Trip Report : China

Old Feb 20th, 2017, 06:01 PM
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Trip Report : China

Full details (with pictures) of a month long, independent trip through the People's Republic of China using only public transport can be found here : www.paulkilfoil.co.za/2012.aspx (the journey was from Lijiang in Yunnan via Tiger Leaping Gorge, Chengdu, Xiahe, Tongren, Xi'an, Pingyao, Datong and Beijing).
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Old Feb 20th, 2017, 07:05 PM
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Wow, nice trip! I have been all of The places except Xiahe and Tongren! I love those places.
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Old Feb 21st, 2017, 03:42 AM
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Nice long report. Looking at your photos, July is definitely busy. On the picture of the hanging temple in Datong, i can see the lineup. I was there at springtime and hardly anybody else.
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Old Feb 21st, 2017, 12:33 PM
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Hi Paul,
I love your trip report and photos! I've been to China twice, including Xian and Beijing. My daughters lived in China for several years. My husband and I, along with one of our daughters and her husband, are going to Yunnan Province end of May for 2 weeks. We are going to Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Lugu Lake and Shangri-la.

We will see Tiger Leaping Gorge, but we are not hiking the trail. I am definitely not in shape for that. I admire you for hiking the trail. I wonder what happened to those hikers you didn't see any more??? Very mysterious!

I have a few questions. I am a little concerned about altitude sickness at Shangri-la. Did you happen to meet anyone on your trip who went there? Did you experience altitude sickness at the top of Tiger Leaping Gorge?

What was the weather like in Lijiang and around the Gorge? I know you had some rain, but did you have any sunny days? What about temperatures? Just trying to get ideas for packing the right clothing.

I also responded to your trip report on the 3 Baltic countries! They sound fascinating, too.

Thank you!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 02:03 AM
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Karen : We had a lot of rain in China, and it rained (not heavily) two of the three days we were in Tiger Leaping Gorge. But it wasn't cold so it was no problem. Landslides ARE a real concern, and there was a major one during our first night in TLG - it completely blocked the road to Qiaotou.

Highest point in TLG is about 2700 metres if I recall correctly, and that isn't really high enough to be a concern, particularly if you walk up (ie. ascend slowly). In my experience altitude issues only start to appear above 3000 metres (and even then they're usually minor until about 4000 metres), so I wouldn't worry.

Enjoy!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 02:09 AM
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Karen : Sorry, I see that Shangri-La is over 3000 metres, so if you go straight there from (say) sea-level you are quite likely to experience mild headaches and nausea. I wouldn't worry though - I'm pretty sure you'll adjust within a few hours.

My wife and flew to Cusco in Peru (3400 metres) from Lima (sea level) in 2010 and we had altitude issues for a day and a half. But that was extreme - sea level to 3400 metres in 1 hour. If you go by bus then it won't be so bad, and in any case Lijiang isn't at sea level (my Peru trip is described at www.paulkilfoil.co.za/2010.aspx )
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 05:26 AM
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Paul, thank you so much for your helpful responses. We will have a tour guide with us, and we are going by train and van. This is the order of our itinerary:

Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Lugu Lake, back to Lijiang, then stopping at Tiger Leaping Gorge on our way to Shangri-la. I think Lijiang is at 2000 meters, so it looks like based on what you said, we should not have too much difficulty with altitude sickness.

I haven't read your Peru trip report yet, but I will do so later. I am sure it is fascinating!

Thanks, Karen
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Old Feb 23rd, 2017, 05:52 AM
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The TLG hike isn't very difficult. I have seen whole families there with young kids. I am over 60 and overweigh and had no issue.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2017, 12:12 PM
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Canadachinatraveller- how are your knees?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2017, 03:11 PM
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Canadachinatraveller, I am surprised that families would bring their young children. I have read, and maybe it was an exaggeration, that the TLG hike is dangerous, and that people have died. I saw a video of people doing the hike, and it looks like there are places where the trail is narrow and on the edge, with sheer drops to the gorge, and there aren't any railings. Both my husband and myself are prone to tripping and falling, and breaking ankles (no exaggeration), so I really don't trust myself on this hike. I have very poor balance.

I admire you for doing this hike! Where else did you go in Yunnan? Did you go to Shangri-La?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2017, 08:46 PM
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Karen - I think the dangers on TLG are totally exaggerated. It really isn't that dangerous and kids would love it. I had this same "argument" on another forum where a lady was insisting that the descent to Tiger Leaping Rock was highly hazardous. Well, my wife and I did it in the rain and it required a degree of caution (as many mountain hikes do) but it really wasn't a problem. Any reasonably fit and able person can manage, including the descent to Tiger Leaping Rock via the iron ladders and the cliff-cut path from there to Walnut Garden.
My advice to anybody is - if you like hiking and mountain scenery, do the TLG! You'll love it.
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Old Feb 24th, 2017, 05:24 AM
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My knees are ok. Not dangerous at all. The only tiring part is the "28 bends". I'd swear that there are actually 48 of them! Here is a good video (we did not have the "toll" that they mention): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCUqlAccVtE
For people going there, this is a good map to help plan the trip: http://www.chinatouristmaps.com/trav...ketch-map.html
Parts of the path are very nice, some parts are rougher. For the 28 bends, you can always hire a mule.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 02:19 AM
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Indeed - we counted 44 bends, not 28.
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