Our Favorite Songtsam Lodges Across Yunnan

Featured Image by Songtsam[1]

Founded by award-winning director Baima Duoji, the Songtsam Lodges form a  collection of Luxury, Tibetan-style retreats in the fabled Shangri-La region. Each hotel showcases the scenery, culture and spirituality of its location, presenting a rounded picture of this renowned region with each lodge spinning its own unique thread.

With spectacular views and an abundance of biodiversity, this region has recognized the increasing demand for sustainable forms of tourism, hoping to protect its spectacular landscapes and rich wildlife. Constructed using unique local materials and artisanal techniques, the Songtsam Lodges have proven themselves to be trailblazers in the field of responsible travel, without compromising its high standards to hospitality. Boasting a total of eight different lodges dotted throughout the valleys of the Shangri-La, we’ve painstakingly selected our favorite three, and here’s why.

our-favorite-songtsam-lodges-across-yunnan Our Favorite Songtsam Lodges Across Yunnan

The Songtsam Shangri-La Lodge | Picture by Songtsam[2]

RELATED READING: Introducing our Newest Journey Across Yunnan[3]

Songtsam Shangri-La Lodge

Occupying a traditional Tibetan dwelling, the Shangri-La Lodge sits unassuming in the childhood village of Songtsam’s founder, Baima Duoji. With views framed by mountain ranges in all directions, the flagship hotel offers a gateway to the Tibetan Kingdom in a rustic village setting. The village itself is self-sustainable, showcasing time-old farming practices and hardy beasts at your front door. At a mere ten minutes’ walk from the Sonzanlin Lamasery, find inner calm as you practice Tibetan Buddhist meditation at the largest monastery in the whole of Yunnan- still home to over 700 monks. Whether it’s learning of cultural preservation efforts in Shangri-La Old Town or joining a Tibetan family for dinner, the Songtsam has made significant efforts to bring host and traveller together in a mutually beneficial way. Upon retiring to your room, admire the hotel’s collection of hand-picked furniture and intricately woven carpets, featuring modern comfort and Tibetan style in a delicate balancing act. Not far from the border (you can spot Tibetan peaks from the hotel’s open-air roof terrace), this site offers a Tibetan feel without the need for a permit.       

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The Songtsam Lodge in Lijiang | Picture by Songtsam[4]

RELATED READING: A Foodie’s Yunnan Voyage [5]

Songtsam Lijiang

At an altitude of 2,400 meters, the Songtsam Lijiang is the lowest of the lodges, marking the start of the Yunnan-Tibet Route, and the perfect opportunity to get acclimatized. The hotel is situated in the traditional Naxi village of Ciman, offering easy access to charming Lijiang, while avoiding the touristy old town. Nestled between the Yulong Snow Mountain to the north and the Wenbi Peak in the south, the sprawling lodge connects guests to the striking landscapes of this region through vast floor-to-ceiling windows. On the larger side of Songtsam lodges, guests can enjoy added bonuses in the form of a fitness center, spa and outdoor pool. As an important crossroads between Tibetan and Han culture, the hotel reflects the importance of preserving heritage, blending traditional Chinese art and Tibetan-style carpets throughout its decoration. For the history buffs, the ancient Horse Tea Trail also passes by the hotel, telling the story of a westerner that lived in Yunnan for over 27 years.

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The Songtsam Lodge in Tacheng | Picture by Songtsam[6]

RELATED READING: Sip on Ancient Tea and Dance Around a Bonfire: Get a Taste of Local Life in Yunnan’s Minority Villages[7]

Songtsam Tacheng

Buffeted gently from all sides by fertile, low mountain valleys, Tacheng lodge finds itself among Tibetan, Naxi and Lisu ethnic minority communities. The view from each of the lodge’s nine rooms is awash with fertile rice paddies and vineyards, while the outdoor pool offers the perfect chance to unwind after the journey. As part of a farming community, hotel guests can delight in the fresh produce of this bountiful area, hand selecting their own ingredients from the organic gardens. The hotel is also within walking distance of Hadda village, with its black roofs and warm-hearted residents that welcome guests as long-lost friends. Get to the heart of local culture by joining an evening of traditional dance, or learning more about the rare Yunnan Golden Monkey, which are among the world’s most endangered primates. With views that stretch through the scenic valley, your private terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy the last rays of sun before a restful night’s sleep in rural tranquility.


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The Songtsam Lodge in Tacheng | Picture by Songtsam[8]

As individually crafted, boutique hotels, the Songtsam Lodges offer the inquisitive traveler the chance to explore this extremely beautiful region, in a personal and responsible manner. Whether it’s tips on the best golden-hour spot, or an amusing tale of a runaway yak, the entirely locally-sourced staff reinforce the Songtsam’s grounding in this region, making for a truly unforgettable stay. These may have been our three favorite lodges, but there are so many more to explore, each with their individual personality and astounding location. Get in touch to find out more about the different lodges and the option of hopping from our three favorite lodges along our Dreaming of Shangri-La[9] route.

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References

  1. ^ Songtsam (www.songtsam.com)
  2. ^ Songtsam (www.songtsam.com)
  3. ^ Introducing our Newest Journey Across Yunnan (www.wildchina.com)
  4. ^ Songtsam (www.songtsam.com)
  5. ^ A Foodie’s Yunnan Voyage  (www.wildchina.com)
  6. ^ Songtsam (www.songtsam.com)
  7. ^ Sip on Ancient Tea and Dance Around a Bonfire: Get a Taste of Local Life in Yunnan’s Minority Villages (www.wildchina.com)
  8. ^ Songtsam (www.songtsam.com)
  9. ^ Dreaming of Shangri-La (www.wildchina.com)

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