The girls left to Kunming in the morning (if I remember correctly👀) and we said our goodbyes at the breakfast. I took a shower, got myself some banana pancakes and with new friend John that we met last night here at Tavern47 we set off to explore Shangri-La.
Two years ago, somewhere in 2014, there was a huge fire that started in one of the hostels – someone forgot to turn off his electric blanket and then the fire spread out almost through all of the Old town pretty fast, since all the buildings there were mostly wooden. Two years later and there are no signs of any fire whatsoever, except that new hostels, hotels, taverns, restaurants and small shops are being built – but I didn’t see any burnt house at all. It just looks like the city is developing.
In the center of Old town, there is a temple so we went inside. Very nice, but since I saw sooo many temples already, it was nothing special😁 Outside, next to the temple, there was this thing that you have to spin and say prayers (or wishes, who knows). But usually it’s only 40cm or so tall. This one was huge! I am really bad at estimating distances, volumes and basically everything, so to me it seemed it’s 4-6m tall and at least 20 people had to grab the handle around to be able to make it spin. So everybody grabbed the handle, started to push and we did it! The golden cylinder started to spin, I made 3 circles while holding it, probably wished something and was happy😊
We moved to the new city afterwards and that’s really nothing special. You can see the Chinese communist design influence everywhere, ugly buildings that definitely don’t look like they are in a super ancient, religious city in the Himalayas. Blah. Nevertheless, there was a Shangri-La museum and we went in (although I’m SO NOT INTO MUSEUMS!). But omg.. OMG!!! The museum has 8 floors, and inside there is a Buddha statue that goes through 7 floors. And OMG again.. The statue was THE MOST AMAZING BUDDHA STATUE I’VE EVER SEEN!!! It’s basically two persons – man and a woman that are standing in front of each other, probably hugging? Well it looked like to me. They both have 4 faces, looking into four cardinal points, 8 hands (so 16 in total) , where 2 hands are holding each other. The other hands are holding weapons. Trust me, it looks better than it sounds. I was completely astonished by the statue, you could fell the power and beauty that was radiating from it and could almost touch its energy, really. I didn’t want to leave that place, it was something out of this world.
We decided to have lunch at Noah Café (recommended by Lonely Planet, right at the borders with Old town) and I wasn’t disappointed. Western club sandwich was a perfect choice for me, and it so big that I saved half for dinner hehe😃
With full belly we then headed towards Songzanlin monastery. We were trying to find a way how to get in without paying the entrance fee and I’m sure there was one, but I wasn’t in a state to do some crazy long walks/hikes, because my knee was still hurting really badly. So we bought the ticket after all and went in (the tickets were pretty expensive, I think around 150 RMB). The whole day I had a weird mood and at the monastery it graduated so I was completely uninterested in all of that. I finished my sightseeing in 30 minutes and went to the lake nearby. Knee was hurting, it was getting cold and I just didn’t feel like being around people. Yup, you can get sad and depressed even in such a holy place as Shangri-La. Never mind! Later on, Roman and John met me in the middle of the lake and we were waiting for the sun, to take few good pictures of that monastery.
It was getting colder so we wanted to go back to the hostel, but as we discovered, the last bus to Shangri-La already left. Grrr. But we tried our luck, stopped one car and I asked that Chinese guy to take us to the city and surprisingly he agreed! So for 10 RMB we went back. Guys went for hot pot dinner, but I was too tired so went straight to bed.