Shika Snow Mountain, Shangri-la

After an overrated trip to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, I had my disappointment redeemed by visiting Shika Snow Mountain. The highest point that we can go as a tourist is only 4500m instead of 4680m at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. However, it is fine by us for many reasons so do read on.
It is quite easy to get to the snow mountain from Shangri-la because it stands 4 miles (7 kilometers) to the southwest of the county.
  1. Take bus line 9 from Shangri-la Passenger Station, and get off at the terminus. The bus is available from 7.30am to 5.00pm at hourly intervals. The fare is CNY 3.
  2. Take a taxi to the scenic area at about CNY 30 for a single trip.
  3. Charter a car, and it costs about CNY 60 for a round trip. You should agree a time with the driver for him to pick you up for the return trip.

I took the option 3 which is the convenient options ever as you don't have to waste time to take the bus. The bus is not bad actually for just CNY3 for the fare but the bus took an hour to reach while the car is only 15 minutes. The ticket price which includes the round trip cable car cost CNY270 per pax. It is not cheap too if compare to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
It is very confusing when there is another Blue Moon Valley at Shika Snow Mountain. They should have give other name especially this two mountains are not very far apart.
The cable car here is a little bit different than the cable cars we used to ride on. It has 3 cabins in one car but you cannot walk through the cabins. I wonder why they want to use this method as the middle cabin got lesser viewing sides than other cabins.
It is much colder here in Shangri-la compares to Lijiang. The temperature difference is almost 10 degrees. It is much colder on the mountain top, and the wind can be very strong. So you are advised to wear down jackets, long pants and warm shoes. You may rent a down jacket on the mountain for CNY 50.
We visited this snow mountain during the winter so we were unable to see a large piece of grassland here. I do believe it would be a very beautiful sight.
Two cable ways are available on the mountain. Ascending by cable car, you can enjoy the beautiful mountain from high above. After fifteen minutes or so, you will arrive at the charming Yala Green Wave Ranch halfway up the mountain. The expansive green ranch is embellished with wild flowers of various colors. Flocks of sheep and herds of cattle are grazing, with white clouds floating way above their heads. Everything is so harmonious. You will be deeply attracted by the scene. If taking a deep breath, you will become refreshed and excited. It is a wonderful experience!
During the stop, we can walk around the grassland and getting chased by a Yak. I mean seriously! Please be careful with male Yak, they do attack. Luckily who had these two cute dogs who has becomes our bodyguard. 
We got our escort all the way to the cable car station. What an adorable dog! I really do miss them when we had to leave him in the end. Hope he is doing well!
Some of the road is covered with ice. We made our footprints on it. There is nothing much we can do at the grassland as we were travelling during the low season and not much tourists were there. Less than 10 tourists in the whole grassland. It was pretty scary though.
We wanted to go around the grassland but because of the Yak and lack of people around, we decided to just reach to a pond which was frozen on the top layer. We can't step on it because it will crack.
There is a small hut where the locals which is the Tibetan making their traditional meat skewers for us to try. CNY10 for two skewers. There are options either you want pork meat or a yak meat.
Then, go on to take the cableway and head for the mountain top. In about twenty minutes, you will ascend the peak. Standing on the sightseeing platform there, you can see the eight holy mountains nearby, including the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the Meili Snow Mountain and the Biluo Snow Mountain. Then, after walking for about twenty minutes, you will arrive at the Azalea Bush, where you can enjoy the beautiful azalea flowers.
Shika in Tibetan refers to a mountain abounding in red deer, one of the auspicious animals in Tibetan Buddhism symbolizing longevity and justice. Thus the Shika Snow Mountain is regarded as a holy mountain for the local Tibetans. You can enjoy the beautiful snow mountain, the Spiritual Rhino Lake, the forest, the grassland, and rare plants and animals here. In addition, you may experience the religious culture of the sacred mountain and the nomadic culture.
You may find mani stones and mani stone mounds almost everywhere on this mountain. Sometimes they are decorated with sheep and yak horns. Usually the universal mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, is inscribed on these smooth stone plates, pebbles and rocks. Images of deities and great adepts and sutra texts are also common themes. Followers will drop a piece of Mani stone to the mound every time when they pass a Mani stone mound. That equals to praying or murmuring sutra texts. Thus, the mani mounds are growing taller every year. Mani stones are regarded sacred as the sacrifice to the Buddha.
The Shika Snow Mountain presents different landscapes according to the seasons. In spring, the foot of the mountain is covered with green grass while the top is still snow-capped. The blue sky, floating clouds, white peaks, green grassland, cattle, sheep, shepherd boys, Tibetan houses, and wisps of smoke are quite harmonious with one another. You will be amazed by this marvelous creation of nature. 
The mountain has a total area of 25 square miles (65 square kilometers). The altitude of the highest peak is 14,598 feet (4,449.5 meters) above the sea level, while the lowest Napa Grassland is 10,728 feet (3,270 meters) above the sea level. The large variation in elevation and expansive area endow the Shika Snow Mountain with diverse and abundant flora and fauna that contribute to its attraction to visitors.
In summer, Mount Shika becomes a sea of flowers. The brightly-colored azalea flowers are intoxicating. In autumn, the grassland at the foot of the mountain is dyed red by the Chinese Stellera in full bloom, while the mountain slopes are covered with Chinese larches, poplars, and birches, all of which are very fascinating! In winter, the mountain is coated with snow. The white clouds, the white mountain, and surrounding white landscape with the Tibetan houses contrast superbly with the blue sky. The beautiful scenery will take your breath away .
There are not much tourists at the top of the mountain. Probably less than 50 because the weather is too cold and it is a low season during the winter season. Not many like to experience the coldness here except us who came from a country with rainforest.

Avoid vigorous physical activities to prevent altitude sickness, such as running and jumping. In addition, you can buy an oxygen tank at the foot of the mountain for about CNY 50 or 60. I am not trying to brag but we did not need the oxygen though.
There is a large platform on top of it where you can write your wishes and prayers with a small fee. 
There is a small glass platform which is not scary at all where you can look down from the peak of Shika Snow Mountain. Do enjoy the panoramic view from the Shika Snow Mountain below. Click to enlarge the picture.



No tourist, flexible time, beautiful scenery and thick snow playground...paradise for us. We enjoyed our time here by playing with the snow but not for me who was taking these pictures. 
My hand was freezing the moment I remove my winter glove. I only can hold for 1 minute to take all the pictures that I could before my hand is frozen. 
She is the one who is enjoying the most on this peak. The weather on the peak was 3 degrees celcius but it was not snowing. Snowing is only happened at night.
It is sad to leave Shika Snow Mountain. I really wish to stay longer but it was really cold and the wind was too strong. The wind was making every inch of my exposed skin froze. My ears and my nose hurt the most. I almost feel that they can be taken off.
This is the view you can see the whole Shangri-la. The view from the top is not very spectacular especially on the winter because there are not green grassland but I still enjoying it more than Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. I really had much joy with no other people around.
Ticket Price: CNY300/pax
Operating Hours: 8.00am - 6.00pm
Recommended?: 4/5

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