Area: 23,870 square kilometers (9,216 square miles)
Nationalities: Han, Tibetan
Administrative Division: 2 counties (Shangri-La, Deqin); 1 autonomous county (Weixi Lisu Autonomous County)
Location: Situated in the northwest of Yunnan Province, the heart of the Hengduan Mountains, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture lies at the juncture of Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibet, and is the hinterland of the Three Parallel Rivers of the Yunnan Protected Area. It provides the only pass from Yunnan to Tibet.
History: Six or seven thousand years ago, there were humans living in this remote land. The ancestors of Tubo (ancient name for Tibetans) created a colorful aboriginal culture here. In Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC), the orbit of the central government began to extend to Diqing.
Physical Features: Diqing stands on the southward expansion of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau with an average altitude of 3,380 meters (11,089 feet). Nushan Mountains, Yunling Mountains and Gongga (Minya Konka) Mountain zigzag paralleling to each other. The Jinsha River and Lancang River flow through the prefecture from north to south. Meadows are also the main landforms of this area.
Climatic Features: Enjoying a typical plateau climate, it may snow in August. The prefecture is encompassed by the Hengduan Mountains, and the terrain varies greatly, so the temperature difference of a day is great, too. Sometimes visitors can even experience all the four seasons in one day. July to September is the rainy season.
When to Go: Visitors usually choose to tour Diqing in summer or autumn for the moderate temperature.
Local Highlights: Tibetans make up almost thirty-four percent of Diqing's population. Traditional Tibetan celebrations and festivals, such as the horse racing festival and the Gedong (Lattice Winter) Festival, are certain to be the highlights,
Special Local Products: herbal medicine: cordyceps, snow lotus, Tibetan saffron; pine mushroom; Tibetan ornaments
Shangri-La: It is depicted as the Eden in dreams, a fascinating land out of this world. Lofty and continuous snow-covered mountains, endless grasslands, majestic canyons, azure lakes and very quaint villages promote the reputation of an eternally pure and tranquil land to this ideal home of dream.
Meili Snow Mountain: Reputed to be the sacred mountain by the Tibetans, it is the most spectacular snow-covered mountain of Yunnan Province. The Mingyong Glacier flowing from Kawagebo Peak is also a grand attraction of the mountain.
Tourist Tips: Road transportation is the most important mode of transport to Diqing. Shangri-La, the seat of the Diqing government, is about 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Lijiang and 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Dali. Diqing Airport is 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Shangri-La, operating flights to Kunming and Lhasa. Flights from other main cities usually transit through Kunming.