Pudacuo National Park in Shangri-la, Diqing

Why is Pudacuo National Park So Special

Being one of the most bio-diverse regions in China’s Yunnan Province, Pudacuo National Park is the first national park in Chinese mainland which was announced on June 25, 2007. With its crystal-clear lakes, undulating mountains and gurgling streams, Pudacuo National Park is definitely a wonderful natural wonderland. Among China’s 2,500 nature reserves, Pudacuo is the only one meets the standards for national parks established by The World Conservation Union. In addition to its rare vegetation and mammal species, the stunning natural beauty of landscape is unmissable for visitors as well.

Where is Pudacuo National Park – Location

Situated in the east of Shangri-La, Pudacuo National Park is about 22 kilometers and 40 minutes’ drive from Shangri-La downtown area. It is about 26.2 km from Songzanlin Monastery and 25.1 km from Dukezong Old Town and Guishan Hill.

How to Get There

By Bus: At Shangri-La Bus Station, there are buses running to Pudacuo National Park at 08:00, 08:30, 09:30 and 10:00. And the return  time is 14:00, 14:30, 15:00 and 16:30.

By Minivan Rental: Tourists can hire minivan to Pudacuo National Park at the square in Dukezong Old Town. 

By Taxi: It takes 40 minutes from Shangri-la County; a single trip costs CNY 80 and a round-trip costs CNY 150.

History and Culture 

Pudacuo National Park was announced on June 25, 2007, and is notable as the first national park in China to meet International Union for Conservation of Nature standards. It is a provincial nature reserve with an elevation between 3500 meters and 4159 meters, as well as an important part of the “Three Parallel Rivers” scenic area.  

Main Attractions

Bita Lake

Bita Lake, lying in the heart of Pudacuo National Park is crowned as a pearl of the Plateau with an average depth of 20 meters. Being 3 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide, Bita Lake sits on an altitude of 3,530 meters. As legends told, the lake was said to be incarnated from a piece of mirror belonged to a Goddess when she attempted to mend the sky. A small wooden island serving as a shelter for a variety of rare species of birds was built in the center of the lake.

Shudu Lake

Shudu Lake as one of the biggest lakes in Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is 3,705 meters above the sea level. Covering an area of 15 square kilometers, the lake is renowned for its stunning natural sceneries especially in every spring and summer. Visitors here can hear the sound of flute, see herds of yak and goat grazing beside the lake.

Militang Pasture

The area between the Bita Lake and Shudu Lake is the Militang Pasture which is the largest pastureland in Pudacuo National Park. Militang Pasture is dotted with yaks and cabbage-like grass. The term Militang in Tibetan refers to “the Buddha’s eye” because of its eye-shaped appearance from a bird’s view angle.

Recommended Visiting Route

It has two lakes, a visitor center, several interesting minority villages, lush forests and pasture views.

First Stop(Shudu Lake): From the visitor center a park bus takes visitors to the first stop, 13 km away from where there are several miles of raised wooden walkways around the 120-hectare (300-acre) Shudu Lake (属都湖). 

Second Stop(Militang Pasture): Travelers cannot get down to the pasture and have close contact with the cattle, horse, sheep yet, but there is a grand sightseeing platform for travelers to shoot amazing photos and enjoy the gorgeous meadow scenery. It is recommended to stay for 10-15 minutes.

Last Stop(Bita Lake): The next bus destination is Bita Lake (碧塔海), 3,500 metres (11,482 feet) above sea level. It is surrounded by dense deciduous forests. The bus stops a few feet from a wharf from where visitors can take a boat ride around the lake and to the island in the center. Price for the boat ride is 50 RMB. It is just over 1.6 km (1.0 mi) from where the boat disembarks to the bus pick up point. Alternatively, one may walk down the 1.9 km (1.2 mi) path from the South entrance and hike to and exit the park from the West entrance. Getting to the West entrance requires both a boat and ferry ride. The entire hike can take 4–6 hours. Riding horses are also available.

Best Time to Go

Pudacuo National Park is suitable for traveling all the year around. Different season has different scenery. While Spring and autumn are the best time to visit. In spring, the hills are covered with colorful azalea, and in autumn it has a colorful scene.

It’s recomended to wear clothes when traveling to Pudacuo National Park during winter seasons. Please check weather forecast of Shangri-La and prepare warm clothes before you come.

Nearby Attractions

Ganden Songzanlin Monastery, Shangri-la

Being the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, Songzanlin Monastery, also known as Guihua Monastery, is one of the famous monasteries in the Kang region. It is located near Shangri -La County, at the foot of Foping Mountain.

Three Parallel Rivers Natural Reserve of Yunnan Province

These great rivers and the ecology is protected by a national park 310 km by 180 km in size. UNESCO World Heritage calls it one of the world’s most biologically diverse temperate regions on the planet. Now this protected area is a site for ecotouring.

Useful Travel Tips

►There are one trekking routes in Shudu Lake Scenic Area, respectively 1.6 miles and 0.3 miles. During the trekking, tourists can enjoy the primitive scenery of the lake. 
►Make a detour to Sangcuoka Tourist Service Center for meals is available during the sigheseeing bus ride, please tell the driver in advance.
►The best site for sightseeing and photographing Bita Lake is on the sightseeing platform after going over a mountain range on the way to Bita Lake.
►There are two ways to appreciate Bita Lake including plank road trekking and lake boating. The plank road is 2.5 miles and trekking is the best way to way to appreciate the lake scenery. Boat cruise on the lake can save your energy and the fare is RMB 50/ person.

Tours including Pudacuo National Park

4 Days Shangri-la City Tour

5 Days Lijiang-Shangrila Tour

8 Days Yunnan Classic Tour by High Speed Bullet Train

10 Days Yunnan Classic Tour with Dongchuan Red Land Photography