First Glimpse on the Roof of the World

A three hour drive from Shaxi along curving mountain pass roads brings you to the Tibetan plateau and it’s first major trading site - Zhongdian. The city was renamed Shangri-La, after the Utopian Tibetan location described in Jack Hilton's novel, Lost Horizon.

Along the road north, we stopped at two rest stops. The first was a stunning overlook where you can see the bend in the Yangtze River after its long southeast journey from Tibet. It felt good to stop here and enjoy this magnificent view with the yellow canola fields in bloom along the river.

The San Gui Shui Scenic Overlook on the way to Shangri-La, Tibet

The San Gui Shui Scenic Overlook on the way to Shangri-La, Tibet

As we crossed over the bridge into Tibet, I looked out my window and saw a majestic parade of giant white yak statues welcoming us on the rocky hillside. I couldn’t wait to see a yak in real life!

You can imagine then my excitement when we pulled over to a rest stop where for 10 renminbi you could meet a fluffy white yak and make a photograph.

I am lucky to say that my first real glimpse of Tibet was astride a yak, where I curled my fingers in her mane, and lifted my face to the sun. Surrounded by mountains, with ancient earth below me, and endless blue sky above me, I felt at home….and my heart filled with overwhelming gratitude for this journey.

Photo Credit:  Douglas Beasley

Photo Credit: Douglas Beasley


“I visited many places, some of them quite exotic and far away, but I always returned to myself.” 

― Dejan Stojanovic

Have you ever been to a faraway place that felt like home? If so I would love to hear about it in the comments below!


Founder & Lead Travel Ambassador for OPEN AIR PLACES.  

I hope you enjoyed hearing about my introduction to Tibet, also known as the Roof of the World. I feel so grateful to find that such a faraway place can still feel like home. The next time I write, I’ll be sharing more about what inspired me during my stay in stunning Shangri-La, Tibet.

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