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Shangri-la Travel Guide and Tips

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Shangri-La, 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’ drive.

Shangri-La, formerly known as Zhongdian County, is the capital of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province in southern China. Shangri-la is a Tibetan word meaning 'a land of sacredness and peace'.

Shangri-La is unique for its Tibetan culture and alpine landscapes including sacred snow-capped mountains and spectacular gorges.

The Features of Shangri-La

Shangri-La is a mountain paradise, with dense forests, alpine lakes, grasslands, and gorges distributed among the meadows and plains.

Shangri-La is home to more than 20 ethnic groups, with the Tibetans comprising the majority of the population. It is a great place to experience the Tibetan lifestyle and religion, especially if you have no chance to visit Tibet.

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.

The Highlights of Shangri-La

Songzanlin Lamasery

Songzanlin Lamasery, known as the Little Potala Palace, is the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple complex in Yunnan Province. It houses many Buddhist statues and precious cultural treasures.

Pudacuo National Park is a stunning display of nature, with lakes, forests, meadows, streams, brooks, and rare plants and animals.

The Meili Snow Mountains, the highest mountains in Yunnan Province, are a holy land of pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhists.

Tiger Leaping Gorge, located between Lijiang and Shangri-La, is one of the world's deepest and most marvelous gorges. It's often cited as China's top hiking route.


The Best Times for a Visit

The best time to visit Shangri-La is March to October. The mountain weather in Shangri-La is very changeable. So remember to pack a jacket even if you travel in summer as early morning and evening can get quite cool.

We advise that you avoid winter, because the city practically shuts down and transportation is often halted by snow storms.

Transportation in Shangri-la

Shangri-la Airport

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.


Some Tips for Your Trip

1. Compared with Kunming and Lijiang, Shangri-La is a remote county. The hotel rooms meet normal Chinese standards, but the general service standard may be lower than in other cities. For example, hotels usually serve more Chinese food and less Western food for breakfast, and fewer hotel employees speak English.

2. Shangri-La is at an altitude of over 3,000 meters (9,800 ft). You may experience. So prepare well for high-altitude sickness and give yourself a couple of days to acclimatize.

3. Shangri-La is home to many ethnic minorities, each living by their own customs and traditions. When visiting ethnic villages, be respectful, and observe any notices regarding what to do and not to do.

Ultimate Shangri-la Travel Guide & Useful Articles

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