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Exploring Yunnan, China: Shangri-la

Updated on October 24, 2014

Tiger Leaping Gorge, on the way to Shangri-La

Shangri-La, Heaven on Earth

Shangri-la was originally known as Zhongdian. However, in 2001 it was renamed to Shangri-la thanks to the popularity of the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton which describes a heaven on earth, similar to Zhongdian's landscapes. Indeed, I personally do like the place very much. The air and atmosphere is different.

First Stop in Pudacuo National Park

Shudu Lake
Shudu Lake

Stop at Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hu Tiao Xia)

Before reaching Shangri-la, we first made a stop at another popular attraction, the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Thankfully, the original plans of converting it into a dam never materialised. It is quite amazing indeed to see the powerful water currents flowing through the gorge. It is a long walk down towards the river and another long walk up to the starting point. Hence, if you are afraid of tiring yourself too much, you can hire someone to carry you along the route.

The Bearded Forest

Visiting Pudacuo National Park

On our second day in Shangri-la, we woke up early for breakfast before heading to the Pudacuo National Park which is a protected area. Here, smoking is strictly prohibited except at designated areas. The air here is very much different from elsewhere and breathing in such fresh air was plain awesome.

We took an internal bus to the first stop which was Shudu lake, and chose to walk along the wooden pathway to enjoy the lovely scenery. Along the way, look for out for interesting vegetation such as the bearded forest and also try to spot the fearless squirrels! They will come right up to you in order to get fed.

From Shudu Lake to Militang to Bita Lake

From Shudu Lake, we boarded the internal bus again to Militang for a short 10 minutes photo stop. Militang is a wide grassland where you can get a good bird's eye view of the park. Finally, we boarded the bus again to our final stop in Pudacuo National Park. We got down at Bita Lake and walked a short while to the jetty where we boarded a modern boat to explore the lake. Here, there is also a wooden pathway similar to the one at Shudu Lake. Just that, it is on less flat ground and thus will take a longer time to complete. After a short boat ride, we got off and continued the rest of the journey on foot. By this time, it was already raining. However, this only intensified the coolness of the area and the fresh air! I didn't mind the rain at all. All in all, we spent more than four hours to explore the park. It was indeed time well spent!

Saying Goodbye to Pudacuo National Park

Cute Squirrel Spotted!

© 2014 lilian_sg


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