Songzanlin Monastery @ Shangri-La

Nestled in the hills about 4km north of old town Shangr-la is the Songzanlin Monastery. In order to get here you can take bus 3, which takes off from moonlight square, or simply walk north for about an hour. The fee to get in is about 120 rmb, for which they drive you the final leg of the journey right up to the base of the monastery.

I started my exploration here with a walk around Lamuyangcuo Lake to take some snapshots. This takes a bit of time, however its well worth it to be able to capture the monastery's reflection in the water.

When I got all the way around the lake and entered the monastery, I found large slow tour groups moving through it kind of clogging up the recommended clockwise route. I tagged behind one for about 10 minutes before I got bored, and then decided to start wandering off on my own.

I walked about and enjoyed and eventually wandered into the tallest temple of the premise. Inside there are flights of stairs going all the way up to the top story, and at the top there is an unmarked door off in the corner which I discovered takes you right onto the roof of the place. I don't know if this place was off limits or not, but it had the most incredible view in the monastery and during the 30 minutes I sat up here drinking beer and taking pictures I didn't see another human.

After finishing up on the roof, I wandered about a couple more of the rooms I had missed earlier. Since I was almost ready to leave, this time I was less careful about breaking the no photo rule inside. I only got a couple snapshots, but what is really cool is the detail and color in all of the Tibetan decorations and drawings.

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