With reference to Shangri-la, people always think of the following words: Fairyland on Earth, a Virgin Land, a Fictional Place. . . Hold on a second, Shangri-la is a real place! Shangri-la is a fantastic wonderland in China's southwestern Yunnan Province famous for its natural wonders and primitive custom. It is a dream place that combine pristine natural beauty with mysterious cultural heritage.
How to get to Shangri-la? You can get to Shangri-la from Lijiang City in Yunnan Province and Panzhihua City in southern Sichuan province by coach. The drive takes about 4 hours from Lijiang. You can reach Shangri-la by flights also, from Kunming, Chengdu and Lhasa. You can not access Shangri-la by train directly.
Get to Know Shangri-la
Located at the converging point of Tibet, Yunnan and Sichuan Province, Shangri-La is a county administered by Deqin Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China's southwestern Yunnan Province. It was previously known as Zhongdian County.
It is famous for its lofty and continuous snowy mountains, endless grasslands, precipitous and grand gorges, azure lakes and bucolic villages - a paradise for photography and adventure.
Dating back to the ancient time, Shangri-la was only a Tibetan words, meaning the sun and moon on people's hearts.
Since a place called Shangri-la was described as a fictional place in the novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton in the 1933, it has then become synonymous with any earthly paradise and xanadu with eternal peace and tranquility.
Over the past few years people around the world are confused as to Shangri-la's whereabouts, and lots of effort was made to find out this paradise. It was not until the year 1996 that people finally realize that it is in the Deqin Prefecture and its veils began to be revealed.
What to See in Shangri-la - Shangri-la Top Attractions
The Shangri-la County is abundant in its natural reserves, especially its tourism resources. On this old and mysterious land, there exist numerous mountains and high plateau, rivers and lakes, valleys and grassland which are far away from the outside world.
The most famous and attractive scenic spots include:
Tiger Leaping Gorge is partly in Shangri-la. It is one of the biggest and deepest gorges in China and in the world.
It is famous for its glorious mountains, natural wonders and precipitous gorge which make it a paradise for trekking and adventures. You will be overwhelmed by the breathtaking beauty.
Two mountains together with the rapid flowing water leave the gorge a magnificent and precipitous sight. Your trekking will be amazingly rewarding. Learn More About the Magnificent Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Songzanlin Temple is a group of magnificent and solemn architectural buildings located in the Shangri-la county and is regarded as the largest and the grandest Lamasery in Yunnan province.
It was built at the foot of a mountain and is an important religious site. For unique appearance, it is also called the Small Potala Palace and is famous for its cultural heritage which makes it an important resorts in Shangri-la.
Looked from a far distance, the temple likes groups of grand ancient castles. Learn more about Songzanlin Temple.
Meili Snow Mountain is the highest snow mountain in Yunnan province. It is famous for its beautiful snow scenic spots, precipitous peaks and varieties of glaciers, which attract many people here for hiking and adventure.
Looked from a far distance, the Meili Snow Mountain presents us with its mysterious and magnificent landscape. There are numerous snow covered ridges and peaks.
The most splendid view is the main peak called Kawagebo Peak. Learn more about the Impressive Meili Snow Mountain.
White Water Terrace is well known for its peculiar landform with a history of 2,000 to 3, 000 years. It is one of the birth place of Nakhi Dongba culture.
This natural terrace looks as if it were made of white marbles. Looked from a far distance, the White Water Terrace likes layers of white terrace fields set in the green mountain.
When the terrace is in the sunshine, it appears to be a grand waterfall which make it stands out among many other attractions. Learn more about the Amzazing White Water Terrace.
Napa Lake is a typical seasonal plateau lake and looked at it at a far distance, it like a clean mirror set on a vast green grassland. It presents travelers with distinct visages in four seasons.
During the dry season when the water recedes, you will find beautiful grasslands, flocks of yaks, horses and sheep grazing on the prairie.
Napa Lake Natural Reserve is surely a wonderland for photography and leisure. Learn more about Mesmerizing Napa Lake.
Shangri-la is just a place combining the natural beauty with cultural heritage. All these attractions are featured by unspoilt natural wonders and magic mysterious atmosphere, which make Shangri-la a paradise for adventure and tourism.
Besides the tourism resources, Shangri-La is also rich in other resources ranging from valuable herbs and rich mineral products such as gold silver, copper, manganese and many other rare metals.
Shangri-la is regarded as the Animal Kingdom and the Natural Alpine Flowers Garden including various kinds of precious animals and flowers such as golden monkeys, leopards, musk deer and azeala, Primula malacoides and more. This land is a natural Treasury which is worthy of a trip.
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Local Custom of Shangri-la
Local custom in Shangri-la is deeply rooted from the ancient time. There are 26 ethnic groups living here and every group has their own custom and culture which make a great contribution to the diversity of the local culture.
The local people are very hospitable and if you are traveling here, you will have an opportunity to experience Tibetan life and learn about their lifestyle, religion and cuisine.
This County is regarded as the Sea of dancing and hometown of singing and even when you are walking in the primitive mountains, you can always hear beautiful singing from remote place.
There are also many local festivals such as Racing Day, Heaven Mother Day, Shooting Day, Tibetan New Year and so on which add a strong pure and simple atmosphere for this virgin land.
Do not miss these lovely festivals while traveling to this mythical Utopia and Earthly Paradise. You will find out by yourself whether it is a permanently happy land isolated from the outside world like legend has it to be.
Safety Issues - Best Time To Visit Shangri-la
The best time to visit Shangri-la is during May to July and September to October. Winter in Shangri-la can be snowy and pretty cold. The temperature would drop below -5 C (23 F). Summer (June - August) is the raining season of Shangri-la, during which time this place is very humid and roads along trekking routs are slippery.
Watch out for high altitude sickness as the elevation of Shangri-la is over 3300 m. (10,827 ft.). Plan your trip to allow time to acclimatise. Also please make sure that you do not embark on physically challenging adventures before you adapt yourself to high plateau. For your information, Lhasa on the Roof of the World has an elevation of 3,560 m. (11,680 ft.). Elevation of Dali City or Kunming City is only around 2,000 m. (6,562 ft.).
Shopping In Shangri-la - What to Buy
Shopping in Shangri-la is easy. There are ATMs in downtown and old town regions alike. Popular gifts to buy include Tibetan jewelry, yak tails, Nixi pottery, Yi lacquerware, Tibetan medicinal herbs and Tibetan incense. Dried matsutake mushroom is very popular food materials to buy for the locals as well as travelers. They are incredibly delicious and give out a particular cent after cooking.
Items sold outside the old town are set at cheaper prices. Beware of local scam: some travelers have reported certain men selling nut and sweets by weight for an outrageous price.
How long should you stay in Shangri-la? Well, please spare at least 2 days for this dream like city. It takes around 5 days if you want to include Mount Meili in your itinerary. More time is needed if you have trekking plans in your mind - feel free to Contact your WindhorseTour travel advisors for more information.
You can only savor the greatest charm of Shangri-la by traveling there to check out yourself. There are also all kinds of local flavors which will surely satisfy your appetite to your hearts content. Food worth trying in Shangri-la is mainly Tibetan food. Anything from Yak meat to Tsampa. Learn more details about Tibetan food.
Final travel tips for you: most part of the ancient town of Shangri-la was burnt down on 11 January 2014. So you need to cross out the ancient town visiting part. Please rest assured that Shangri-la will never let you down, it is so much more than the ancient town. Plan a trip there and find out The Shangri-la in your heart.
Shangri-la is just a clean paradise far away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. There is one old Chinese saying goes "The earliest sunrise is seen in Shangri-La and the most unique place is also there." Have Shangri-la to yourself!
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