It was the British writer James Hilton's novel, The Lost Horizon, some 50 years ago, that brought fame to an unknown and uncontaminated place- Shangri-La - a household name. The novel described in great detail the stunning scenery in the area: the azure sky, the breathtaking beauty and the hospitality of unsophisticated people who welcome weary travelers to their homeland.
In Tibetan, Shangri- La means a place of good fortune and luck. Located in the midst of three rivers; the torrential Jinsha, Langcang and Nujiang, Shangri-La is a sacred scenic region with distinguishing features. Scores of years have witnessed the failure of numerous efforts to seek out and pinpoint the exact location of this dreamland. A few years ago, after years of persistent searching and researching, the government of Yunnan Province finally declared the discovery of Shangri-La and the long lost horizon was recovered in Diqing, this stunning prefecture in Yunnan Province.
Local Features: Meili Snow Mountain
Meili Snow Mountain, towering like a pyramid, is located about 10km west of Deqing City in Diqing Prefecture. As the sun rises in the east, the snow-mountain looks splendid, draped in gold. This holy scene is described in a book named The Lost Horizon.
Low altitude modern glaciers, can be found in this area, of particular interest to those engaged in geological research. Under Kawagebo Peak, Mingyuchia Glacier and Sichia Glacier stretch down to the forest at an elevation of 2,700 meters; this area is accessible. However, the highest peak, KawageboPeak some 6,740 meters above sea level, is still a "virgin peak", untouched till now. Mountaineers from China, Great Britain, the US, and Japan have failed to conquer the peak over the years. In 1991, 17 mountaineers from China and Japan trying to conquer the peak lost their lives on the snow-mountain.
There are numerous snow mountains between Yunnan and Tibet, including Everest, the highest mountain in the world and Qiaogeli Peak, the second highest in the world. Nevertheless, Meili Snow Mountain is the highest holy Tibetan Mountain in the world, shrouded in mist, cloud and mystery.
Spring and summer are the best seasons to visit Shangri-la when temperatures are moderate. The scenery is also gorgeous during these periods, with flowers blossoming and wildlife thriving in this pretty area.
Autumn in Diqing Plateau is also spectacular. 10 days after the Mid Autumn Festival, the leaves fall from the trees and the area takes on a picture postcard appearance.
Bear in mind however, that Shangri-la is very high, and temperatures can change fast here. It is not unusual too, to see some snow fall in the autumn months. What's more, the temperature can  vary greatly within the space of one day. Visitors to this region should come prepared- packing a variety of clothes and shoes. As usual in China, always carry your umbrella!
Dining Overview
Since the main inhabitants here are Tibetan, the foods available in Diqing mostly features Tibetan flavors. Irresistible delicacies here include glutinous rice cake, buttered tea, and barley wine. Most of the restaurants here serve Tibetan food, and for foreign tourists, the best choice are the Restaurants in the Yongsheng Hotel.
With the development of the tourist industry, numerous western restaurants have begun to appear in Shangri-la. Although not as many as in Dali or Lijiang, there are still a few places to choose from. The best western restaurant in town is probably the Aku Lemu Cafe in the Gyalthang Dzong Hotel. The western restaurant in the Yongsheng Hotel also serve nice food. The Tibetan Cafe is another restaurant with nice western food.