Edit Blog Post
Published: August 6th 2009
From Dali I took a sleeper bus
to Shangri-la, because I didn’t feel like spending the whole day travelling again. The stories, however, about backpacks being cut open in these buses scared me a lot. Even the owner of the guesthouse warned me about them. He said I should just put all my belongings in my large backpacks, because the robberies took place in the bus itself and not in the luggage compartment. So I packed everything in my backpack and took another bag, which someone had left on purpose, as hand luggage. It turned out that they did not put any bags in the special compartment and that I had to take everything with me in the bus... The result was that I was so afraid that someone would cut my backpack open that I couldn’t sleep anymore! The bus itself was okay and in the end I managed to sleep for some hours.
I had booked a hostel for my very early arrival in Shangri-la
which claimed to have a 24 hour reception. I also had emailed them with the story that I would be on the sleeper bus. I had written down the street name, the description
Horses to rent
They look so much like Icelandic horses!!!
how to get there etcetera. The taxi driver, however, was not able to find the hostel. He called the hostel like 10 times and other people, but that didn’t help. So much for the 24 hour reception... In the end we just called another hostel, which luckily answered the phone. I decided I would go and sleep there for some hours, especially because the night in the bus was not so successful, because everything was still closed at 7 am, and because I did not know the city at all (and the map in the LP was completely wrong, incomplete and whatever more).
After almost 3 hours of sleep, I got up and was fortunate to meet some people in the hostel, with who I in the end spend the whole day. We went to the grasslands
where Tibetans rented horses and where we actually had to pay to get into the field. Of course, we saw later, the driver left us at the gate, which we also could have circumvented by taking the normal road... But, there we could enjoy a hike in the nice landscape and the driver would take us back into town afterward. The grasslands
were nice, but in my opinion there was still so much civilization to be seen and so much industry. Especially the airport really polluted the view. I can imagine that Tibet or (Inner) Mongolia would look so beautiful in spots where there are indeed almost no people. However, we did get some views that were really nice eventually. Because of the height, I got sunburned even though I hadn't seen the sun for the whole day... which was funny and very unexpected.
Next on the agenda was the most important sight of Shangri-la -at least that is how I understand it - the Tibetan monastery
where still around 600 monks actually live. There were some rumours that if you would walk there or when you arrive after 5.30 pm, you don’t have to pay the entrance fee (9 euro). Of course, my company wanted to skip the fee, so their plan was to take a taxi there and walk the last part (this all took place after 5.30 pm). The taxi driver, however, came up with the plan that he would tell the guards that he would take us to the 5 star hotel, located within the monastery area.
He did want to have a fee for that. The plan worked out but actually, I found the place a bit underwhelming. To see all the houses of the monks was nice, but the monastery itself was under construction.
That night we had diner in a very cosy Indian restaurant
. The atmosphere was better than Indian restaurants I know in Amsterdam, but the place was also kind of a gallery. For the immense amount of 7 euro, I took an Indian thali consisting of 7 curries (including a dahl soup). The food was really great!
After having spend the day in Shangri-la, I did not really get into a the feeling of the village. The old parts look nice, but it's just another Chinese tourist attraction. After having seen that in Yangshuo and Dali and preparing for Lijiang, I just wanted to get to some place where there are not only a lot of tourists. With one of the guys I had met, I made plans to visit another village North of Shangri-la for the next two days.
Tot: 0.095s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 10; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0128s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb