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Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hǔtiàoxiá)
Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hǔtiàoxiá) Review
A 2½-hour drive from Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge is home to some of China's most breathtaking mountain scenery. By water, the gorge winds about 16 km (10 miles); if you're hiking along the upper trail, the 40-km (25-mile) route can be finished in a day or two. The upper trail connects the towns of Qiaotou in the west and Daju in the east, and there is a ferry across the river near Daju. The easiest way to tackle the walk from Lijiang is to take the 8:30 am or 9 am bus on Xin Dajie to Qiaotou and hike toward Daju.
There are several guesthouses in the gorge, scattered at distances to accommodate hikers at any stage of their trek. All offer food, hot showers, and beds for Y20 to Y40. Many of the guesthouses have expanded and upgraded accommodations in the past couple of years, so there is more selection and even some higher-end rooms for Y150. The guesthouses have put up signs and arrows to let hikers know how much farther until the next lodging. If you don't mind not hiking the whole gorge, stop in Walnut Garden, where you can take one of the regular buses back to Lijiang. If you continue to Daju, there are only two buses a day to Lijiang, at 8:30 am and 1 pm.
For those only interested in seeing the point where the tiger is supposed to have leapt, there are two options: the prettier one is on the Lijiang side of the gorge, includes a nice 4-km (3-mile) walk along a path cut out of the cliffside and costs Y50 to enter; the Shangri-La side can be reached directly by minivan but will include a few hundred steps down to where the water rages most fiercely. The entrance fee costs Y65, which also includes the rest of the gorge. Most hotels will also gladly arrange tours in minivans—expect to pay more than Y140 per person each way.
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