Saturday, May 31, 2008

Unpleasant Experience in Kunming

So far, there were a few cases of people trying to cheat us, meeting with unfriendly or rude people, but nothing beat this!

It happened in the Kunming airport. Look, I have been traveling a lot, otherwise I wouldn’t be running this travel blog. I’ve flew a lot, including to places like Pakistan. Nothing beat the uncivilized treatment in Kunming airport.

There wasn’t any clear direction and there wasn’t any real queue at all. You can queue on a line for half an hour and got bumped off when it is your turn. Every counter is busy, no one would monitor the queues.

This was what happened to us. We queued for nearly 30 minutes, and when there was just one couple in front of us, suddenly this guy rushed in and asked us to “excuse him”. At first I thought he wanted to ask something at the counter, but no heck! He was jumping queue.

The issue is, he wasn’t just jumping our queue, he even jumped the queue for the couple in front of us – whom the counter was serving half way! And the airline staff allowed that to happen. I mean, if you are serving this couple, why do you turn and serve this man.

The worst thing is, he doesn’t just represent a person. When he is in the ‘queue’, his luggage all arrived:

KM airport

These are his luggage, and apparently he was checking in for a group! This airport is bad because they do not provide group check-in counter. And I believe that IS the root cause to the mess.

This not only happened to our line, but to all lines. I hope the Yunnan government do something about it, or it would hinder people away…

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Accommodation in Lijiang

We stayed in a motel located within the Shuhe old town (束河古镇). This place is recommended by a friend, and I too, highly recommend. And I would ask you to stay much longer than what we did. We only spent two nights, which is certainly not enough!

Motel: 田园牧歌客栈
Address: 丽江, 束河古镇开文六社康普巷 (束河办事处旁)
Tel: 0888-5115922

We highly recommend this for its hospitality and flexibility. The owners are very nice. It is run by very young people, who actually spend the whole day with the guests. You can chat with them till late night, to understand the local cultures better. They even brought us to the square and we danced together. They make friends with their guests, which is kind of uncommon in other places.

This is the room that we stayed in: 等月亮

room at night outside

Lijiang Motel

Top left: when we open the door in the morning, this is what we see.
Top right: toilet/bath
Bottom left: our bed
Bottom right: outside view at night, it is a corner lot.

hotel corridor

This is the corridor – very quiet in the morning…

Lijiang Motel 2

Top left: outside view of the motel during the day.
Top right: a long table where people gather for meals and drinks, very cozy, like a lounge.
Bottom left: this is where we first had our dinner, a small square surrounded by the rooms.
Bottom right: our room is just behind the 2 loungers.

hotel lock

Look at this lock! They are so Chinese! I thought of buying one but forgot about it later! It looks like a combination lock with Chinese writings…

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Kunming Attraction - Yunnan Nationalities Village

There are 52 minorities in China, and out of that 51 are in Yunnan. It is almost impossible to visit all the tribes in a short stay, so the Yunnan Nationalities Village comes in handy.

It is a place that gathers the major tribes, displaying them in their most original form with performances. It is best to spend the whole day in it, coz it is very big and walking from a tribe to another takes time. Without watching the performance, it is also as good as not being there, so prepare to spend some time there. We were there after 3pm, so we missed quite many small villages and performances. :(

Here are some to share with you…

Wazu (瓦族)
Wazu is quite dark and seriously they look really like our Malay friends! Their men are one of the most macho type that we’ve seen so far, with long hair and muscular body… very attractive! :p

Here is part of their cultural performance:

Daizu (傣族)
This tribe is from Xishuangbanna (西双版纳), south of Yunnan. They are very similar to our Thailand friends. They practice the same religion and have the same believe. They also celebrate the same thing – the Water Festival.
daizu umbrellas

When we were there, it was just during the water festival, so we could see many people shooting water, and they even sell raincoats and water guns to tourists! My camera almost spoilt in this, as I wasn’t prepared when someone shot me water! LOL!

Miaozu (苗族)
There are actually two Miaozu villages here, at least from the map. The main one was out of our way, and we visited this smaller one. There are Miao girls doing some sewing in their hut, but no performance though. There was a church there, but people there was not that friendly.

Local Snacks
Along the street, you can find them selling local snacks. We bought 3 types to try:
local snacks

Top left: smelly toufu, which is actually spicy but not smelly at all!
Top right: French fries with spicy sauce – a better and more Asian alternatives to the western French fries. This is the most yummy of the three.
Bottom: pumpkin cake, a sweet snack, which is not my type.

Night Performance
After dinner, they had nigh performance at the square. There is a mix of Lisu tribe (傈僳族) famous performance of climbing knife ladders, songs from Wazu, dances from Yizu (彝族), walking on burnt coals, etc.

The night performance ended with group cultural dance, similar to the one we experienced in Shuhe told town in Lijiang.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kunming Attraction - Stone Forest

"The Stone Forest of Yunnan has been inscribed upon the World Heritage List of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage."

This is written on the entrance ticket, adding on to its value for tourists!
stone forest

I have heard of this long time ago, with strongest impression coming from Wisely’s novel “魔磁”. In that story, a round metallic item was found within the stone forest, with material not familiar by any scientists…

Actually I see this place very similar to the Pinnacles in Perth, Australia. Visiting these two places you need to have good imaginations, coz the stones can really represent anything that you can imagine.

Take a few examples…
stone forest 2

On the top left picture, isn’t it look like a pig? On the top right, they look like 2 torches of fires! Bottom left is seen as a GuanGong (关公) and bottom right looks like a cat!

At the end of our tour in Stone Forest, we saw some of the Yizu people gathered and danced. These are old folks, and they are still looking great and fit!!
yizu people

Here is a short video of their dance:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Eat in Dali and Kunming

First Start in Kunming
On our first night in Kunming, we went to watch YangLiPing’s show. Before the show started, we found this Stone House Restaurant just nearby the KunMing Hall. It gave us a great start of our journey. The food was delicious, the ambience was great, and the price was reasonable. We spent RMB110 in total.

Stone House Restaurant

Stone House Restaurant2

We ordered a plate of mushroom (老树菇), green veggie and chicken with ‘magic yam’ (魔芋). They are very spicy – a trait for all Yunnan food. Yummy!

Cost: RMB 110
Address: 昆明市北京路程27号茶花公园
Tel: 0871-3183388
Most satisfying dinner in Dali
We were transported to Dali from Lijiang by car. The driver is from Bai tribe (白族), originated in Dali. He is very nice (unlike the Lijiang driver!) and wanted to ensure we are happy before he left us.

He dropped us in this restaurant (my God! We didn’t even know the name of the place!) before leaving for his next pick up. When he did that, he even told the shop owner to treat us nicely and not to charge us too much!

Here are the 3 dishes we ordered. Again, they don’t have a menu and we had to order from their rack of ingredients…
dali dinner

The first row is fried meat. After starving from meat for a few days (their chicken has no meat!), this is really satisfying! The second row is fried 茶树菇, a type of mushroom. And the third row is fried wild vegetables – too bitter for us, we ended up didn’t eat that.

There were 2 other dishes not in the picture – fried egg with cucumber, and a bowl of pickles (free).

This meal is the cheapest of all! Only cost us RMB50. Most worthy, coz we were so satisfied with real meat… :p

Sorry, no address, we were kind of lost in that city! LOL!

Cost: RMB 50
Address: Unknown, near the train station
Cheap Lunch in Kunming
Well, we actually tried to go to either one of two restaurants. With address on hand, the taxi driver dropped us on a spot and pointed on our right that the shop is just ‘there’. But, we couldn’t find. After asking a few people, who were all very unfriendly, we finally walked along the street until we found an eating place – this was just plainly random.

I believe this is a place for local students and workers. It was really, really, really cheap!
Kunming cheap lunch

We ordered 3 dishes and 3 drinks, and it only cost us RMB 19 (less than RM10!!!).

Cost: RMB 19
Address: Unknown, Kunming
Dinner in Yunnan Cultural Village
Since we were inside the Yunnan Cultural Village (云南民族村) during dinner, and due to water festival the Dai tribe (similar to Thai) was quite happening, so we decided to eat there.

Here is what we ordered:
daizu dinner

Their bamboo stick rice is different from those in Malay kampong. They are made of normal fragrant rice instead of glutinous rice. The rice absorbed the fragrant of the bamboo, smells really good! With the compression of cooking inside the bamboo, the rice also has a kind of chewy texture, though not as strong as the glutinous rice. A must try if you go there.

Other dishes that we ordered were spicy toufu wrapped in some leafs, eggplant, and a plate of grilled spare ribs. The spare ribs are very spicy, but very nice. Love it very much. The toufu is too spicy for me, so I didn’t really take it. :p

Cost: RMB 95
Address: Dai tribe restaurant, Yunnan Nationality Village, Kunming
Lunch at Stone Forest
We were given free ride to the Stone Forest in Kunming, but lunch and entrance fees were covered. So, we ordered our lunch separately from the tour group.

One of a local dishes that we have always wanted to try is double boiled chicken soup (汽锅鸡), so we ordered that and two veggie dishes:
Stone Forest lunch

The chicken soup is quite expensive, so we paid quite a lot for this meal.

Cost: RMB 135
Address: Just outside the entrance to the Stone Forest, Kunming
Mushrooms Dinner
You might notice that we often order mushrooms in many of our meals in Yunnan. Yes, mushroom is one of their local specialties. There is a lot for export and for tourists to purchase home, which I also bought 2 packs – 牛肝菌for my mom and 鸡枞菌for my MIL. The latter is more popular amongst the Naxi tribe, but I haven’t got a chance to try, so bought a pack for MIL to cook. LOL!

After our return from the Stone Forest, the driver dropped us to a restaurant that specializes in mushroom steamboats. We didn’t know it is so expensive to eat that, and got shocked with the price.

As we wanted to try different mushrooms, we ended up mixed with a few. Later, we found out that the locals do not mix, coz it spoils the real taste of the mushrooms, which is true from our experience! We ended up couldn’t tell which is which. LOL!

mushroom dinner

Top left: Similar to other places, there is no menu, and we have to order from the fridge.
Top center: 3 plates of 6 mixed mushrooms
Top right: 2 veggies and toufu
Bottom left: close up of the most expensive mushroom on the right – 羊肚菌
Bottom right: boiling all in the pot for 15 minutes before they can be eaten, to neutralize the toxic of mushrooms

Cost: RMB 237 (they said normally they spend RMB400-500, and ours are cheaper as we mixed too much!)
Address: Unknown in Kunming
Real local snack/lunch
And this is our last meal before leaving Yunnan: BaBa wrap YaoZaGuai (粑粑包油条)! The Baba is like roti Naan. They take half stick of YaoZaGuai, wrap it with that roti naan thingy and put sesame spicy sauce inside. This thing is very filling, and the sesame sauce is very delicious, but… * sigh * too spicy for me again!
Baba wrap Yaozaguai

Cost: RMB 6
Address: NA – road side stall below a bridge

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Eat in Lijiang

In this trip, we spent a LOT on food. We purposely asked the agency to exclude meals from our package, so we can truly experience the local food. Yunnan is a place full of cultural surprise, and we strongly believe it is also in the food!

Lunch at Dunno where
Due to time constraint, we had our first Lijiang lunch at the attraction itself. Ordinary food, slightly more expensive, but still tasty. Maybe we were hungry, coz it was 3pm already! :p

Cost: 100
Address: Unknown, Lijiang
Dinner in Motel
When we checked in at our motel (田园牧歌客栈) in Shuhe told own, the owner and shop keepers are all having their dinner. They asked us to join them, and immediately cooked 5 dishes for us, fresh from the kitchen! Guess what? It cost only RMB60 for the 3 of us!!

home cooked dinner in motel

Look, they are all simple and easy to cook dishes, but we never know we can cook like that. The one on bottom right is just fry potato thin slices with eggs. This is very yummy, but of course oily – imagine it!

Cost: RMB 60
Address: 丽江, 束河古镇开文六社康普巷 (束河办事处旁)
Tel: 0888-5115922
Breakfast in Shuhe
Our first breakfast in Lijiang was like this:

Top left – these are their pao and buns. The plain bun is supposed to be eaten with the chilly on the top right.
Bottom left – our guide said that this is their favorite local drink, so we tried. Yuck! It tastes like butter melted in water. It is called SuYouCha (酥油茶).
Bottom right – simple fried egg in flour. Nothing special.

Before we left, we packed a puff from that lady – looks like our curry puff but non-spicy filling inside, all vegetables. Our guide told us those are actually non-local food, apart from the tea! :p

Cost: RMB47. Quite expensive!
Address: Just in front of the motel we stayed.
Ripped-off Lunch
Our next lunch was a ripped off lunch. After visiting the Tiger Leaping Gorge, the driver said it is too long to get back to town and he recommended a place for us to eat. He is of no good intention, coz this place is a ‘black shop’. I’m sure he got big commission.

Well, the place actually looks great, as it was by the river with good scene. They do not have menus, so we have to go to the kitchen and order based on what we see à a unique way of ordering here, also in other parts of Yunnan.

Here is their kitchen - they cook rice outside:
tiger gorge - lunch kitchen

This is what we ordered. On the left are the raw ingredients on the shelf, and on the right are the final cooked dishes. The bottom row is蚕豆, which I never know can be eaten like this – quite delicious!
tiger gorge - lunch veggie

Here is a flower dish that we ordered. Yes, we ate flowers fried in egg!
tiger gorge - lunch flower dish

Well, so far, the taste is not bad, actually quite nice. But when this final dish came out, it really upset us. This is the famous local dish - boiled chicken with mushrooms (草菇炖土鸡).
tiger gorge lunch (cheated chicken soup)

There wasn’t any chicken meat. We paid for half chicken, but we couldn’t find any meat! Where did the meat go for the drumstick and the breast? They were just bones and bones only! Look how watery the soup is! We suspect that they took the meat and gave us the bones only.

It cost us RMB147, and RMB75 went to that stupid chicken dish alone – all we paid were chicken bones only.

The name of the shop is 江鱼潭伊家园. Beware! This is how the restaurant looks (quite cozy on the right photo). If you are brought there, you may still proceed as the taste is quite good, but please avoid ordering their chicken.
tiger gorge - lunch outside

Cost: RMB 147
Address: 江鱼潭伊家园 near Tiger Leaping Gorge
A-Ma-Yi Restaurant, Naxi local food in Lijiang Old Town
We have read about this restaurant before, and we purposely asked the guide to bring us there. Upon verification with the locals, it is true that this shop is run by a real Naxi local. Amayi (阿妈意) is a lady who is very famous in her cooking. She is retired now and passed this shop to her son. The restaurant is located inside the Lijiang old town, in a secluded area – that’s why not many know of this place! It took our guide some time to find it too!

We invited our guide to join us for dinner, and she explained those dishes to us. I actually can’t remember what we ordered and the pictures taken wasn’t clear. Roughly, I could remember we ordered fried potato (like French fries but in spicy sauce), fried mushrooms (干扁茶树菇), and two other very spicy dishes which I couldn’t take, plus a broiled chicken with toufu (豆腐炖土鸡). Yes, we were very upset with the lunch and want to try an authentic boiled chicken again.
Amayi other dishes

Look at the picture below – that is a good comparison between the lunch chicken (left) and the one we got from Amayi (right).
Amayi chicken vs tiger gorge

The one on the right has so much ingredient that you can see from the surface. The one from lunch, we could hardly find anything!

Cost: RMB 138
Address: 丽江古城五一街小石桥
Tel: 13988895592
Motel Breakfast
Here is our second breakfast, just before leaving the motel – we spent only 2 nights there. It was just plain porridge with some pickles. The porridge is so hot that it helped warmed up our body – it was very cold on our last day in Lijiang!
motel breakfast

Vermicelli Soup
There is one other specialty in Yunnan, which is their vermicelli soup (过桥米线). Before leaving Lijiang, our guide let us try this. Well, they brought up the meat, egg, noodle and soup, in separate bowls. What we had to do was to mix them and eat. A bit different in the way they eat, but the taste is similar to our noodle soup here, with a bit of spiciness.
noodle soup

Cost: RMB 41 for 3 bowls
Address: Just around Lijiang Old Town entrance, next to the taxi stand.

Monday, May 19, 2008

China Yunnan Lijiang Trip - Other Cultural Highlights

Culture on the Floors

culture on road

Here is a photo showing their unique way of tiling their floors. They like to use small stones that are made into patterns using roof tiles as separators/designs. Found this in almost everywhere!

Every tribe has their own ways of calling others. In Naxi tribe (纳西族 - main tribe in Lijiang), women are called PanJingMei (胖金妹) and men are called PanJingGe (胖金哥). Well, I know, it should be pronounced as pang-jin-mei instead of pan-jing-mei, but Mandarin is not their native language and that IS the way they pronounce it! Some times a bit confusing when you listen to them, but it is quite fun too to guess what they actually mean! :D

In other tribes, these are called differently. Women are call JinHua (金花) in Bai tribe (白族 - main tribe in Dali) and A-Shi-Ma (阿诗玛) in Yi tribe (彝族 – main tribe in Kunming). We didn’t have the chance to learn more about other tribes, but it is really interesting! When we were in Lijiang, it took us a while to be accustomed to be called PanJingMei, and when we were in Kunming we found it funny when we were practicing mentioning AsiMa and other women responded to us!

Unique DongBa Religion – environment concerns
As highlighted in my previous post, Naxi’s DongBa religion emphasize a lot on taking care of the natural resource. They have built in environmental awareness into the religion, since many hundred years ago. This is really, really, unique!

They are so eco-friendly, even in their daily activities. They do not use plastic bags for all shopping. Instead, they use recyclable bags. I was told, if one walks away from a shop with a plastic bag, both the shop owner and the shopper would be fined!

All over in Yunnan, we see trash bins that come in sets of two – one is specific for recyclable items.
recycle bins

They Eat Flowers
Yes, they use flowers in their dishes, they EAT flowers. Flowers are not just for decorations! I will write more about this in separate posts on food.

Here are some examples of their DongBa writing. These are found on the walls in the old town:
dongba writing

The figure on the left top represents “Woman”. She holds a mirror with her own reflection.

The one on the right top represents “Home”, which you can see from its roof and the people staying below it.

And the bottom one represents “Pregnant Woman”. She has a big stomach and a fetus is inside the round stomach.

Basically, their writing is very much like drawings.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dances in Yunnan

On our first night stay in Lijiang, the motel owner kept persuading us (almost forcing) to dance at their local dance square after our dinner. We were so tired but still went ahead – am glad that we did that coz we practically didn’t have the chance to do that in the following days!

According to them, before TV invaded the litter quiet township, the people have nothing to do at night. It is their traditional culture to gather in the square after dinner, light the fire to keep warm, and dance circling the fire.

Of course, as tourism has boomed in this place, and with the invasion of TV and other entertainments, less and less locals dance there, and it is now full with tourists. Nevertheless, the one that we went in Shuhe old town (束河古镇) is still far more authentic than the Lijiang old town.

We watched for a while, and then was pulled into the circle to join them. I tell you… the locals really danced with their full body, seeing their shoulders and body movement – that is called DANCING. And us? We were like zombie or doing the morning exercise – practically just lifting our hands and kicking our legs here and there, as per the instruction. I found that we were very funny when I reviewed the videos. Hahahaha!

Here is a video before we joined the circle:

Here is a video showing 3 locals (2 white shirt and 1 black) dancing with us. Look at their movements!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lijiang - Other Attractions

These are some smaller attractions that I think can be skipped, especially some tend to be man made in the recent years. Well, when I visit a culturally rich place, I prefer to see its original look, rather than enriched or built by government for tourists. Unfortunately some of these smaller attractions listed in this post fall into that category. If I had known better, I would have skipped them. Nevertheless, they are not complete time waster as we could still learn a bit on their religions and their legends.

Legend of the Princess

legend of Naxi prices

Although there are a few versions about this Legend of the Princess, they all have some commonalities. First, the princess was imprisoned above the pond at the right side of this bridge. Second, all versions come with a sad ending, and the princess must die.

Story 1 – told by our guide
The king sent his favorite daughter to marry the prince of his enemy, pretending to be in peace with them. In fact, he wanted his daughter to feed him with information so that he could kill the prince and win the next battle. The princess fell in love with the prince and disobeyed her father. The king sent bad news on the queen, to lure the princess back home. Once she was back, she was imprisoned in a hut above the pond. She sent her dog to deliver message of her capture to the prince, but the dog was found and killed. When she found out that the prince was killed, she committed suicide in the hut by refusing to eat and drink.

Story 2 – told on the signboard
princess story

Similar to story 1, but in this version, it was the king who wanted to kill the princess by not giving her any water to drink. She tried to drink the water by dipping her long hair into the pond via the cracks of the hut floor. When found out, the father shaved her bald, and she was dead of thirst a few days after the shave.

DongBa Religion
dongba religion

Here is the DongBa symbol, practiced by most of the Naxi tribe (biggest minorities in Lijian). They worship 5 gods, with the most important/powerful one in the center.

dongba sacred place

This is the place they go up to worship their DongBa god. The long steps lead people walking away, from the hell to this world, and from this world to the heaven. On the left of the stair case is considered the death side – no photos could be taken there as it is believed full of evil spirits. On the right side is the good side – photos can be taken. A bit spooky, and I’m chicken hearted, so have to follow the rules! In fact, I even scared to take photo in the ‘good side’!


Here are some souvenirs they sell there. I’m particularly scared of the faced doll. It looks like voodoo thingy to me. :p

Meat Stones
meat stones

They have an exhibition of meat stones in one of the attractions (can’t remember which one). Meat stones are natural stones that looks exactly like a piece of meat, without any modifications! There are 65 pieces of such meat stones in displayed in this museum. Apart from this set, there is one piece in Taiwan and another one in Singapore. Don’t you think they look like real meat??!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lijiang Attractions - Old Towns

There are 2 old towns that we visited, one is called Shuhe (束河古镇) and another is Lijiang (丽江古城).

Our motel is inside Shuhe. It is a much quieter town than the other one. At night, there are less activities. The highlight of its activity is the nigh dancing which I’m going to share in next post. I actually prefer this town than Lijiang Old Town, due to its serenity and peace.

ShuHe old town

Top left – a quiet and peaceful morning, residents taking water from the river (drain?) to use)
Top right – the water is very clear, and you can see right through it to the bottom!
Bottom left – a shop owner making goods from silver with her tools.
Bottom right – the stone road is so smooth, which indicates this section of the road has been a few hundred years old. The longer it is, the smoother it gets.

And picture below is Lijiang Old Town at dusk:
Lijiang old town

Top left & right – entrance to the old town
Bottom left – this is the famous Bar Street (酒吧街), where you find a lot of bars in traditional format. Some even with local cultural dance, and some with the cross singing!
Bottom right - this is the Square (四方街), which supposedly for people to gather and dance. But no one did that when we were there, not as fun as the Shuhe old town.

We visited the House of Mu (木府) on our last day, which is situated just within Lijiang old town. It is where the local ‘king’ lived in, many years ago. He tried to imitate the Forbidden City (故宫/ 紫禁城), so lots of structures are quite similar to the one in Beijing – looks too familiar to me!
mu fu

From here, if you walk to the top of the last room, you can view the whole Lijiang old town from here (picture above, at bottom right). Quite a spectacular view.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lijiang Attractions - Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Tiger Leaping Gorge

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山) is the second place we visited in Lijiang, which was our original main focus. My expectation on this attraction was much higher than what we got. I later learnt there are 2 routes to view the mountain, one could be nearer to the snow mountain but would probably more demanding on physical strength.

Due to high altitude, we get tired easily. Though we didn’t get any altitude sickness, I’m glad we didn’t go the other route coz at the end of this trip I was exhausted. There was some uphill walk (very minimal).

snowy mountain cable car

This is the cable care that we took that brought us nearer to the mountain. Without that, I guess we won’t be able to make it in such short timing! :p This cable car is very similar to the one that we used in HongKong’s NgongPing 360.

When we reached the end of the cable car, we were required to walk around 30 min before seeing the snow mountain.

A bit disappointed coz the mountain can only be seen from this far distance, unlike in New Zealand where we could even walk on it. Later, we found out that the mountain is not very high (5000+ m), but it has never been conquered! The mountain is Naxi tribe’s pride, especially with this fact! No wonder we can’t get very close to it! LOL!

Yulongxuesan hill bottom

Here is the bottom of the hill. Water from the mountain’s snow is their main source of water, for all activities (drinking, washing, agriculture, etc). Here is the first stop of the water. It is very beautiful, and the water looks like jade. It was regarded as mini JiuZhaiGou (小九寨沟).

Tiger Leaping Gorge
There are 3 parts of the Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡), namely the Upper Leaping (上虎跳), Middle Leaping (中虎跳) and Lower Leaping (下虎跳). To view the gorge from Lijiang without going to Shangri-la, we were only able to see the Upper Leaping, and it was 3-hour drive away from Lijiang town.

It was a long walk from the entrance to the site. We had to walk along the cliff of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and on two parts of the walk we had to walk pass tunnels that cut across the mountain.
072-tiger tunnel

tiger cliff

Look at the photo above, we had to walk along the cliff. There are stones falling from the top, and we have to walk close to the cliff and walk fast. But read the sign below, it is quite funny to read their translations… :p

After walking about 20 to 30 min, we finally arrived at the site here. The view was breathtaking! It is hard to imagine what would happen to me if I fall into that water…

The big rock in the center of the river is called the Tiger Leaping Stone. I think the Naxi tribe is very imaginative. They have a story for this as well!
tiger leaping stone

They said many years ago, there was a hunter hunting down a tiger, and the tiger leaped to this stone and then hopped to the other side of the river, hence named the Tiger Leaping Gorge, and this stone is called the Tiger Leaping Stone!

The First Bay of the Changjiang River (长江第一湾)
Changjiang (长江) begins at the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. On our way back to Lijiang after visiting the Tiger Leaping Gorge, we stopped by to view the first bend of Changjiang.

It is supposed to be a brief stop here, but we spent quite some time just to enjoy the scene. It feels so comfortable and the place was really full of serenity and peace.
1st bay of changjiang river