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Shangri-La Travel

Shangri-La (Zhongdian) Travel Guide

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Shangri-La (formerly called Zhongdian), at an altitude of 3450m, is located in the seat of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northwest of Yunnan Province, about 200 km from Lijiang with 4 hours’ driving.

“When the sun shines upon the land the earliest, it is a place called Gyelthang. The most stunning area on earth is Shangri-La located by the lake of Naizi River”. Shangri-La, once people hear its name the first time, will arouse your inner desire to this destination. The British writer James Hilton describes Shangri-La in his novel Lost Horizon as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western and of Kunlun Mountains. Travelers can find the real scene in Shangri-La.

The most appealing feeling in Shangri-La is its spiritual water and mountains. It is located at the area of Parallel of Three Rivers - Nu River, Jinsha River and Lancang River and with many snow-capped peaks rising over the plateau, including Meili Snow Mountain, Baima Snow Mountain, Haba Snow Mountain. There are 13 ethnic groups living harmoniously on this land and the main group is Tibetan. In Shangri-La, you’ll not only feast your eyes with breathtaking paradise-like scenery, but also feel diverse Tibetan cultures and its profound Buddhism...Come with us!

Why Visit Shangri-La, Yunnan?

  • Earthly Paradise in Lost Horizon. In this permanently happy land, travelers can enjoy the clear air, the nearer white clouds in the blue sky, the breathtaking beauty of landscape, the warm heart of the honest and enthusiastic Tibetan people, the holy Tibetan monasteries and temples…
  • Tibetan Monasteries, Villages & Ancient Town. From the 1300-year-old Dukezong Old Town, to the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, from the gorgeous pastures to the emerald lakes, there are a lot to explore in the Garden of Eden.
  • Last but Must-visit Destination in Yunnan. Shangri-La is served as the last stop in Yunnan after the visit in Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, etc. It also can be linked with Sichuan and Tibet.

Top Attractions in Shangri-La

Shangri-La is a wonderful place got getting off the beaten track, with plenty of hiking opportunities, as well as little-visited monasteries and villages. Check the top attractions listed below and get to know deeply about them. For more attractions info, please see all Attractions in Shangri-La | Recommended Attractions in Deqin.

Ganden Sumtseling Monastery in Shangri-La
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery

Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, known as the Littile Potala Palace, is the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Yunnan.

Pudacuo National Park
Pudacuo National Park

Pudacuo National Park is the first national park in China with the most breathtaking natural view. It consists of Shudu Lake, Bita Lake and Militang Pasture.

Meili Snow Mountain in Shangri-La
Meili Snow Mountain

Meili Snow Mountain, with an altitude of 6740m of its Kawagebo Peak, is the highest peak of Yunnan. It’s famous for its golden sunrise upon 13 peaks in the morning.

Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest gorges in the world, making it a famous hiking destination. It consists of Upper, Middle and Lower Gorge.

Napa Lake & Yila Grassland

Napa Lake & Yila Grassland

With a history of 1300 years, it’s the well-kept and the largest Tibetan community in Yunnan. You can climb to Guishan Park for a panoramic view of the old town.

Dukezong Ancient Town

Dukezong Ancient Town

Napa Lake is a plateau lake at 3800-4449 meters. Its Yila Grassland is the largest spring pasture where you can ride a horse or travel around the lake for sightseeing.

Balagezong National Park

Balagezong National Park

In the northwest of Shangri-la about 83 km away, Balagezong National Park is a terrific place to mainly admire the forceful alpine gorge and towering cliff.

White Water Terraces

White Water Terraces

It’s located on the way between Lijiang and Shangri-La. Enjoy a view of layers of water flowing down along the white curving terraces formed by deposits of calcium carbonate. 

Yubeng Village

Yubeng Village

Close to Meili Snow Mountain, Yubeng Village is an isolated Tibetan village attracting many travelers for hiking. Spend 2-4 days visiting Ice Lake, Sacred Waterfalls...

Nixi Pottery Village

Get to Nixi Tangdui Village, about 33 km from Shangri-La for a look at the black pottery. You can know history and learn how to make black pottery followed by local Tibetans.

First Bend of Jinsha River

On the way to Meili Snow Mountain, You can stop for a panoramic view of the U shape turn with either emerald or yellow water flowing through the sharp valley.

Dongzhulin Monastery

Built in 1667, Dongzhulin Monastery, its fame just after Songzanlin Monastery in Shangri-La, was once rivaled Potala Palace in Lhasa.

Shangri-La Weather & When to Go

Shangri-La Weather

With an altitude of 3,450m, Shangri-La (Zhongdian) is a humid plateau climate. The four seasons are not markedly different. Winter is chilly but sunny and summers are cool and rainy and 70% of the annual precipitation is delivered from June to September and the temperatures here change much between day and night. Generally speaking, the best time to visit Shangri-La is March to June. During this period, the weather is favorable and the wide flowers are blossom everywhere. September to November is also the favorite time. >> See details about Shangri-La Climate, Weather & Season to Go

How to Get to & around Shangri-La

Transfer to Shangri-La

Diqing Shangri-La Airport is located 5.4 km southeast from Shangri-La County. At present, Shangri-La has flights from/to Kunming, Chengdu, Lhasa, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Shanghai and Beijing, etc. It takes about 50 minutes from Kunming to Shangri-La, 1.5 hours from Chengdu to Shangri-La and 1 hour and 40 minutes from Lhasa to Shangri-La.

There is not train running to Shangri-La yet. Travelers can take long-distance buses to Shangri-La instead of train. There are six daily buses from Kunming to Shangri-La, taking about 10-12 hours for 720 km; about 7-8 hours from Dali to Shangri-La for 300 km; about 3.5-4 hours from Lijiang to Shangri-La for 180 km. Long distance buses are also available between Deqin (220km, 6 hours), Panzhihua (400km, 15 hours), Daocheng (300km, 12 hours), Lhasa (1700 km, 4 days), etc.

Transfer within Shangri-La

To get around Shangr-La, travelers can take taxi or bus to the nearby attractions. There are mini vans offered by the private drivers which can take you to the scenic spot. You should discuss the price with the drivers before you get on the minivan. When book a tour package with us, you’ll enjoy worry free private transfer service. To check more transfer info, please see how to get to and around Shangri-La.

Where to Stay in Shangri-La & Recommended Hotels

Choices are a lot for your accommodation in Shangri-La. No matter you want to stay in Dukezong Old Town, or choose to live in the new county of Shangri-La and stay outside of the county near Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, you’ll get your own hotels, ranging from luxury 5 star to budget ones. All the hotels are decorated in Tibetan style with elegant and comfortable rooms.

If you have your ideas and requirements, please feel free to contact our travel consultants who are here ready to help you and satisfy your needs and likes.

Learn more about Top Recommended Luxury Hotels in Shangri-La (Zhongdian) | Top Recommended 4 Star Hotels in Shangri-La (Zhongdian) | Top Recommended Budget Hotels in Shangri-La (Zhongdian)

Other Hot Destinations in Yunnan

Besides Shangri-La (Zhongdian), there are some other hot destinations in Yunnan, like Lijiang, Dali, Kunming, Yuanyang and Jianshui, etc. Check the travel guide of each destination and discover now!

Other Popular Destinations in China

China is vast and diverse. You can choose your favorite destination among more than 70 tourist destination and regions. Following are 4 popular destinations you may get interested in. Check all destinations in China

Chinese Name: 香格里拉

Chinese Pinyin: xiāng gé lǐ lā

English IPA: /'∫ægri'la:/

Population: 0.017 million

Language: Mandarin & Tibetan

Tel Code: 0887

Zip Code: 674400

Time Zone: (UTC+8)

Plan your Shangri-La Tour

Many travelers come to Shangri-La to find the real scene in the Lost Horizon. Usually, it is suggested to visit this earthly paradise for 2 days. Travelers can spend one day losing yourselves in the wonderland of Pudacuo National Park, the real Shangri-La in Shangri-La; and spend another day exploring Ganden Sumtseling Monastery and Dukezong Old Town. Of course, travelers can experience the hospitality of Tibetan by visit the local Tibetan family.

If you want to capture the amazing golden sunrise upon the 13 peaks of Meili Snow Mountain, you can spend another 2 day visiting Meili Snow Mountain and its surrounding attractions. On the way to the holy mountain, you won’t miss the First Bend of Jinsha River, Dongzhulin Monastery, Baima Snow Mountain, etc.

Shangri-La is always visited after Lijiang tour. If you choose to fly to Shangri-La, you can visit Shangri-La for your first destination in Yunnan, and explore Lijiang for 2-3 days, Dali for 2 days and Kunming for 1 day afterwards. The whole Yunnan trip usually takes 8 days. You can feel free to contact our professional travel consultants to customize your own itineraries which would perfectly suit for your likes and requirements.

Learn more about How to Plan a Shangri-La Tour >>

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