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Shangrila Shopping

Located in the plateau, Shangri-La is rarely affected by man-made contamination and rich in natural resources. It’s wealthy in wild medical herbs as aweto, white snow tea, red snow tea, fritillary, gastrodiae, angelica, saussurea, saffron and musk. Amongst all the residents in Shangri-La, the Tibetans account quite a lot. Thus, the Tibetan medicine there is also very famous. Such medicines which are made from rare herbs include the 70 flavor glutinous pearl pills, the 25 flavor glutinous pearl pills and the rin-chen-grang-sbyor pills which are all effective in treatment.

The various Tibetan handcrafts are also a specialty in Shangri-La. Such handicrafts as pearls, silver knives, wooden bowls, wooden boxes, silver shrines and Tibetan incenses are mainly characterized by local ethnic style. In addition, the local food should be experienced by all visitors. Cheese, yak meet, matsutake and barley wine are all good choices.

Shangri-La abounds in various herbs, such as saffron and angelica. Saffron is said to have the ability to promote blood circulation in order to remove blood stasis and beautify the skin; angelica is held in high regard for its curative effect on irregular menstruation, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, and dysfunctional uterine bleeding and blood  deficiency. The unique climate of the Shangri-La plateau is very suitable of the growth of Chinese caterpillar fungus (Dongchong-Xiacao in Chinese), a combination of fungus and dead caterpillar. It's a valuable medicine which is thought to improve human immunity. Moth larva is inflected by the fungus. The fungus absorbs its nutrition from the larva and grows out from the caterpillar's head.

Wooden bowls and boxes, Tibetan silver ornaments, Tibetan knives, Tibetan incense and the meat of yak are popular items of the region. The wooden bowls and boxes are exquisite and very practical. The Tibetan ornaments mainly include various necklaces, rings and bracelets. These items are often purchased by women as a memento of their visit.

Where to buy

Many of the shops are run by local residents. It is recommended that you shop around to ensure that you are paying a reasonable price.

Tip: The Tibetan knife with not be allowed through customs at the airport however it can be taken to the train and sent by post.


It is advised to ask for a receipt when buying Tibetan knives. The purchase item on the list of the receipt should be “handcraft” so as to be free from potential issues with law enforcement. Tibetan knives are strictly forbidden on airplanes, but can be carried on trains and buses. The best way is to send it back home is through the post office.

In Shangri-La, you have to be very careful when buying Tibetan ornaments and jewelries as some are inferior in quality. You don’t have to be too careful if you just want to buy some for fun. However, always remember to bargain.

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