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Shangri-La (China)

Practical information about Shangri-La

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4 / 5 - One review
When to go
All year round

Reviews of Shangri-La

Clara Favini Travel writer
98 travel articles

Shangri La, formerly called Zhongdian, is a small town in the north of Yunnan. Perched on a plateau at 3,200m high, it's close to the autonomous region of Tibet.


It has a 'once upon a time, in a land far far away' ambiance... a 'world's end', so to speak. Shangri La is a must-see. Its old town and the Songzanlin Monastery, a stunning site, home to 600 plus monks, are worth every cent. Its rolling countryside, complete with yaks and hidden lakes, is ideal for hikes and walks.

Did you know? 'Shangri La' was the name given to the mystical, harmonious valley described by James Hilton in his 1933 novel, Lost Horizon. In 2001, when numerous Chinese towns began to claim they were Hilton's inspiration, the government decreed that this legendary place was none other than Zhongdian, subsequently re-baptised as Shangri La. A great marketing coup for the town, which saw its tourist trade rocket!

Songzanlin Monastery, Shangri la