Shangri-la (香格里拉, Xiānggélǐlā), formerly known as Zhongdian (中甸, Zhōngdiàn) and sometimes 'Gyalthang' in Tibetan, is where you really start to breathe in the Tibetan world – if you can breathe at all, given the altitude.

Home to one of Yunnan’s most important monasteries and surrounded by mountains, lakes and grassland, it's also the last stop in Yunnan before a rough five- to six-day journey to Chengdu via the Tibetan townships and rugged terrain of western Sichuan.

The town is divided into two distinct sections: the larger modern side and the old quarter. A devastating fire in January 2014 sent much of the old town up in smoke, but it's now been almost completely rebuilt. Most of the places you'll visit in the new town are within walking distance of the old town, making getting around easy.

Explore Shangri-la


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