Gyalthang

Travel Guide
Tiger Leaping Gorge

Discover the rich Tibetan heritage and picturesque streetscapes of this Eden-like town enveloped by velvety green hills and national parks.

Shangri-La, a Tibetan phrase that translates to “the sun and the moon in the heart,” rose to fame as the name of a mystical fictional paradise in Edward Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon. It is believed that the writer was inspired by the stories of eastern Tibet when creating his novel’s Eden, so the high-plateau town of Zhongdian adopted the name in 2002. Stroll though the town’s preserved streets and you’ll soon see why the name fits. Admire historic monasteries and tiny temples adorned with fluttering Tibetan prayer flags. Look out toward the rolling hillsides or ride a bicycle around the town’s tranquil lake.

A walk through the Old Town is a great introduction to Shangri-La. Fires swept through here in 2014 destroying some of the preserved architecture, but much of the historic streetscape remains. Make your way to the Golden Temple to see an enormous prayer drum and a large Buddhist statue. Continue walking up the hill to reach Baiji Temple, more commonly known as Chicken Temple for the hens that can be seen pecking around the grounds. See the brightly colored prayer flags and watch as locals perform prayer rituals.

From the hilltop, look down across the town and admire the surrounding landscape. Spot the Songzanlin Monastery, which is an exquisitely restored monastic structure that houses a complex of beautiful temples.

Rent a bicycle or book a tour on horseback and go on a trip around tranquil Napa Lake. You’ll see some of the region’s pretty grasslands and the backdrop of snow-capped mountains. See if you can spot Shika Mountain, which can be accessed via a cable car.

As you explore, you’ll learn about the mingling cultures in Shangri-La. The Yunnan Mountain Heritage Foundation preserves Yunnan’s mixed heritage. Pick up Tibetan and Yi handcrafts or purchase some Naxi pottery.

Shangri-La can be accessed via winding mountain roads from Daocheng, Lijiang, Dali and Kunming. Bus rides can take between 6 and 12 hours, but are a good way to adjust to the altitude. The town’s regional airport is called Diqing. The best time to visit is in spring and summer, when the landscape is lush and green.

Hilton Garden Inn Shangri-La
Hilton Garden Inn Shangri-La
3.5 out of 5
No. 144 Changzheng Avenue, Deqin, Yunnan
The price is NZ$69 per night from 27 Sep. to 27 Sep.
Located in the heart of Shangri-La, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Songzanlin Scenic Area and Yila Grassland of Napa Lake. Ganden Sumtseling Monastery ...
4.1/5Very Good! (11 reviews)
Average
"This is a type of hotel you should not anything special from. No in-room dining after 9pm. The breakfast selection was relatively poor, and it was very cold in the breakfast room (don't forget your coat!)."

Reviewed on 25 Dec. 2020

Hilton Garden Inn Shangri-La
Shangri-La Resort, Shangri-La
Shangri-La Resort, Shangri-La
4.5 out of 5
No. 1, Chicika Street, Jiantang Town, Deqin, Yunnan
The price is NZ$195 per night from 27 Sep. to 27 Sep.
Situated in the historical district, this luxury hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, Guishan Park and Diqing Museum. Dukezong Ancient ...
4.3/5Excellent! (35 reviews)
Generally good
"In general the hotel is good, location and staff especially. The two areas that require some sort of improvement are room air-conditioning and the quality of available food, especially breakfast, both very disappointing."

Reviewed on 20 Jul. 2020

Shangri-La Resort, Shangri-La
Banyan Tree Ringha
Banyan Tree Ringha
5 out of 5
Hong Po Village, Jian Tang Town, Diqing Tibetan Prefecture, Deqin, Yunnan
The price is NZ$355 per night from 27 Sep. to 27 Sep.
Situated in the historical district, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Yila Grassland of Napa Lake and Songzanlin Scenic Area. Ganden Sumtseling ...
4.4/5Excellent! (18 reviews)
Incredible hotel in an unbelievable place
"A room in a typical farm house in a Tibetan village, what could be better for relaxing ? Hotel is so beautiful and his Tibetan staff is perfect"

Reviewed on 21 Nov. 2017

Banyan Tree Ringha
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Micheng RV Lijiang Camping
Micheng RV Lijiang Camping
2 out of 5
Xueshan Rose Manor, Yuquan Road, Baisha Ancient Town, Yulong County, Lijiang, Yunnan
Located in Gucheng, this campsite is within 3 miles (5 km) of Wangu Pavilion, Mu Family Mansion and Dayan (Lion Hill). Black Dragon Pool and Ancient Tea Horse ...
Micheng RV Lijiang Camping
Lijiang X.ann Blossom inn
Lijiang X.ann Blossom inn
2.5 out of 5
Jixiang Road Lijingwan, Lijiang, Yunnan
Located in Gucheng, this villa is within 1 mile (2 km) of Wangu Pavilion and Mu Family Mansion. Dayan (Lion Hill) and Black Dragon Pool are also within 3 miles ...
3/5 (1 review)
"入住時,職員搵吾到訂單,也等一段時間才能確認。床舒服,但馬桶和煲水壺有待改善!"

Reviewed on 4 May 2018

Lijiang X.ann Blossom inn
Howard Johnson Jinlin Plaza Lijiang
Howard Johnson Jinlin Plaza Lijiang
No. 202-70,Qingxi Road,Gucheng District, Lijiang, Yunnan Province
Located in Gucheng, this golf villa is 2.3 mi (3.7 km) from Ancient Tea Horse Road Museum and 2.5 mi (4 km) from Black Dragon Pool. Wangu Pavilion and Mu Family ...
Howard Johnson Jinlin Plaza Lijiang
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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