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Northwest Yunnan is the richest area in China in terms of biodiversity, boasting unique flora and fauna. This is the original location of the world's gardens: in spring and summer, the surrounding hills are blanketed with rhododendrons and camellias. The Victorians collected and brought these to the Western world. The temperate forests and lowlands contain over 3,000 species of orchids and more than 200 of the world's 400 species of rhododendron. In summer time, strikingly blue irises are in blossom along the mountain paths.
Bird watching and cycling bring travellers in close proximity to all kinds of migrant birds at their winter haven around Napa Lake, including the black-necked crane - the holy bird for Tibetans. High in the forests between the Mekong and Yangtze River lives the rare Yunnan Golden monkey (Rhinopithecus biteti), one of the world's most endangered primates - fewer than 2,000 are now found in the wild. These monkeys live at the highest altitude (3,000-4,500m) of any animal primate.
Shangri-La county is a primarily Tibetan county in north-western Yunnan province. Shangri-La means a place of good fortune and luck in Tibetan. Located in the midst of three rivers, Shangri-La is a sacred scenic region blessed with majestic mountains. Located in a wide valley surrounded by soaring snow-capped peaks, primeval forests, and pristine lakes, the region is characterized by traditional villages with white walled and richly-decorated buildings. The town itself, located at an altitude of 10,500 feet above sea level, was formerly an important staging stop for trading caravans, and retains the rich cultural heritage of the Kham, the local people of Tibetan origin.
Tibetan women do much of the farm work, and throughout the day, they can be seen working in the fields, their bright fuchsia-coloured head scarf's popping out from the dark green backdrop. Every family raises its own livestock, including pigs, chickens, sheep, horses, and yaks, an animal that plays an extremely important role in Tibetan culture..
Experience Northern Yunnan travel and tours with Abercrombie & Kent to have an unforgettable and highly personalised holiday to China.
Best time to be there
While there are differences in the climate according to the region in China, it is best to travel in Spring and Autumn when the weather is not too hot nor freezing cold. But we also pay attention to festival periods and special occasions.
Beijing/Shanghai/Hong Kong (British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Virgin)
11 hours 20 minutes non-stop
GMT +7 hours
Visa required for UK passport holders
Yellow Fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
Below are some of our suggested places to stay:
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Annie, Brandon, Debbie, Margaret, Vicky Hamlin, Vicky Smith and Rachel - are experts in designing travel experiences across the region to suit your personal needs, interests and budget. Their intimate knowledge of every hotel and resort featured in our Orient, India, Australasia and Indian Ocean portfolio, together with our own network of offices throughout these areas, allows us to offer unique in-depth knowledge, unparalleled insider access and the VIP service for which Abercrombie & Kent is renowned.
Read about our lastest experiences in our Travel Blog pages.
To find out more about our Orient team, click on the consultant links below or call them on 01242 547 704 or enquire online
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We loved Cambodia and learned a lot from the warm and engaged guides, Sothi and Huang. We were also surprised at how much we liked Beijing. Eric too was a fantastic guide and made us think of China and its place in the world differently.
- BM, London