Shangri-la Transportation
Shangri-la

Shangri-la Transportation

By Coco YangUpdated May. 31, 2021

Shangri-La (the city and county renamed from Zhongdian in 2001), which means ‘sun and moon in the heartin Tibetan, is a paradise where people and gods are thought to coexist. Featuring a vast territory but sparce population, beautiful natural scenery, and many scenic spots, Diqing (Shangri-La’s prefecture) is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China. It is located in the northwest of Yunnan Province, with Tibet to its west and Sichuan to its east. 

In this Shangri-La transportation guide, you will find how to get to Shangri-La and Shangri-La regional transport information.  

ThangkaThangka

Diqing Shangri-La Airport

Covering an area of 225 hectares (556 acres), Diqing Shangri-La Airport is a medium-sized national airport offering flights to KunmingChengduLhasaGuangzhouShenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, and Xishuangbanna.

Diqing Shangri-La Airport is about 8 km (5 miles) from Shangri-La’s downtown area, which takes about 30 minutes by taxi or private car. It’s just southwest of the city. Contact us for a comfortable private transfer.

Long Distance Coaches

Shangri-La is the capital of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and has good highway links with Yunnan, Sichuan, and Tibet. Long-distance buses are available from Kunming, Dali, and Lijiang, as well as Daocheng Yading and Panzhihua in Sichuan Province.

Shangri-La Coach Station is about 4 km (2½ miles) south from Songzanlin Monastery in the north of the city.

Songzanlin MonasterySongzanlin Monastery

How to Get to Shangri-La from Lijiang/Dali

From Lijiang to Shangri-La, it is about 187 kilometers (116 miles), and there are scheduled long-distance buses from Lijiang Bus Station every day. However, we recommend a private car transfer, which is more comfortable and flexible. It takes about 3½ hours by private car from Lijiang, and you can see the Tiger Leaping Gorge and The First Bend of the Yangtze River on the way.

Contact us for our private car service.  

From Dali to Shangri-la is about 300 kilometers (190 miles), and you could take a long-distance bus from Dali Bus Station to Shangri-La. However, we always suggest visiting Lijiang before going to Shangri-La to break up the long journey, which could be done by train/bus/car and then a private car transfer to Shangri-La after enjoying Lijiang for a day or so — see above.

Hiking in Tiger Leaping GorgeHiking in Tiger Leaping Gorge

Recommended tours including Shangri-La:  

How to Get to Shangri-La from Daocheng Yading

The distance between Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve and Shangri-La is about 310 km (190 miles) and takes about 10–12 hours by car. From April to November, there is one bus every day, departing from Shangri-La Bus Station to Daocheng. In winter, the road might be cut off by heavy snow, so the journey is not possible on some winter days.

It would be more comfortable and faster to have a private transfer, and you could visit the Shangri-La Canyon en route. You could also have stops for pictures wherever you wanted. There are some great viewpoints for the snow-capped mountains.  

Recommended trip:

Daocheng YadingDaocheng Yading

How to Get to Shangri-La from Lhasa

Shangri-La is an important city on the Yunnan-Tibet Highway, so some travelers may choose to go to Lhasa from Shangri-La by road for its adventure and the amazing natural views along the way.

Long-distance bus travel is possible from Shangri-La to Lhasa, which takes about 3 days! Moreover, the road conditions are not very good: it is bumpy, high-altitude, and winding. Contact us for a private vehicle and driver and any other arrangements for the most comfortable road trip possible.

However, the most suggested way to travel between Shangri-La and Lhasa is taking a flight. There is one flight each day, which takes about 2½ hours.

How to Get to Shangri-La from Kunming

It is about 660 kilometers (410 miles) between Shangri-La and Kunming. You can journey directly to Shangri-La Long-Distance Bus Station by high-speed passenger bus from Kunming Long-Distance Bus Station, which will take about 12 hours. This is a long journey by road!

If you want to travel directly between Kunming and Shangri-La, the best way is by air, which takes about 1 hour, and there are many flight choices each day from morning to night.

Usually, travelers choose to visit Dali and Lijiang between Kunming and Shangri-La. You can take a high-speed train from Kunming to Dali, then have a private car transfer from Dali to Lijiang after 1 or 2 nights stay there. Lastly, take a private transfer from Lijiang to Shangri-La, and you can see Tiger Leaping Gorge and the First Bend of the Yangtze on the way.

You can know more about the last option by viewing this recommended tour:

Old Town in LijiangOld Town in Lijiang

How to Get to Shangri-La from Panzhihua

From Panzhihua in Sichuan Province to Shangri-La it is about 470 kilometers (290 miles), and there are several scheduled buses from Panzhihua (Jinjiang) Long-Distance Bus Station to Shangri-La, which take about 11 hours.

How to Travel around Shangri-La

4-day Shangri-la tour

Local Buses

There are about eight city bus routes right now [January 2021] in Shangri-La, and you can take public buses to most places around the downtown area of Shangri-La county. The operating times of the buses are from 6 am to 6 pm.

Shangri-La Taxis

It is easy to find a taxi in Shangri-La City and the starting fee is about CN¥7. It takes about 10–15 yuan to Songzanlin Monastery by taxi from the city center, and it’s about 30 yuan to the airport.

Shangri-La to Meili Snow Mountain

The holy Meili Snow Mountains are in Deqen County, and if you want to go to Meili Snow Mountain by public bus, you’ll need go to Deqen Town first, then change to another bus from Deqen to Feilai Temple, one of the best viewing platforms for the snow-capped mountains. There are scheduled buses from Shangri-La Bus Station to Deqen Town every day, which take about 6 hours. Then, it’s about another 30 minutes from Deqen to Feilai Temple.

For more convenient and comfortable travel, a private car transfer is highly recommended. The scenery along the road is extremely beautiful: you can enjoy the scenery of Napahai Lake, Jinsha River Grand Gorge, Benzhilan, Dongzhuling Monastery, and Baima Snow Mountain. Contact us for more.

Recommended tour:

Feilai Temple Viewing PlatformFeilai Temple Viewing Platform

Deqen to Mingyong Glacier and Xidang Village

There are scheduled buses from Deqen Bus Station to Mingyong Glacier every day (via Feilai Temple) — a one-hour trip.

Also, buses are available to Xidang Village (a must-visit on the road to Yubeng village).

Travelers go to Mingyong Glacier and Xidang Village for hiking trips, and because of this, flexible private transfers are more convenient. The driver can wait for you anytime based on your own schedule. Contact us for a private car service.

Our Shangri-La Tours

See more Yunnan tours, which cover the highlights in Yunnan and also include exclusive programs to give a unique experience. Your trip could also be customized: contact us to tailor your own unique Shangri-La trip.

We are here to help you...
start planning your tailor-made China tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip
China Highlights tailor-makes China tours to help travelers discover China their way. We're a passionate team of one hundred avid travelers who love to share our knowledge of China with those looking for a more authentic travel experience, more ...
Featured on
info template feature on