Shangri-la, China © 2013 . All rights reserved.

27 Aug ’13

Normally road tripping is associated with beautiful drives in the States or Canada, around scenic islands or stretches of meandering coast. We are road tripping in China and we love it. The road trip has taken us so far from Shangri-La Town to Benzilan via the Yangthzi River, to Meili and then we took the old road from Deqen, following the reddish Ganshui River until it flows into the mighty Mekong (in China called the Lancang). The views are spectacular. Between Meili Lodge and the busy town of Deqen we stop by these small stupas and high viewpoint with prayer flags. I guess this is where you should see the Meli Snow Mountains but today, despite the sun, they are wrapped up in clouds.

We continue our drive along the Lancang and the scenery changes from dry and arid to lush farming ground where wheat, barley, rice and vines are growing. We halt in Cizhong where the only catholic church in this area is build and where Songtsam is opening its new lodge in October 2013. Cizhong is a cute, agricultural village with chickens, pigs, cows, and dogs running freely in the streets and where vines are growing next to rice fields. But it’s not all pretty and perfect along the river. In between there are industrial zones where workers are building dams along the Lancang River. Lower suspension bridges will probably be replaces by high hanging modern ones and lots of farmers now living close to the river will mostly be relocated. Sad to see. China needs energy and the toll is high.

Despite these grey and scary zones of “progress”, the drive continues along the river while spotting terraces of rice paddies and houses that look very Alpine. Since Meili we descended almost 1500 meters and the temperature went up with probably 15 degrees too. Road tripping in Shangri-La is fun. So China, don’t ruin it completely, will you. Clean energy is good but try to do it in a bit of a greener and more acceptable way.


  1. Alie

    Thanks a lot for taking us back to Shangri-La county and the lovely Songtsam Lodges. We visit this area in July 2013 and we really fell in love with the people and the surroundings. Your blog + photo’s describe “the good spirit” of this part of China very well. Thank you again for sharing.

    • hi Alie, thanks for your message! we love this region too, wish we could stay longer. We love how Songtsam runs the lodges, we feel so at ease here! please keep following, we have more surprises to come! happy travels!

  2. Steve

    Every day I get to work, the biggest thing I look forward to is pouring my morning cup of coffee and seeing where in the world you are today. We don’t know each other and chances are our paths will never cross, but I feel like a little part of me gets to live vicariously through you. For what it’s worth, thank you for sharing these hidden gems and giving me (us) a window to your world. I plan to follow in your footsteps one day.

    • Hi Steve, that is probably the nicest comment we ever got! thanks for following and we hope we can keep your mornings being interesting! thanks again and happy travels!

  3. bobo


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked:*


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>