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2006-03-20 17:24:40    Treehouse Cityguide

Click on the picture to learn more about Shangri-La and travel information

, still known in some guidebooks by its old name Zhongdian, and starting to be known again by its really old Tibetan name Gyalthang, is a small, primarily Tibetan town in Deqin County, north-west Yunnan province. Although many travelers come to this town looking to travel overland into Tibet, the Songzanlin monastery complex and the beautiful outdoors to explore make this town a worthy attraction on its own.

The new part of town is typical for the area, but a recent bout of development in the old city center is creating an interesting old town to explore.

Highlights within a day's trip from town include:

Song Lan Lin Monastery, reportedly the biggest Tibetan monastery complex in the province
Bai Shui Tai, a picturesque limestone formation
Tiger Leaping Gorge, a sheer gorge which has a well marked trail and good tourist infrastructure
Bita Hai, a lake featuring a small island in its middle, a popular destination
Da Bao Si, a small but famous monastery approximately 15 km out of town

About 100km to the south, past Tiger Leaping Gorge, is the town of Lijiang, the province's mecca for chinese tour groups. About 40km to the south is the small village of Xiao Zhongdian. To the north (and a bit west) is Deqin.

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