Shangri-La County is divided into two areas: Dukezong Ancient Town and a more modern city-like area. The two areas share Tuanjie Street as the common border. Dukezong, located in the southeast section of Shangri-La, has a history dating back over 1300 years. Almost all the buildings are white in color and feature the Tibetan style architecture.
Located three kilometers (about 1.86 miles) southeast of Shangri-La, the Wufeng Mountain is revered as a sacred mountain by the local Tibetans. Since the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the grasslands at the foot of this mountain have been used for horse racing events.
If you proceed southeast fro m Shangri-La for about 101 kilometers (62.76 miles), you"ll arrive at another well-known attraction, the White Water Terraces. Theterraces are large limestone steps, built up over the years with calcium carbonatedeposited by spring waters which flow down the steps. You can take a bus fromthe Zhongdian Coach Bus Station to the White Water Terraces, or hire a car toget there.
The Haba Snow Mountain, a natural reserve of rare animals and plants, is about 120 kilometers (74.56 miles) southeast of Shangri-La. Both the mountain and theTiger Leaping Gorge are located along the Dianzang Road, on the way from Shangri-Lato Lijiang.
Songzanlin Monastery is five kilometers (3.11 miles) north of Shangri-La. Firstconstructed in 1679 during the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it embodies theessence of the Tibetan Buddhist culture, and its architecture exemplifies thefeatures of the Tibetan style. It"s the greatest monastery of Tibetan Buddhismin Yunnan Province.
The Shangri-La Gorge Group is located in the northern part of Shangri-La County. Comprised of a series of gorges, the Birang Gorge is certainly worth a visit. The Birang River flows through the steep gorge and the splashing water from thestrong current immerses the entire gorge in mist. There are many rock paintings on the cliffs of the gorge. Much research was done on the paintings and it wasdetermined that they were drawn by migrating ethnic groups in the ancient times. The gorge is on the way from Shangri-La to Xiangcheng County (in Sichuan), about 103 kilometers (64 miles) from Shangri-La.
Shudu Lake and Bitahai Lake are two of the more accessible lakes in northeastShangi-la. Located within 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of each other, legend says these "pearls of the land" are pieces of a mirror broken and scatteredby a fairy while she was fixing her makeup.
Napa Lake is located eight kilometers (4.97 miles) northwest of Shangri-La. Severalrivers flow into the lake, including the Naizi and Naqu Rivers. The lake is seasonal in that it is dry in the fall and winter seasons, naturally becoming part of the Yila Prairie. During this time, visitors can see many sheep and cows grazingin the lake bed.