It is well-known Tiger Leaping Gorge is the most spectacular site in the lijiang area.Its name came from a legendary story about a hunter who was chasing a tiger,The tiger escaped by leaping over the river with the assistance of a large stone in the middle,thus the name 'Tiger Leaping Gorge'.
the gorge is divided into upper,middle,and lowerTiger Leaping Gorge.Its length is about 30kilometers(18.6miles)and the narrowest part of the gorge is about 30 meters(100feet).Its great depth is estimated to be over3,000meters(9,842feet).This area is actually the border for Zhongdian(now Shangri-la)and Lijiang.
How to get to the way ?
After breakfast,drive about 1 hour to shigu,Walking aroud the shigu town see the First Bend of Yangtzi River,Then drive about 1.5hours to the Tiger Leaping Gorge's park.on the way see some nice villages along the Yangtzi River then trekking the gorge about 5.2km for 1.5-2 hours,at last driver about 2 hours back to Lijiang.
This site is an absolute must to see .But,in the midst of its beauty if you fail to be careful.You should travel this area with other people,watch for falling rocks and take plenty of water.
Enjoy your trip.More inf. please contact me.
Favorite thing: The old town of Lijiang is spread over quite a large area and all I had for navigation was a silly little map in my Lonely Planet. However, as you'll walk around you'll see these maps of the local area where you are which prove a great help as things do look the same!
Favorite thing: There is so much of touristic interest in the Lijiang area that you could very well miss the contrasts. These are not just between the old "touristic" part of the city and the new city. Inside the city are pockets of not so old, not so new vestiges of socialist China. If you had the time I would take you to an old market neighborhood and to an old bread factory still functioning seemingly as it has for the last fifty years.
One of the neat things about Lijiang is, of course, the fact that it's unlike most other cities in China. Part of that difference is phony, namely Wangu Tower (Looking at the Past Pavillion) and all the shopping in town, and part is real- the street lamps, walls and other remains of the old city. At the very least, there has been an effort made to keep all the development in the old town in keeping with the look and feel of the old town. This preservation is somewhat unique in China, by my experience. Regardless, it's a nice touch. It adds to the feel of the place. Of course, China is growing around it, but in town it's hard to see that.
Lijiang is a calming and relaxing place, provided you aren't having to deal with boat-loads of tourists. The cool, morning streets are quite pleasant to walk, amidst the smells of coal smoke and breakfast. It doesn't feel like much of the rest of China- early in the morning. There isn't the hectic chaos of life and pollution of noise that pervades everything in urban China. Lijiang exists as a respite from that world, though China, as always, isn't going to let Lijiang be. You see the construction that comes in the name of progress, bearing the flag of new growth, with all the pomp and circumstance that it carries with it into the new future for China. And I, personally, shake my head. In part in sorrow, for what will be so ravenously and ignorantly lost. In part, for the lack of concern expressed by the people. Beauty is cast in concrete way too easily in China.
Favorite thing: Walking on a bridge, above the clouds at 4500m above sea level at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. It's the closest to heaven as you can get when you look at the bright blue expanse of snowy white clouds.
Once you decided to stay some days in Lijiang, I would recommend you to book a hotel in the ancient city of Lijiang and not in the new and modern city. This new one is expending very quickly, and had, in my opinion, no interest; just some big avenues, big buildings without any caracter, which you can find everywhere.
Fondest memory: In spite of many new and confortable hotels in the new city, I think it's much more interesting to book a hostel or a hotel or a yought hotel in the ancient city, rated at very cheap to more expensive. In the ancient city you feel really the old hart of China beating, even when the whole ancient town is a bit touristic, but anyway charming and original.
At Naxi, some donkeys were awaiting to be rented by hikers who wanted to have their luggage carried for the next stage to the highest point of the trek (cost maybe 4 USD).
I found this not necessary since you can take all the time you need, but then we were enjoying the pleasant winter climate and I can imagine how exhausting it could be when it's summer and over 30 Celcius!
The trail goes up steeply from the village and at every bend, you think: Is this the first of the famous series? But once you reach the real first bend you know it, looking up a sheer cliff face, and you realise that it all still has to start!
The toughest part of the trek is right here at the bends, although it is not at any serious altitude (around 2600m.) and still relatively easy to cope with by most hikers.
Nevertheless its long and steep and hot as you are unprotected from the sun. Best advise is to maintain a slow pace and keep going rather than rushing up which likely has to be paid off with some serious breaks to find new breath.
A rock marks the summit of this trek where you can buy a refreshment from the lady who runs a little stall. Views from here are superb!
After an hour or 2 you will reach a village which is named Nuoyu (according to LP). It is a settlement of around 50 traditional houses and farms spread over a valley with dozens of layers of terraced farmfield and with the stunning backdrop of the mountains all around.
Since after here the 28 bends are coming up, better have a rest and some food! Naxi Family Guesthouse seems to get all the business, but there are signs to other places as well.
Naxi has one of the nicest buildings around and offers accommodation, food and drinks. English is quite reasonable with comes in handy if you have queries on the extensive menu! We ordered cold Cokes and a variety of vegetarian (wild mushrooms!) and meat dishes which was all very tasty and filling. Prices are at around USD1-2 per dish very reasonable.
Some hikers might wonder if they should empoy a guide for the trek.
If you just plan to follow the most common route (as described here), you should be fine as goes for pathfinding, at least if you carry one of the maps I recommended in a previous tip.
In fact, the only confusing part is at the start to find the right trail but once you're on it it's hard to get lost. There are many Guest House signs painted on the rocks in red and yellow and moreover, orientation is easy: the river is always there, on your right hand side. And besides, trails are always ending up somewhere, whether it be a farm or a village.
A consideration to hire a guide as a single (female) hiker in off season, can be for safety reasons. I have no indications that crime is a concern here but I feel I should mention it nevertheless.
There are several off the beaten path options as diversions of the main route, one of the most interesting being a hike to reach over 5000+meter on Haba Snow mountain. For these kind of expeditions a guide is a must, for the simple reason that there are no signs!
From Qiaotou you basically have the choice of hiking a trail high up in the mountain, or walking along the main road.
As you can imagine, the "high" route is much favoured, although you see also people walking on the main road, which give more close-up views down on the water but the disadvantage is the traffic. Starting from Qiaotou at 10.30am along the high route, your normal prospect would be to reach Half Way Inn in around 6 hours, excluding lunchtime.
If you just have 1 day for the Gorge, you can hire a taxi from Qiaotou (ca. max. RMB 50) that brings you to any desired point along the 22+km. road, or from the road back to Qiaotuo. Most such tourists opt to be dropped at the Middle Gorge (near Tina's GH), then descend to the river and go slowly up along a quite stunning trail that leads to the village called Walnut Grove from where you can arrange your taxi back. You can do this as rushy daytrip from Lijiang but you may always regret not to have spent more time here...!!!
Once you're on the "high" trail it's difficult to get lost, but to find the trail in the first place is totally different piece of cake.
The only direction in Qiaotou we got was to go "left" after 1 km on the road at the school. We did find the trail, but then we arrived in some kind of farmland and it had a dozen of branches left and right. We walked in the wrong direction twice, and both times were luckily but routinely pointed to the right direction.
Tip: until you can see the river, try to involve locals in your pathfinding!
Once you see the river on your right side, there's only one main trail and you will see Guesthouse signposts on every diversion. The trail goes up gradually but steadily and within one hour you already have fantastic views from impressive heights!
The most common starting point for the Tiger Leaping Gorge Trek is Qiaotou. This is a big village along the main road to Zhongdian (also referred to as: Shangri-La). You can reach here in about 2-2,5 hrs by public bus or faster in private transport from Lijiang.
Qiaotou has a well stocked supermarket and at least one good guesthouse so you can take this into consideration for your planning. Some travellers store their excess luggage here and pick it up after the trek.
We started Day 1 from Lijiang on the 7.30am bus so it was already towards 10.30 when we had fulfilled the formalities (i.e. paying a moderate entrance fee) and could started walking.
Fortunately I met a few nice folks on the bus and we grouped together on our first steps on the trails. The staff of the ticket office had given us a few general directions of how to find the trail...
Hand drawn old town maps can be purchased for 2 RMB from street vendors. It's well worth the money. The map provides you with things to see and do in the old town and around Lijiang in both Chinese and English. Obviously the Chinese explanation is much more detailed. However the English explanation provides you with a better idea than the Lonely Planet guide, which in comparison was too general.
I thought the map is nice for framing once your get home.