Shangri-La, Yunnan, China
At a Glance
You are greeted with warming tea and cookies upon arrival - a welcoming touch when it is chilly outside
Make sure you have enough time to do some hiking to take in the extraordinary scenery and to acquaint yourself with the fascinating local culture
Fabulous rooms with lots of attention to detail, with fresh fruit and tea everyday
Ask for a room with a view of the monastery - it is a rather lovely scene when the sun catches the gold roof
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
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.
Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation to Songtsam Shangri-la or take a look at our itineraries to Yunnan
Songtsam Retreat is positioned next to the Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery in the Yunnan province. This beautiful and boutique lodge is designed in the traditional Tibetan style, taking inspiration from the stunning region.
Located just outside the center of Shangri-La with views to Songzanlin Monastery, Songtsam Lodge provides a unique and personal experience in Shangri-La.
All the rooms and suites here are decorated in the traditional Tibetan style with unique design features such as antique furniture and warm Tibetan carpets.
The intimate restaurant serves an array of Western and Tibetan dishes, all presented with charming service. Complemented by large windows you are welcomed with beautiful views over the surrounding town of Shangri-La and the rolling countryside in the distance.
After days exploring the old town of Shangri-La and dramatic landscapes beyond you are welcomed back with relaxing spa treatments and are invited to unwind in the sauna and hammam or with a cup of freshly brewed tea in the pretty garden and courtyard.
There are 75 rooms at Songstam Retreat spread over 24 different buildings and they are split into a number of room types including standard, superior, junior suite, deluxe suite and the larger villas. Each room is decorated in traditional Tibetan style complemented by modern comforts and handpicked antique furniture.
Children are welcomed at Songstam Retreat and there are connecting room options available.
Rates include breakfast which consists of a small buffet of warm and cold dishes to help you start the day feeling energised. The restaurant serves a mixture of Tibetan and Western cuisine and an extensive wine list. The chef can be very flexible with preferences and dietary requirements.
Shangri-la is the capital of the Diqin Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and the gateway to the ancient Tibetan kingdom which means there is lots to do. The snow capped mountain peaks, primeval forest and gorgeous lakes are just hankering to be appreciated and there's no better way to do this than embarking on one of several hiking trails. Take along a guide to be shown some hidden gems. You can either, walk, bike or horse ride!
Songstam Retreat also offers daily lectures on subjects such as Buddhism and complimentary yoga in the mornings.
You should also go on a guided visit to the fascinating Songzanlin Monastery, go to the Old Town to learn about local NGO cultural preservation, go on a village walk and have a dinner party with a Tibetan family. The area has a lot to offer culturally so it's best to get stuck in and enrich yourself.
Sophie Jones (Staff)
Songstam Retreat has the perfect location just outside Shangri-La with beautiful views over Songzanlin Monastery. Surrounded by breath-taking scenery it is the perfect combination of both town and country. Songstam Retreat provides everything you are after and allows you to explore this unique region of China in complete comfort and style.
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.
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.
Full day Highlights of Shangri-la
Visit Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan today. Head to Shiga Mountain for relaxing walk and explore local villages on the way.
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
Shangri-La, Yunnan, China
The lodge is situated right next to the Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan Monastery in Yunnan province. It is nestled in a typical, self-sufficient Tibetan farming village.
How to get there
20-minute transfer from Shangri-la (Diqing) airport.