Shika Snow Mountain 石卡雪山, Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡, Guishan Park 龟山公园 & Giant Prayer Wheel 转经筒 @ Shangri-La City 香格里拉市

Hey guys!
Here comes the second post of my Yunnan China trip.
If you haven't read my Lijiang trip, you can read it at HERE.
I spent a lot of time and effort to edit the photos, so please make sure you read them ya. #hehe
And today, I'm going to share the places I visited at Shangri-La, also named as Xianggelila 香格里拉 in Zhongdian county, the capital of Diqing Tibetan Autonmous Prefecture of Yunnan Province in Southern China. 
Shangri-La is a mountain paradise, with dense forests, alpine lakes, grasslands, and gorges distributed among the meadows and plains.
It is a home to more than 20 ethnic groups, with approximately 80% of Tibetans population in the region.
So, if you are thinking to visit Tibet but can't make it yet, this is the place to go to explore and experience  Tibetan lifestyle and religion.
It's my first time visiting Shangri-La and I would say this is one of the most amazing corners of Yunnan.
I had an unforgettable travel experience at this brilliant and attractive region.
We spent two days at Shangri-La with a full agenda and busy itinerary. 
We visited Shika Snow Mountain, Tiger Leaping Gorg, Guishan Garden, World Biggest Prayer Wheel, Deqen Cultural Expo Center etc.
Without further ado, follow me to explore Shangri-La right away!

Shika Snow Mountain 石卡雪山

Shika Snow Mountain 石卡雪山 is another snow mountain we went along our trip in Yunnan.
It is located at the Shangri-La county, and also known as a holy mountain for the local Tibetans. 
The mountain has a total area of 25 square miles (65 square kilometers), with the altitude of the highest peak 14,598 feet (4,449.5 meters) above the sea level., while the lowest Napa Grassland is 10,728 feet (3,270 meters) above the sea level. 

We need to take two cable car trips to go up the peak, and the entire ride was just about 20-30 minutes long. 
We ride the cable car with 5 adults, and the room is big and comfortable. 

I traveled with my elder sister and her family this time.
They are my beautiful nieces, Jia En and Kai En.
Can't believe they have grown up so much! :)

This is the oxygen canisters that I mentioned in my previous Lijiang trip.
One portable oxygen canister like this can last for two snow mountain trips at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Shika Snow Mountain. 
I remember I paid about RMB100 (about RM60) for one oxygen cylinder at the store that the local tour guide brought us before we arrived at the peak, but then I saw it was selling cheaper at the kiosk at the snow mountain there, almost half of the price we paid. 

Once we get off from the cable car, there is a wooden walkway to walk up to the top mountain.
This mountain was not as crowded as the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which is good and more relaxed. 
So besides the freezing weather, this place is nicer to take your time to chill, have a nice walk around the mountain while enjoy the incredible views on the beautiful walk.

When we got to the mountain top, the weather was as cold as in Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, around -6℃ - -8℃and also the wind was so strong that I had to wrap my arms around my outer jackets.
It is very important that you have enough layers to cover yourself from top to toe if you plan to visit the snow mountains in December. :)

According to our local tour guide, standing at the highest sightseeing platform there, we are able to get an panoramic view with the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the Meili Snow Mountain and the Biluo Snow Mountain.

You can also find the popular Tibetan mani stones and mani stone mounds almost everywhere on this mountain.
They said these stones sometimes are decorated with sheep and yak horns. 
Besides, Om Mani Padme Hum is usually described on these smooth stone plates, pebbles and rocks, and also images of deities and great adepts and sutra texts are also common themes. 
Followers will drop a piece of Mani stone to the mound every time when they pass a Mani stone mound, that equals to praying or murmuring sutra texts. 
Accordingly, the mani mounds are growing taller every year.

The scenery at Shika Snow Mountain was quite different at the Yulong Snow Mountain, we still be able to see a large piece of grassland all over the Shika Snow Mountain even though it was winter season.

There is a wishing platform on the top of the mountain, where you can write your wishes and prayers, and then  hang them on the wooden racks.
Small fees are required for this of course. :)

YES! I made it! #hooray
Climbed to the main peak of Shika Snow Mountain, 45000 meters above sea level!

It was a wonderful experience, everything is just so harmonious.
Standing up at the peak, taking a deep breath, enjoying the beautiful scenery, feeling so refresh.

We also spent some times to wander around the surrounding and also take some random pictures after the long walk at the top of the Shika Snow Mountain. 
The landscape is full of bricks and stones, and also a Tibetan type of house in the middle of the entrance there.
Nice walk....

 After lunch, we had a short visit at the Shambhala Wheel Mandala Cultural Expo Center 香巴拉时轮坛城文化博览中心.
It's a very interesting place to visit to understand and gain knowledge of the Tibetan culture and Tibetan Buddhism history.
I was impressed and it makes me wanted to visit Tibet one day soon. :)

You are not allow to take any pictures inside the building, only one picture when we reached at the roof top there.
The building is big and amazing; in terms of the interior design, decorations, carving skills and colour painting.
The visiting won't take up too much of time because only some floors are open for public.

Walking inside the expo center feels like walking into a journey of Tibetan culture. 
If you are in Shangri-La, I would say this place is a worth a visit, as from here you got to experience the influence of Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan culture.
It's very great to see in person!

Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡

On the second day at Shangri-La, we visited Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡, located at the border of Lijiang and Shangri-La.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is a scenic canyon on the Jinsha River, a primary tributary of the upper Yangtze River, which is also part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site. 
It is one of the deepest gorges in the world, with a maximum depth of 3,790 meters (12,434 feet) and total length of 18 kilometers (11 miles).
The gorge is the hiking trails for the foreign backpackers since1980s, which is also the best hiking trial that offers the most naturally beautiful and diverse landscapes China has to offer.

The walking journey from the entrance to the end of the Tiger Leaping Gorge is not so easy at all.
We were going up and down from a descend long stairway for about 30-40 minutes, and the weather in the afternoon was pretty warm so it was quite a tiring journey after all. 

Tiger Leaping Gorge is part of the Three Parallel of Yunnan Protected Areas UNESCO World Heritage natural preservation sites since 2003.
A visit to Tiger Leaping Gorge is a great way to enjoy deep-incised river gorges, luxuriant forests, towering snow-clad mountains, glaciers of the UNESCO site. 

There are glass panels as well as wooden panels on the edge of the viewing platform, where you can see the water rushes through the gorge and also see the giant gorge's enormous rocks across the river.
It's pretty much exciting; seeing the thunderous rushing waters slam into sharp, large rocks and crash down into the river forming swirling whirlpools. :)

An ancient legend says that a tiger used this rock as its stepping stone so it could leap across from one side of the gorge to the other, which is how the place got its name.
Yeap! Don't forget to take a picture with the Tiger Leaping rock before leaving the attraction. 

A 30 minutes stop at the Haba Snow Mountain Observation Deck 哈巴雪山观景台, where you enjoy the plateau scenery.
The entrance is free for you to take pictures on the viewing deck.
Well, you can also take picture with the white yak by paying a small fees to the owner. :)

In the late afternoon, we visited the Guishan Park 龟山公园, which built in the reign of emperor Kangxi.
The park is built on the hillside, whereby we took about 15-20 minutes to climb the staircase to reach the top of the mountain 
It's one of the must see attractions at Shangri-La; which consists of the Giant Prayer Wheel, Dafo Temple (Chaoyanglou), Red Army Long March Musuem, Diqing History Musuem etc.

The weather was extremely cold in the late afternoon, about -2℃ (it was really cold), so we only spent about 30 minutes over there just to see the Giant Prayer Wheel.

The Giant Prayer Wheel 转经筒 is a must see in your Shangri-La trip.
It reputed as the largest one in the world with its 21 meters in height and 60 tons in weight, and due to its huge size and weight, the prayer wheel is to be spun by multiple people.

The body of Giant Prayer Wheel is made of pure copper and gilded. 
The upper end of the tube is carved with Manjusri, Samantabhadra, Guanyin, and the Four Bodhisattvas of Jizo, the lower end if engraved with Buddha's eight, and the treasure map contains 1.24 million mantras, mantras without words, and various Buddha treasures. 

I love the atmosphere at the Guishan Park.
It was so quiet and peaceful while standing at the top of the Guishan Park, and the view over the Shangri-La old town is so pretty!
It's really worth coming right here for photos!

Took a panoramic shoot of the beautiful view, so pretty right!

That's all about my sharing at Shangri-La, Yunnan!
I'm so thankful that I made it in a year ago, and the trip was truly amazing!
I hope you guys really enjoy reading my Shangri-La travel story as I spent a lot of time and effort on editing the pictures and also look for the information about the attraction places I went.
照片放得有点多, 可是因为拍的都很美, 所以一一放上来给大家欣赏, 希望你们会喜欢.
Lastly, thanks for the support and love, and I will see you very soon on my next coming post.

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