Tiger Leaping gorge
Our flight from Hanoi to Kunming, China was uneventful, arriving in Kunming we were pretty confused when we couldn’t find our connecting flight number to take us to Lijiang. Yep, it was cancelled. Another flight was booked for the next day and we were put up in a hotel in Kunming city at 9.30pm- we had no Chinese money and no food so we went on a mission to sort this stuff out in the city. The next morning we woke at 4:30am to catch a bus back to the airport so we could catch our flight. On arrival to Lijiang via airport bus then taxi then 2 hour bus to a place called Qiaotau- we made it to the starting point of Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is touted as home to one of the finest treks through some of the most naturally beautiful and diverse landscapes China has to offer. The trail runs high on the northern side of the gorge passing through quiet villages, shady forest, blustery precipice and terraced farmland. According to legend- a hunter chased a (delicious-looking) tiger through the gorge until they reached the narrowest point. The tiger found itself trapped between the hunter and the rushing river at the base of the gorge. Left with no choice, the tiger leapt the 25m (82 ft) gap across the gorge, escaping the hunter. Hence the name- Tiger leaping gorge.
Arriving to Qiaotou we stayed in Jane’s Guest House- where an exhausted Chris napped for the rest of the afternoon, and Issy- having found out the guest house had the world’s cutest 3 month old puppy- spent the afternoon chasing around said puppy.
The next day we set out on our trek at a lazy 10:30am- it was a uphill start with gorgeous views of the gorge and mountains, arriving at a Naxi (local people of the region) guest house for a lunch of fried rice and veges. The next part of the trek had an even greater incline, it was at times soul destroying thinking you might be near the top then you see more winding path going further up. The views again were amazing:
We arrived in the late afternoon at Tea Horse guesthouse where we had booked a room for the night. It was a lovely spot.
The next day the path was pretty flat so it was an easier walk but continued to have the wicked views basically the whole way. We stopped at halfway house for a drink.
We arrived into the gorge by the river by the end of the day, and stayed at a guest house run a Tibetan family. We tried some Tibetan food for dinner: Butter tea (did not love this- tasted quite a lot like liquid salted butter), Yak cheese hot pot (also not a massive fan, it seemed to grow on Chris), Tibetan meat ball (Chris was very happy with these).
The next day we did a big walk back up into the northern side of the gorge, needless to say we got very lost- twice- and I panicked that we would miss our bus at 3.30pm so we bush-bashed our way off the ridges back to the road. To celebrate our survival we had some beers and yak cheese dumplings before getting the bus back to Lijiang.
Took the bus in the afternoon from the Gorge back to Lijiang. Lijiang was actually very cool!
The city is built around a famous old town, which apparently is some of the best preserved Qing Dynsaty architecture. The earliest recorded history of the city can be traced back to the Warring States Period (476 BC-221 BC), so it had lot of beautiful buildings, parks, and delicious food!
We spent the morning walking around Black Dragon Pool which was built in 1737 during the Qing dynasty and offers a spectacular view of the region’s tallest mountain, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, over its white marble bridge. Unfortunately Chris had got himself a massive blister when we were hiking in the gorge so he was hobbling/limping around the park.
Next we fly to Guilin and float down a river to Yangshou!