Shangri-La is without a doubt China’s utopia. With its magnanimous beauty, there is no question as to why everybody raves about it. China’s success as a study abroad destination has much to do with its fantastic locations and Shangri-La certainly features on top of the list. The timeless beauty of the place makes it an unforgettable destination that people yearn to visit again and again.
The Beauty of Shangri-La
Shangri-La is not a new name. This name became enormously famous as a utopian place in China where immortals lived. This fame has been attributed to British author James Hilton who described the place in his book ‘Lost Horizon’ in 1933. In this book the author described Shangri-La as a mystical valley in the Kunlun Mountains whose residents were cut off from the rest of the world.
But perhaps the image of Shangri-La as a site of preservation of oriental culture and a place impervious to time was best depicted by the Austrian-born American botanist Joseph Rock who visited and stayed in China between late 1920s and early 1930s. Even today the real Shangri-La is synonymous with abundant flora and fauna.
For time immemorial, Shangri-La has been declared as the Grand Garden on the Mountains. Long back in the past, it also served as a crucial transit stop for the well-known Old Tea-Horse Caravan Road located in Southwest China. However, currently Shangri-La has achieved global recognition for its pristine and natural beauty rather than anything else.
Located in a geographical triangle formed by Yunnan, Tibet and Sichuan, Shangri-La has a magnetic appeal for students and visitors alike. People who are in China for either Chinese language programs or gap years programs inevitably never miss out to visit this enigmatic place. The county site is about 410 miles away from Kunming, which is Yunnan’s provincial capital. For those interested, one can travel to Diqing from Kunming which takes roughly 50 minutes by flight. Additionally, buses from Dali and Lijiang are also chosen as transportation to reach Shangri-La. Lijiang and Dali themselves are very pleasant and historically rich locations to visit.
More than thirteen ethnic minority groups are present in Shangri-La, which include Tibetan, Hui, Han, Lisu, Yi, Naxi and Bai. They follow a variety of religious beliefs which range from Tibetan Buddhism, Catholicism to Protestantism and several others. While practicing these many religions, people from these multitudes of ethnic groups have still been successful in living peacefully with each other throughout the years.
Considering its beauty and uniqueness, Shangri-la is automatically listed as one of China’s eight most popular tourist spots. With the passing of years, Shangri-La is gaining more and more recognition and is attracting people from all over the world. Of all the popular spots in this region, most important landmarks are Bi Ta Hai Lake, Whitewater Terraces, Meili Snow Mountian Gui Hui Monastery, and Napa Hai Lake.