We are feeling heavenly in Shangri-La. Somebody told me recently don’t go to Yunnan, it’s too touristy, too popular. Wrong! Yunnan means also the region of Shangri-La, near the boarder with Tibet, where there is tourism in limited numbers and if there is tourism, you will see mostly Chinese not Westerns wrapped in Gore-Tex pants and shirts.
So with little change of having a Dutch or Belgian next to us on the plane we are heading to Shangri-La city. Beijing-Chengdu (1,5 hour delay), Chengdu-Shangri-La (3 hours delay). Well thank you very much, Air China and China Eastern, I am starting to think thanks to all this airline mess that there is no Shangri-La at all, it feels more and more like a myth, something not real.
But patience brings you a long way, eventually to Shangri-La where the air is crisp and clean and where the people are more gentle and friendly. With a hazy head we check-in into our first Songtsam Lodge. Is it the altitude (3300 meter) or is it the fresh air, but we already feel very zen. I can not believe how quiet and peaceful it is up here. We sleep like a Tibetan baby in our fouton-ish beds and in the morning, after a strong and local breakfast we explore the monastery next door. Beijing seems by now already a world away. It might not be the mythical Shangri-La yet but it already comes very close.