The lost horizon

Shangri-La Travel Blog

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My friends and I in Shangri-La airport

James Hilton wrote a book "The lost horizon" to describe the extraordinary view of Shangri-La (also called Zhongdian). 

I am here now!

We took an hour flight from Kunming to Shangri-La. Kunming was not cold at all. We can wear T-shirt around, but when we got off the plane (in fact, it's just a small jet) in Shangri-La, it's very very cold with what we wore.

Shangri-La Diqing airport is a very "simple" airport. It didn't look like an airport, it looks more like a train station at countryside. We took a taxi to "downtown" from the airport, found a hostel, left our bags there and then took a bus to Songzanlin monastery.

Songzanlin monastery is a Tibetan temple in Yunnan, people called it "Mini Potala Palace" becuase they have smiliar structure.

Songzanlin monastery
As far as I know, the Tibetan temple is something like a school in Tibetan culture. Boy or man live in the temple and worship their god everyday by meditation or so. I have talked to one of the monk, he told me if the man there promises to be a monk and live in the temple, they will have a salary that is much more than they can get if they work in the city, so that's why his mother sent him to the Songzanlin monastery.  I don't know is it exactly the case but what I saw is mostly woman working in Shangri-La.

There was an interesting thing happen when we were in the Songzanlin monastery. We entered one of the room there with a big statue of Buddha inside. We walked around and suddenly an old monk stood behind us. He said something that we didn't understand.

Monk in Songzanlin monastery
Then he got us a spoon of water from a container on the floor and asked us to take a zip and poured the remaining water on our head. I think that is a kind of Tibetan blessing. The monk there is nice. We met another monk in the souvenir shop in the temple, I bought one bracelet for my mon and the monk gave me a white scarf and he told me that is a blessed gift too.

After we left Songzanlin monastery, we went back to downtown to have some lunch. There were many tour guide people came near you and asked to take you around. They all have an approved tour guide pass but their charge varies. You can bargain until you satisfy the price. We hired a guide and he drove us to Napo lake and Shika mountain (also called Blue Moon Valley).

Napo lake is a seasonal lake.

Horse riding in Napo Lake
However, the time we were there was not the right season, so what we saw was only a plain field with the grass not yet grown on the land...haha. What we can do there was: hired a horse and appreciated the great mountain ranges.

Shika mountain was a snow-melting mountain (it was in April). We were not expected to go to snow mountain that day so we didn't wear enough clothes to keep us warm. We took the cable car, which is quite expensive, up to the peak. I believe the view there is not the most beautiful snow view but for us, people who live in a city that never snow, still think that it is spectacular! I am very "lucky" that I had high altitude sickness in such a spectacular view (about 5000m) and we didn't brought along any bottle oxygen with us (I said we were not expected to snow mountain :P). I had a serious headache. We planned to visit a Tibetan family for dinner and went to the old town square for the tradition dancing, but I ended up vomit in the hostel for whole night and my friends had to stay with me to take care of me. So sorry to them!

ctjevans says:
aww, what an awful conclusion to your day... but it does make for an entertaining story ;-) hehehe
Posted on: Feb 19, 2008
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My friends and I in Shangri-La air…
My friends and I in Shangri-La ai…
Songzanlin monastery
Songzanlin monastery
Monk in Songzanlin monastery
Monk in Songzanlin monastery
Horse riding in Napo Lake
Horse riding in Napo Lake
View from Shika mountain
View from Shika mountain
A lovely Tibetan baby in old town.…
A lovely Tibetan baby in old town…
photo by: Stevie_Wes