Investigating Shangri-La’s Baishui Terrace: A Natural Wonder on Par with Pamukkale in Turkey

Turkey’s Pamukkale is widely known for its mineral-rich thermal waters. But you don’t have to travel to Turkey to enjoy such a spectacle. Yunnan, in China, offers a similar experience!

What you will discover in Yunnan is not only comparable to the Turkish Pamukkale, but is also surrounded by mountains, adding to its natural characteristics. We’re talking about the White Water Terraces (Baishui Terrace), located in Baidi Village.

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The White Water Terraces are located in the foothills of Haba Snow Mountain, just over 100 kilometres away from Shangri-La County, and 2,380 metres above sea level.

They are a natural wonder formed by the dissolution of calcium carbonate in spring water. The spring water, containing calcium bicarbonate, slowly flows down and the carbonate gradually precipitates, year after year, it has formed a shape like terraces. They are referred to as “legacy fields left by fairies” and cover an area of around three square kilometres, making them the largest spring terraces in China.

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Backed by green hills and trees and surrounded by blue waves, you can enjoy the mountain scenery in the distance and the water view nearby, in a tranquil environment.

The beauty of White Water Terraces resembles daylight beams shining on earth or the silver decorations on the clothing of Naxi women.

Strolling up and down the layers of White Water Terraces, you can feel the magnificent scene of “pearls falling onto a jade plate.” This is actually a natural wonder that is formed by the dissolution and slow calcification of calcium carbonate in spring water. It is called the “uncanny workmanship” of nature.

The sunlight shines on the water and reflects different colours and, combined with the reflection of the blue sky and white clouds, it is a place you will find difficult to leave.

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This area has given birth to the Dongba Religion which forms the core of Naxi cultural values and traditions. The Baishuitai Terrace is a symbol for a growing flower, and a Dongba doctrine explains that the white colour represents auspiciousness and sanctity. According to the Naxi people, only a person who actually visits the terrace can be a true believer in the Dongba religion.

The White Water Terrace itself contributed to the evolution of the Naxi people as they ceased to be wandering nomads and instead took up farming in the area.

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