The natural scenery of Three Parallel Rivers is located at the deep narrow valleys in the mountainous areas of the southern part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, in southwest China's Yunnan Province. The whole reserve is composed of the drainage areas of the three great rivers - Nu River, Lancang River, Jinsha River, and the mountains around, covering an area of 41,000 square kilometers in total. This is also the convergence of three large geographical regions - East Asia, South Asia and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. As a rare representative area of alpine topography as well as the reflection of its evolution, this is one of the few places in the world with the most abundant biological species. It covers three autonomous prefectures and cities, including Lijiang City, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province. On this piece of land, there are high mountains, deep valleys, snow-capped peaks, large glaciers, lakes with potable water, wild forest, marshy grassland, rare animals and precious plants. In a word, there is a lot to see here. In the meanwhile, it is also the inhabiting place of 16 ethnic groups. Different nationalities, languages, religions and customs co-exist, making it a special and unique region rarely seen in the world. For thousands of years, the 16 ethnic groups here have lived quite harmoniously with each other.
As is known by the whole world, Shangri-la is a paradise full of peace, happiness and harmony between nature and human beings. In fact, Shangri-la is also located in this area. As early as 1920s, Locke, a photographer from the US, had spent many years here collecting biological species, writing articles, and taking photos for the National Geographic magazine. Later a man named James Hilton from Britain wrote a book---Lost Horizon, which introduced Shangri-la to the whole world. This is also the original place of Tea and Horse Old Way, which used to be an ancient international business route way. At that time tea was transmitted by horses from southwest China to Nepal and India.
The Natural Reserve of Three Parallel Rivers is considered to be a textbook of the evolution history of the earth. In ancient times, as a result of the collision between India Plate and Eurasian Plate, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau was ballooned up, creating the parallel mountains and rivers within a length of 150 kilometers, including the Dulong River, Gaoligong Mountain, Nu River, Lancang River, Yunling Mountain and Jinsha River in this area. Therefore the natural sceneries here are quite unique not only in China, but also in the world.
For quite a long period, this area has always been an attractive destination for scientists, explorers and travellers, because of its great scientific and esthetic values as well as the colorful minority cultures here.