Shangri-La (formerly called Zhongdian), at an altitude of 3450m, is located in the seat of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northwest of Yunnan Province, about 200 km from Lijiang with 4 hours’ driving.
“When the sun shines upon the land the earliest, it is a place called Gyelthang. The most stunning area on earth is Shangri-La located by the lake of Naizi River”. Shangri-La, once people hear its name the first time, will arouse your inner desire to this destination. The British writer James Hilton describes Shangri-La in his novel Lost Horizon as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western and of Kunlun Mountains. Travelers can find the real scene in Shangri-La.
The most appealing feeling in Shangri-La is its spiritual water and mountains. It is located at the area of Parallel of Three Rivers - Nu River, Jinsha River and Lancang River and with many snow-capped peaks rising over the plateau, including Meili Snow Mountain, Baima Snow Mountain, Haba Snow Mountain. There are 13 ethnic groups living harmoniously on this land and the main group is Tibetan. In Shangri-La, you’ll not only feast your eyes with breathtaking paradise-like scenery, but also feel diverse Tibetan cultures and its profound Buddhism...Come with us!
Shangri-La is a wonderful place got getting off the beaten track, with plenty of hiking opportunities, as well as little-visited monasteries and villages. Check the top attractions listed below and get to know deeply about them. For more attractions info, please see all Attractions in Shangri-La | Recommended Attractions in Deqin.
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, known as the Littile Potala Palace, is the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Yunnan.
Pudacuo National Park is the first national park in China with the most breathtaking natural view. It consists of Shudu Lake, Bita Lake and Militang Pasture.
Meili Snow Mountain, with an altitude of 6740m of its Kawagebo Peak, is the highest peak of Yunnan. It’s famous for its golden sunrise upon 13 peaks in the morning.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest gorges in the world, making it a famous hiking destination. It consists of Upper, Middle and Lower Gorge.
Napa Lake & Yila Grassland
With a history of 1300 years, it’s the well-kept and the largest Tibetan community in Yunnan. You can climb to Guishan Park for a panoramic view of the old town.
Dukezong Ancient Town
Napa Lake is a plateau lake at 3800-4449 meters. Its Yila Grassland is the largest spring pasture where you can ride a horse or travel around the lake for sightseeing.
Balagezong National Park
In the northwest of Shangri-la about 83 km away, Balagezong National Park is a terrific place to mainly admire the forceful alpine gorge and towering cliff.
White Water Terraces
It’s located on the way between Lijiang and Shangri-La. Enjoy a view of layers of water flowing down along the white curving terraces formed by deposits of calcium carbonate.
Nixi Pottery Village
Get to Nixi Tangdui Village, about 33 km from Shangri-La for a look at the black pottery. You can know history and learn how to make black pottery followed by local Tibetans.
First Bend of Jinsha River
On the way to Meili Snow Mountain, You can stop for a panoramic view of the U shape turn with either emerald or yellow water flowing through the sharp valley.
Built in 1667, Dongzhulin Monastery, its fame just after Songzanlin Monastery in Shangri-La, was once rivaled Potala Palace in Lhasa.
Close to Meili Snow Mountain, Yubeng Village is an isolated Tibetan village attracting many travelers for hiking. Spend 2-4 days visiting Ice Lake, Sacred Waterfalls...
With an altitude of 3,450m, Shangri-La (Zhongdian) is a humid plateau climate. The four seasons are not markedly different. Winter is chilly but sunny and summers are cool and rainy and 70% of the annual precipitation is delivered from June to September and the temperatures here change much between day and night. Generally speaking, the best time to visit Shangri-La is March to June. During this period, the weather is favorable and the wide flowers are blossom everywhere. September to November is also the favorite time. >> See details about Shangri-La Climate, Weather & Season to Go
Transfer to Shangri-La
Diqing Shangri-La Airport is located 5.4 km southeast from Shangri-La County. At present, Shangri-La has flights from/to Kunming, Chengdu, Lhasa, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Shanghai and Beijing, etc. It takes about 50 minutes from Kunming to Shangri-La, 1.5 hours from Chengdu to Shangri-La and 1 hour and 40 minutes from Lhasa to Shangri-La.
There is not train running to Shangri-La yet. Travelers can take long-distance buses to Shangri-La instead of train. There are six daily buses from Kunming to Shangri-La, taking about 10-12 hours for 720 km; about 7-8 hours from Dali to Shangri-La for 300 km; about 3.5-4 hours from Lijiang to Shangri-La for 180 km. Long distance buses are also available between Deqin (220km, 6 hours), Panzhihua (400km, 15 hours), Daocheng (300km, 12 hours), Lhasa (1700 km, 4 days), etc.
Transfer within Shangri-La
To get around Shangr-La, travelers can take taxi or bus to the nearby attractions. There are mini vans offered by the private drivers which can take you to the scenic spot. You should discuss the price with the drivers before you get on the minivan. When book a tour package with us, you’ll enjoy worry free private transfer service. To check more transfer info, please see how to get to and around Shangri-La.
Choices are a lot for your accommodation in Shangri-La. No matter you want to stay in Dukezong Old Town, or choose to live in the new county of Shangri-La and stay outside of the county near Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, you’ll get your own hotels, ranging from luxury 5 star to budget ones. All the hotels are decorated in Tibetan style with elegant and comfortable rooms.
If you have your ideas and requirements, please feel free to contact our travel consultants who are here ready to help you and satisfy your needs and likes.
To have better understanding about Yunnan Shangri-La (Zhongdian)’s location, attractions and transportation, you can check our detailed and overall Shangri-La maps. All the maps are downloadable and printable! Please feel free to use them when planning your Shangri-La trip! For more maps, please check 2022 Overall and Detailed Shangri-La Maps.
Besides Shangri-La (Zhongdian), there are some other hot destinations in Yunnan, like Lijiang, Dali, Kunming, Yuanyang and Jianshui, etc. Check the travel guide of each destination and discover now!
China is vast and diverse. You can choose your favorite destination among more than 70 tourist destination and regions. Following are 4 popular destinations you may get interested in. Check all destinations in China
Chinese Name: 香格里拉
Chinese Pinyin: xiāng gé lǐ lā
English IPA: /'∫ægri'la:/
Population: 0.017 million
Language: Mandarin & Tibetan
Tel Code: 0887
Zip Code: 674400
Time Zone: (UTC+8)
Many travelers come to Shangri-La to find the real scene in the Lost Horizon. Usually, it is suggested to visit this earthly paradise for 2 days. Travelers can spend one day losing yourselves in the wonderland of Pudacuo National Park, the real Shangri-La in Shangri-La; and spend another day exploring Ganden Sumtseling Monastery and Dukezong Old Town. Of course, travelers can experience the hospitality of Tibetan by visit the local Tibetan family.
If you want to capture the amazing golden sunrise upon the 13 peaks of Meili Snow Mountain, you can spend another 2 day visiting Meili Snow Mountain and its surrounding attractions. On the way to the holy mountain, you won’t miss the First Bend of Jinsha River, Dongzhulin Monastery, Baima Snow Mountain, etc.
Shangri-La is always visited after Lijiang tour. If you choose to fly to Shangri-La, you can visit Shangri-La for your first destination in Yunnan, and explore Lijiang for 2-3 days, Dali for 2 days and Kunming for 1 day afterwards. The whole Yunnan trip usually takes 8 days. You can feel free to contact our professional travel consultants to customize your own itineraries which would perfectly suit for your likes and requirements.
Learn more about How to Plan a Shangri-La Tour >>
Travel with China Discovery
We have helped many global travelers enjoy their memorable trips to Yunnan for the past few years. Among them Mr. Elie & his wife from Belgium had 15 great days in Yunnan during their 69 days China trip customized with us and shared us their special travel story. Travel with China Discovery to create your wonderful Yunnan trip memories!
Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming
Lijiang / Shangri-La
Shangri-La / Deqin / Shangri-La
Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La
Beijing / Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La
Beijing / Xian / Lijiang / Shangri-La / Kunming / Guilin / Yangshuo / Shanghai