Shangri-La has no railway line and has limited flights within the region. The roads serve as the main means of transportation in Shangri-La. Visitors can conveniently reach the county through the Yunnan - Tibet Road, Sichuan - Tibet Road and Xikang - Tibet Road.
Located about four kilometers (2.49 miles) southeast of Shangri-La County, Diqing Shangri-La Airport (DIG) has the flights to Kunming, Lhasa, Guangzhou and Shanghai. If there is no direct airline between your starting point and Shangri-La, you can reach the Kunming Changshui International Airport first and then transfer to the county by long-distance bus or air.
Flights for other domestic destinations also leave from the airport but are completely irregular and destinations change from week to week. You can enquire about your destination. Upon arrival at the airport, you can take a taxi to downtown and the charge is about CNY15.
By Long-distance Bus
The main vehicle in Shangri-La is coach. It is very convenient to get here by coach from Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Panzhihua. The following detailed information is prepared for your reference.
Kunming - Shangri-La
Departure station: Nanyao Passenger Transport Bus Station
Location: No.60 Beijing Road, Kunming
Departure time: 08:20
Ticket Price: CNY 171
Departure station: Kunming West Passenger Transport Bus Station
Location: under the overpass near the Kunming West Railway Station
Departure time: 09:00
Ticket Price: CNY171
Lijiang - Shangri-La
Departure station: Lijiang Transport Service Center Bus Station
Location: at Changshui Road to the southwest corner of Lijiang Old Town
Departure time: 07:30, 08:30, 09:00, 10:30, 12:00, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30, 15:00
Ticket price: CNY 35
Dali - Shangri-La
Departure station: Xiaguan North Bus Station
Location: The Tai'an Road (North)
Departure time: 06:20-11:30 (every 30 minutes); 06:30-09:30 (every an hour)
Ticket price: CNY 45; CNY 58 (for sleeper)
The Zhongdian Coach Station is located in Changzheng Road (Middle), and buses which serve the county operate from here. Here is the information.
Shangri-La - Deqin
Departure time: There will be two coach buses during 07:30 to 08:00
Ticket price: CNY23
Shangri-La - Napa Lake
Ticket price: about CNY8
Shangri-La - Bitahai Lake
Ticket price: about CNY8 (get off at Shuangqiao and then walk or ride a horse to the Bitahai Lake)
Note that roads out of Shangri-La can be temporarily blocked by snow at any time from November to March. Bring lots of warm clothes and a flexible itinerary.
Shangri-La has quite few city-buses, including several city-buses and some minibuses to the surrounding towns. In peak season, there are more minibuses transferring visitors to the surrounding attractions, such as the Bus No.3 taking visitors to the Songzanlin Monastery.
Considering the routes of some regular buses may change sometimes, it is suggested to acquire clearly at the bus station before taking the buses.
Visitors can take a taxi to every place of Shangri-La, with the starting price of CNY5. Because the county is not big, taxis are not metered by taximeter. It always takes CNY5 within the downtown area. If getting out of the downtown, one should pay more money. The taxi fare is about CNY15 from the town seat to the airport. A round trip to White Water Terraces is about CNY200.
By Chartered Vehicle
If you want more flexibility and convenience, hiring a car is a good choice. Please note that the International Driving License or the foreign Driving License can not be used in China according to the law. So you are suggested to hire a local driver to drive for you.
In Shangri-La, there are some attractions can not be reached by vehicles. It is possible to ride a horse to admire the hidden natural beauties, like Bitahai Lake which is located in the valleys of snow mountains at 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level. You can hire a horse from the local Tibetans and the charge is about CNY30-CNY60 for single trip to the lake per person. For the sake of security, you had better ride a horse taken by a stableman. If the road is dangerous or in slopes, it is much safer to get off the horseback.