It is said that in the deep snow mountain of the Tibet Plateau, there is a hidden kingdom which was surrounded by the double snow-capped mountains. In there, you can find snow mountains, glaciers, canyons, forests, meadows, lakes, gold and pure air. Its name is Shambhala. As ‘the last pure land on this blue planet’, Daocheng Yading is the Shangri-La that people are yearning for.
Shangri-La, A Place with the Best Scenery and Life
by Zhong li
The word ‘Shangri-La’ is derived from the Shambhala of Tripitaka. In the history of Tibetan Buddhism, it has been widely mentioned as the highest state of "Pure Land", and in modern vocabulary it becomes the synonymous of ‘Eden’, ‘Utopia’ and ‘Xanadu’.It is said that in the deep snow mountain of the Tibet Plateau, there is a hidden kingdom which was surrounded by double snow-capped mountains and with eight separated areas which are in the shape of lotus petal. Andthe central towering inner-ring jokul was called Karaba Palace, there lived the king of Shambhala. With snow-capped mountains, glaciers, canyons, forests, meadows, lakes, gold mines and pure air, this place is the ideal home to all human-beings with its beauty, leisure, contentment, serenity and harmony. Because of these, the legend of Shangri-La, as a mystery, is attracting thousands of believers pilgrims as well as the explorers from the western world.
Daocheng—the Last Shangri-La
Although no one can tell the specific geographical location of Shangri-La, but this does not affect people to believe its presence. Since the mid-18th century,explorations about to find this lost paradise have never been ceased. In the Tibetan Plateau, the Pamir or the Kashmir Plateau of India, almost in all snow-capped mountains you can find the searchers’ footprints and their elongated shadows under the sunset
At the end of the 20th century, people were amazed to find that the natural landscape and cultural relics in Diqing (Yunan, China) were in amazing similar with the Shambhala of Tripitaka. Shangri-La is in Diqing, the news suddenly shocked the world. Then tourists from all over the world were coming to see Shangri-La, the lost paradise. The discovery of Diqing made deifiedShangri-La back into the real world again.When tourists are enjoying the unique natural landscape through their own eyes, they are also enjoying the spiritual consolation that Shangri-La brings to.
Diqing's surprise has not yet faded, while the geographic and humanistic prospect of Daocheng Yading in Sichuan Province was found to be exactly same with the legendary Shangri-La’s.It was in the last five years of the 20th century, with the development of China's tourism industry and the translatedversion of the bookLost Horizon has beenpublished, some people who were determined to develop the tourism of Sichuan Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture had noticed that, the beauty of Daocheng plateau and the harmony life that Zang and Han nationality and other minorities shared with were depicted in Lost Horizon. After theirrepeated investigations and serious arguments,finally, in the afternoon on Sep.14, 1997, Sichuan provincial government solemnly declared that Shangri-La is just in Daocheng. The snow peaks, canyons, meadows, lakes, temples and quiet villages there made this place more resemble Hilton’s Shangri-La than Diqing. Archaeologists called it ‘the Last Shangri-La’.
The last Shangri-La--Daocheng Yading ecotourism area is located in Riwa Township, Daocheng County of Sichuan Province Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture with a distance of 930 kmfrom Chengdu.Geographically, Daocheng is on the southern margin of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, east of the Hengduan Mountains.In the eyes of archaeologists,all the geographic and humanisticprospects which had been depicted in Lost Horizon can all be found in Yading, there you can find three snow-capped mountains, which stay in the shape of a Chinese character ‘pin’, composing the Minya Konka snow peak and the magnificent Dongyi Canyon , the beautiful reflecting alpine lake groups and alpine meadow with carpet-like grass as well as wild flowers and solemn lama temples. You can enjoy the peaceful and unpretending Tibet feel,and the harmony of multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious life. Allthese reveal the eternal, harmonious andpeaceful Shangri-La charms that dwell in the snow mountain.
‘The Last Shangri-La’Fantastic Trip
Looking for Shangri-Lais a dream to many people. Daocheng Yading’s‘The Last Shangri-La’ Fantastic Trip has two charms: diverse landscapes formed the good natural ecological system and the cultural landscape based on Tibet feel and Tibetan Buddhism culture. But due to the high altitude, steep terrain, cold climate coupled with traffic closed, Yading, this magical place has long been frozen in the snow peaks and rarely known by people. In recent years, with the full opening of Garze Prefecture and the connecting of Chengya Expressway, Erlang Mountain Tunnel and Sichuan-Tibet Highway’s improvement, Yading has now become a paradise for backpack travelers.
NO.1 Plan --rebuilding the tourism legend of Sichuan
As ahigh-quality tourism planning project appointed by Sichuan provincial government, the tourism development of Daocheng Yading has always been the focus of Tibet-Sichuan tourism. As early as 2005, the planning and construction schemeof Sichuan Shangri-La ecotourism area was approved. According to the scheme, an area of about 220,000 square kilometers, with Daocheng Yading as the core of Sichuan Shangri-La ecotourism area, will be built into a world-class tourism destination for sightseeing, adventure and holiday after 5 to 10 years’ construction.
In 2010, based on the Development and Construction Scheme of Sichuan Shangri-La appointed by Sichuan Provincial Government and followed the plan and advices from leaders and experts, Daocheng County has carried out a multilevel and comprehensive work. They centred on the brand, planning to highlight the unique natural and cultural resources and pay attention to planning first. They have compiled severalplanning such as the overall tourism development planning of Daocheng County, the planning and construction schemeof Sichuan Shangri-La ecotourism area and the construction schemeof Yading Airport at a high starting point and in high standards. By all these efforts, the county strives to form a tourism planning system with distinctive characteristics, advanced concept and high competitiveness which has laid good foundation for scientific protection and tourism resource development as well as offered scientific basis to create the brand of ‘DaochengYading—the soul of Shangri-La’
In May 2012, Sichuan Provincial Development and Reform Commission said that the conceptual planning of Daocheng Yading has passed the review and they will create the Grand Shangri-La International Boutique tourist area in the Jinsha River Basin. According to the Director of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Tourist Administration Xiao Feng, they will take the tourism development of Daocheng Yading as the NO.1 tourism plan of Sichuan Provincial Government. The Prefecture will invest 33 billion RMB to focus on the construction of 25 main arterial and tourism highways including the expressway. By vigorously promoting the construction of transport infrastructure, a great improvement in Garze Prefecture traffic condition could be achieved after three-year construction.
With a series of major policy initiatives that introduced by the nation and Sichuan to support the Tibetan great-leap-forward development, especially with theimplementation of Yading Airport construction, Sichuan-Tibet Highway reconstruction and other major traffic projects, the external traffic condition will be greatly improved. In this way, Daocheng Yading’s tourism has ushered in the accelerated development of the golden age.
Recently, with a total investment of 3.2 billion, Daocheng Yading scenic spot will focus on the construction of six key projects including road traffic, Yading airport, regional power grid, visitor center and so on. Among them,Yading airport will be open to navigation in next year.
In August 2011, Sichuan proposed Tibetan tourism development pattern of ‘Jiuzhai Huanglong in North, Daocheng Yading in South’, and made specific requirements to create Daocheng Yading,the Shangri-La International Boutique tourist area of Jinsha River Basin. The conceptual overall planning and major project’s conceptual design took up six months to be completed and its position was set to be international plateau eco-cultural sightseeing tour destination.Through the tourismdevelopment of Daocheng Yading, this project will achieve the tourism purposes of ‘understanding the Shangri-La by seek the source of national culture, get close to this pure land and enjoy the leisure life of Kangba’.
Garze will focus on creating three major scenic spots: the creation of Hailuogou as a national tourist resort and 5A-level scenic spot; creatingMugecuoasa 5A-level scenic spot and promote Kangding into a international tourist destination with world influence; in order to create a 5A-level scenic spot, the government willaccelerate the development of Yading scenic spot, comprehensively promote the upgrade of scenic infrastructure and supporting facilities and create a digital Yading, so as to constructa international boutique tourist area.
Shangri-La is a precious resource thathas been preserved after 100 million years of natural and human evolution process, so protective development will be the basis for the realization of regional socio-economic sustainable development. Tourism development and construction should retain the lifestyle and folk customs ofthe locals and vigorously create the Shangri-La’stownship charm and Kangba feeling. These include the preservation of original characteristics of Tibetan town, the removal of all non-harmonic buildings and structures. Ultimately, by following these steps, a tourism brand image of ‘Daocheng Yading - the soul of Shangri-La’ will be set to the domestic and international tourism market.
Opening time :Peak Season 06:30-17：30, Off Season 09：00-16:00
Entrance ticket and Sightingsee Ticket: Full Ticket 270RMB,Saver Ticket 200RMB
Traffic: Chengdu New Nanmen Station–Daocheng, Ticket Price 267RMB
OR Chengdu New Nanmen Station—Kangting, Ticket Price 115RMB; Kangting –Daocheng, Ticket Price 155RMB
Self-Driving Itinerary:Chengdu—Chengya Highway—Ya’an—Kangting—Daocheng, about 750km, about 15hours.