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Known as Gyalthang in Tibetan and Zhongdian in Chinese, could this small city in the foothills of the Himalayas really be James Hilton’s mythical paradise? Get swept off your feet by views of Mount Meili and become immersed in Tibetan culture as you surround yourself with people in the market. Then, lose them all again and stroll through the silent, incense-filled rooms of Yunnan’s largest Tibetan Lamasery.
Was the mythical paradise just that – a story? Or is there more behind the myth, tucked away in the back streets or hills that surround the real city of Shangri-La? Mount Meili dominates the view from the moment you reach the city and your first day sees you climbing a winding path upwards, taking in fresh mountain air and admiring a landscape so remote, you feel a world away from the life you’re used to. Another life awaits you in Shangri-La, a life of Buddha’s relics interred in white stupas, of yak-butter tea simmering on the stove, and of incense burning in golden-rooved temples.
Arrive into Shangri-La and receive a warm welcome from your WildChina local guide and driver • Spend the day at your leisure acclimatizing to the higher altitude.
Take in the fresh air as you set out along one of the trails snaking around the glistening peaks of Mount Meili • Stop by Gadan Dongzhulin Temple • Focus your energy and chant sutras with a Lama • Pass by the Baima Snow Mountains • Arrive at Songtsam Meili before nightfall and savor a well-deserved Tibetan dinner.
Travel back to Shangri-La in the morning • Follow the narrow winding lanes of Shangri-la Old Town • passing by white stupas and outdoor market • Wander through the gilded pillars and incense-filled rooms of Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan lamasery in Yunnan. If time permit, duck into the foliage of Pudacuo National Park for a chance to escape the crowds as you wander deep into the heart of Shangri-la’s wilderness • Take your late afternoon departure flight to your next destination.
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