I was looking forward to visit Shangri-la 香格里拉 and its surroundings, after my visit to Dali 大理. And I had the opportunity to see for myself how beautiful this place is.
Shangri-la city, located in 3,200 meters above sea level in the Yunnan province, was formerly know as Zhongdian 中甸. The Chinese officials decided to change the name of the city in 2001 to Shangri-la, in order to boost tourism in this remote area. Indeed, the name Shangri-la is a mystical and harmonious valley, described in James Hilton’s utopian novel Lost Horizon (1933). It represents a paradise hidden from the modern men. The city’s traditional Tibetan name is Gyalthang or Royal Plains.
No one knows where exactly the landscapes described in the English novel are.
Here are three highlights and pictures of my trip in Shangrila: enjoy!
Shangri-la city or Zhongdian
When I first arrived in Zhongdian, it did not feel like I was in China but rather in Tibet. Monasteries (or rather lamaseries), colored prayer flags…
My brother and sister posing for me 🙂
The 21-meter high Zhuangjing Tong Prayer Wheel. At least six people are needed to turn the wheel!
A Tibetan mastiff
A must see: The Potatso National Park 普达措国家公园
My siblings and I were very lucky with the weather: 20 degrees and blue sky in the morning. The view was simply wonderful. I was also surprised to see that the Park was well conserved, clean and not too crowded. I read up on it later and found out the park, which opened in 2007, is the first park in the Popular Republic of China to meet the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s standards. Well done 🙂
Gold, green, blue. The colors are just breathtaking.
The Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡
This trip definitively made me want to go to Tibet to truly discover the Tibetan people’s culture!
Last stop: Lijiang 丽江!
Read more about my journey in Yunnan: