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Shangri-La

Shangri-La, previously known as Zhongdian, is a small, primeval Tibetan town located 5-hours-drive north of Lijiang, Yunnan. In Tibetan, "Shangri-La" means the "sun and moon in heart," a literal heaven on earth.

Perched on a plateau at an elevation of 3300 meters and located in the midst of three rivers, Shangri-La is a sacred scenic region blessed with majestic mountains. Dotted with beautiful hills, flowers and alpine lakes, the region of Shangri-La offers superb possibilities for trek and botanical exploration. Shangri-La is inhabited by many different ethnic groups, with the Tibetans comprising the majority of the population. The picturesque Tibetan villages on the outskirts of Shangri-La still keep unique customs and traditions, attracting many travelers. It is therefore a great opportunity to discover the Tibetan culture if you cannot make it to Tibet.

Shangri-La's History

Shangri-LaThe world always loves a tale of hope, where humans can live together in harmony and simplicity.

British writer James Hilton brought this paradise to life for the modern world in his 1939 novel "Lost Horizon". He told a tale of a Tibetan plain cut off from the outside world, where the wisdom of a thousand generations was collected for safekeeping. While much of the content was fictional, it was based on the very real and very mysterious Shangri La of the 1930s. His book was an instant success and "Shangri-La" became a household name, a fascinating place that captured the dreams of tourists and adventure lovers for a century.

Now with modern transportation, anyone can visit it for themselves and see the real-life world the novel was based on. You will find a kind people, living a simple, but peaceful life. Pious and persistent religious belief prevails and dominates local life. The scenery and people are still touching hearts without the help of any novel.

Recommended China Tours with Shangri-La

CTG-40: 10 days Beautiful Landscape of Southwest China Tour

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Shangri-La's Transportation

Lying on the border of Yunnan, Sichuan, and Tibet, Shangri-La is a remote region whose transportation is largely dependant on those nearby areas. With no railway line, and only a small regional airport, roads are the most common means of transportation to and from the city.

Getting to Shangri-La
By Air
The Diqing airport is 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) outside town. There is no airport shuttle, but it only costs 15-20 RMB to take a taxi into town. There are flights to Chengdu (1 per week), Kunming (2 per day), and Lhasa (1 per week). Shangri-La is about 659 kilometers (409.48 miles) from Kunming. If you want to travel from Kunming to Shangri-La the best way is by air. The trip takes only 50 minutes.

By Bus
The Central Long-distance Bus Station is located on Changzheng Road. It is open daily 6am-8pm with buses to Deqin (7hrs, 2 per day), Kunming (15hrs, 5 per day), Lijiang (5hrs, 5 per day), Sanba (3.5hrs, daily) and Xiaguan (8hrs, 11 per day).

Getting Around in Shangri-La

By Bus By Taxi By Horse  

By Bus
There are many local buses in Shangri-La as well as some minibuses to the surrounding towns. During the tour industry 's peak season minibuses will open more routes to the surrounding attractions. Since scenic spots in Shangri-la are far away from each other and the timetable for scheduled buses is often changed, be sure to double-check your information with the local bus station before setting forth.
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By Taxis
The maximum cost within the town will be 5RMB. The price varies for field trips to nearby scenic areas, but can be negotiated with the taxi driver.
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By Horse
HorseOften the best way (and sometimes the only way) to truly experience the beauty of Shangri-La is on horseback. One of the most popular routes is the trail to Bitahai Lake, which is hidden in a valley of Snow Mountain at an altitude of 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). Horses are provided by local Tibetans, who also act as guides, for a reasonable rate.
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Shangri-La Maps

 

Shangri-La China Map
Shangri-La China Map
 
Shangri-La Old Town Map
Shangri-La Map

 

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