Songzanlin Temple, Shangri-La

Shangri-La Tours - The Heaven on Earth

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Shangri-La, known as the heaven on earth, has a unique landscape integrating snow mountains, canyons, grasslands, alpine lakes, primitive forests as well as ethnic customs. Here, you can learn about the Tibetan Buddhism in temples, take in the amazing natural scenery in the National Park and challenge yourself to hike in the Yubeng Village.

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The Origin of the Name "Shangri-La"

Shangri-La is Diqing Tibetan, meaning "the sun and the moon in the heart". The word "Shangri-La" became famous in the 1930s when it appeared in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon. It soon became attractive and desirable when the novel was turned into a film and won a number of Academy Awards.

In 1996, the expedition to find Shangri-La was launched. After one year's effort, the experts found that Zhongdian County was the best place to meet the ideal described in Lost Horizon. In 2001, Zhongdian County was renamed Shangri-La County with the approval of the State Council of China. From then on, this place has become one of the most popular tourist spots.
Songzanlin Monastery
Patatso National Park

How to Get to Shangri-La?

Limited by terrain and economic conditions, the transportation to Shangri-La is not so developed. The railway is still under construction, so flight is the main way to get into Shangri-La. At present, there are direct flights available daily from Kunming, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Lhasa. It would be better if you're departing from these cities. If not, you could consider transferring from these cities, and among them, Kunming is the best option. In addition to flight, if you have been already in Yunnan, bus is another option. There are buses available between Shangri-La and Kunming, Dali and Lijiang every day.

► Kunming to Shangri-La
There are 2 buses from Kunming to Shangri-La every day, departing at 09:30 and 19:00 respectively. You can take the bus from Kunming West Passenger Station and it takes around 12 hours and CNY249 for the morning bus and CNY208 for the evening one.

► Dali to Shangri-La
Several buses are available from Dali to Shangri-La every day, about every 45 minutes from 7:00 to 13:00 and the last one departs at 17:00. You can take the bus from Dali North Passenger Station and it takes around 8 hours and CNY114.

► Lijiang to Shangri-La
Lijiang is not that far from Shangri-La, so the buses are available every half hour in the morning and every one hour in the afternoon, from 7:30 to 17:10. You can take the bus from Lijiang Bus Station and it takes around 4-5 hours and CNY75 - CNY80.

What is the Best Time to Visit Shangri-La?

The best time to visit Shangri-La is in late spring and early summer from May to July and in autumn from September to October.

From May to July is the most beautiful season of Shangri-La when azaleas, irises and other kinds of wild flowers are in full bloom. Imagine the scene of different kinds of flowers, yaks and alpine meadows under the clear blue sky and the warm sunshine. How beautiful and comfortable it is!

From September to October is the season when Shangri-La is most colorful with the blood euphorbia flower, red plum blossom, purple chrysanthemum, white anemone as well as blue gentian. It is also the best time to take photos.

The period from November to April is less recommended due to the cold weather, especially from January to February when the scenic spots are easily blocked by heavy snow.

As for August, it's also not that recommended as it's during the rainy season, which may bring inconvenience for travelling.

Yubeng Village in Shangri-La - a hidden hiking gem in China

A Simple Yubeng Village Hiking Route
A Brief Introduction of the Yubeng Village Hiking
Yubeng village, known as a land of idyllic beauty, is located at the foot of the Goddess Peak of Meili Snow Mountain. As it's not easy to access, it still maintains the most primitive living conditions and the most original forests that have been almost untouched by human destruction.

Entering the Yubeng village is just the beginning and during the following days, we will take the Yubeng village as the camp and hike to the Glacial Lake, the Sacred Waterfall or other scenic spots respectively. We will hike more than 60 kilometers (37 miles) and cross through large areas of virgin forest, mostly at altitudes between 3,000 and 4,000 meters (9,843 - 13,123 feet).

Is the Yubeng Village Hiking Physically Demanding?
The hiking route in the Yubeng village belongs to the elementary level and there are almost no requirements for hikers' skills and equipment. The only test is your perseverance. As long as you can stick to it, there is basically no big problem to get through the whole journey.

Suggestions for a Trip to Shangri-La

• Shangri-La, 3,300 meters (10,827 feet) above sea level, belongs to the high altitude region. Therefore, it's not suitable to do strenuous exercise and drink alcohol and you're kindly suggested to eat more vegetables and fruits to prevent altitude sickness.

• Shangri-La is a plateau area where the temperature is low, so you're suggested to bring thick clothes, especially after October.

• The climate of Shangri-La is dry and the ultraviolet radiation is strong, so you're suggested to prepare the sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses in advance.

• Every year from June to September is the rainy season in Shangri-La and the weather on the plateau is changeable, so please remember to take rain gear when getting out.