4 years ago, M and I attempted to hike Tiger Leaping Gorge but unfortunately that did not happen due to heavy rain and landslides blocking the road.
Finally this time my plans aligned and I found some friends willing to join me on a 4 day trip to Yunnan. (Alas, M could not). Arriving in Lijiang late Friday night via Shenzhen we stayed in Mama Naxi Guesthouse, the same guesthouse I had stayed in 4 years ago. However, they had moved locations due to rising rent prices and increasing commercialism on the “old city” of Lijiang. (Interestingly, I learnt later on the “old city” of Lijiang isn’t even old because an Earthquake had destroyed much of the city in the 1990s which would explain all the “new-old” buildings.)
Anyways, we managed to get the last 3 bus tickets to Tiger Leaping Gorge at 8:40am and reached Qiaotou at 11am to get started on the hike. All the other tourist passengers on the bus were mainlanders who were doing the lower route and not hiking; the driver called us 3 very brave “勇敢”. Clearly, this hike was not going to have many Chinese hikers.
The first 1 hour hike was on pavement and then the trail officially starts. At 2pm we reached our lunch spot at Naxi Guesthouse. We thought this first part was the most strenuous but perhaps we were just hungry and not used to the elevation.
After Lunch we headed through the 28 bends which wasn’t too terrible. After the 28 bends the view of the Gorge really starts to become breathtaking as the period before was just a view of a huge construction site and dynamiting sounds as they were making a railroad and highway track to Shangri-La.
We decided to stay the night at Halfway Guest-house. The reviews on trip-advisor were very mediocre but it really wasn’t bad and the room we got had pretty epic views. The food was also quite good.
We left early the next morning and walked another 1.5 hours to the end of the trek. We had some time before our pick-up so we paid 15RMB each to head down the path near “Sandy’s Guesthouse” to the bottom of the gorge to where the tiger allegedly leaped across the gorge. This path was quite steep down so it was quite strenuous to hike back but it took roughly 1.5 hours return. The water flow was so fast and powerful, I am sure the tiger drowned.
After this, we headed down to Tibet Guesthouse where we had arranged for a driver to pick us up to go onwards to Shigu.