Strange name, great place! In Yunnan's north, close to our neighbors Sichuan and Tibet, the Balagezong Scenic Area (巴拉格宗风景区) offers a splendid scenery of snow caped mountains, dense green forests and villages with Tibetan customs and distinguishing architecture. A good example for such a village is Bala, a typical Tibetan hamlet surrounded by high mountains. Bala was already recorded ages ago as a place, Tibetan people sought-after, looking for a place to stay without wars and misery. As a symbol of a "perfect place in paradise", Balagezong also became an eternal Promised Land in many Tibetan folk songs.
As part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, the Balagezong Grand Canyon is appointed as one of the national parks in the greater Shangri-La area. The Balagezong Snow Mountain, also known as the Holy Gezong Mountain, reaches up to an elevation of 5545 meters and is the highest mountain of Shangri-la county, often hidden in the clouds. The Gangqu River - a tributary to the close Yangtze River - has formed the canyon with its crystal clear water. Numerous alpine lakes are worth a visit along and beyond hiking paths.
The scenic area is ideal for trekking, horseback riding and rafting. The entrance tickets cost 210 RMB per person.
How to get there
Located roughly 80 km north of Shangri-La, the scenic area can be reached by various modes of transport.
- By shuttle bus: from Shangri-La's Dukezong Ancient Town, the bus leaves in the mornings at 9:15h and leaves Balagezong again between 16:00h - 18:00h. The ride takes about 2 hours and costs 50 RMB for a return ticket.
- Rent a private car with driver. Depending on the season and type of vehicle, prices vary between 800 and 1200 RMB