Shangri-La (Zhongdian) to Lhasa Overland Tour

Have you heard of Shangri-La? It came from a book, the Lost Horizon, which is written by James Hilton in 1933. In this novel, the author made up a place named “Shangri-La”, where was full of happiness and fairness. It’s kind of a Utopian world. But, do you believe there is such a real wonderland on earth?

Located in the north of Yunnan Province, China, Zhongdian City has a more famous name for the worldwide travelers – “Shangri-La”. Because the scenery here is dreamlike, plus with the rustic culture, it looks just like a lost fairyland. Most of the local people are Tibetans, the rest are Han Chinese. So, it offers an exotic blend of Tibetan isolated serenity and Chinese modern culture. Besides, Zhongdian is also an important gateway city to Tibet. For recent decades, more and more foreigners travel here to look for their Shangri-La in the heart. And many Tibet travel agencies provide the Shangri-La (Zhongdian) to Lhasa Overland Tour, which is a classic tour route for foreigners.

The beautiful scenery of Shangri-La


What attractions can you visit when traveling to Shangri-La (Zhongdian)?

Pudacuo National Park – the First National Park in Mainland China

Located 35 kilometers away from the town, Pudacuo National Park covers 1,313 square kilometers. There is a lake named Shudu in this national park. In the Tibetan language, “Pudacuo” means to help all living creatures get rid of suffering from life, which implies it is a beautiful wonderland. Well-preserved primeval forest, snow-capped mountains, clear lake, you can see them all in the park.

Songzanlin Monastery – the Small Potala Palace

Looks like an ancient castle, Songzanlin Monastery is the biggest Tibetan Buddhist monastery and the most famous Gelugpa monastery in Yunnan Province. It has another name, Guihua Monastery. Due to its Tibetan architecture art, people admire it as the “Tibetan Art Museum” as well.

Songzanlin Monastery


Shangri-La Canyon – the most likely archetype of the world that was described by James Hilton

With an average elevation of 3,000 meters (9,843 feet), Shangri-La Canyon is world-known as its mysterious scenery, which is the typical plateau landscape. It’s admitted by the public that the scenery of Shangri-Lar Canyon is the nearest to the world in “Lost Horizon”.

How to make a Shangri-La to Lhasa Overland Tour?

Travel from Shangri-La to Lhasa by Train

Up to now, there is no train station in Shangri-La (Zhongdian). The nearest one is in Lijiang, 170 kilometers away. You can take a bus to Lijiang first, and then take the train to Lhasa.

Travel from Shangri-La to Lhasa by Flight

It costs RMB15-20 to take a taxi to Diqing Airport, which is three kilometers away from the town. China Eastern Airline offers a flight to Lhasa every day at 9:15 a.m. The whole journey is about two hours, with a price USD230 up and down.

Travel from Shangri-La to Lhasa by Car

Foreigners must book a Tibet tour from a Tibet travel agency in advance. After getting the Tibet Travel Permit, you can take the vehicle to Lhasa with the company of a tour guide. When you see the scenery along the Sichuan-Tibet Highway in person, you will know why this route is called the most beautiful drives in Asia, even in the world. Get your camera ready! I bet you cannot help pressing the shutter.

Pudacuo National Park

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