Tiger Leaping Gorge is an exceptional place. Remote, natural, cold and Chinese, sum up this little haven away from the busy working world. What is it? How do you get there?
Firstly most tourists that visit here will have come from Lijiang, and yes I stayed there first too. From Lijiang there are several bus options to Tiger Leaping Gorge. Head to the main bus station in Lijiang which is in the new town and on a main road. We took the 8.20 am bus which takes around 3 hours to arrive at the village near Tiger Leaping Gorge. Tiger Leaping Gorge is an isolated spot.
The bus ride is scenic and comfortable. I enjoyed the view – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love travelling in China. It is a real travel gem and I strongly recommend you all to visit China, especially remote parts such as Tiger Leaping Gorge. Plus as a foreigner it makes you feel like you are really travelling – it’s like another world. A lifestyle of travel should be all about places like this!
Right so after that amazing scenic bus ride you will arrive in a village called Qiaotou – make sure you check with your bus driver that you are stopping here. Get off the bus, grab your bags and find a driver to take you to the Tiger Leaping Gorge viewing point. Please note that my girlfriend speaks Chinese and this makes my travel experience at Tiger Leaping Gorge a lot easier, BUT you shouldn’t have too many problems. Basically this is because the local guys in taxis and vans will know you want to go to see the gorge. There are a few important points to note however:
1. Make sure you get out at Qiaotou Village (as the bus might head onwards to Shangri La – and you ain’t coming back to see Tiger Leaping Gorge from there!)
2. Please be aware that to see Tiger Leaping Gorge up close, you DON’T go on a hike – you get a driver to take you to the viewing point only.
3. You only need to spend about an hour (maximum!) at the viewing point for Tiger Leaping Gorge – honestly – it’s just a viewing point, albeit a good one.
4. I’d advise you copy what we did if you want to get the proper experience of these amazing Yunnan Mountains AND get up close and personal to Tiger Leaping Gorge.
5. You need to pay 65RMB/Chinese Yuan to get to the lookout point. Standard procedure – your driver will sort this out. You get a ticket like the one below:
So once you get to Qiaotou Village, ask a driver to take you to the Tiger Leaping Gorge viewing point.
We got there around 11.30 am, having left Lijiang at around 8.30 am. Not bad! So, get out at the Viewing Point and head down the steps to be amazed by the views, the sounds of the gushing waters and the overall natural vibe of the place.
It’s a fantastic place. But please note that you only need an hour or so here (we took just 35 minutes 😉 ), so get your driver to wait for you – which he will and take you back to either Qiaotou Village to stay overnight OR do what we did and start the epic Upper Trail hike!
So to conclude all I really want to say is – try and find time to do BOTH the Upper Trail hike and the lower viewing platform for Tiger Leaping Gorge. The hike is epic, difficult and has some amazing views, BUT on the hike you will not get up close and personal to the gorge itself so take some advice and do both – you’ll be satisfied with it!
What Is It? – Tiger Leaping Gorge
Where Is It? – About 20 kilometres from Qiaotou Village in Yunnan, CHINA
How To Get There? – Either spend a night in Qiaotou Village, or simply get a bus from Lijiang, do the gorge then do the hike to Bendiwan Village (there will be a future post on the Upper Trail hike to follow soon!)
How Much Does It Cost? – 65 RMB for a ticket
What to Bring? – Coat, gloves, hat, scarf, money, camera, water
Should I just do the Upper Trail hike and give the gorge viewing platform a miss? – NO, I advise doing both. Trust me 😉
Key Song –
MANIC STREET PREACHERS – SEND AWAY THE TIGERS (not just for the Tiger mention, this song even has the word ‘China’ in it!):
Bus from Lijiang to Tiger Leaping Gorge (Qiaotou Village):
Tiger Leaping Gorge Viewing Point Part 1:
Tiger Leaping Gorge Viewing Point Part 2:
Tiger Leaping Gorge Viewing Point Part 3:
Don’t Stop Living is condemned to a lifestyle of travel. I’m a travelling Northern Irishman!