Shangri-La Transportation

Located in the northwest of Yunnan Province, Shangri-la has an average altitude of 10,761 ft (3,280 m). The special location makes its transportation different from other areas in China. The only airport in this area, Diqing Airport, operates limited flights every day. No rail line leads to this area yet. However, the Lijiang-Shangri-la rail route is under construction and is expected to operate in six years. Buses are the most common transport means in and around this area. Aside from buses, taxis, chartered cars and horse rides are widely used by local people and visitors.


Around 3.4 mi (5.4 km) from the city center, Diqing Shangri-La Airport is the largest airport in the east Tibetan area. Direct flights to/from several domestic cities are available, including Kunming, Chengdu, Lhasa, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Beijing and Shanghai. As it is close to the downtown area, passengers usually take a taxi to the airport at the cost of around CNY 30.

1. Banks: ATM of Agricultural Bank of China is in the waiting hall.
2. Dining facilities are on the right side of the 1st floor of the waiting hall, and the tea house is on the left side.
3. Useful numbers:
Airport Enquiry:  0887-8229916, 0887-8231553
Lost and Found Office: 0887-8229916, 0887-8231322

Long-distance Bus

In Shangri-La, coach is the most important vehicle. Visitors can travel by coach between Shangri-la Long-distance Bus Station and Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and other destinations. Here are some timetables for your reference:
 From Kunming
Schedule: 08:30, 09:30, 13:00, 18:30, 19:00, 19:30, 20:30
Passengers can take the bus at Kunming West Bus Station. It takes about 10 hours and costs CNY197-228.
Return trip: 11:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:30, 17:30, 18:30, 19:30

 From Lijiang
Schedule: 07:30 – 17:00 (every 30-40min) from Lijiang Bus Station; 08:20, 09:30, 10:30, 13:00, 14:30, 15:30 from Lijiang Express Bus Station
The duration of the whole trip is around 4 hours and the bus fare is CNY46-68.
Return trip: 07:10, 08:00, 08:30, 09:00, 09:30, 10:00, 10:30, 10:40, 11:30, 12:20, 13:00, 13:30, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 15:30, 16:00, 16:40, 18:00

 From Dali (Xiaguan)
Schedule: 06:30 – 12:00 (every half an hour), and 18:30
Passengers can take the bus at Dali North Bus Station. It takes about 7-8 hours and costs CNY83-106.
Return trip: 07:00, 08:00, 08:30, 09:00, 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 12:30

City Bus

There are six city bus lines in town. Please note that bus no. 2 take passengers to the local Long-distance Bus Station and no. 3 leads to Songzanlin Monastery. To take a city bus, it is suggested to prepare CNY1 loose change in advance. 


Taxis in Shangri-la are in service for 24 hours. As the town is not large, many taxi drivers don’t charge by meter. Usually the fare is no more than CNY10 if shuttling within the town. If you insist in paying according to the taximeter, the starting rate is CNY5 for the first 3km (2mi), and it costs CNY1.8 for each subsequent kilometer (0.6mi). CNY2 fuel fee is required for each ride.

Chartered Car

The scenic cities in Yunnan are usually far from one to another. To avoid tiring bus travel, many people prefer to charter a car or van. By doing this, they can not only have a good rest, but also freely appreciate the nice scenery on the way. Here is the approximate chartered car charge for your reference (all for single trip):
To Songzanlin Monastery: about CNY50;
To Potatso National Park: CNY150-200;
To Thousand Lakes Mountain: CNY400;
To Lijiang: CNY500-600;
Shangri-la – Tiger Leaping Gorge – Lijiang: CNY600-800.


In many places of Shangri-la, the most beautiful scenery cannot be admired without horses. For instance, the way to the Bitahai Lake is much easier by horse than car. After getting to Shuangqiao by car or bus, most tourists choose to hire a horse to the scenic spot at a cost of around CNY50. The horses are provided by local Tibetans. They will tell you how to ride as well as any dos and don'ts.

Transport to Other Cities

How to Travel between Kunming and Shangri-La

How to Travel between Lijiang and Shangri-La

- Last updated on Jul. 23, 2023 -
Questions & Answers on Shangri-La Transportation
Asked by david from UNITED KINGDOM | Jul. 22, 2023 17:24Reply
as of 2014 is there a train to Shangri la from Lijiang? Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Rita | Jul. 23, 2023 23:55

I think you mean 2024. The high speed trains from Lijiang to Shangri-la are scheduled to run since the end of 2023.
Asked by Djati Nugroho from INDONESIA | Jan. 20, 2020 02:08Reply
Is it possible to loading our bicycles on the long distance bus from Shangrila to Kunming ?
After our cycling tour from Kunming to Shangrila. We are 4 cyclist with 4 bicycles.
Answers (1)
Answered by Gill from NEW ZEALAND | Jan. 20, 2020 17:57

If the bicycles are folding, then I think that it would be ok to bring on the long distance bus.
Asked by Pukkup from THAILAND | Nov. 22, 2019 08:45Reply
Can u tell me about bus schedule from Shangri la to Meili snow mountain?
Travel time around 11-13 dec 2019
Answers (1)
Answered by Pam from USA | Nov. 24, 2019 23:04

Meili snow mountain covers a large area and crosses over two provinces. You can take bus to Deqin first, then decide where to go. The bus from Shangri la departs at 8:50, 10:30, 12:00, 14:30 and 17:20.
Asked by Gift from THAILAND | Nov. 05, 2019 00:09Reply
I want to take my children go to Shangri-la by sleep bus, How much does it cost?
I can't find the detail of the cost of bus for children.
Train route has detail that child who tall 1.2m - 1.5m pay 50% cost and get the seat or bed.
Please give me the detail.
PS. I will take 2 children - 3 years old (sleep with parent) - 8 yeas old (may be sleep with parent or not)
Thanks a lot.
Answers (2)
Answered by Rita from USA | Nov. 06, 2019 19:39

As I know, children under 1.2 meters are free of charge, but one adult can only bring a child free of charge. 1.2 to 1.5 meters children can enjoy half-price discount of seat tickets, and adults can bring them to the sleeper provided that they don't occupy the bed, otherwise you need to buy a full-price ticket for your children.
Answered by Gift from THAILAND | Nov. 07, 2019 02:36

Thank you for your answer.
I wil prefer use train now.
Asked by Marieke from NETHERLANDS | Aug. 15, 2019 00:44Reply
Hi! We are currently staying in Dali, and want to travel to Shangri-La.
We know there is a bus that takes about 8 hours, but we might prefer a chartered car. Do you have an indication of the price, and any suggestions on where we can book a chartered car? Thanks in advance!
Answers (1)
Answered by Mark from USA | Aug. 15, 2019 19:30

The price is around CNY1,000. It is suggested to ask your hotel staff to recommend some good drivers for you.
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