Blogs from Zhongdian, Yunnan, China, Asia


Asia » China » Yunnan » Zhongdian May 5th 2014

A jsem v Yunnanu. Přesněji řečeno na jeho okraji, v městě zvaném tibetsky Gyalthang a čínsky Zhongdian (中甸县). Město je ale od roku 2001 přejmenováno za účelem přilákání turistického ruchu na Shangri-La (香格里拉县), jméno evokující ráj na zemi - snad právě proto člověk musí cestou ze Sečuánu překonat strasti cesty (), aby ráj náležitě ocenil, nebo jde snad jen o ironický výsměch Hana, který coby přistěhovalec do tohoto dříve tibetského sídla změnu názvu prosadil. Samotný název "Šangri-La" pochází snad z tibetštiny, ale do světového kulturního povědomí ho dostal James Hilton románem The Lost Horizon, který zasadil sice do prostředí hor Kunlun, avšak zjevnou inspirací mu byly cestopisné texty Josepha Rocka, velkého znalce prostředí Yunnanu a okolí (ať už flóry, geologie nebo jazyků obyvatel), k... read more
Klášter Ganden Sumtsenling
Bönový chrám

Asia » China » Yunnan » Zhongdian November 19th 2012

Ni hao loyal readers, having just returned from yet another fantastic trip to one of my favourite countries I realise it might take me a while to trawl though the 1600 or so photos to write up my blog. So in the meantime, to keep you entertained here are a few photos of some amusing translations. I'm sure the Chinese had much more amusement at my attempts to speak their language while I was there though, I know I certainly couldn't do any better on the translations.... read more
It took me a few minutes to work this one out
Stop what?

Asia » China » Yunnan » Zhongdian September 2nd 2012

CHINA: Zhongdian...the Road to Shangri-la. We have all been on hairy precipitous of the best...the road we took from Lijiang to reach the reason for my first trip to China...Shangri-la...brilliant. The road beyond to Tibet...impassible due to heavy snow. First bend of the Yangtze...the river takes a 180 degree turn...then heads deep into China...all the way to Shanghai. Signs warning not to swim if...vendors around small fires...only moving if we approach their tables of wares. Bought a Tibetan mirror and a Tibetan necklace with a pendant of a minature feather one side & a dagger the other...wore it for the rest of the well as my later trips to China...special piece among the truckloads of souvenirs I have bought to assist the Chinese economy. Into the 8 seater heading into the mountains...STOP...road blocked...Detour ... read more

Asia » China » Yunnan » Zhongdian July 8th 2012

Since my last post, in Yangshou, we had a further two weeks in China. We spent the last few days in Guanxi province doing a lot of cycling - one day going to Fuli to see the old town, a very colourful and lively market and the temples, followed by a second day trying to get to Xing Ping, going the wrong way but through rice paddies and farming country, and ending up getting a local bus with plastic chairs for seats and lots of locals chatting away to each other in high volumes! We got a boat back down the river to Yangshou, which took 2 hours, and was very relaxing. Saw lots of local fishermen with and without cormorants, and water buffalo by the waters' edge. We ate some amazing vegetarian food in Yangshou ... read more

Asia » China » Yunnan » Zhongdian July 10th 2011

Shangri La (Zhongdian) maybe Diqing Who knows where we really are. The town’s name was changed to Shangri La in 2001 to try and tap into the tourist trade. Anyway we are a long way from anywhere on a plateau, snuggled between mountains on the border with Tibet. The Tibetan influence is very strong here though it is obvious who is in charge and it stems from Beijing. A massive amount of money is being spent. To increase the Chinese tourist trade and appease the locals. We are staying in the old town which has the echoes of culture and tradition slowly being eroded by modernization. Traditional clothed women walk the streets while sports stores selling Nike overlap. The locals know they need the money but don’t want to lose their roots. Shangri La is unsure ... read more
hot pot
old town

Asia » China » Yunnan » Zhongdian May 30th 2011

So I've decided to take the traditional name for Shangri-la as the location for this blog- Zhongdian. This is because this place was only renamed for the tourism industry a few years back- because Shangri-la sounds like some exotic destination beyond the Tibetan platau. But despite the touristy name, this place is every bit as interesting, welcoming and incredible as you can imagine. One thing I cannot get over here, is the simple kindness, generosity and overall friendliness of the locals here. Already in my first week here, I've made so many friends, and now when I walk the streets of old town, I pass by people and give them a wave and a friendly greeting; just like I've lived here for years. :-) The people at the Thanka Academy are especially lovely, and I've really ... read more
nice big prayer wheel
The Thanka Academy

Asia » China » Yunnan » Zhongdian April 18th 2010

I listened to classic and hard rock on the way north, staring out and seeing the plentiful hills of the Yunnan countryside progressively turn into bigger and grander mountains. As the bus arrived in Shangri-La, or Zhongdian as it is also known, the transformation was complete as the snow covered mountains could be seen abound. After leaving the station, and noticing the air was quite cool, I wandered through streets (yet again) until I approached the old town. I checked into Kevin's Trekker Inn just outside and then explored. This town is highly Tibetan, as can be seen through architecture, food, and even the people's faces. At one point I had been entertaining the idea of visiting Tibet, but due to the government restrictions in place and the cost just for the permit I said forget ... read more
Tibetan Style

Asia » China » Yunnan » Zhongdian August 1st 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 ... read more
Horses to rent
Tibetan houses
The grasslands around Shangri-la I

Asia » China » Yunnan » Zhongdian June 18th 2009

Zhongdian is a small town high in the mountains just outside of Tibet. The population, architecture, food, etc. are Tibetan. In 2001 the Chinese authorities officially changed the name to Shangri-La (or as the Chinese say "Shangri-Li-La") to capitalize on their claim that Zhongdian is the basis for the fictional city in James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon. This is purely a marketing strategy to make it the next stop in the popular Dali, Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge trail. Knowing this going in made the town an interesting study on how the Chinese economic mega-machine approaches tourism. Having said that, it was actually a nice place to spend a few days. The "old" town, which is partially authentic and partially expansion, was as close to Lhasa (Tibet) as I was going to get this trip. I took ... read more
Photo 12
Photo 18
Photo 4

Asia » China » Yunnan » Zhongdian May 29th 2008

Shangri-la (aka Zhongdian) is Paradise! To back up a little, Zhongdian is the farthest north into Yunnan province that we go, and also (alas) the closest to Tibet. Turns out that Tibetan culture actually extends far more than the region on maps suggests - this is one of those non-tibetan regions that is full of Tibetan people and culture! Leaving from Lijiang, the 5 hour bus ride took us through the mountain range that features Tiger Leaping Gorge, and then breaks out into beautiful dry plains with landscapes, flowers, buildings and faces different to anywhere we've been so far. We arrived in the afternoon expecting it to be freezing but it was warm and sunny and inviting (the sky has never been so blue!). Spent an afternoon strolling the old city, similar to Lijiang or Dali ... read more

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