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Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China

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First, confession...I was still sick when i arrived at the gorge and therefore shortened my visit to the TGL into more of a visit to the gorge for 1 night/2days. And if to be honest, the TGL is another Alpine gorge. a gorge where the longest river in Asia, the Yangtze River, crosses through lovely high wild and green mountains. Personally to me, it is not a wow, nor a must visit. If you are mountain hikers you would love walking its 20+ kilometers.

Practicalities. Starting point is almost always the town of Qiaotou. Get there from either Shangrila or Lijiang for about 35 RMB. Another newer option is to take a bus that takes you directly to the Middle gorge and start there towards Qiaotou. As I was not well, I booked the Naxi Family GH which is 2hrs walking up from Qiaotou (or they can pick you up for 80 RMB). People pass through it during the day to stop and eat. Few stay to sleep. From there you can continue up the 28 bends and well into the gorge finishing at the Walnut Garden with several sleeping options (Tea Horse, Halfway Point, Tina, Sean etc). I stopped half way through the 28 bends because my lungs were not clear yet. It's challenging but nothing more. Bring high walking shoes. It is poo-filled and probably the dirtiest trek I have ever done in my life :) The weather changed several times during the day from pouring rain to impossible grilling sun and that means you need to carry layers with you and water.

What I did not like about the gorge is that all the guesthouses, and especially Tina and Sean talk badly about the others. In essence, a gorge is still a gorge and whether you can see the Jade mountain (another snowy mountain you have plenty of them in Switzerland) from the front or the side is real non sense.

My stay with a Naxi family was a great experience by itself and for that I am happy. The following day, I was taken to see the rock on which a tiger was said to jump from one side to the other (hence the name). Was nice and it is something you do not see if you hike as it is on the lower road.

More personal experience on http://chinainmyhands2013.blogspot.com/:

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