Ramshackle houses competing space in Shangri La (formerly known as Zhongdian)

Zhongdian (Shangri-La)

About Zhongdian (Shangri-La)

James Hilton’s diplomat in his book 'Lost Horizon' talked of Shangri-La where he found peace, love and a sense of purpose. Although Shangri-La was a fictional place, Zhongdian was allegedly the inspiration for it and has now been renamed Shangri-La. Perched on a plateau at an elevation of 3,300m and surrounded by dramatic mountains with snow-capped peaks, Shangri-La is home to rugged scenery, remote temples and the start of the Tibetan world.

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The town is divided into old and new with store signs in Tibetan, Mandarin and English. The old town is an intertwined network of alleys with plenty of souvenir stalls, selling Tibetan crafts, and cafes, serving an array of Tibetan cuisine. Further from town is Bita Lake, the highest lake in Yunnan. Passing through serene and stunning landscapes of hills teeming with wild flowers, populated by herders and Naxi women working in the fields in their colourful traditional garb, the lake is located in a beautifully maintained nature reserve.

North of town is Songzanlin, the largest Mahayana Buddhist monastery in Yunnan. Songzanlin is embraced by solid walls with five gates. Two main lamaseries, Zhacang and Jikang, command the highest positions within the complex. A five-story Tibetan-style building serves as the main hall in the compound. The 16 colourful paintings which hang aloft in the hall are said to be the work of renowned lamas who painted with a golden liquid given to them by the fifth Dalai Lama. Brightened with numerous butter-oil lamps, the hall can hold 1,600 lamas sitting in meditation or chanting Buddhist scripture.

Zhongdian (Shangri-La) Hotels

If you are planning a Zhongdian (Shangri-La) holiday, have a look at some of the accommodation that we recommend. 'Our Rating' indicates how we feel each property rates according to normal Western hotel standards. 'Local Rating' indicates how the property is categorised/rated locally:

Holy Palace Hotel Zhongdian (Shangri-La)

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

The Holy Palace is a modern, elegant hotel with large, well-equipped rooms and good facilities. The design of the hotel is a combination of Tibetan and Western styles of architecture and the guestrooms are decked out with beautiful wooden furniture. Breakfast is served in the large dining area each morning. The hotel is perfectly located close to the commerical, cultural and tourism centre of downtown Shangri-la county and the airport is 7km away.

Zhongdian (Shangri-La) Tailor made suggestions

Here are some of the recent tailor made itineraries we have created for our clients which include a visit to Zhongdian (Shangri-La).

Other Places to Visit in China

Central China

East China

North China

South China

West China