Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shangri-la 香格里拉: Halfway to Heaven

After our stay in cold night in Baishuitai, we made our way to Shangrila. Took a last look at Baishuitai as I know that it could be a looooooonnnnnng while until I return to this place again. Before we enter into Shangrila, we had another stopover at the Bitahai 碧塔海 nature park. The landscape is alright but we had been seeing so many trees and mountains during our Baishuitai visit that I thought it is ok.... We were advised to purchase oxygen tanks (a small one) while walking. Due to our kiasee mentality, we bought 2 and to my disappointment, I did not need it at all!!! However, Cuchi begs to differ. In short, I can sum it up by saying that it is dumb.....

Some shacks in the huge grass land of Bitahai

Cruising down the Bitahai.....

Again another item that is not needed... the overcoat!

One of the only interesting things at the nature park: Black Pigs! Yum yum!

Another interesting thing.... the nature park has a huge grass land but the cow prefers the rubbish bin
One whole morning at the nature park made me wanting to see buildings soon and hallelujah, my next stop is Shangrila! We stayed at a business hotel near to the old city. 4 stars with a computer. Not bad comparing it to the log cabin that we had the previous night. Itching to run out as soon as we dump our luggage, we dashed out of our hotel and went to the ancient town. A relatively small ancient town but it has character (and a lot less tourists!!! ) Architecture of this place is very different as the tribal people staying here are the Tibetans.

A view of the Tibetan monastery from the Town Square

The guard cat at the cafe

Kittens playing in the cafe
Yeah you should see the kittens here in the cafe, they are furry (with longer fur due to the cold weather) and so cute. Ignoring us, they kept playing in the cafe while we watched on. Roary and Singa also managed to snag a photo with the wise guard cat at the cafe. Moving along, we tried some Yak cheese and Tibetan wine. The Yak cheese (Geza gold) taste fantastic and the wine is drinkable. Full of flavor and taste, it is not for those who cannot stand strong cheese.

Photos with the wise guard kitty
A Tibetan shrine in the ancient town
Yak Cheese!

Yak cheese and Tibetan wine
After exploring round, we found that there are a lot of inns that we can stay in. Lo and behold we also found Singaporeans here! A couple set up a bakery, a cafe and a lodging house here in the heart of Shangrila! We met another Singapore lady who also set up a Singaporean cafe (sells Hokkien mee, Curry puff, Nyonya food....) in Shangrila as well. Missing our local cuisine, we tried some of their food. Surprisingly it is good. Compass cafe, which is set up by the couple, has very good pork chop that has a Hainanese taste to it. And The Little Nyonya cafe also has a good Hokkien Mee too!

The only Golden Village Cinema in Shangrila
An Inn
Along the paved streets of Shangrila
Pork chops at Compass Cafe (No it's not the black pig)
Fish fingers and French onion soup
More cats came along our way as we walked around the town. Furrier than their cousins here in Singapore, they remain friendly to us as we walked by and stroke almost each one of them.

Unfortunately, we only stayed one night in Shangrila, there are so many things to see here. Told ourselves that we would return before it transforms into another Lijiang. We finally tried food at a Tibetan cafe. A Tibetan breakfast which included a butter tea and western breakfast.
We were drawn to this..........
Hokkien mee at Shangrila
Guai Guai the kitten at the Little Nyonya
The heater in the Tibetan Cafe. It works very well though!

Doggy in the cafe looking at us for food

Tibetan Breakfast! Butter tea with biscuits and yak porridge

Western breakfast
Sadly we had to pack our bags and wave our goodbyes to Yunnan as that was our last stop before we fly back to Singapore from Kunming again. Sighing and longing to stay, we took a taxi to the Shangrila airport and took a plane back to Kunming before we fly back to Singapore. It was a memorable experience and Yunnan is definitely worth another go!
View of Shangrila from our hotel

Shangrila Airport, one of the cleanest, most underused airports I have seen

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