By Tom Fearon a writer who has been living in China since 2009. This piece is about Abel Blanco, who recently shot these images in the Shangri-La region of Yunnan, China.

Nestled high on the Tibetan plateau and deep in the imaginations of travellers the world over, Shangri-La is a natural paradise best appreciated at a bird’s eye view. In April 2017, travel photographer Abel Blanco visited the scenic region in the upper reaches of Southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

During his weeklong travels, Abel hiked through Tiger Leaping Gorge, explored Potatso National Park, and retraced sections of the historic Tea and Horse Trail. His video captures the sights and sounds of Shangri-La including:

  • Tibetan women pushing the world’s largest prayer wheel (22 meters high) overlooking the old town
  • Wild yaks roaming valleys flanked by snow-capped mountains
  • The crystal-clear Shidu Lake mirroring cloudy skies
  • The upper stretches of the Yangtze River flowing through Tiger Leaping Gorge, China’s most famous canyon
  • Vibrant gold-and-red hues at the 300-year-old Songzanlin Monastery

When it comes to aerial photography in China, Abel said the sky really is the limit.

“The landscapes are otherworldly and there is a lot of freedom in filming at national parks, which is increasingly difficult to do in many countries. Of course, you need to use your common sense and etiquette as a traveller. However, overall the possibilities are incredible.”

“Despite its increasing popularity with tourists, Shangri-La retains a lot of its old-world charm and cultural traditions. Living in Beijing, it is incredible being reminded of China’s diversity in terms of its people and landscapes.”


Abel Blanco is a Spanish photographer and videographer who has been based in China since 2014. His travel videos have appeared in Outside Magazine, Business Insider, and other media.

You can read more at Abel Blanco’s blog here and follow him on Instagram (@abelblanco) or Vimeo here.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please email [email protected].

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