Potatso National Park
In 1872 America set up the Yellow Stone
National Park, the first national park in the world. Potatso
National Park is the first national park in mainland China,
inaugurated on June 21, 2007. In Sanscrit, "Pota"
means the same as "Putuo" in Buddhism, while "Cuo"
means "lake" in Tibetan language. "Potatso" therefore
means ¡°a lake which releases living beings from
suffering". The park, with a total area of l,000 square
kilometers, is 22 kilometers away from Shangri-La County.
It is located in the central part of the Three Parallel Rivers
World Heritage Zone. At present, the touring area consists
mainly of three parts: Shudu Lake, Militang Meadow and Bitahai
Lake. They are linked by a 69-kilometer circle road. The shuttle
buses in the park can drive tourists around in the park, with
several stops on the way.
Shudu Lake is located in the north part
of the park and is a typical alpine lake. A 2.7-kilometer-long
plank road runs alongside the lake and it takes about 45 minutes
to walk around it. While walking along this plank road, the
tourist can enjoy the beautiful scenery provided by the lake,
flowing streams, trees, flowers, grass, and majestic mountain
A few minutes' ride on the shuttle bus will
take you to Militang, which means ¡°Buddha's-eye
grassland¡± in Tibetan dialect. It is a famous
highland pasture in Shangri-La. Looking afar from the sight-viewing
platform gives you a feeling of relaxation and happiness.
The last stop of the travel route is Bitahai
Lake, which is located in the south part of the park. It is
the key scenic spot of this park. The altitude of the lake
surface is 3, 539 meters above sea level. Here, you can enjoy
the beautiful scenery the enchanting "Fish drunk on azalea
petals", which is Bitahai Lake's best known and most
notable scenic feature. Bitahai Lake is fringed with various
azaleas, which adds to the beauty of the lake. Mid-May on
the Chinese lunar calendar (June and July) is a time when
azaleas bloom. When this happens, special " thick lip
fish" often swim to this lake and swallow azaleas petals
that have fallen on the lake's surface. When passing fish
eat these petals (which are slightly poisonous) they can be
seen floating on their backs with their white bellies exposed
amongst the petals as if they are drunk.
You have two options when touring around
the lake. One is to walk on the 4.2-kilometer plank road,
which takes more than one hour. This option gives you a chance
to visit the Pilgrim Platform, Miaoyin Pond, Sea-watching
Pavilion, and Lotus Spring. Another route is to take cruise
from the lake pier and take a circle ride in the lake, which
gives you a chance to closely observe the islet in the middle
of the lake.
Baimang Snow Mountain
Haba Snow Mountain
Meili Snow Mountain