Zhongdian Travel Guide

  • Shangri-La Old Town
    Shangri-La Old Town
    by MJL
  • Things to Do
    by MJL
  • Things to Do
    by MJL

Zhongdian Things to Do

  • Pudacuo National Park

    This park’s total area is 1313 square kilometers, of which, 300 square kilometers has been opened out for sight-seeing. This park is in possession of well-conserved landscape resources such as geology and geomorphology, lake and wetland, forest meadow, valley and rivulet, as well as rare wildlife animals and plants. You can walk usin wooden plank...

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  • Tiger Leaping Gorge

    Tiger Leaping Gorge is a scenic canyon on the Jinsha River , a primary tributary of the upper Yangtze River

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  • Songzanlin Monestary

    Every visitor must visit this temple complex. Songzanlin is the largest lama monastery in Yunnan province. Walking in the complex is very relaxing. You can visit each temple and got blessed by the lama on duty. The whole complex comprises of eight small monesteries and living quarters of the lamas. The lamas are friendly and the young lamas like to...

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  • wandering without wondering

    On our way back to Dali, on the road we noticed this small tibetan market.Well actually I am still not sure if it was a market or if they were some kind of nomads with hanging dresses just to dry them.We went there to give a look and take some photos and those people didn't mind about us at all, they did not offer anything.I asked my chinese guide...

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  • old town

    The really best thing you can do in Zhongdian, is just really taking a walk in the old town.The Lijiang old town is worldwide famout as it's unesco heritage, but I enjoyed much more this small one.It's full of small streets not yet full of shops and anyway noone tries to sell you anything so you can stop and give a look without even being...

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  • Butter Tea

    Don't miss te chance to try the tibetan butter tea. It is thick and almost more like soup than tea. It is very creamy (duh!) and strong buttery smell. It is made from yak's milk. It is not my cup of tea. But at least I have tried.

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Zhongdian Restaurants

  • the yak steak

    i had lunch in arro khampa in march 2010 and i was really surprised!!! the service was outstanding and the food was delicious. warm and cosy with an open fire and a real tibetan decoration!! i can highly recommend the yak-steak. in fact it was the first real steak i had in china . yak steak, chicken curry, the tibetan escalope (like the wiener...

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  • Yak Butter Tea

    Honestly, if you haven't tasted yak butter tea, you haven't been to Shangri-la. The combination of fat and salt and caffeine is not as bad as it sounds*, particularly if you're suffering from altitude sickness. The tea taste particularly gamey ( due to all that yak milk) and salty with just a hint of pu-er.* Listed as one of the worst Tibetan...

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  • Yak Hamburgers, homebrewed beer

    I had dinner in the Soyala Tibetan diner and it was awesome!Delicious yak hamburgers and homebrewed beer are offered. The beef was excellent and the service was really good. The restaurant is run by former kids from the Shangri-La orphanage. Their service is great and their english is much better than in the most other places. I tried the yak...

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Zhongdian Nightlife

  • Beer in Shangri La

    This is Shangri-la's hippest drinking hole and the best place to get high on cheap Chinese beer. They've got a good range of other beers, chic waitresses and a groovy feel to the whole place. Nobody will notice even if you come in here dressed like a woolly yak. Everyone was keen on having a good time yaking and shelling peanuts.

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  • Dance in the square

    We arrived at Zhongdian in the late evening, so, after we got the hotel we went out looking for a place to eat.Not knowing where to go, we decided to follow the direction from where some music was coming.In this way we ended up in the main square where there was music and a lot of people simply dancing in circle, young, old, families, just enjoying...

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  • Pub in old town

    The most hot pub in the old town is hazel bar, also locals come to the bar at night.Beimen street is the main street for bar and restaurant.

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Zhongdian Transportation

  • Private car

    From Dali and Lijiang you can come to Zhongdian with busses, there are many and it takes more than 8 hours from Dali and 3 or more hours from Lijiang(depending on the road conditions).I did not have enough time to use public transports and, above all I did not like the idea that I could not stop on the road when I wanted to.In Jeam's Tibetan hotel...

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  • the only coach bus station in Zhongdian

    there is only one coach bus station in Zhongdian, few bus to Dali, Lijiang and Kunming everyday. Booking ticket as early as you can.

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  • best to hire a safe driver to get around...

    there's a #3 bus that goes from Gucheng (old town) to Songzanlin Monastery, also taxis to get around the city, but please get out of town if you want to see why they call this place Shangri-la, I had two drivers through the trip, 1st 1/2 for the Lijiang to Zhongdian drive & the 2nd one for the day trips around Zhongdian, I will definitely call the...

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Zhongdian Shopping

  • Pendants

    There aren't enough shops in the old town but yet, fortunatly not too many.Some of them sell outdoor clothes, some animals leather products(awfully), some tibetan handicrafts. The only thing that really caught my attention was the tibetan pendant, there were so many and all with different colours, that's the only thing I'd buy here. You can get...

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  • Because at 5000 meters above...

    Because at 5000 meters above sea level, you'll find your lungs very hard to breath and the weather is extremely different, so I guess that's a warning. There not much to shop in Zhongdian, just a few rolls of shops but very welcoming owners.

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  • Zhongdian Hotels

    0 Hotels in Zhongdian

Zhongdian Local Customs

  • No pressure

    The first thing I noticed while walking around the small streets of Zhongdian was the peace and the silence.This surprised me probably because I was coming here after I visited other Yunnan small towns popular for markets, where your attention is caught by shouting "hello" "sir" at and so on at any corner.

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  • traditional printings

    stayed in the Delamu guest house, we have the chance to see the tibetan printing which used for decorating the monastery, this one of main drawings for the buddha.

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  • Local Tibetian buildings.,...

    Local Tibetian buildings., only Tibetians live in this village. See ! Roof are very simple here, just some woods stacking together and big stones as weights onto it will do. No concrete or cement at all, they use only whatever found near their village as materials, mostly animal ***s.

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Zhongdian Warnings and Dangers

  • l_joo's Profile Photo

    by l_joo Written Sep 6, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    These 4 are extremely dangerous when visiting ZhongDian...lolThere not much of dangerous in this area except one of our friend's wallet lost in the crowded bus station, again we call 110.

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Zhongdian Tourist Traps

  • Shangri La

    Shangri La does not really exist.It's an imaginary place described in a novel written by James Hilton.This does not automatically makes Zhongdian, today told to be the real Shangri La, a tourist trap, I myself came here in a certain way, with the aim of following the myth.Problems come if you want to build a real Shangri La for tourists destroying...

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  • Tibetian Casino ! Wow..lolThis...

    Tibetian Casino ! Wow..lolThis is a Tibetian Buddhist Temple, Lamas of course. You can join them. Money has not much of power in this village, they are extremely religious.

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  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Zhongdian What to Pack

  • l_joo's Profile Photo

    by l_joo Written Sep 6, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Joo and 2 local beauties. Look at the golden 'cylinder' at left side, they have to roll one by one, after completing one round they put a little stone to count as one. You can see there are many little stones there, means some of them already made many rounds. My friend ask them : So, why you do this ? The girl suddenly staring at us in a way but never answer.

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Zhongdian Off The Beaten Path

  • Serengeti in Shangri La

    A freshly butchered yak, complete with a furry horned-head, hangs on display outside a beef noodle shop in Shangri-la. The odour of blood draws housewives to the carcass. As they haggle over the price of the spare parts, I think of the lions in Serengeti, they were not too different.Where:Old Town, Shangri-la, Yunnan Not Suitable for: Peta...

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  • Foxy Pelts from 'Russia'

    Pelts with heads, tails and legs hang from a wooden rack in a shop at the Old Town. As I approached the shop, the shop-keeper tells me that these were fox pelts from Russia . I begged to differ after a closer look. They were domestic dogs and I hurriedly left the shop as revulsion took over me*. Nightmares happens in Utopia apparently.Where:Old...

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  • Old town Zhongdian

    Take a stroll in the older part of the town, you will be surprised to find it such a contrast to the downtown area. People seems to be living in very basic condition here. Definitely off the beaten path.

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Zhongdian Favorites

  • Landscapes

    When the travel is more important than the final destination.I absolutely loved Zhongdian, but the trip to there was breathtaking.The road is not the best one and it gets worse and worse while going up, when finally, once a few kilometers from the town, everything becomes flat, green and red fields full of yaks and horses. The car that stops to...

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  • Local daily life

    Street scenes while walking around the town on early morning: this has been my favourite thing in Zhongdian.People in local dresses ging to the temple, going to the market, washing clothes, it just appeared as a peaceful mountain town, not as a tourist spot, at least not yet. Women meeting together at the fountain near the temple to wash clothes...

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  • What is this idiot doing?

    It was a bit of rain in the morning. I was the ONLY TOURIST walking on this moist meadow, everybody else was taking a horse ride, except me! This little girl was trying to sell me the horse ride earlier, I rejected her. Half way while I was walking towards the lake, she suddenly appear next to me (where did she walk from? I thought). She asked...

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