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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Zhongdian, Yunnan, China

Nov 10, 2017 - Tibetan Prayer Flags

Lung ta (horizontal) prayer flags are of square or rectangular shape, are commonly hung on a diagonal line from high to low between two objects (e.g., a rock and the top of a pole) in high places such as the tops of temples, monasteries, stupas, and mountain passes. Blue symbolizes the sky and space, white symbolizes the air and wind, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth - health and harmony are produced through the balance of the five elements. I learned that the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras...

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Nov 9, 2017 - A Taste of Tibet in Shangrila

Shangri-La was formerly called Zhongdian County (中甸县; Zhōngdiàn Xiàn) but was renamed on 17 December 2001 and upgraded into a county-level city on 16 December 2014 as Shangri-La (other spellings: Semkyi'nyida, Xianggelila, or Xamgyi'nyilha) after the fictional land of Shangri-La in the 1933 James Hilton novel Lost Horizon, in an effort to promote tourism in the area.

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Apr 11, 2014 - ShangriLa Day 2

Today we visit the Songshanlin monastery that was built by the the 5th Dali Lama. This is very close to the city. It houses about 800 monks of the Yellow Sect who train here for about 8 years. If they pass all of the exams they may go onto Tibet to train further and later possibly to India. There were mocks debating in the courtyard. We had to climb many steps to get up to the monastery and along the way had to rest as my heart was beating very fast due to the high altitude. From there we walked through the village to visit a local family...

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Apr 10, 2014 - Shangri La

ShangriLa The hotel here is rather pleasant but there are some drawbacks. Last night I stood naked waiting for the shower to warm up but it never happened,even after running the water for 10 minutes. Who would have thought I should have had the tap turned to cold? After cleaning my teeth the water from the basin just ran onto the bathroom floor, lucky there were plenty of towels. I tried to ring reception but the phone didn't work. I went to reception at 6:45 this morning. The young girl was sleeping on the floor behind reception, after...

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Apr 9, 2014 - Tiger Leaping Gorge

tiger leaping gorge Today we travelled along the other side of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in order to get to Tiger Leaping Gorge. We stopped for photo opportunity at the first turn in the Yangtze River. This photo op was up about six flight of stairs that wound through a building where vendors were selling all types of herbs and potions, including dried newt and cicadas. Slowly we dropped in altitude from 3300 to about 2200 meters at the entrance to the gorge. Here we swapped guides, leaving the lovely Holly, a Naxi ethnic for Tashinema...

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Oct 24, 2011 - Kunming/Lijiang/Shangri-La (Zhongdian)

Guilin to Kunming train trip was fantastic, clean, regulated (meaning no ticket, no travel, unlike India) and orderly. Hard sleeper was in an open carriage with three bunks either side, bedding provided. 20 Hours of very pleasant staring out of the window and sleeping. One of the wonders of China - even the squat toilet was clean at the end of the trip! The scale of infrastructure here is gobsmacking, multi-lane highways, huge bridges, roadworks, whole new towns going up everywhere. Presumably the government policy is building for the...

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Trip Journal


No Reservations

Oct 20, 2011 - Shangri-la

Though I was not feeling well, we had a rather nice day. In the morning we visited the Ganden Songzanlin Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, which was first built in 1679 AD in the same style as the Potala Palace in Lhasa. 900 monks live there. There are 8 study halls or Khantsen, 3 main temples and 200 small homes for the monks. Monks from the same family (grandfather, uncle, son) share a home. When no one from that family remains as a monk, the home is torn down and another family builds a home in that spot. The Temples were very similar to...

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Oct 19, 2011 - Shigu, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Shangri-la

On our last morning with Carolyn, we visited another market day in Shigu (Stone Drum) village, a very busy market with lots of merchants selling everything from fresh and dried vegetables and meat to clothing. Susan picked up two pairs of sneakers for Teva for 40 Yuan (about $7.00). The market was located on several of the narrow streets of this hillside town On the way out of town we stopped at the First Bend in the Yangtze River where the river makes a 90 degree turn. It was where big armies use to cross the river. Now there is a blind...

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Sep 25, 2011 - Tibetan Villages

After a good breakfast at the Eco-Lodge, we spent time in the morning with Tony and Cao Lu discussing ideas for their future China tours. It was a sunny day and we had time to walk around the village before having an early lunch. In the afternoon, Ray, Philomena and the two of us were driven to Songzanlin Monastery (also known as Guihua Monastery or Sumtsenling ) by one of the staff from the Eco-Lodge. After a bit of confusion we finally found the right entrance, bought our tickets and boarded a bus that drove us up the hill to the...

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Sep 24, 2011 - Thanka Academy and Temple

We were up around 8:30 and were served breakfast of eggs, bread and onions in the Eco-Lodge. The plan for the day was to hike over the mountain (hill) to the summer pasture where the villagers graze their yaks. We set off with our two guides; Kelsang (who showed us around his home yesterday) and Shawo (who has been hired to take charge of the Eco-Lodge). We climbed the hill behind the Eco-Lodge and watched a group of Chinese soldiers performing various manoeuvres in the valley below; they were firing many rounds of ammunition - thankfully,...

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Sep 23, 2011 - Zhongdian (Shangri-la)

On our first morning in Shangri-la, we walked to a local coffee shop called Coffee Only for breakfast, before meeting with Kelden who walked with us to the Tanka Academy that he started in 2006. At the Academy, we watched young boys (who we understood are orphans) learning to create Buddhist paintings. They will use these skills as a future livelihood. Later in the morning, we met with a Buddhist Lama who was living at the Tanka Academy; he spoke with us (through Kelden) about Buddhism, dharma and the three truths -- happiness, freedom and...

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Sep 22, 2011 - Conclude Trek and on to Zhongdian (Shangri-La)

We were up early for breakfast at Halfway Guest House; again pancakes with banana and chocolate which seems to be a standard fare for tourists in this part of the world. We left the guest house around 8:30 and walked for an hour and a half along the gorge to the next guest house at Tea Horse Guest House. The trail snaked along the edge of the gorge, at times quite narrow and close to the edge and other times pretty wide, more like a road. It is possible to do the entire trail by pack horse, and we passed a few horses carrying supplies and...

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