The Magical & Mystical Shangri-La
Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
30Trip End Mar 20, 2013
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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
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!