Yunnan Encounters – Tiger Leaping Gorge

From Lijiang, we headed out to Tiger Leaping Gorge on a public bus filled with the inevitable smoke and bodily fluid smell. Have I ever mentioned how spitting and peeing can be and are done when needed, regardless of location?

Anyway, we arrived at the “Tiger Leaping Gorge” and fought several thousand high-heeled wearing Chinese tourists down to the bottom to take photos of the famous tiger who apparently leapt the gorge. Now the tiger that we saw was all stone but apparently it leapt the gorge and was forever immortalised on the other side. After taking the obligatory photos of the tiger and the gorge (as you see below the river is not that impressive) we took lunch and headed off for the trek further along the river.

About 10 minutes later, we hit the first of two landslides. Sorry Mum for not telling you about this earlier… but either way… it was safe regardless of what it looks like in the photos below. We climbed over the first landslide, walked a little, then climbed over the second landslide. I must admit I was a little scared when I looked down to my right but our fantastic local guide plus all the locals trying to clean up made it feel pretty safe.

The first landslide

The second landslide

Walking across the second landslide

We sweated it out for the next few hours, walking alongside some amazing views in some pretty scorching heat. I’m pleased to say that no skin was hurt or burned in this adventure and that’s an accomplishment for me at the very least. We arrived at Tina’s guesthouse sometime in the afternoon or early evening and refreshed with a cold beer, a game of mahjongg and a comforting rest before beginning again the next day.

The Obligatory Tour Group Photo

One of many waterfalls

Relaxing at Tina’s GH

Early the next morning myself and two others plus our tour guide and our local guide set off down the path to the Middle Gorge whilst the others relaxed in the guest house. After a challenging descent, which none of us was looking forward to climb afterwards, we realised that we had made the right decision to go. The Middle Gorge route, not being a tourist route, led us directly out onto the river with only a red line “stopping” us from jumping into the rapids. This was probably the most amazing sight for the whole tour and definately worth doing.

On the way down

The view upstream

The view downstream

After climbing back up and heading for banana pancakes to refresh the system, the whole group headed back to the start. This time we took the high trail, allowing for better photos. Whilst my eyes were much more satisfied on this route, my legs were definately feeling the pain of the extra two hours climbing that we had done in the morning. The constant ringing of the bell on the trekking horse two of the girls had hired due to a bad reaction to Chinese food and the unsurity of being able to make it the whole way was not making my legs feel any better. We made it however, after lots of “are we there yet?” calls. Worth the sight…

Lucky I’m an alien huh?

A well earned rest break

On top of the world

We then started on a nice downhill descent to our second guesthouse where we once again sampled the local pancakes and a considerable amount of the local beer and headed off to an extremely good night’s sleep.

The next day was spent winding our way back down to the middle path, crossing over the landslides again and taking our local bus back to Lijiang for the party to celebrate the end of the trip.

Where we came from

The group portrait


The next day we headed back to Kunming and after saying our goodbyes, I headed off to bed. The next day, whilst everyone else was packing up and leaving I went to visit the Stone Forest, a short trip out of Kunming. The place was pretty amazing despite the obvious Chinese tourist influence and I was lucky to find an ex Yunnian person who spoke fluent English and used to be a tour guide at the forest. I took a trip round with her before heading back to the hotel and back to Wuhan ready to start teaching again.

The main entrance

The elephant… need I say more?