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How to Get to/Around Shangri-La

Songzanlin Lamasery in Shangri-LaSongzanlin Lamasery in Shangri-La

Located in the northwest of Yunnan Province, in the Tibetan Plateau foothills, Shangri-La is a small mountainous county. Transportation options are limited.

There are limited daily flights to Shangri-La, but no railway to this area yet. Bus is the best option for travelling from the nearby popular tourist cities of Dali and Lijiang.

Getting to Shangri-La

By Air

Diqing Shangri-La Airport (DIG) is the only airport in the county, and offers direct flights to Kunming, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lhasa, and Guangzhou.

Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, is a transportation hub. Daily flights from Kunming to Shangri-La are available.

Direct Domestic Flights to Shangri-La:

From Per Day Journey (Approx.)
Kunming 4 1h
Chengdu 2 1h 20m
Chongqing 1–2 1h 40m
Lhasa 1 1h 50m
Guangzhou 2 per week 2h 50m

Good to know: The airport is about 5 km (3 mi) from downtown Shangri-La. There is no shuttle bus at present. Taxis cost about 30 yuan.

By Long-Distance Bus

Highways are the main means of transportation for locals and tourists to get to Shangri-La from the main cities of Yunnan.

From Distance (km) Journey (h) Price (yuan)
Kunming 630 12 200–250
Dali 305 7 80–100
Lijiang 176 4 50–70

Good to know:

It is a long way to go from Kunming (or Dali) to Shangri-La directly. A more comfortable way is to take a train from Kunming to Dali/Lijiang, and enjoy sightseeing there; and then take a bus from Lijiang to Shangri-La.

Bita Lake in Shangri-La

Getting Around Shangri-La

City Buses

There are several public buses in Shangri-La. Bus 3 can get you to Songzanlin Monastery, a popular spot in Shangri-La, for 1 yuan.


Shangri-La is a small town. The taxi fare is about 5 yuan within the town.

Touring Shangri-La with China Highlights

If you plan to visit Yunnan, don't miss Shangri-La, a place offering a taste of Tibet, with similar altitudes and culture, but without so much hassle.

We have conducted many tours to Shangri-La. Here are two popular itineraries for your inspiration:

See more Yunnan tours. Our tours are customizable — tell us your interests and requirements and we will help you to tailor-make a tour.