Travel can be the ultimate adventure. Simply stepping out of your normal, everyday routine is an adventure in itself, but why stop there? There are places in the world that offer unsurpassed beauty, ancient wonders, and truly humbling experiences, and that’s what we specialize in. Lijiang and Tibet are not the first places that come to mind when people discuss exploration and adventure – but they offer those who thirst for what life has to offer some of the rarest, most beautiful experiences to be had – physically, culturally and even spiritually.
Located in the Yunnan Province of China, Lijiang is surrounded by some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world – and the town itself is surely one of the loveliest, most photogenic anywhere, whether inside or outside of China. At over 800 years old, it is one of the best-preserved ancient towns in China. Visiting there is like stepping back into history itself. Known as the “City of Bridges” because of the 354 beautiful bridges spanning the canals that flow through the Old Town, it’s a gorgeous maze of twisting, pedestrian-only streets and old, rustic homes and storefronts.
Adding greatly to Lijiang’s appeal is the fact that it is home to many different minority cultures living together in harmony, including Bai, Tibetan, Yi, Mosu people – and the Naxi, one of the most unique societies in the world. The Naxi are a matriarchal society who practice Dongba, a beautiful shamanistic religion that is unique and inspiring to people of all faiths. Lijiang’s remarkable cultural mixture is even more remarkable when you consider it is one of the last holdouts against the influence of Han Chinese. Today, Lijiang is one of the only places in China where the minority peoples maintain a strong sense of cultural identity, evident not only in the traditional dress but in their belief systems and customs.
Study Tai Chi with a Master in the morning, admire the soaring snow-tipped summit of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain while having lunch, and spend the afternoon bicycling or hiking in the Lashi Lake region, a Nature Conservancy area. Stocked with fascinating history and world-class scenery that doesn’t get much attention in mainstream media, Lijiang is a truly unique experience that will inspire lifelong memories.
A place of living, breathing history, Tibet’s story is not always happy and is far from finished. Surrounded by the tallest mountains in the world and wellspring of some of the largest rivers in Asia, Tibet is a country dominated by China but clinging stubbornly to its own culture and identity – and this historic drama is being played out on the most impressive stages in the world, the awe-inspiring Himalayas, the Tibetan Plateau and the incomparable city of Lhasa. One thing is certain: you’ll never forget waking up to a morning sunrise in Tibet!
The physical attributes are intensified by the spiritual nature of Tibet, a country dotted with millennium-old Buddhist monasteries tucked into amazing vistas, where you’ll meet a constant stream of pilgrims reciting mantras and swinging prayer wheels. Step into a temple and breathe in the intoxicating, inspiring aroma of incense and feel the spiritual awareness of an entire culture – or simply enjoy the view.
Aside from spectacular scenery – such as Kailash, ‛the roof of the world,’ Tibet’s most sacred mountain – you’ll also meet some of the most friendly and likable people in the world. Tibetans are famous for being welcoming and warm to everyone they meet, and your experience in this country will change your view of humanity overall to a more positive one. (Note: Make sure to explore Tibet with a private Tibetan guide and driver, so that you can get the true, uncensored insider’s view on all matters.)
Hurry – Tibet is changing due to investment and tourism from China, aided by a new train running there from Beijing. See Tibet as it has been before it fades away under the march of time – but be prepared for high altitudes that can reach 12,000 feet, so bring your Diamox and take it slow.
Adventure comes in many forms – sometimes it involves being physically active, other times it can mean cultural immersion or spiritual awakening. Lijiang and Tibet provide ample opportunities for adventure however you define it.