Shangri-la, trekking from Niru, tents, mountain sky, girl

The Real Shangri-la

Yunnan, Weston China, 2500-4500m elevation

The Real Shangri-la

Shangri-La, a name synonymous with paradise on Earth, immortalised by James Hilton's 1933 seminal novel the Lost Horizon. Originally a fictional location, the name was later adopted by a town in Yunnan called Zhongdian in 2001. Following this name change the town of Shangri-la saw an explosion in its development during the past ten years, through its sheer beauty and cultural diversity, it attracted many outdoor enthusiasts and tourists from all over the world. With exponential growth however, comes a heavy price.  The rustic beauty of the town has been replaced by skyscrapers and generic shopping malls; local Tibetan culture has been overshadowed by rapid assimilation.

However, not far from the sprawling concrete blocks of Zhongdian, there remains a place of immense natural beauty, unscathed by the hand of urban expansion, a small Tibetan village named Nizu, which we endearingly refer to as the real Shangri-la. Here, the landscape is bound to take your breath away. Situated in a highland plateau with unbounded horizons, the beauty of Nizu is further accentuated by the rugged mountain ranges that surround it.  

Here, you will have an opportunity to experience the most authentic Tibetan way of life without the constraints of getting into the Tibeten Autonomous region!  You will spend three days exploring areas of interest around the Nizu village, including the majestic "rainbow waterfalls" and caves of religious significance. Another 3 days will be spent in the Nan-Bao Plateau, where local villagers have been herding yaks and sheep for centuries. The area embodies a sense of timelessness; you may feel like you have travelled back in time, untouched and unaffected by modern technology. It is a place for introspection and spiritual growth.

Niru people in the snow, mountains and trees