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ROAD TO SHAMBHALA: A SOJOURN FROM LIJIANG TO SHANGRI-LA
Sun 13 Oct to Sat 19 Oct (7D6N)

I have been enamoured by the idea of Shangri-La ever since I heard about it in James Hilton's book Lost Horizon, and I have wanted to visit his idea of paradise ever since. This is the inspiration behind this retreat to China, a destination that I must admit found me by surprise. Yet, in the way that life serendipitously falls into place, I met and connected with an amazing guide who very quickly crafted this dream itinerary when he heard my vision.

Our adventure begins on Sun 13 October in Lijiang. Once the capital of a small kingdom, the town in southwest Yunnan is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will spend two relaxed nights here to acclimatise to its higher elevation (2,400 metres above sea level), strolling ancient markets and alleyways, consulting a famous Chinese herbalist, and visiting the former residence of the writer whose articles were believed to have inspired James Hilton's idea of the mythical Shangri-La.

Once we have eased into the rhythm of our trip, we will hike a lesser known trail across picturesque hillsides to a dramatic gorge by the river, and spend time taking in the views and sitting in meditation by the gushing waters. That same evening, we will drive to the eastern edge of the Himalayas and into Shangri-La. Part of geographical Tibet, the area provides the perfect backdrop for an insight into Tibetan culture.

In Shangri-La, we will try our hand at thangka painting, visit an artisan incense maker and 'Little Potala Palace, and head out to watch the monks chant at a lesser-known monastery. We will also take a pleasant hike into the forest to look for a sacred waterfall and hidden local temple, visit a local clinic run by a doctor who studied Traditional Tibetan Medicine in India, and visit a Tibetan brewery. We will end the retreat on a high, capping off our adventure by going glamping in a hidden valley on our final night!

Our time together ends after lunch on Sat 19 Oct in Shangri-La. Transport will be arranged to take you back to Lijiang to catch your evening flight back to Singapore (lands Saturday morning).

Our days will be bookended by daily morning Yoga practice and post-dinner satsang, where we will gather to chat and share insights and reflections from our travels in the day.

Please note

  • We will be staying in boutique, four-star properties that are safe and comfortable, with all modern amenities. This includes ensuite showers and toilets, towels, toiletries, a hair-dryer (220V only) and free Wi-Fi internet.

  • Single occupancy is possible except for the last night. Glamping is strictly twin-share only, and bathroom facilities are shared. However, each fixed tent comes with a wash basin, with water that is heated by a gas stove.

  • Accommodation and itinerary details will only be shared with retreat participants, about three months before the trip commences.

  • We will be travelling in six-seater vans, each with a driver, who doubles up as our bilingual guide. Our guide(s) will be with us all the time, so you don't have to speak Mandarin to join this retreat.

Retreat fee
 

Early bird (until Sat 15 June)

SGD2,950 for twin-share; SGD3,500 for single occupancy
 

Thereafter

SGD3,200 for twin-share; SGD 3,750 for single occupancy

Inclusions

  • Daily accommodation

  • All meals, except lunch on two free and easy afternoons

  • Daily morning Yoga practice

  • Airport pick-up and drop off, if you travel on recommended flights

  • All planned excursion transfers during the retreat

Exclusions

  • Flight tickets

  • China visa fees, if required

  • Compulsory travel insurance

  • Expenses incurred should you fall ill in China. Please make sure your travel insurance adequately covers this.

  • Any necessary Covid tests, should regulations require them then

  • Optional activities

  • All personal expenses eg. laundry, shopping, extra food orders during group meals

The retreat starts in Lijiang with an opening circle and welcome dinner Sunday 13 Oct, and ends in Shangri-La on Saturday 19 Oct after checkout. If you are flying on the recommended flights, there will be transport arranged to and fro Lijiang Sanyi Airpot.

 

Recommended flights

  • Sun 13 Oct China Southern Airlines flight departing Singapore at 03:55 hrs and arriving in Lijiang Sanyi Airport at 14:25 hrs local time, including a transit in Guangzhou

  • Sat 19 Oct Chongqing Airlines/China Southern Airlines (codeshare) flight departing Lijiang Sanyi Airport at 18:00 hrs and arriving in Singapore on Sun 20 Oct 03:05 hrs, including a transit in Guangzhou

 

If you are extending your trip before or after our retreat dates, you are welcome to meet us directly at our Lijiang hotel for our opening circle at 4:30pm on 13 Oct, and to stay on in Shangri-La after our checkout on 19 Oct.

Booking and cancellation policy

For ease of entry and travel throughout China, I can only host fully vaccinated participants. Before signing up, please first check with your consulate if your passport requires that you get a Chinese visa (not required for Singaporean passport holders if staying in China for 15 days or less). 

The retreat will go on so long as international travel regulations allow quarantine-free travel between China and Singapore. Please stay updated with the latest information on the ICA website here.

Please email Leigh to register. A non-refundable S$500 deposit will be required to secure your spot. It is not guaranteed until I confirm in writing that I have received your deposit. The remaining fee is to be paid in full by Mon 26 August.

  • Cancellations communicated in writing before Wed 25 Sep 2024 will receive a 30% refund.

  • No refunds will be made from Wed 25 Sep 2024.

  • To avoid paying the cancellation surcharge, you can get someone else to take your place on the retreat.

  • The cancellation policy above will remain in place regardless of your reason for dropping out, including spikes in Covid cases and acts beyond our control. This is a risk you assume upon registration. Please purchase adequate travel insurance upon confirmation of your spot on the retreat.

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