Potatso National Park ,covers the total area of 2,000 square km ,takes up 17 percent of Diqing, an autonomous prefecture of Yunnan principally inhabited by Tibetans. Its diverse sceneries include crystal-clear lakes, undulating mountains and gurgling streams, making it a clear choice to become the countrys first national park. Local government efforts to map the park began in early 2006 since which time over 200 million yuan (US26.3 million) have been spent on strengthening the parks preservation and eco-tourism appeal.
Pudacuo National Park is a 500 sq mi (1,295 km2) national park located in Shangri-La County, Yunnan Province in the People's Republic of China. The park was announced on June 25, 2007, and is notable as the first national park in China to meet International Union for Conservation of Nature standards. It incorporates the Bita Lake Nature Reserve and the Duhu Scenic Area in the Hongshan region. As such they are part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site.
Fauna and flora A lake in the parkThe region of this park contains more than 20 percent of the country’s plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species and almost 100 endangered species, though it comprises only 0.7 percent of China's land area. It is notably home to vulnerable Black-necked cranes, many rare and beautiful orchids, and Himalayan Yew, a coniferous tree whose extracts are a source of the anticancer drug, paclitaxel.
Bitahai Lake Bitahai Lake, regarded as a pearl of the Plateau, is an intact natural attraction with outstanding landscapes. In the nature reserve the plants are flourishing and the lake water is crystal clear. The average depth of the lake is 20 meters.
In the reserve itself, century-old pines and cypresses grow around Bitahai Lake. In the lake there is an islet covered by cedars and azaleas. In May every year an azalea forest on the lakeshore is in full blossom, stretching several kilometers. Around the lake are virgin forests, which is the ideal habitat for rare animals including red-footed pheasant, silver pheasant, wild bull, leopard and lynx.
Shudu Lake Shudu Lake is 3705 meters above the sea level, which is one of the biggest lakes in Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The lake is a famous pasture in every spring and summer, herds of yak and goat grazing beside the lake the shepherd’s shelters dots on the grassland. People can hear the sound of flute comes from afar. Staying beside the lake, you can deeply feel the quiet and leisurely life of high-land people.
The lake water is so limpid that people could see the cracked-stomach fish produced in the lake whose color is golden and there is a crack line along its stomach. Around the lake, there are dense forest of fir spruce and birch. There are different wild animals such as musk deer, bear, leopard, golden cat, deer, pheasant etc.
While there are more than 2,300 nature reserves in China, only a fraction are in areas of critical biological importance, and an even smaller number are well-managed. Pudacuo will meet the standards for national parks established by The World Conservation Union (IUCN) — and also advance both protection and sustainable development of this ecologically significant section of Yunnan Province.
The park is about a 50 minute drive from Zhongdian. It has two lakes, a visitor center, several interesting minority villages, lush forests and pasture views. From the visitor center a park bus takes visitors to the first stop, 8 miles (13 km) miles away from where there are several miles of raised wooden walkways around the 300 acres (120 ha) Shudu Lake.
The next bus destination is Bita Hai Lake, 11,482 feet (3,500 m) above sea level. It is surrounded by dense deciduous forests. The bus stops a few feet from a wharf from where visitors can take a boat ride around the lake and to the island in the center. Price for the boat ride is 30 Yuan. It is just over a mile from the where the boat disembarks to the bus pick up point. Alternatively, one may walk down the 1.2 miles (2 km) path from the South entrance and hike to and exit the park from the West entrance. Getting to the West entrance requires both a boat and ferry ride. The entire hike can take 4-6 hours. Riding horses are also available.
Free admission to Xiagei Village or "Xiagei Only For Tourists Interested In Shopping Village” is included in the park’s 190 Yuan admission fee.
Visits to Pudacuo generally involve hopping on bus that makes stops at park highlights including the visitor center, Shudu Lake, Bita Hai Lake and Xiagei Village, but you can opt to hike a circuit that takes approximately four hours to complete. There are also boats that traverse Bita Hai for an additional RMB 30. Hiking and horseback riding are also available. The most popular hike runs between the park's south and west entrances, taking between 4-6 hours to complete, including the Bita Hai boat ride.