Old Town information
A few streets survived the devastating 2014 fire and retain the mix of cobbled lanes and renovated wooden buildings that characterised Zhōngdiàn's old town. Worth a visit is Guīshān Sì , which is home to a handful of monks who conduct morning prayers. Next to it is Zhùangjīn Tǒng the world’s biggest prayer wheel standing at 21m high and containing 100,000 small prayer wheels. At least six people are needed to make it spin.
On the far side of Guīshān Sì is the Shangri-la Thangka Academy , where thangka master Lobsang Khudup trains young monks in painting and Buddhist philosophy. The academy also offers classes for tourists, costing ¥200 per day; a real bargain considering the price includes room and board.