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.
- Last modified on Aug. 15, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Shangri-La Transportation
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.
Asked by MAIZATUL SHAHIRA MOHD ZAKI from MALAYSIA | Aug. 03, 2019 04:19Reply
We're planning to take a night bus from Shangri La to Kunming.
Do you where can we book online bus from Shangri La to Kunming?
Answers (1)
Answered by Morse from USA | Aug. 06, 2019 19:02

Maybe you can ask for help from local travel agency. Or just the purchase the tickets when you arriving there. As I know, the bus ticket booking website only has Chinese version.
Asked by Fernan from ARGENTINA | Jul. 09, 2019 16:50Reply
Hi! We are a family of 6 travelling to lijiang in January 2020.
And we would like to visit shangri-la for two days. Do you have any contact of a private minibus for 6 that could drive us from lijiang to shangri-la?
Thanks in advance!
Answers (1)
Answered by Jim from USA | Jul. 16, 2019 00:50

Well, you can try to contact the ehi car service. Email:
Asked by Nusha from MALAYSIA | Jun. 18, 2019 23:49Reply
How is the weather in January at Tiger Leaping Gorge recently?
Answers (1)
Answered by Maggie from AUSTRALIA | Jun. 19, 2019 19:18

There will have a big temperature difference in day and night. The average temperature will be between 0°C and 15°C.Travelers can wear suits, lined dresses, wind coats, casual wears, jackets and light sweaters.
Asked by Za Moctar from SINGAPORE | Jun. 13, 2019 12:43Reply
We want to take a taxi or hire a car+ driver from Chengdu to Moxi Town
Take different taxi or hire a car+driver from Moxi Town to Xinduquiao, and take taxi or hire a car+driver to Zhongdian. Will it be easy to hire these at these various towns, the location to get the taxi and the approximate cost?
Answers (1)
Answered by James from USA | Jun. 13, 2019 19:37

It is suggested to hire a car from Chengdu to those towns and back. It costs about CNY500-700 per day. Hiring cars in different towns is troublesome and I'm not sure if they can be found easily or the estimated price.
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