Potatso National Park
|Potatso National Park|
About 13.5 miles (22km) southwest and 40 minutes’ drive from Shangri-la downtown area, Potatso National Park covers an area of 115 square miles and ranges from 3,827 yards to 4,548 yards high. It is renowned for well-preserved primitive landscape, which is endowed with lakes, wetlands, forests, meadows, streams, brooks, rare plants and animals. Meanwhile, Tibetan culture and custom are also component parts of the park.
As the first national park on the Chinese mainland, Potatso was open to visitors in 2007. In the park, there are three main scenic areas open to visitors: Bita Lake in the south, Shudu Lake which is a part of Three Parallel Rivers Scenic Area in the north and Militang Alpine Pasture in the middle. The sightseeing buses run among these scenic spots and stop at fixed stations. Passengers can get on and off freely with one ticket. As Bita Lake is a sacred place and Tibetan Buddhists walk around it clockwise for good luck, visitors are advised to sightsee clockwise too, in an order of Shudu Lake, Militang, and Bita Lake. Travel route in the park is about 42 miles (69 kilometers) and it takes about 4 – 6 hours to cover all the spots.
|Map of Potatso National Park|
It is about 20 minutes’ ride from the sightseeing bus stop near the park entrance. Reputed as a pearl in plateau, Shudu Lake is 4,046 yards above the sea level. The lake is crystal clear, with wild ducks paddling in group. There was a rare kind of fish species called Liefu Fish (fish with cracks on their bellies) living inside; but now visitors can barely see them due to damage to local eco-system. Along the shore, flocks of cattle and sheep wander freely. The lake is surrounded by rolling hills covered with forest. The primitive forest seems to be a verdant protective screen, where many rare animals inhabit, such as musk deer, bears, leopards, golden cats, tufted deer and eared pheasant.
Militang Alpine Pasture
Militang is the largest pasture in Potatso National Park, about 3.7 miles and 10 minutes’ drive from Shudu Lake. Under the azure sky dotted with clouds, the grassland is like a giant green carpet paved on the ground, with yaks and sheep scattered around and smoke from herdsmen’s chimneys drifting in the breeze. In spring and summer, a number of flowers are blossoming, which decorates the grassland into a colorful picture. In autumn, the land will be carpeted by spruce, azalea bosk, quercus, aquifolioides and redwoods. Wild mushrooms can be seen everywhere. It looks golden on the whole, tranquil and elegant. In winter, the land will turns into a tranquil white paradise.
2. During the sightseeing bus ride from Militang to Bita Lake, you can ask the driver to made a detour to Sangcuoka Tourist Service Center, where buffet meals are provided.
3. Also on the way to Bita Lake, the bus will go over a mountain range, where there is a sightseeing platform. It is the best site to overview the lake and take photos.
4. There are two ways to appreciate Bita Lake:
One is trekking along the 2.5 miles long plank road. If you are energetic and eager to see the best part of the lake, it is the best way. If physically challenged, you can opt to have a cruise over the lake by boat. The boat ticket is CNY 30 per person.
Ticket fare: CNY 180 (including CNY 100 admission fee and CNY 80 sightseeing bus fee)
Opening hours: November 1st – March 31st: 08:00 – 16:00; April 1st-October 31st: 07:30 – 16:00
Taking a taxi from the airport to the park directly, taking 30 minutes or so. It costs about CNY150 for a round trip.
Or renting a car to go there. It may cost CNY200 per day. Duration is about 30 minutes.
How to get from Shangri-La downtown area
By bus: Take the bus from Shangri-la Bus Station to Potatso; the bus departs at 09:30 and returns at 15:00; ticket fare is CNY 30 for a round-tip.
By taxi: It takes 40 minutes from Shangri-la County; a single trip costs CNY 80 and a round-trip costs CNY 150.
By rental car: It costs around CNY 300 for a day.
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