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3,200 metres above sea level, in a remote valley in the province of Yunnan, sits the small and enchanting village of Hong Po. Here you will find Banyan Tree Ringha, a hotel made up of 32 suites and lodges in the traditional Tibetan style, surrounded by a surreal landscape of snow-capped mountains, lakes and powerful rivers.
Guests spend their days discovering the local culture, visiting Buddhist temples and small villages or immersing themselves in nature. You can hike through the Ringha valley, following the holy river into the soaring mountains, forage for mushrooms in a pine forest and visit one of Shangri-La’s largest lakes surrounded by a forest filled with deer and muntjacs. It doesn’t get more magical than this.
Here Mario Piazza, Hotel Manager of Banyan Tree Ringha gives us some of his local secrets from the area.
What makes Ringha so special?
Ringha is still one of the most unique locations in Yunnan and an amazing place to see how local Tibetans live their daily life. We offer a very special Shangri-La Cultural Tour which immerses you fully.
The nature in the area is stunning, where’s the best place to go to take it all in?
Naari grassland hilltop is opposite the hotel and next to the Shudugang river. It looks out onto the whole of the Ringha Valley. It’s a very peaceful spot perfect for meditation.
What’s the most romantic thing you can do at Banyan Tree Ringha?
Eat on the Shudungang River at the water’s edge or have an intimate dinner in a Mongolian Yurt with the traditional Tibetan Hot Pot or BBQ. There’s also a first night dinner which is great for anniversaries, honeymoons and even weddings.
What is the best adventure you can have in the area?
The Shangri-La Culture Trek takes you on a five hour journey through the local Tibetan villages. You can see women spin fur into long threads and tend to the fields, visit the meadows with yaks, horses, sheep and pigs, have an authentic Tibetan lunch in a real home and travel to the ancient pine forest. It’s home to the fabled 3,500 year-old tree and the 800 year old Ringha Da Bao Si Monastery.
What dishes should you order at Banyan Tree Ringha?
We suggest Tibetan Hot Pot which is an authentic tradition. Also our Tibetan BBQ is one of the favourites here.
There is so much history in your surrounding area, which temple is the best to visit and why?
Dabaosi temple is the most visited temple by the local Tibetans. Dabao is named “Ren An Yun” or “Nai Qin Ji Wa Ren Ang”, which indicates a holy place of the Five Buddha’s. Originally established as a temple of Kaggupa (White Hat Sect Buddhism) in the Yongle Period of the Ming Dynasty, it was converted to Gulugpa (Yellow Hat Sect Buddhism) as an affiliate of GedanΩSongzanlin Monastery in the reign of Kangxi Emperor in the Qing Dynasty.
What are some ancient crafts that come from the region?
Hand painted Tibetan Tangka (a buddhist painting on cotton or silk) and also clay pots.
What’s something you can only do at Banyan Tree Ringha?
Walk through the valley with Lanka, our Tibetan Mastiff.
Are there any local festivals or celebrations that shouldn’t be missed?
The Horse Race Festival held on the 5th of May in the Lunar Calendar which takes place at Napa Lake in Shangri-La.
Where can you try the best local food?
Venture to Dukezong Old Town where they have various restaurants. Stop for a drink at Raven Bar which is located outside of the old area.
What should people pack?
Pack layers appropriate to the season, with warm clothes for cool nights; and be sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
What’s the best evening activity?
Tibetan bonfire dancing.
This article was written in collaboration with Banyan Tree Hotels. For more information visit Banyan Tree Hotels.
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