jinsha Jiang River (Golden Sand River), the upper reaches of the Yangtze River (the longest river of China, 6380 km). The Tiger Leaping Gorge, itself is tucked neatly between the Yulong Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain, which surround its two sides, as the turbulent water of the Jinsha River is forced by Hailuo Shan standing in its way to turn abruptly 100 degrees northeastwards and thus gives birth of the "First Bend of the Yangtze River". In the afternoon you will arrive Lijiang and visit the Black Dragon Pool located in the northern foot of the Elephant Hill. The summits of the snowy mountain nearby are clearly reflected in this pond.

Day19 Lijiang (B, L)Lijiang Ancient Town,Yunnan
You will have a wonderful day in Lijiang. First of all you will proceed to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (including round trip cable car up to Spruce Terrace and overlook the Snow Mountain), then you get to Baisha Village to see the ancient fresco painting and visit lama temple Yufeng Si where grows the "king of camellia". Located 15 km north of Lijiang old town, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain stretches 35 km from north to south with 960-square-kilometers of snow-capped area. Experts say that it has the southernmost glacier in the North Hemisphere. Of all the 13 peaks on the mountain, Shanzidou is the highest with an altitude of 5,596 meters above sea level. Looking from afar, you can see that the mountain just looks like a huge dragon lying in the cloud. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is the holy mountain - "God of Sanduo" of Naxi people. Transferred back your hotel in the old town. On your way back to your hotel you will learn more about Lijiang and the Naxi people at the Dongba Culture Museum.

Day20 Lijiang - Shaxi (B, L, D)Shaxi at the Ancient Tea And Horse Caravan,Yunnan
Leave for Shaxi Old Town on the ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road, en route to Shaxi visit Stone Grottoes on ShiBao Shan Mountain in Jinchuan. Shaxi is an ancient town on the famous Tea and Horse Caravan Road linking Yunnan and Tibet. Overnight at a lodge

Day21 Shaxi - Dali (B, L, D)Three Pagoda Temple,Dali,Yunnan
Head for Dali. On the way you will visit the traditional houses of the Bai People at Xizhou where you have chance to see the local market if available. On arrival Dali you enjoy your trips in Dali. You will have a boat ride on the Erhai Lake, visit Three Pagodas in the Chongsheng Temple and stroll in the Dali Old Town. With an altitude of 1972 meters above sea level, Erhai Lake is a beautiful highland lake of Yunnan Province and one of the seven largest fresh water lakes in China. Three Pagodas is a symbol of the history of Dali City, and a record of the development of Buddhism in the area. As its name implies, Three Pagodas are made of three ancient independent pagodas forming a symmetrical triangle. Dali Old Town, also called Yeyu City, Forbidden City, Zhonghezhen, lies 3 kilometers north from Xiaguan, the capital of Dali Prefecture. Embracing Erhai Lake in the east and adjoining Cangshan Mountain in the west, Dali City was first established in the early period of the Ming Dynasty.

Day22 Dali - Kunming (B, L, D)Stone Forest,Kunming,Yunnan
Drive on express highway to Kunming in 3 hours. Driving further to explore the Stone Forest. Enjoy last dinner in Kunming. The Stone Forest is a wonder of geology. About 200 million year ago the earth's crust shifted and forced the 200 acres of karst limestone stalagmites rise up from what was once a huge expanse of water. Paths wind through its spectacular valleys and around the weird rock formations and its reflecting pools. There are pavilions perched high on these pillars that offer sweeping views. Since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Stone Forest has long been one of the most famous scenic spots in China.

Day23 Depart Kunming (B)
Your guide and driver will transfer you to airport according to your flight schedule. End of your amazing driving journey.

Tour costing varies upon group size, travel season and hotel accommodation levels etc. For price details please email us at info@splendidchinatours.com.

Price inclusions:
01). All accommodations based on two persons sharing one room (single occupancy is subject to supplement);
02). China internal flights with airport tax or train as stated in the program;
03). Round-trip transfers between airports or railway stations, hotels, and scenic spots in each city by private air- conditioned vehicles with experienced licensed drivers;
04). All admission fees and activity expenses as listed in the itinerary;
05). One good quality SUV for the driving journey (2 drivers each SUV);
06). Chinese Temporary driver's license;
07). Tolls and fuel/gas with well designed driving map/route with GPS navigation system for the driving holiday;
08). Daily meals as specified in the itinerary: B denotes breakfast, L denotes lunch, and D denotes dinner (SD signifies special dinner);
09). Services of a local English speaking guide throughout (other languages can be arranged upon request, supplement may apply);
10). Travel Agency Liability Insurance during the tour;
11). Governmental taxes and fees.

Price excluded:
01). International airfare to/from China;
02). Chinese Visa fees;
03). Expenses of personal natural such as laundry, telephone, drinks, mini bar etc;
04). Personal shopping, optional activities and excess baggage charges;
05). Gratuities for local tour guides, drivers and hotel bellboy etc;
06). International travel insurance;
07). Services and activities that are not mentioned in the itinerary.

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