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I took a day trip out of Lijiang in order to visit the Tiger Leaping Gorge which first included a trip to the first bend of the mighty Yangtze River. The Yangtze River, considered the mother river of China, flows majestically through the centre of China and is the third longest river in the world. Starting from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Yangtze River surges south-eastward until it meets the Hengduan Mountain Range. About 44 miles outside of Lijiang, unusual geological phenomenon’s force the Yangtze to make a sudden V-shaped bend and flow to the northeast. This extraordinary turn, nearly 180-degrees, creates beautiful and marvellous views. Here, the river is wide and the water flows in a gentle, slow pace. Large willow trees grow luxuriously alongside the river that is banked on both sides with lush, fertile deep green vegetation and immense, steep mountains that rise up from the river to touch the clouds in the blue sky above. The whole sight is like a wonderful landscape painting that never ends. This is a world-famous geological phenomenon and an extraordinary panoramic scene whose vistas you will long remember with great pleasure.
Written May 11, 2009
Most tours only take you to the first of the rapids just at the start of the Gorge, this one is most developed with steps, stairs and viewing platforms and plenty of people. By staying overnight at Tina's Guesthouse, which is great, over looks the Gorge and about 8kms further in we were able to hike down to the middle rapids. The scenery was better and very few people. The road in leaves a lot to be desired but as there wasn't much traffic once we got through the short tunnel it wasn't much of a worry
Updated Jun 25, 2008
There's more here than the tourist stuff. Just look around and it's a nice place... men smoking bamboo pipes, mothers and babies, chilis hung to dry, walls crumbling to reveal the inner layers- a physical embodiment of the facade that is China. Right now I'm dealing with angry superiors for not letting students cheat on the makeup exam they took after cheating on the first semester exam. Anyway, back on track here, Lijiang is a facade, but it's quite a pleasant one. It's a tourist destination, kept intact for tourists, while sucking up their dollars as fast as possible. It's a hive of capitalism and commercialism, and a beautiful one at that. Lijiang is a unique contrast between old China (architecturally) and new China (economically), and it's an interesting place because of it.
Updated May 18, 2008
It's not much to do, but just looking out over the town at night is quite nice. It's cooler, quiet- without much of the noise that takes over the rest of Han China, and quite picturesque.
Written May 15, 2008
Lijiang, being an old, Chinese city, has many interesting doors. While they aren't as grand as the massive ones you might find in Beijing's Temple of Heaven, for example, they are unique in their own right.
Written May 8, 2008
Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge, further into the gorge than the main parking lot, offers a trail that is less frequented and maintained by a family that lives at the top. It's not in the greatest repair, which makes it nice for hiking, and should take about two hours to go down and up.
If you aren't in very good shape, you might not want to take this trail- it's not really suitable for those not able to scramble a bit. Some of the stairs are steep and the "railings" are little more than chains attached precariously to stakes, wooden or metal. If it rains, the rocks do get slick.
While there is a watering hole near the bottom, there isn't good water there. Bring your own. It's a steep hike and can get pretty hot in the gorge.
Watch for falling rocks... I saw some stupid guy throw a rock down the gorge- DON'T DO THAT! He probably didn't have the brainpower to understand that there were PEOPLE down there who probably did not have brain injuries on their list of things to do in Yunnan.
Five images. Many more in the travelogues!
Updated May 7, 2008
What was once done by only adventurers now sees high-heel clad city-people clambering their awkward ways down and huffing back up. The first hike down to the water, from the main parking lot, is done via stairs, and is more of a tourist trap these days than anything else- the view at the bottom is OK, not spectacular, and don't be surprised if Chinese tour groups stop for a photo or ten, blocking the pathway. This path took us about half an hour, with pictures and waiting behind slower people.
You can see, across the gorge, a statue of the leaping tiger- a tiger supposedly jumped the gorge, according to legend.
There are souvenir stalls on the way up, and some people sell corn and peeled potatos... mmmm.
Written May 7, 2008
More shots from Baisha- the locals still wear a lot of the traditional clothes, though it's mostly women who do- the men wear western clothes, including suit jackets in which they work the fields...
Updated May 6, 2008
We walked out of Baisha for a while and into the more real/local part of town until the local old cop told us we couldn't go any farther. Oh well. Not many tourists hit this part of town, so it's nice to see some of the real Baisha, as opposed to the tourist section.
Written May 5, 2008
As I mentioned elsewhere, the town of Lijiang is best seen in the early morning, at least before 8:30 am, if not before sunrise- sunrise over the town is quite beautiful. If you want to catch sunrise, note that the town is roughly aligned with the compass with the west part of the old town being the hill holding the Wangu Tower and the Wenchang Monastery. Sunrise is best seen from that vantage point, somewhere between the two. Sunset you can see from, therefore, the east side of town, over the monastery and tower.
It's peaceful before 8:30, when the town is empty aside from a few people going to work, a baozi (steamed, filled bun) stand off a short side street providing locals breakfast in a hurry, and the occasional tourists looking for empty streets. At 8:30, as if on cue, the tour groups start their sluggish clogging of the walkways. I'd hate for too many people to get out before 8:30, but it's worth it for those that do.
Written May 5, 2008
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