Songtsam Benzilan

Benzilan, Yunnan, China

At a Glance

  • Mid-point break between Shangri-la and Meili on one of the Songstam circuits

  • Many meals are made using deliciously fresh vegetables from their own garden - you can even help choose

  • Often in the evenings, the villagers gather round to rehearse their local Guozhuang dance, great fun to watch and you can even join in

  • Plenty of activities - walking in the mountains, visiting local Tibetan villages, Buddhist monasteries, hanging prayer flags, hunting for mushrooms, a BBQ under the stars, chatting with the locals to name some

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From the subtropical lowlands in the south up to glacier-capped mountains in the north, Yunnan is a province of extremes. The climate varies so much across this vast and diverse area, that it has given rise to an ancient Chinese saying: “You can enjoy all four seasons on the same mountain, with each just a few miles from the next”. Generally speaking, most of Yunnan province is mild in winter and cool in summer, with large variances in temperature occurring across the day. Mornings can start with a wintery chill, and warm up to 25°C by lunchtime. Spring and Fall are mild and pleasant and the best times to visit Yunnan, despite May being the rainiest month of the year. For snow-capped mountains and dramatic alpine scenes, the winter months of November to January can be spectacular.

 

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Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation to Songtsam Benzilan or take a look at our itineraries to Yunnan

Description

Songtsam Benzilan is one of the Songtsam lodges located in the enchanting land of The Three Parallel Rivers Area. Benzilan sits between the Shangri-La Lodge and Meili, an itinerary combining these three is a perfect way to explore the area.

Benzilan is one of five Songtsam lodges which can be combined with each other to create a circuit trip in the area. The Three Parallel Rivers Area of Yunnan encircles the magnificent land bordered by the mighty Yangtze, Mekong and Salween. The snow capped peaks, glaciated gorges and terraced fields are known by the locals and those who discover it as a 'Shangri-la'. By incorporating stays at different Songtsam Lodges you can really get into the heart of the area and each lodge provides a unique experience to help you capture the magic of the land.

Benzilan is 3 hours from Meili or 2 hours from Shangri-La. The Lodge is nestled in a Tibetan village amongst barley and wheat fields. The surrounding forest is nature rich and changes dramatically with the seasons - flowers are in bloom in spring, autumn is full of color and winter brings a blanket of snow. The area is renowned for its local handicrafts.

The house is magnificent with carved stones and rich Tibetan decorations. There are just 10 rooms, a small restaurant and beautiful surroundings. The vegetable garden produce the main make-up of your meals, and guests often like to get stuck into some gardening themselves!

During your time here you may want to do some serious hiking or some leisurely strolling; guides and advice will be on hand whatever your preference. Explore the local town and its temples, learn about the local wildlife and go to see some of the local handicrafts and learn how they are made.

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Accommodation

There are 10 spacious deluxe rooms which all have a similar décor to the suites of Songstam Shangri-La. They are homely and have traditional Tibetan décor with modern comforts, handpicked furniture and artifacts adorn the room.

Facilities

Three meals a day are inclusive with the rate and they are taken in the small but cosy restaurant located in the main building offering views of the green valley and village field. The food is simple yet deliciously fresh, much of it having come from the hotel's own vegetable garden and fruit trees. There is also a small bar located on the second floor which provides a great venue for guests to socialize.

Activities

Whilst at Benzilan you will undoubtedly want to make the most of the wonderful area you find yourself in. There are of course many hikes or leisurely strolls you can embark on to take in the scenery and local wildlife. Benzilan town itself has much to offer culturally as it was once the most important stop of the Ancient Tea and Horse Trail, the trade route that linked Southwest China to India. The area is now renowned for its handicrafts, especially lacquer bowls and boxes and black pottery - get to know how it is made!

Experiences

  • A day in Jianshui

    Enjoy an exploration of Jianshui as we discover the Zhang Family Garden and Double Dragon Bridge. Head to Changyang City Gate and the Confucius temple of Jianshui for a visit.

  • Active Tacheng - Snubnose Golden Monkeys and Village Exploration

    Today, explore Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve in search of the rare Snubnose Golden Monkeys. Enjoy great views of the scenery with a picnic lunch before embarking on an easy hike to a local Lisu village.

  • Cultural Tengchong

    Explore the tranquil ancient town of Heshun village and make a visit to the library and charming old residences including the Li Family Mansion and the former residence of renowned philosopher Ai Siqi.

  • Half Day Visit to Tanwei Village

    Make a trip to Tanwei Village and immerse in the authentic culture and the Tibetan way of life. Try their yak butter tea and tsampa, a staple in their diet.

  • Impressions of Lijiang Performance

    Be amazed by the dazzling performance of "Impressions of Lijiang", one of the three outdoor shows of famous director, Zhang Yimo. Watch as more than 500 dancers wear their ethnic costume to perform with the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as its backdrop.

  • Jingmai to Xishuangbanna

    Drive to Menghai where you will visit a countryside temple and the Bulang Tribe enroute. Go on a leisurely hike around Mount Nannuo as you walk through local villages and tea plantations. Arrive in Xishuangbanna.

  • Mu Palace Exploration

    Enjoy a tour of the Mu's Family Mansion, who was once the ruler of Naxi from the Yuan to Qing Dynasty. The layout of the Mu Residence follows that of the Forbidden City of Beijing and is termed the Forbidden City of Lijiang.

  • Tiger Leaping Gorge

    Enjoy a scenic drive from Lijiang to Shangri-La with beautiful cultural stops along the way including the dramatic Tiger Leaping Gorge.

  • Yuanyang Rice Terraces and Hani Minority

    Today, catch the stunning sunrise at Duo Yi Shu Terrace. Head to the Hani minority villages of Sheng Cun and Qing Kou to visit the market as well as the Bada Terrace Fields. If weather permits, enjoy sunset at the Tiger Mouth Terrace.

Location & directions

Benzilan, Yunnan, China

Songstam Benzilan sits 3 hours from Meili and 2 hours from Shangri-La.

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Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation to Songtsam Benzilan or take a look at our itineraries to Yunnan

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