8 days in China – Day 5

Day 5: Shangri-La
Shangri-La, a paradise on earth, high in the mountains of south western China, was highlight of my trip.

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After an hour bus ride from Lijiang, the tour guide announced that we had entered into Shangri-La county. I thought it would take longer but we still had long way to go. Our first stop was the first bend of the Yangtze River then drove another 40 km to Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest river canyons in the world and one of the most spectacular views I’ve ever seen.

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Legend says a tiger jumped across the river at the narrowest point to escape from a hunter.

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The hiking trail runs along at the opposite side but I was told it isn’t easy and could be quite dangerous.
Then we continued our journey. From the point on everything I saw was just unbelievably beautiful.

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On the way we stopped at one Tibetan village.

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Finally we arrived to Dukezong temple and old town area.

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It is a very quiet old town compared to Lijiang old town and not much to see. Then I was told that the tour company had arranged a dinner party and it wasn’t included in the tour so had to pay ¥300. That’s $50!!! A lot of money for me. But at the same time instead of complaining, I looked around the tour bus to see how others reacted. Well, don’t mess with Chinese tourists! They would complain in good Chinese way. They started calling their tour companies and asked (loudly). You know… Chinese are “passionate” when they speak; so their good discussion about buying jade or drinking tea might sound like a heated discussion. This time for sure it wasn’t one of those friendly conversations. It was about complaining about ¥300 per person dinner. Just imagine! 😁
But they all agreed to pay and they were about 30 people on the bus. I was the only clueless foreigner. Since all of them agreed to pay, I followed too. I’m glad I did because I had the party of my life.

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Usually I got bored easily with so called cultural dance shows. This one wasn’t. It was very interactive and really fun! Yes! Really fun and I didn’t even understand a thing! Singing, dancing, and the MC guy asked the audience to participate.
Food was AMAZING and I got to try all the food I heard and read about. Naxi fried rice, Tibetan flatbread(Amazing bread!!! They sure know how to make good bread), Shab Tra (Stir-fried meat with celery, carrots, and chili), yak cheese, yak barbecue, yak hotpot, butter tea, and rice wine and many more that I couldn’t remember!!

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Tsampa is the staple food of Tibetans. It is actually barley flour. They put Tsampa, a little bit of sugar, and butter tea in a bowl, mix them and roll it into lumps.

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Yak meat is also very important to Tibetans. I even had raw yak meat and it was like sashimi. Now that I’m writing about it how I wish I could eat them again!!!
It was a long but great day. By the time we checked-in at the hotel, it was around 9:30. And the hotel was really nice, too.
And another long day tomorrow!

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