As you know, Shangri-La was well known after James Hilton described Shangri-La In his novel Lost Horizon as a mystical land with lofty and continuous snow mountains, endless grasslands, steep and grand gorges, azure lakes and bucolic villages. If you imagine this kind of happy land in Shangri-La, go to Pudacuo National Park. It is the wonderland and the real Shangri-La in Shangri-La.
Pudacuo National Park, at an altitude of 3500m to 4159m, is a 1300-square-kilometer national park in Shangri-La County. It is notable as the first national park in China to meet International Union for Conservation of Nature standards. It consists of Bita Lake Nature Reserve and Shudu Lake Scenic Area which are part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Pudacuo National Park is situated in the east of Shangri-La, about 22 kilometers from Shangri-La County. It takes half an hour to Pudacuo National Park from the county.
It is not so convenient to get to Pudacuo National Park. It is recommended to use our private service with private car and guide taking you to Pudacuo. If you are independent travelers, you can take bus or hire minivan there.
By Bus: At Shangri-La Bus Station, there are buses running to Pudacuo National Park at 08:00, 08:30, 09:30 and 10:00. Travelers can take the bus to get back at 14:00, 14:30, 15:00 and 16:30.
By Van:At the square in Dukezong Old Town, there are mini vans taking you to Pudacuo. Before you get on the van, discuss the price with the drivers.
Pudacuo National Park is mainly comprised of Shudu Lake, Bita Lake and Militang Pasture. Travelers should visit the national park by clockwise: Entrance – Shudu Lake – Militang Pasture – Bita Lake - Exit. The whole visiting route is 69 km. Sightseeing buses are served at each place, from entrance gate, scenic areas to exit. It takes about 4 to 6 hours for visiting the whole area of Pudacuo National Park.
Area: 1.2 square kilometers
Length for Plank Road: 3.3 km; it takes about 1-2 hours for hiking.
By Boat: 50 Yuan per person; it takes about 10-15 minutes by boat.
Shudu means the cheese as sturdy as a stone. Shudu Lake is the tectonic lake of geological fault with the highest elevation in Yunnan Province. The ecological system of Shudu Lake is composed of plateau lakes, swamped meadows and primitive dark coniferous forests with copious rare animals and plant resources. In its lake, it has different species of fish with double-lips and golden color. The view around Shudu Lake is a complete perfection. Travelers can see herds of cattle and flocks of sheep grazing leisurely around the lake. The lush forest around the lake makes it mysterious and holy.
There are two choices to explore Shudu Lake. One is by hiking which takes about 2 hours for 3.3 km. There is plank road around the lake which makes hiking not difficult on the high plateau. The other is by boat. Taking boat sailing in the center of Shudu Lake is energy and time saving which takes only 10-15 minutes. If you suffer high altitude sickness, you’d better take boat. The extra 50 Yuan is needed for the cruise fee.
Area: 1.4 square kilometers
Length for Plank Road: 4.2 km; it takes about 2-3 hours for hiking.
By Boat:50 Yuan per person; it takes about 15 minutes by boat.
Bita Lake, a pearl on the high plateau, is an emerald and glamorous lake surrounded by luxuriant trees and green mountains. There is a beautiful legend about Bita Lake. It is said that Bita Lake is the most gorgeous piece of mirror with an emerald that is broken by a goddess in heaven. That’s why Bita Lake is as blue as emerald. From May till July, the azaleas fall from the trees with the wind, petals float on the water which attracts plenty of fish. Hence, there are special scenes called “Fish Drunk in Azalea” and “Old Bear Catch Fish”.
There are two choices to explore Bita Lake. One is by hiking which takes about 2-3 hours for 4.2 km. The other choice is by boat which takes only 15 minutes from one side to another side of the Bita Lake. Extra ticket fee for boat is 50 Yuan. No matter you choose to walk or take boat, you feel intoxicated by the beauty, tranquility and elegance.
Area: 2.4 square kilometers
Recommended Visiting Time: 15 minutes
Militang Grassland is located in the region between Shudu Lake and Bita Lake, 4500 meters in length from south to north and 500 meters in width from east to west, at an elevation of 3700 meters. Militang refers to a long and slim eye-like meadow named after a narrow eye of Buddha. With plenty of water and lush grass in meadow, wetland and meandering brooks, cattle and sheep grazing leisurely, Militang Pasture is enchanting as green satin scattered numerous pearls from spring to summer. An amazing spectacle is the gorgeous meadows with the blooming season last until September which is the most attractive scene in Pudacuo National Park.
Travelers cannot get down to the pasture and have close contact with the cattle, horse, sheep yet, but there is a grand sightseeing platform for travelers to shoot amazing photos and enjoy the gorgeous meadow scenery. It is recommended to stay for 10-15 minutes.
Pudacuo National Park is suitable for traveling all the year around. Different season has different scenery. Travelers can choose your favorite time to visit Pudacuo. Spring is April to May with everything getting recovered and fresh in this season. Summer is from June to August with all kinds of flowers blossom. September to November is autumn in Pudacuo. Blue sky, emerald water, golden leaves, yellow grassland…Pudacuo is like a painting in this season. From late November to March is the winter of Pudacuo. In November, it begins to snow and Pudacuo becomes a fairyland. The temperature is below 0° C.
You should wear warm clothes when traveling to Pudacuo National Park during winter seasons. Please check weather forecast of Shangri-La and prepare warm clothes no matter which season you come.
The ticket is 258 Yuan including 138 Yuan entrance ticket and 120 Yuan sightseeing bus fee. Sightseeing bus is a must for visiting this large national park. For travelers who want to visit Shudu Lake and Bita Lake by boat, you should pay extra 50 Yuan for each lake.
Pudacuo National Park is at an altitude of 3500m to 4159m. To avoid high altitude sickness, (1) Balance your physical condition and decide whether to prepare one or two bottle of oxygen before visiting or not (Oxygen cannot be purchased in the park while visiting); (2) Wear warm clothes. Temperature in Pudacuo is lower than in Shangri-La county and weather changes a lot in this park. Dress yourselves warmly and if not, you can rent down coat at the entrance of Pudacuo; (3) To save energy, you can take boat for visiting Shudu Lake or Bita Lake instead; (4) Avoid strong activities while visiting.
You will get your camera busy while visiting Pudacuo National Park. The trees, water, mountains, forests flowers, horses, sheep, cattle, wild boars are the subjects. There are viewing platform and decks along the plank road for you to shoot the panoramic Shudu Lake, Bita Lake and Militang Pasture.
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