Arrival and Free Time - Zhongdian
Today, you’ll hop on the local bus from Lijiang for the scenic journey to Zhongdian, passing plunging valleys, pine forests and snow-capped mountains. After around 5 hours, you’ll reach Zhongdian, renamed as Shangri-La by the Chinese as a publicity stunt. You’ll stay in a simple guesthouse just outside the town, where you’ll be treated to a warm welcome and a panoramic view.
On Day 2, you can explore Zhongdian at your own pace. Wander through the ancient cobbled streets and soak up the Tibetan atmosphere, listening to soft chants drift from beyond the monastery walls. It is worth bearing in mind that the fire in early 2014 has destroyed some of the wooden buildings in the Old Town here but you can still experience the blend of Tibetan and Han Chinese cultures coming together.
The 300-year old Tibetan Ganden Sumtseling Gompa Monastery, located just outside Zhongdian, is a must-see during your time here. Home to more than 600 monks, it’s the most important Tibetan complex in southwestern China, steeped in sacred spirit, with spinning prayer wheels, pagodas and temples.
Departure from Zhongdian
After two nights in Zhongdian, you’ll pack your bags and make your own way to the airport or the bus station to continue your journey through China.
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