Pretty much everything I read advised me not to go to Shangri La in the winter. Well, to be fair, some accounts recommended skipping Shangri La altogether. It’s a made up place anyhow, right? We thought a lot about it and decided that a) there was a ton of natural beauty to discover around the area even if the town ended up being a far cry from the place James Hilton described, and b) January is when we’d be in the area and so that’s when we’d have to go. We originally pictured ourselves doing some hiking, going up to Deqin, seeing a glacier, etc. What actually happened is we got really cold and altitude sick. Poor Kevin could barely walk down the street let alone hike up any mountains. It was a very loopy, oxygen deprived end to our trip, but a good one nonetheless!
Archive for February, 2012
From Lijiang we (and some friends we made at Mama Naxi‘s) were easily able to arrange transportation to Tiger Leaping Gorge (2.5 hours, ¥30/person for a minibus from the hostel). We had read much about TLG and how beautiful of a trek it was. Many people recommended making it a 3-4 day hike and taking time to hang out in the small villages along the way. We definitely had an amazing time and thought the scenery was beautiful, but our feelings were a bit different, and we were ready to be done after 2 days.
Good news: Just found out that I get an all expenses paid trip to Hong Kong next week, and 4 or 5 paid days off while I’m there getting my visa! Bad news: Kevin’s visa is not ready and he can’t get off work. So I’m going by myself. YIKES!
I want to wrap up talking about Lijiang by writing a little bit about the hostel where we stayed. I mentioned before that we were pointed in the direction of Mama Naxi’s several times by strangers without us even saying that’s where we were headed. So, if you’re the type of tourist who resents guidebook followers this place might not be for you. Sure enough when we arrived the place was packed with foreign faces, but for good reason! We had a really good experience at Mama Naxi’s.
My first full payday plus I get my overtime! And Kev’s first part-time payday! And tonight we’re celebrating with some MUCH missed pizza! Yes! What a great Friday!
Like most tourist towns, Lijiang is packed with tourist agencies offering a wealth of attractions that, while possibly spectacular, will quickly empty your pockets. I don’t blame the Chinese for capitalizing on this lovely location- there is legitimately a ton of cool stuff to see. You can take a lift (or 4) up Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and see a glacier. You can also pay at multiple locations for some sweet unobstructed mountain views. But, if you’re poor like Kevin and I, you can do free things, have a great time, and not know what you’re missing! We can’t say for sure how awesome the advertised tourist attractions are, but we have photo evidence that we got some pretty good views even without any >¥100 lift rides.