Shangri-la refers to the sun and moon in the heart. It becomes well known because of the book Lost Horizon by the British writer James Hilton. It discribes a paradise-like Tibetan area with snow mountain, valley, grasslands, small lake and Tibetan monasteries. This is the legendary Shangri-la.
Then people kept looking for the Shangri-la described in the book. Several places competed fiercely in China arround the name of Shangri-al. Gannan Diebu was a Shambahala in the eyes of the explorer Locker. Zhongdian, Yunnan was renamed Shangri-la County first and become well-known. Geva Town in Sichuan was also renamed Shangri-la and also called Daocheng-Yading, which is the last Shangri-la. Now the official define sevral places in Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet as Shangri-la, although every traveler has his or her own Shangri-la in the mind.
This article is going to tell the travel tips for Shangri-la tours, including Daocheng-Yading and Shangri-la, Yunnan.
This route is suitable for the tourists who are enthusist in photography. We suggest you arrive or depart China from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming, ect. The tour route can be as below,
1.Sunscreen cream (it is better to prepare a strong one)
2.Moisturizing skin care products
3.Snack (instant food, busicuit, bread or ship biscuit, ect)
4.Anti-carsickness pills (If you can not bear long-distance riding)
5.Suitable clothing (such as jacket for windbreak and rain-proof)
7.Necessary common medicine
1.If you have altitude sickness, please anti-altitude sickness in advance, which will be helpful to overcome the altitude sickness.
2.When you first get to the highland, please do not overeat and avoid strenouous exercise. If you feel unwell, do not take a bath or shower as hot water will speed up the blood cycle and increase the altitude sickness. Be sure to drink plenty of water.
3.Do not eat too much before a long-distance ride. The rgged mountain road will make people get car sick easily.
4.Do not sleep when the altitude rises. It is easy to have altitude sickness.
5.Do not breath oxygen once you have a headache. It will cause oxygen dependance, which will be disadvantage for the next trip. Altitude Sickness is just a psychological effect. You will feel fine when you adapt it for a few days.
►Suggested Tour Arrangement in Shangri-la
Day01 Arrival Shangri-la, visit Dukezong Ancient Town at night
Day02 Songzanlin Monastery and biking around Napa Lake
Day03 Potatso National Park
►How to Get to Shangri-la
1.There are many buses from Lijiang to Shangri-la per day. The bus fare is about CNY40-60 per person per way. It takes about 4-5 hours. The Bus will pass Tigering Leaping Gorge.
2.There isn’t train to Shangri-la, but there is an airport. There are flights to Shangri-la to Kunming.
►What to Eat in Shangri-la
It is convenient to find a place to have meals in Shangrila. Tibetan food, western food, Sichuan food, South Korea food are available in Shangri-la. Walking around the ancient town, you could also find good restaurants, bakery, cofe and bars
►The Transportation in Shangri-la
The Dukezong Ancient Tow is small. Therefore, walking is enough. It takes about CNY5-10 to take taxi in the county of Shangri-la.
Most guesthouses, inns or outdoor stores offer bike rental. It is a great experience to visit Shangri-la by bicycle. There are many private cars or mini-vans at ancient town or airport. Although they are illegal, you could ask and compare the price for rent a car. It takes about CNY20-30 per car per way from airport to ancient town.
►Where to Stay in Shangri-la
It is convenient to accommodate in Shangri-la. There are a variety of inns in the ancient town and all kinds of hotels outside the ancient town.
If you hope to stay in some local guesthouse or inn, we suggest you stay in the ancient town. There are many choices and price is not high.
If you would like to stay in comfortable deluxe hotel, Top China Travel suggests you below hotels.
♦Songtsam Hotel: 4-5 star hotel, just beside Songzanlin Monastery. It is a Tibetan style hotel.
♦Paradise Hotel: 4-5 star hotel, in the downtown. It is convenient
♦Banyan Tree Ringha: Luxury Hotel, but a bit far from downtown.
►The Attraction nearby Shangri-la
♦Dekezong Ancient Town (3200 meters)
The ancient town is small. After strolling, you could go to Guishan Park to see the largest prayer wheel. The local Tibetans and tourists will dance Guozhuang in the ancient town at about 21:00, which is a Tibetan traditional dance. It is very lively.
♦Songzanlin Monastery (3200 meters)
It is about 5 km away from the downtown of Shangri-la. Songzanlin Monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhism Monastery in Yunnan Province, belonging to Gelug Sect. It is regarded as the small Potala Palace.
The best time to visit Songzanlin Monastery is in the morning, when there are few visitors. Walk around the lake in front of the monastery by clockwise (Remember to do that clockwise according to Tibetan Buddhism Regulation), you will find the monastery reflected on the surface of the lake, very beautiful.
Tourist could take Bus No 3 from the downtown to the monastery. The public bus in Shangri-la stops when passenger wave hand.
The Best Place to Take a Picture of Songzanlin Monastery is on the way to Napa Lake. It is better in the early morning.
♦Napa Lake (3200 meters)
Napa Lake is about 8 km from the downtown. It takes about CNY50 per car per way if you rent a car. If you would like to ride a horse, we suggest you to to Yila Grassland. There are only few water in the lake in summer. It is full of water since September. It look beautiful without wind, with the blue sky on the surface.
Biking along the lake for about 40 km. It needs enough energy and willpower, especially in highland. The signs along the biking route are clear. If you hope to ride bicycle, but you do not hope to ride that long, you could ride to Yila Grassland for about 8 kms, then ride back along the same route.
♦Potatso National Park (3500-4100 meters)
This is the first national park in China, with 2 lakes and a highland grassland. They are Shudu Lake, Bita Lake and Militang Grassland. There are plank road around the lakes for view, but the highland grassland can only be seen from the viewing deck.
The shuttle bus in the park goes Shudu Lake-Militang Grassland-Bita Lake. The most beautiful season of Potatso National Park is summer and autumn. In the summer, many small colourful flowers are scattered on the green grassland. While it is golden in autumn.
Tourists could rent a mini-van (4-6 persons) at about CNY100-50 per car per way to the park. Since it is often rainy and a bit cold in mountainous area, we suggest you bring rain gear and some warmer clothing.