Shangri-La is Real: in Southwestern China, on the Border of Tibet

The mythical Shangri-La isn’t as mysterious as you think.

Shangri-La, or Zhongdian (Xiānggélǐlā, according to modern Chinese), is located in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan. Being so close to Tibet, there are a number of political arguments that have taken place over this region.

The relationship between Tibet and China is a touchy subject. As a foreigner, I was able to enter Shangri-La on a Chinese visa. Personally, out of respect for both parties, I take no public stance. I only want to show you my photos from this remarkably unique region.

The vast landscape of Shangri-La.

The vast landscape of Shangri-La.

Deserted.
Deserted.
Before getting rocks thrown at our bikes and shot with BB guns!
Before getting rocks thrown at our bikes and shot with BB guns!
On the outside, looking in: a harsh difference.
On the outside, looking in: a harsh difference.
Monk housing.
Monk housing.
A raised Tibetan temple, looking out over the small township.
A raised Tibetan temple, looking out over the small township.
Traditional Tibetan prayer flags.
Traditional Tibetan prayer flags.

READ NEXT: Tiger Leaping Gorge: Trekking Through the Mountains of Southwestern China

About the Author

Jeremy Scott Foster

Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.
10 comments
    1. Probably. The town itself seemed quite touristy, but I still enjoyed it. I can’t imagine it would have been like that 10 years ago!

  1. These images are absolutely gorgeous! This is a part of the world that I have yet to see and so appreciate the opportunity to experience the landscape, architecture and people through your images!

  2. WOW! The more of your China posts I read the more I want to skip my next couple of countries and head there right now! Breathtaking photos as well, great job 🙂

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