Zhongdian (also known as Shangri La ) is at 3200 metres altitude and is in a Tibetan prefecture it has a totally different feel to the rest of China. In fact every area on the Yunnan trip felt different to the last as each had its own ethnic group. Most of the town was built of mudbricks with huge timbers, and were substantial 2 storey plus buildings. In an outlying village we went in to a private home and saw current rammed earth structures being built once again with enormous timber supports. Our tour guide randomly chose a house knocked on the door and got permission to tour the house for a cash reward, (about $6), they were happy to agree, could you imagine this happening in Australia!
We also went to a nearby monastery which has over 600 monks in residence. Lots of Hindu/Tibetan influence, with monks chanting in a deep guttural tune. The monastery was big, old and once again all in mud brick. Langer our guide was very knowledgeable about the entire region, with only 5 in the tour group it felt very personalised. When we departed we gave Langer a Gideons Bible, he is very interested in all religions and was pleased that it was small so he could carry it on his trips. Hopefully he will be blessed and inspired by it.
Later today we join the Intrepid trip which is 21 days throughout Eastern China. Hope it is as good as the last tour, it certainly makes life much easier to be on a tour as language can be a real problem. In many places we have travelled there have been very few westerners. We have now finished our Peregrine trip and it’s off to Kunming by plane then straight on to Beijing!