The Magical & Mystical Shangri-La

Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
Trip End Mar 20, 2013

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Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Tuesday, February 5, 2013

We ventured further north to the magical and mystical Shangri-La, which sits up on the Tibetan plateau at 3,300m!

On our journey through the mountains we saw a real change in the scenery with Tibetan style houses dotted across the large, flat, grassy plains (although they're all brown at the moment because it's winter), big white stupas for praying, yaks in the field, pigs by the road, frozen streams and forested hills in the distance. 

The biggest change was the weather! Now it was cold before but Shangri La was absolutely baltic! There's no central heating inside the guesthouses, cafes or restaurants - basically anywhere inside has no warmth!  Our bedroom was at a chilling 5 degrees centigrade and when mixed with humidity that feels a lot colder! We could even see our breath in the air from lying in our bed! And woke to snow the other morning, which you'll be no strangers to back home. 

Anyway, Shangri La was a lovely town - full of Tibetan folk - so we got a chance to experience their culture too which was good.  Like Lijiang, it has an old town which is fully pedestrianized, lined with streams and traditional Tibetan houses and shops. It was totally empty when we were there for four days and no wonder given how cold it was!

However, during warmer months, Shangri La is full of Chinese tourists, keen to sample how their towns used to look prior to the rapid development of their towns and cities across the country.  

Aside from keeping ourselves warm, wandering around the old town, finding the best cafes for mochas, eating at the local market for about a pound and getting a pair of jeans fixed for the same amount by a wee woman on the street, we visited the largest Tibetan Monastery in this part of China.  

It's home to some 700 monks! It was a beautiful and peaceful place to visit but hard work walking up the steep 150 steps to reach it on the hillside at 3500m! 
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