Compared to the places we visited in Western Sichuan (Kangding, Danba, Litang), Shangri-la is very developed.
Of course, tourism is also coming to these Tibetan areas in Sichuan, but English is still very rarely spoken there, many things simply don’t work, hot showers are not something you don't take for granted, western toilets with seats are non-existent and I‘ve probably mentioned about the roads, haven't I? In Shangri-la everything is different and the old town has been restored and filled with shops that sell trekking gear or anything Tibetan you can think of. In addition to the Chinese and Tibetan cuisine, the restaurants also have western menus with banana pancakes and bacon sandwiches. Couldn’t resist the bacon, I admit. Even though we enjoyed Western Sichuan very much, it’s also nice to visit this kind of an easy place after some time in the backwaters. However, our next destinations will be quite touristy, so let’s see if we’ll miss the peaceful countryside. Anyway, now heading towards the Tiger Leaping Gorge nearby for some trekking.
We stayed in Litang a couple of more days after my last post, mainly because we wanted to see a small horse festival near-by. The festival it self was quite nice, even though it lasted a long time and I guess it could have been a bit boring in the end if I hadn’t had my camera. There was indeed a lot to shoot and I wasn’t the only one who had discovered that as the grassland was frequented by other tourists with SLR’s and long lenses. From Litang, we had to work our way down south to Shangri-la (also known as Zhongdian) and it involved a lot of bargaining, a mandatory stop for a night in a rather boring town of Daocheng and totally 15 hours of time spent in minibuses (that including for example pushing the car and a lot of bad music).