Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lijiang and Tiger Leaping Gorge

From 2012 03 Lijiang

A three hour bus trip north of Dali, on a two-lane twisty mountain highway, was our last stop on spring break, the UNESCO world heritage site of Lijiang, Yunnan, China. The modern city of Lijiang has over a million residents, but the old city, where tourists congregate, is a delightful, walkable maze of narrow alleyways, canals and bridges. The Dongba culture of the Naxi people is on display, in pictographs and music, as well as embroidery and popular fare such as yak meat.

Lijiang's latitude puts it somewhere south of Corpus Christi, but its 7,800 feet of elevation gives Lijiang a mild climate. The mountains are never far from sight. A classic image of Lijiang is of the Black Dragon Pool, with a temple and bridge in the foreground and the towering Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the background. The mountain forms one side of the Tiger Leaping Gorge, a breathtaking narrow canyon with steep mountain sides through which flows the Jinsha River, the upper reaches of the Yangtze. It's a popular destination of backpackers. We took a shortcut -- a drive along a highway carved out of the side of the gorge to Tina's guest house in the middle gorge, then a three hour hike down and back up a ridiculously steep trail to the river.

After three nights in Lijiang, we were up at 4:30 am to go to the Lijiang airport for a short flight to Kunming, followed by a longer flight back to Shanghai. The next day, we took the long flight to Chicago, followed by a connecting flight to DFW airport. Memories of our Yunnan vacation are as close as my cell phone, where I still have the "Tibetan Cafe" on my phone's list of Wi-Fi hotspots. I can look at the "Tibetan Cafe - out of range" indicator and sigh with warm memories.

More photos from Lijiang after the jump.

From 2012 03 Lijiang

From 2012 03 Lijiang

All the photos from Lijiang can be viewed here.

Photos from Shanghai can be viewed here.
Photos from Kunming can be viewed here.
Photos from Dali can be viewed here.

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