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China: Beijing to Shangri-La



Since 2009 we’ve been offering all-inclusive international travel programs for students interested developing real world travel skills while exploring some of the world's most interesting places as part of a small group.
Our programs seize every opportunity to practice foreign language, navigation, scheduling, collaboration, and budgeting skills with real world activities like cross-referencing street and metro maps, purchasing transit passes, researching opening days/times, navigating an itinerary and staying on schedule, choosing restaurants and making reservations, and eating well while staying within a meal allowance.


Day City Overview
1 Airborne Meet your Group Director at the airport for your flight to China!
2 Beijing Arrive late afternoon/evening and board private shuttle for transfer to the hotel. Enjoy a “family-style” dinner that will introduce you to some of our favorite local dishes. Check into your room and get a good nights rest.
3 Bejing Navigate to Tiananmen Square for the dawn flag raising ceremony. Early breakfast then board private transport out to the Great Wall of China. Climb the stairs up to the top of the wall, stroll along the top between some of the watchtowers, take in the views, and toboggan back down! Relax during a Lunch/Shopping period, then board shuttle for ride back to Beijing. Guided afternoon tour of the Forbidden City then climb Jing Shan Hill to take in the panoramic views of Beijing. Depending on the group's interest (and energy) take a ride on the metro to Olympic Park and see the “Bird’s Nest” (Athletics Stadium), “Water Cube” (Aquatics Center), and "Big Nails" (The Observation Tower) lit up at night.
4 Beijing Early breakfast at the hotel then metro ride to enjoy Temple of Heaven Park with the locals before exploring the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. Metro to north gate of Beihai Park for some time exploring one of the largest of all Chinese gardens. Lunch in the hutongs then head to Shichahai for a rickshaw orientation tour and some time to explore/shop. Freshen up at the hotel for the Peking Duck in Beijing!
5 Beijing
Fly to Kunming! Metro to the hotel, check luggage then grab some lunch. Metro to Yuantong Temple and learn about the three denominations of Buddhism, then metro to the Kunming Museum to learn about the legendary American Flying Tigers - a fighter group that trained in China and defended the Burma supply line over the Himalayas. Metro back to the hotel, freshen up, and head out to dinner.
6 Kunming
Board private transport for an excursion to the Stone Forest - one of the world’s most spectacular examples of humid tropical to subtropical karst landscapes and the home of the Naxi people. Bullet Train to Dali. Check into hotel, freshen up, and enjoy dinner in Dali Ancient Town.
Start the day with a bike ride along the shore of Lake Erhai then board your private transport to start the journey north to Lijiang. Along the way we'll spend some time in Xizhou Town - where we'll learn about the architecture, traditions and dress of the Bai minority people and take part in one of their tea ceremonies, and Shaxi Ancient Town - where we'll have lunch and step back in history. On arrival in Lijiang we'll freshen up for dinner in Lijiang Ancient Town.
9 Lijiang Today we're heading to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain - the most southerly snowcapped mountain in the Northern Hemisphere - to visit Glacier Park. We'll leave early because the line for the chairlift up to Glacier Park grows quite quickly. Once off the chairlift there's a stairs up to the peak (elevation 15,354') where the panoramic views are incredible! On the way back to Lijiang we'll stop to explore Baisha Village - home of the Baisha Frescos, Dabaoji Palace and Liuli Temple. Back in Lijiang we'll visit Mu Palace before we freshen up at the hotel and head out to dinner.
9 Lijiang
First we'll enjoy Black Dragon Pool Park with the locals before breakfast then we're off to visit Tiger Leaping Gorge, where the Jinsha River - a tributary of the legendary Yangtze River - meanders its way through terraced farmlands and imposing limestone ridges, creating one of the most stunning backdrops to be found anywhere in China. After lunch we'll continue to Shangri-La we'll check in, freshen up and head out to explore and have dinner.
10 Shangri-La Today starts with a visit to Songzanlin Lamasery - built in the style of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, this is the largest Tibetan Buddhist Lamasery in Yunnan. After lunch we'll head to enjoy the stunning natural beauty of what many say is the real Shangri-La (earthly paradise): Pudacuo National Park - a natural wonderland of primitive forest, streams and lakes that together contain more than 20 percent of the country’s plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species and almost 100 endangered species. Farewell dinner is back in Shangri-La, bringing an end this epic 11-day trip of a lifetime!
11 Departure Board your private shuttle for a ride to the airport. Zài jiàn China!