Meet your personal guide at your Lijiang hotel, and journey into rural Yunnan by private, air-conditioned car or minivan, heading toward Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
On route, hear about the massive Snow Dragon mountain range. The southernmost snow-capped range in the Northern Hemisphere, it consists of 13 peaks — the highest measuring 18,360 feet (5,600 meters) — that run for 21.8 miles (35 kilometres), towering over the Lijiang area. Considered sacred by the local Naxi ethnic minority, the peaks are usually covered in snow and fog, so they resemble a silver-white dragon from a distance — hence the evocative name.
At the base of the mountains, ride a cable car up to Yak Meadow, a grassy mountain plain beneath the peaks where the locals pasture their yaks.
Marvel at the scenery as you ascend, and on arrival, follow the boardwalk through the meadow. Admire the snowy summits and yak grazing on the lush grass, and savor the peace: Yak Meadow is one of the Snow Dragon’s least crowded areas.
Then, descend by cable car to the Blue Moon Valley, the mountain valley famous for its intensely blue or milky white river. Shaped like a crescent moon, the river’s color shifts from turquoise to white depending on the season, and features fan-shaped terraces and small lakes.
After a traditional Chinese lunch at a local restaurant, continue to Shuhe Old Town, a UNESCO-listed village known for its Naxi population. Delve into the lanes, seeing the stone houses, bridges, and temples: all providing a fascinating window into what Lijiang was like a few decades ago. Learn about Naxi culture and perhaps purchase souvenirs (own expense) at the Naxi woodcarving, leather, and craft shops.
Having explored here, return to Lijiang where your tour finishes with a hotel drop-off.