Location of Shangri-la

image1641Yunnan Province has often been referred to as “China’s most beautiful province”.  And no wonder.  From the highest point, Kawagebo (Meili Xue Shan) which sits on the Tibetan border and rises to 6740m above sea level, to the tropical jungles along the Lao and Vietnam border, Yunnan’s geography can be termed as very diverse.  Culturally, Yunnan is also home to 27 of China’s 55 minorities, making it a colorful and exciting place to watch and study a variety of dress, customs, languages, and cultures.  Yunnan is also a must on any traveler’s list, since other famous tourist destinations, i.e., Dali, Lijiang, Xishuangbanna, and the Nujiang Valley keep the intrepid backpacker busy.  As the map shows, Yunnan is within easy access to other countries in Southeast Asia.

                                                       Shangri-la County is located one day’s drive from Tibet, and borders Ganzi Tibetan Aut. Pref. in Sichuan.  Zhongdian, the capital, sits at 3200m (10,800 ft) above sea level.  Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, is a 45 minute flight away.

3 parallel riversThree Parallel Rivers World Heritage Site

Consisting of eight geographical clusters of protected areas within the boundaries of the Three Parallel Rivers National Park, in the mountainous north-west of Yunnan Province, the 1.7 million hectare site features sections of the upper reaches of three of the great rivers of Asia: the Yangtze (Jinsha), Mekong and Salween run roughly parallel, north to south, through steep gorges which, in places, are 3,000 m deep and are bordered by glaciated peaks more than 6,000 m high. The site is an epicentre of Chinese biodiversity. It is also one of the richest temperate regions of the world in terms of biodiversity.

The protected areas include:

  • Gaoligong Mountain Nature Reserve
  • Baimang Snow Mountain Nature Reserve
  • Haba Snow Mountain Reserve
  • Bita Lake Nature Reserve
  • Yunling Nature Reserve
  • Gongshan Area
  • Yueliangshan Area
  • Pianma Area
  • Meili Snow Mountain Area
  • Julong Lake Area
  • Laowoshan Area
  • Hongshan Area
  • Qianhu Mountain Scenic Area
  • Laojun Mountain Scenic Area