About Shangri-la Travel

Introduction:Shangri-la, a popular word after World War II and o­ne frequently adopted by stores, hotels and restaurants, signifies a "heaven away from the turmoil of the mundane word". Actually..

Districts: Kunming Dali Lijiang Shangri-la Xishuanbanna Ninglang Tengchong Baoshan Chuxiong Deqin Diqing GejiuCity Honghe Lincang Luliang Luoping Mengzi YiAutonomous Qujing Ruili

Attractions: Napa Lake Nature Reserve Shudu Sea Meili Snow Mountain Single Dragon Valley Rain Collapsing Village Haba snow-capped mountain White Water Patten Bitahai Lake Mingyong Glacier Songzanlin Temple

Shangri-la Maps

Shangri-la Introduction

Shangri-la, a popular word after World War II and o­ne frequently adopted by stores, hotels and restaurants, signifies a "heaven away from the turmoil of the mundane word". Actually, "Shangri-la" is a Tibetan word, which means "land of sacredness and peace."

The word "Shangri-la" first appeared in its westernized form in James Hiltom's novel The Lost Horizon. This book tells the story of three American pilots who, when flying over the Sino-Indian air route during World War II, crash-land in the midst a beautiful landscape. This place of tranquility and peace is described as having "Snow Mountains, grasslands, Tibetan people, red soil plateaus, with three rivers flowing traversing the landscape". After being rescued by the local Tibetan people, the three American pilots finally return home.

According to the historical record, in 1944 there was indeed an American transport plane which crashed in the town of Zhongdian within Yunnan province while flying over the Sino-Indian air route. After a careful investigation into these events, it was determined that the beautiful "Shangri-la" described in "The Lost Horizon" is, in fact, the city of Zhongdian, located in the Deqen Tibentan Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province.

Mother Nature has endowed Shangri-la with bountiful natural wealth, making the land a happy home for the 100,000 Tibetans, Lisus, Naxis and Yis who call the area their home. As is this pristine natural environment, these nationalities are all kind, honest, extremely hospitable to outsiders. The lamasery of "Shangri-la" is Guihua Temple, or Songzanlin Lamasery in Tibet. The lamasery, with 800 lamas, resembles Potala Palace of Lhasa in its layout. The five-story Tibetan style building is covered with wooden carvings and gold-plated copper tiles. You may have a look at the Gallery of Tibetan Religion and Culture in Deqen.

Shangri-la Traffic

Zhongdian is connected by flights to Kunming (50 min.; daily), Chengdu (1 hr., 10 min.; 3-4 flights a week), and Lhasa (1 hr., 45 min.; 1-2 flights a week depending o­n season). To fly to Lhasa, you must have your Tibet travel permit in order. Tickets can be purchased at the Yunnan Airlines/CAAC office at Wenming Jie next to the Guanguang Hotel (tel. 0887/822-9901); it's open from 8:30am to noon and 3 to 8pm (2-5:30pm in winter). Taxi fare to the airport about 6km (4 miles) south of town will cost ¥15 to ¥20 ($1.90-$2.50).

From the Bus Station (Keyun Zhan) o­n Changzheng Lu (tel 0887/822-2972), buses run to Kunming (9-10 hr.; ¥142-¥175/$17-$21) at 9am, and then hourly from 11am to 8pm; to Xiaguan (8 hr.; ¥42-¥65/$5-$8) every hour from 7am to 8pm; to Li Jiang (3 1/2-5 hr.; ¥27/$3.25) every half-hour to hour from 7:10am to 5pm; to Deqin (7 hr.; ¥30/$3.75) at 7:20am, 8:20am, and 9:20am; to Xiangcheng (9 hr.) at 7:30am; to Jinjiang (10 hr.) at 3:30pm and 5pm; and to Sanba (5-6 hr; ¥20/$2.50) at 8:30am. The 3:30pm bus to Jinjiang will get you there in time to connect with the train to Chengdu. There has been talk of moving the bus station to the northern part of town along Zhongxiang Lu, so check beforehand.

To Tibet -- You can o­nly travel overland to Tibet by Land Cruiser as part of an official travel agency group with all the requisite Tibet travel permits. If you haven't made prior reservations by the time you arrive in Zhongdian, check first at the travelers' cafes. During the summer, there may be enough interest to pull together a group, but it'll likely cost around ¥5,000 ($625) per person just for transportation and the permit. From Zhongdian, the overland route passes through Deqin, the last border town in Yunnan, another 6 to 8 hours away by car. Any questions about Tibet travel permits can be referred to Mr. Lin at the Tibet Tourism Office.

To Sichuan -- The back roads into Sichuan from Zhongdian are no less scenic or any more comfortable than the road to Tibet, but at least you won't have to worry about permits. Busing it to Chengdu will take at least 6 to 7 days over some very high altitudes (above 4000m/13,120 ft.) and incredibly gorgeous terrain. Hiring a private car will cost around ¥800 to ¥1,200 ($100-$150). From Zhongdian, a 7:30am bus departs every 2 to 3 days for Xiangcheng in Sichuan; the trip takes 10 hours. From Xiangcheng, the route continues to Daocheng or Litang, depending o­n weather and road conditions, then to Kanding (11 hr. from Litang), and finally to Chengdu (a further 8 hr.).

Return to Dali -- The alternative route back to Dali that does not stop at Li Jiang, is an interesting option for those heading back south. Leaving at 12:30pm and costing ¥42 ($5), the 6-hour journey starts o­n the Tibetan plateau and passes a surprising number of breeding centers for the shaggy Tibetan Mastiff, perhaps the o­nly dog in the world with a hardier constitution than a St. Bernard. The road then drops away and descends through endless forest switchbacks, past numerous new hydro plants. After some breathtaking precipices, the surroundings turn agricultural o­nce more and the roads turn to yellow as local farmers spread their rice husks across the road, to be conveniently winnowed by passing minibuses such as yours. Most travelers are very surprised by the huge amounts of o­ne particular crop that grows in this province -- opium's natural successor, tobacco.

Shangri-la Festivals

The Tibetan New Year is the most important festival in Tibet. People in their holiday best extend greetings to each other and go to the monasteries to receive blessings. o­n the 15th day of the first moon, all major monasteries hold religious rites and all families light up butter lamps when night falls. It is also the occasion for lamas in the Ta'er (Ghumbum) monastery in Qinghai and the Qoikang monastery in Lhasa to display their exquisite and beautifully decorated butter carvings.

Shangri-la Service Telephones

There are many taboos and activities that bear a strong mark of religion. Buddhists are forbidden to kill. Many wild animals, including fish, field vole, Mongolian gazelle and vulture, are under protection. The Tibetans, rich or poor, all have family niches for keeping Buddha statues. Most people wear a metal amulet box, about the size of a cigarette case, o­n the breast, and turn prayer wheels. It is forbidden to turn prayer wheels counter-clockwise and stride over ritual objects and braziers.

Banks, Foreign Exchange & ATMs -- The People's Bank of China (Zhou Renmin Yinhang; open Mon-Tues and Thurs-Fri, 8:30am-noon and 2:30-5:30pm) is o­n Changzheng Lu. It offers forex, but it won't give cash advances o­n credit cards.

Internet Access -- China Telecom o­n Changzheng Lu 9 has Internet service from 9am to 9pm, at ¥3 (40¢) per hour. Dial-up is tel. 163.

Post Office -- The post office (open 8:30am-8:30pm, 9am-8pm in the winter) is at the corner of Chengzheng Lu and Xiangyang Lu and has a nice collection of stamps and cards at very low prices.

Visa Extensions -- The visa section of the Gonganju (PSB; Mon-Fri: 8:30-11:30am and 2:30-6pm summer; 9am-noon and 2-5:30pm winter) is located at Changzheng Lu 72 just south of the Diqing Binguan.

Shangri-la Hotels

  • Songtsam Retreat At Shangri-la

    Songtsam Retreat At Shangri-la

    Two-star or Less Shangri-la Price:-

    Songtsam Retreat At Shangri-la (Xianggelila Songzan Linka Meijingge Jiudian) is a Tibetan style hotel situated a 25-minute drive from the airport and a five-minute drive to the Song Zan T..

  • Na Chidenan Hotel

    Na Chidenan Hotel

    Preparatory Three-star Shangri-la Price:-

    Hotel has a well-equipped guest rooms and entertainment facilities, leisure is the ideal place to stay.---

  • Xike Guest House

    Xike Guest House

    Two-star or Less Shangri-la Price:-

    Hotel has a well-equipped guest rooms and entertainment facilities, leisure is the ideal place to stay.---

Shangri-la Hotels Booking

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