September 1, 2009

 

Situated about 32 kilometers (about 19.9 miles) away from Zhongdian County, Bitahai Lake is an intact natural attraction with various species of flora and fauna and, of course, picturesque landscapes.  With an altitude of 3,539 meters (about 11,608 feet), the lake is the highest in Yunnan Province, covering an area of 166 hectares.
Famed as pearl in the highlands, the lake is surrounded by wooded mountains and resembles a beryl inlaid among them. The surrounding mountains are densely scattered with azaleas, and each year in late spring and early summer, when the flowers are in full bloom, the hillsides seem to be dyed red, echoing harmoniously with the clear waters in the lake.
Bitahai Lake’s fish are as abundant as its natural beauty. Rowing a boat on the lake, one can see shoals of precious “Bitahai Double-Lip Fish” – an ancient species left over from the Fourth Glacial Age – swimming back and forth about 10 meters beneath the surface. The small streams beside the lake are home to amphibious “Codfish”.  Each year, when azalea blooms cover the mountains, the wind blows the petals into the lake, causing all of the fish to vie with each other to eat them. They eat so many that they seem drunk and float on the surface – an enchanting sight known as “Fish Drunk on Azalea’s Petals.

September 1, 2009

90 kilometers (55 miles)in the northwest of Lijiang, Tiger Jumping Gorge is one of natural wonders in China. Tiger Jumping Gorge is the most famous gorge on the Jinsha River, and also has the longest drop in the world. It is 20 kilometers long, 50 meters in breadth at its widest section, and 20 meters at its narrowest. It has a drop of 200 meters. The gorge has 18 shoals, and the cliffs on its banks tower 3,000 meters above the river. The Mantianxing reefs area is the most hazardous spot. A short distance from the exit is a gully 1 kilometer deep — an ideal place from which to view the Tiger Jumping Gorge.

 

September 1, 2009

 

Zhongdian is the capital of Diqing Tibetan Ethnic Minority Autonomous Prefecture. It covers an area of over 11,600 square kilometers, resting 3,280 meters above sea level. This area is the junction of Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibet. The Balagengzong, Haba and Langdu Mountains reach towards the clouds, while the Jinsha (Golden Sand) and Lancang (Mekong) Rivers crisscross the landscape, flanked by overhanging cliffs. Spring and summer are the best seasons with moderate temperatures, though the temperature can vary greatly within the space of one day. The average annual temperature is 5.6 degrees Celsius, and the average rainfall is 634mm.
Zhongdian’s population is 120,000 with 13 ethnic minorities including Tibetan, Lisu, Naxi, Yi, Bai and Hui. These ethnic nationalities preserve their own traditions of lifestyle, dress, architecture, folklore, wedding ceremonies and etiquette. This region’s people are very hospitable to visitors. The government language is Mandarin. The major religion here is Buddhism.
At the end of 2001, the name of Zhongdian County was changed to Shangri-La County. Because after nearly nine months of research, specialists and scholars now believe that Zhongdian is the Shangri-la, an eternally peaceful and quiet place among mountains depicted in the novel “Lost Horizon” wrote by Jame Hilton in 1933. 
Surrounded on all sides by snow-capped mountains, dense primeval forests, alpine lakes, and lush grassland, Zhongdian(or Shangri-La) is indeed a haven of peace. Above it float fluffy white clouds, and on the grassland below wander herds of cattle and sheep. Its Buddhist temples receive throngs of pilgrims, and Tibetan people and those of other ethnic groups live here in harmony. The air is fresh, and the scenery sublime. Birdsong accompanies sonorous Tibetan folk songs, and the Tibetan dances, performed against this enchanting backdrop, are a visual feast.
Zhongdian(Shangri-La) boasts the largest forest zone in Yunnan Province, known as “treasure house of flora and fauna.” It is also home to the largest natural pastureland, with abundant waters and grassland, in the province. Moirig Snow Mountain, one of the ten sacred mountains in the Tibetan regions, is located here. The county’s isolated position has helped residents preserve their traditional lifestyle and culture. Shangri-La County is currently one of the most sought-out tourist destinations in China.