This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Shangri-La. To help you make friends with Shangri-La before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Shangri-La is a small town in the Yunnan province in southwest China, but usually this name refers to a broader area in the mountains. Formerly, Shangri-La town was known as Zhong Dian, so once you arrive you will find plenty of references to this.
Shangri-La is the place where you start to feel a taste of Tibet and the town itself lies just over three thousand meters high in the mountains. If you come to Shangri-La you can't miss the Gauden Sumtseling Gompa, one of the most important monasteries in whole of China. It's an hour's walk just north of the town and you will find a monastery more than three hundred years old full of monks. If you can't make it to Tibet, here you'll have a pretty authentic taste of it.
Shangri-La has become famous because official entities in China declared this town to be the location of the fictional Shangri-La described in the book “The Lost Horizon.” This town transformed itself from a small village just a few years ago to a touristic destination. Due to the altitude and weather, you should only visit Shangri-La between March and October -– in the other months there aren't many things available, as most restaurants and hostels close their doors and some roads are also unavailable. Don't miss a tour by yourself or organized to the mountain villages around.
Usually people arrive in Shangri-La on buses coming from Chengdu, Kunming, or Lijiang, but it is not an easy trip and many times it takes you more than three days to arrive. Be prepared for very high altitudes and cold weather.
The hostels in Shangri-La are very basic and probably you won't have all the comfort you need with the freezing temperatures; many of Shangri-La's hostels don't have hot water twenty-four hours a day, so ask before booking. Anyway, the friendly Shangri-La's hostel staff and other travelers can put you in the right mood to enjoy the best of your stay.
Written by local enthusiast for Shangri-La hostelsCoffeeMarks