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Pudacuo National Park, Shangri-la

Pudacuo National Park in Shangri-la countyIts diverse sceneries include crystal-clear lakes, undulating mountains and gurgling streams, making it a clear choice to become the countrys first national park. Local government efforts to map the park began in early 2006 since which time over 200 million yuan (US26.3 million) have been spent on strengthening the parks preservation and eco-tourism appeal.

Pudacuo National Park is a 500 sq mi (1,295 km2) national park located in Shangri-La County, Yunnan Province in the People's Republic of China. The 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 incorporates the Bita Lake Nature Reserve and the Duhu Scenic Area in the Hongshan region. As such they are part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site.

A lake in the parkThe region of this park contains more than 20 percent of the country’s plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species and almost 100 endangered species, though it comprises only 0.7 percent of China's land area. It is notably home to vulnerable Black-necked cranes, many rare and beautiful orchids, and Himalayan Yew, a coniferous tree whose extracts are a source of the anticancer drug, paclitaxel.

The park is about a 50 minute drive from Zhongdian. It has two lakes, a visitor center, several interesting minority villages, lush forests and pasture views. From the visitor center a park bus takes visitors to the first stop, 8 miles (13 km) miles away from where there are several miles of raised wooden walkways around the 300 acres (120 ha) Shudu Lake.

The next bus destination is Bita Hai Lake, 11,482 feet (3,500 m) 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 30 Yuan. It is just over a mile from the where the boat disembarks to the bus pick up point. Alternatively, one may walk down the 1.2 miles (2 km) 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.

Free admission to Xiagei Village or "Xiagei Only For Tourists Interested In Shopping Village” is included in the park’s 190 Yuan admission fee.

A report about the Pudacuo National Park

A fictional place in the novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton, Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, a perennially happy land, isolated from the outside world. In today's program, we'll meet a Tibetan girl, a tour guide in the real Shangri-la in southwestern Yunan Province. Liu Yan has more.

Pudacuo National Park is located in Yunnan's Shangri-la County. Established in 2007, it is a first for Chinese conservation efforts and a prelude to its ambitious plans for many more national parks in the near future.

Tourism is a key aspect of Pudacuo's development. Nestled in the mountains of southwest China, the park is an integral part of the Three Parallel Rivers Scenic Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of China's most popular tourist destinations. It provides economic benefits to local communities through park-related jobs and ecotourism.

The park is where a Tibetan girl called Zhuoma works. She is a local tour guide.

"Hello and good morning! Welcome to the mysterious Shangri-la, the beautiful Pudacuo National Park. I'm your guide in the park. My name is Zhuoma. I hope you have a happy stay here in the park."

Pudacuo National Park is located in one of the most biologically-diverse regions of the world. While the region comprises only 0.7 percent of China's land area, it contains more than 20 percent of the country's plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species and almost 100 endangered species.

By any standard, Pudacuo qualifies as a natural wonderland. It contains endemic species of fish found no where else in the world, rare and beautiful orchids, black-necked cranes and a yew species whose extracts are indispensable to the creation of many cancer drugs.
21-year-old Zhuoma was born and brought up in Shangri-la. Her name Zhuoma means fairy in the Tibetan language. She is good at singing and dancing and speaks fluent Mandarin.

This is Zhuoma singing a Tibetan folk song for tourists. The song depicts the beautiful scenery at the park.

The park's name "Pudacuo" comes from the local Tibetan word for the divine assistance that ensures boat passengers a safe journey across the many lakes dotting the area. Foremost among the lakes in the park are the Bita and Shudu lakes, though the extended wetlands area extends far beyond to encompass forested mountains, grasslands in river valleys and a great abundance of rare plants and animals.

Being major attractions, the two lakes are Zhuoma's favorite. Having graduated from a tourism vocational school two years ago, she became a professional tour guide in a local tourism company. She says she loves the job because she not only showcases the beautiful landscape of the place but also makes friends with tourists from all over the world.

"Everyday is a new day. It is interesting to meet new people and learn new things."

Zhuoma has a pleasant personality and is always ready to help others. She is also always eager to learn. When people ask questions about things she doesn't know, she goes back and finds the answer after work.

Zhuoma explains that human existence in this area dates back to the Western Zhou Dynasty some 3,000 years ago. For hundreds of years the region was home to several tribes. Shangri-La finally made contact with Central China in the Han Dynasty some 2,000 years ago. Today, the town is more Tibetan than Han Chinese with trademark Tibetan architecture and customs. And most of the 130,000 population celebrate New Year according to the Tibetan calendar.

A Buddhist, Zhuoma is a worshiper at a local lamasery. During off-season, she goes back home to help her parents with farm-related chores. She is glad she can earn money and help support the family.

"Our family has one hectare of land. My parents work very hard for farming. I hope they can have a better life with my help."

To her parents, Zhuoma is a real delight and to her colleagues, she is an amazing companion. Shen Xueshu is from the Yi ethnic group. He has known Zhuoma for two years now.
"Zhuoma is a serious and responsible worker and a good companion. She is very bright and her jolly nature has lifted spirits among everyone – those who work with her and tourists as well."

Shangri-La is about 3,300 meters above sea level. The weather has a tendency to be humid with temperatures varying both at night and during the four seasons. Winters are cold with lots of snow and summers are the rainy season. Zhuoma says the best seasons to come visit are spring and autumn, specifically May to July and September to October.

"Beautiful scenery nurtures the soul and culture cultivates the mind. We hope everybody has a happy stay in Shangri-la."

Zhuoma hopes that as tourism continues to grow, Shangri-La will continue to develop at a rapid pace. 

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