I must apologise for the lateness of this post. This is the second part of my two part guide to hiking on the Upper Trail Hike in China’s Yunnan Province in and around Tiger Leaping Gorge. To refresh your memory (and also mine), below are the previous two parts of the story which cover this part of the world. Things got a bit busy…
I wrote these both in early 2013, following my trip to the Yunnan Province in December 2012:
So finally here’s Part 2 of the hike, and the third installment from this region, which also saw me visit Shuhe Old Town, Zhongdian/Shangri La and Ganden Sumtseling Gompa!
So we had made it to the halfway house and slept in the warmth of a double bed at the Halfway House. The next morning we were up and having breakfast. It was cold. Very cold. Gloves, hats and scarves were needed as we ate eggs, tomato and pancakes and sipped coffee on the balcony at the Halfway House. It was 7am.
I’ll just post a load of photos from the breakfast and place we stayed the night here. It’s known as the halfway house and is a great travel moment.
The balcony at the half way house is the place to have breakfast. Yes, it was freezing and we could have sat downstairs and indoors in the warmth. But these things only come up once a lifetime so we had to be out on deck to see the views.
There were a few others there joining us for breakfast for sunrise. We met, shook hands, and then headed on our separate ways. I don’t remember their names but a couple of guys from Israel, a couple from Netherlands and Germany and of course the Chinese!
The staggering contrast in heat from the sun coming up to it not being there is staggering. Don’t just believe my photos – t-shirt on and sweating on the way down to Tina’s, yet wearing 2 jackets, a jumper, a t shirt, scarf, hat and gloves pre sunrise. It was Christmas Eve (24th December).
My girlfriend Panny Yu had been to see the Tiger Leaping Gorge before, but not on the Upper Trail hike. I think she enjoyed the sunrise moment in this epic scenery.
There was no real rush on Day 2 and it was meant to be an easy hike, after the previous day’s 28 bends section and the amount of walking involved. Besides we had started the first day in Shuhe Old Town near Lijiang and had 3 buses to get to the start of the Upper Trail Hike. We were tired before we started, so day 2 had to be easier…
At breakfast we made small talk to the other hikers. Panny and I do our own thing when we hike, and we walk at our own preferred joint pace, but we mingled in the morning and spoke to people from Israel, Germany, USA, Netherlands and Poland. Our fellow hikers all headed off before us. Basically the Halfway House offers stunning balcony view into the valley and of the mountains behind. But it’s cold so everyone waits until sunrise before heading off. Then it gets hot. It’s a stark contrast.
After our balcony photos and admiring the entire views, we head off on the hike. The end for us will be at Tina’s Guesthouse as we have decided to get the 3pm bus from there onwards to Zhongdian/ Shangri La (a city I covered before here – Backpacking in Shangri La). First some downhill walking, some epic landscapes, some dodgy cliff edges and some waterfalls.
The second day is honestly a walk in the park – it really is mostly straight or downhill. Nothing too tricky! Savour the views!!
You pass by a waterfall and there are some steep cliff drops so you do have to be careful.
There are a few really cool spots to take cliffhanging photos, so we indulged…
Experienced hikers won’t have a problem at all on day 2. After a few hours, you’ll see a settlement ahead and that’s Tina’s. The walk down is through some easy terrain
Most interestingly for me was seeing the Tibet arrow on this part of the hike.
Let’s not forget that Tibet is indeed “that way”, though a few hundred kilometres away and with the need for a visa/entry permit. The following day though, we were heading to the Tibetan Monastery at Ganden Sumtseling Gompa.
The final descent to Tina’s was shrouded in glorious Chinese sunshine and we were pretty content we had completed the hike. We got to Tina’s around 1.30 pm and the bus wasn’t until 3pm.
We didn’t do the long hike which leads beyond Tina’s, but after day 1, it was nice to make it to the base at Tina’s nice and early. Then we had something to eat, I had a beer and we booked our seats on the onward bus to Zhongdian (Shangri La) – you can also get a bus to Lijiang from Tina’s, or continue on the hike.
There was an interesting menu at Tina’s and the beer went down well.
It had been a great couple of days hiking in China. I highly recommend the Tiger Leaping Gorge area and the Upper Trail hike.
Here are my videos of the Upper Trail Hike Day 2:
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