To fully appreciate this, you need to take a walk in the hills above the city. With the small, multicolored flags, floating in the air, that adorn most of the places of worship, the monumental mountains of Haba Xueshan that surround the city with their snowy peaks are intoxicating. This spectacle is both moving and exciting, all at the same time. Are we in Middle Kingdom? On top of the world? It doesn't really matter. What matters is the images that this region engraves on your memories, providing visitors with panoramas like the ones you can see at Tiger Leaping Gorge, a beautifully wild canyon, with an alpine feel about it, and a breathtaking grandeur, as the river Yangtze Kiang purrs away a little lower down. Those for whom nature is an even more powerful call will have to go to the national park of Pota-tso, spanning 750 square miles and whose highest point stands at 13,645 feet! Back in Shangri-La, head off to the imposing Tibetan monastery, Songzanlin. Nicknamed "Little Potala Palace", in reference to the famous landmark of Lhasa, this splendid monastery (the largest of any province) and its 600 monks preside over the city like an amber-colored jewel. But it is mainly the richness of its interior decoration, the heady smell of incense, the smoothness of its gilded sculptures and Buddhas that make the building so enthralling.