Lijiang, China

June 4, 2010 - Lijiang, China

So, the 5-6 hour bus ride ended up infact being an 8 hour bus drive on bumpy, dirt roads. When you've spent a whole night on a train (hardsleeper style), an 8 hour bus ride straight afterwards turns out to be quite an endurance marathon! It must be said though, we went through some pretty scenery along the way, going past paddy fields, little villages and mountains.  In the last hour of our journey we started going up a very high mountain, the bus kept creeping higher and higher along the steepest, windiest road.  Alex and I looked at each other as if to say 'a town cant be this high up right?!' Wrong! :)

Lijiang is 2600 meters above sea level, and as I soon found out, coming this high up (all in one day) can give you a little bit of altitude sickness! I spent the first night in bed with a migraine and puking! Thank God it only last for 24 hours!
The people in our hostel (and everyone we went past) were very amused at our mode of transport on arrival into the 'old town'...  The bus dropped us off in 'New town', so; lost and not knowing which way to go, we flagged down this guy driving a 3 wheeled motorbike thing with a cart at the back. I though it looked similar to a tuk tuk and decided it must be some cute taxi that they obviously use in Lijiang. Anyway, we flagged the guy down and pointed to the hostel address we had written down, he nodded and wrote down 20 yuan. We agreed and jumped on, but as we went careening through the streets, everyone was staring at us (some laughing and pointing). We later found out that we came into the old town in a BIN! Its not a cute taxi tuk tuk, it's infact a rubbish collector, dragging a cart (intended for trash) Nice one! :)

Lijiang in one word:  Stunning! The 'old town' (which everyone comes here to see) is the prettiest place I've possibly ever been to! Its very high up and you can see the snow-capped Himalayas from here. The town has canals running through it with pretty little bridges going over them. The old style chinese buildings are still in place, and off course there are red lanterns EVERYWHERE. I Love it! Alex though, who had once watched 'Beyond the clouds' (a TV series on Lijiang) is a bit disappointed. He expected it to be a little farming village, where everyone still farms and time has stood still but (unlike in the TV series), Lijiang is now very much geared up for tourism and chinese houses have now been turned into shops selling souvenirs. Most of the tourist are Chinese though, so there's still only a handfull of westerners!
We rented bikes and cycled to a nearby village an hour away, called Baisha. This villiage is more authentic and people still farm here (so Alex was more happy ;). The woman in this part of China work very hard and we've seen a few doing back-braking labour work out in the fields. Lijiang still has a big Naxi community; the woman here still wear their traditional white & blue clothing which is nice. and Naxi people are matriarchal - which mean the woman are boss! I think they have the right idea... :)

Unfortunatly, the weather has just turned on us and it's been raining for the last couple of days now, so we were unable to do a hike in Tiger Leaping Gorge as planned :-/ Instead, tonight we get a sleeper train back to the main city, Kunming, and in the morning we're flying to Vientiane in Laos! Hoorah!!! :)

Jinnie & Alex

Oh, almost forgot! We put together a little list of things China rocks at, and a few it... well, doesn't rock at. So, here goes...

Tea = Yes / Coffee = No / Pointlessly load music = Yes / Toilets = No / Public Transport = Yes / Road Rules = No / Egg fried rice and sweet'n'sour pork = Yes / Eating Utensils = No / Old stuff = Yes / Spitting = No / Overcharging for natural wonders = Yes / Fast internet = No / Street life = Yes / Subtle posing for photographs = No / Poop-Through-Pants = Yes / Opera = No / Cute girls = Yes / Cute guys = No

...hope that was in some way informative ;)


Hardsleeper to Panzhihua
Roof detail in Baisha


June 4, 2010
Wow, stunning! Love your blog - it feels like i'm travelling with you :-)
June 4, 2010
Bin Travellers :-) hahaha... what a good start to a friday! Best blog yet.
Lijang sounds beautiful,I would love to go there ... looks like the kind of place you would find cherry blossoms...

Happy flying to Laos!
Lots of love.x
June 4, 2010
Haha, we forgot to mention that as we came round the corner into the old town (in our mobile bin), the first thing we saw was a little chinese kid, bent over double, bum to the air and pushing a lovely little poop out of his button into the canal! Priceless ;)
June 4, 2010
Oh man! Awesome. So so sooo funny. :) Thanks for the endless entertainment dudes... wish I was there. Now onto the place I would like to visit most in Asia. Please give full details on nature/ecolodge possibilities. Happy travels.
June 5, 2010
Loving your comments, rubbish bin travel now thats new - do Trail Finders know about this? x
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