A Travel Guide to Shangri-La

The mystical, mythical Shangri-La has held a special allure to travelers since the release of the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton. In the book, the main character survives a plane crash in the Himalaya only to discover a hidden valley that is a paradise on Earth where the people live for hundreds of years without a care in the world. Since that time, many have searched for the possible location of Shangri-La, hoping to discover the place for themselves.

Now, author Michael Buckley has written a travel guide to the legendary place. The book, entitled Shangri-La: A Travel Guide To The Himalayan Dream, is an interesting mix of myth and reality, as it serves as a guidebook for such places as China, Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal, while still focusing on Shangri-La, a place that doesn’t really exisit at all. The book weaves in local legends, with tales of the yeti and sacred Himalayan peaks, while still providing practical information on Himalayan culture, the best treks in the region, places to visit, and more. There is even a field guide to the wildlife you’ll encounter there.

World Hum has recently conducted an interview with Buckley in which he talks about the challenges of writing a travel guide for a mythical place and why that myth has become such an indelible part of western culuture. He also touches on his own experiences in the Himalaya, where he has spent more than 20 years immersed in the culture and landscapes there.

Shangri-La is one of those unique legendary places that often inspires travel. The mere mention of the place conjures up visions of far off, snowy mountain kingdoms. And while it may not exisit as a real place on a map, the mere thought of it is enough to send us off looking for it none the less.