EXPLORE THE REMOTE CHARMS OF SHANGRI-LA WITH BANYAN TREE RINGHA’S NEW ALL-INCLUSIVE PROGRAMME
Ringha, China – 22 February 2012 – Nestled deep in the foothills of Yunnan province in the heart of the fabled valley of Shangri-La, Banyan Tree Ringha offers an unparallelled opportunity to explore Tibetan culture and customs first-hand. The resort’s newly launched “Spirit of Shangri-La” programme is a unique portfolio of experiences coupled with all-inclusive meals, accommodation, transfers, tours and treks, a personal local guide, entrance tickets to various sites and all ground transportation, enabling guests to truly relax as they immerse themselves in a hassle-free journey.
The programme offers two options daily for tours and treks throughout the region, with local guides providing key insight and commentary on the daily life, customs and rituals of Tibetan culture. Guests may elect to embark on a programme of up to eight nights, with prices ranging from RMB 5,980 nett per suite per night for two persons from April through October and RMB 4,025 nett per suite per night for two persons from November through March.
The programme begins each day with breakfast at the resort followed by an instructor-led invigorating stretching exercise to loosen up stiff muscles. A cultural tour or trek is next on the list, proceeded by lunch in a variety of settings, an afternoon juice break, movie screening on topics relevant to the area, spa treatments and dinner such as a hot pot featuring local ingredients. Specific excursions and treks can be customised and scheduled according to each guest’s needs and preferences. Spa treatments are not included in the all-inclusive programme.
The Shangri-La Cultural Tour leads guests through picturesque villages and lush green valleys, providing fascinating insight into the rhythms and realities of everyday Tibetan life. Guests may discover the warmth and hospitality of Tibetan people as they are greeted with a cup of fragrant yak butter tea. Following a hearty lunch in a traditional local home, guests continue their journey through ancient pine forests where it is said certain trees are up to 3,500 years old, and pass through the 800-year old Ringha Da Bao Si Monastery.
Another excursion takes guests to the Songzanlin Lamasery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province and one of the 13 renowned sites in the Tibetan Kham, a historical region of land between the present-day Tibetan Autonomous Region and Sichuan province. Built in 1674 over an expansive site of 33.3 hectares, the monastery echoes the design of Potala Palace in Lhasa and abounds with precious cultural relics. Guests may visit the main chapel, receive a blessing from the High Lama and bring home a Tibetan Blessing Scarf as a souvenir of their experience.
The Shudugang River Trek traces the winding course of the holy river in Ringha from the vast plain of the valley into the mountains. The trail meanders through pine forests and cherry trees that are particularly enjoyed during spring when they are in full bloom. This easy trek is recommended for first-time hikers or those seeking a more leisurely stroll through the contemplative mountain setting framed by the rushing sounds of the river beneath.
Another excursion brings guests to Baishuitai, or the iconic White Water Terraces, located at the foothill of Haba Snow Mountain. Believed to be the birthplace of the Bon religion, a pre-Buddhist practice that places great emphasis on a respect for nature, Baishuitai terraces appear to be made of white marble. These natural terraces house spring water fed from the mountaintop.
The Tsalong Village Trek offers panoramic views of Ringha Valley after a one-hour walk through forested mountain terrain. Guests may enjoy a rustic picnic lunch before heading back to the resort through forests blanketed by soft pine needs and evocative smells.
Opened in 2007, guests may explore PudacuoNational Park which is the first of its kind in China to meet standards set forth by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The park houses one of the largest lakes in Shangri-La which sits 3,705 metres above sea level.
In the hot summer months, the nomad families of Ringha move their yaks, horses and livestock from the meadows of the valley to the cooler highlands, where the grass is greener and the air is crisp. Guests may follow the route of the nomads from the mountains to a plateau nearby which rests at 3,700 metres above sea level. Upon reaching the Nigu grassland, guests may witness the peaceful life of the agrarian nomad surrounded by horses and other live animals. Local village women offer demonstrations on making yak cheese and yoghurt by hand after a picnic lunch is served.
Opened just six years ago to tourists, ShigaSnow Mountain is another fascinating excursion that brings guests to a particularly beautiful part of the valley. Popular with locals who traverse its steep slope to pray and make wishes in advance of the Tibetan lunar calendar, Shiga Snow mountain is ideal for winter skiing or hikes throughout the rest of the year. The mountain also offers the longest cable car ride in Yunnan Province.
After an invigorating cultural experience or hike, guests may take advantage of the Banyan Tree Spa which features treatments inspired by traditional Himalayan wellness practices and the ancient Chinese philosophy of Five Elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water). Featuring intricate carvings and handcrafted Tibetan artifacts, the 6-treatment room spa is a soothing retreat from which to rejuvenate after an active day.