From Vietnam To China

Day 16 - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - Visit to the Tibetan Plateau Seeing Fertile Fields, the Yangtze and Shudu Rivers to the Tiger Leaping Gorge and then on to Gyalthang

We woke to cool weather; it was 57° and the humidity was 57% - that combination does not happen often. We thanked the people at the Zen Garden Hotel and helped the luggage man add our bags to the bicycle cart he used to take them out of the Old City. “No Cars Allowed” is strictly observed! We walked to the car park and then left Lijiang.

We drove north and our first stop was an overlook where we could see patchwork fields of green vegetables and we had great views of the twisting Yangtze River. The Yangtze is one of three parallel rivers that run through the Yunnan Province. The Mekong flows into Vietnam, the Salween runs to Burma, and the Yangtze stays in China and flows all the way to the East China Sea emptying in Shanghai.

The path of the Yangtze is very unusual in the north. Pang Ga took a short detour and showed us where it flows south, then makes a 180° turn and then flows north. This famous spot is called The First Turn of the Yangtze.

The river runs north for about 80 kilometers and then makes another turn to flow through the many dams along mainland China. The most well known is the Three Gorges Dam that we cruised in 2008.

Back on the main road, we ran into a lot of construction and had to make many stops along the way to wait for the crews to clear a path. Pang Ga is unbelievably patient and made the trip safely.

We crossed the Yangtze going over Song Yuan Bridge and into the Tibetan Region. The script on the road signs are in Tibetan and also in Chinese characters. We could see the back side of the Jade Dragon Mountain and even though it was cloudy we were able to get some shots of the jagged mountains.

We had our first glimpse of the Tiger Leaping Gorge and then stopped for lunch near the entrance. After lunch we drove to the Gorge and found out that the price had increased; instead of 60 Yuan, it was now 85 to get in to the Overlook.

It was raining but we climbed about half way down into the Gorge to see the Jingsha River and the gorge that is supposedly the deepest in the world. Joanne and Duane made the full loop and said the bottom was spectacular.

We left the Gorge at 2:30 for our two hour drive to Gyalthang on the Tibetan Plateau. The altitude ranged from 10,110 to 10,826 feet. We arrived in the rain at 5:00 and the temperature was 48° and the humidity was 76%. It is still winter but a few azalea trees were blooming in the forests.

We tried to go to a Tibetan Restaurant for dinner, but it was closed. We settled on a Bai café as we missed their cuisine when we were in Dali. Either we were especially hungry or we are getting really good with the chop sticks because all of the plates were empty tonight!

We arrived back at the Gyalthang Dzong Hotel which is quite a distance from either the old or new town. It is a very charming hotel, but it is not easy to get around to explore the town without a car or a bicycle.

The heat comes on between 7:00 and 11:00 each evening and all heat will be turned off on May 1st, no matter how cold the spring temperatures could be. Each bed has an electric blanket and there is a heat lamp in the bathroom.

The temperatures are only in the 40’s but it feels so much colder because of the humidity. We are usually very comfortable sleeping in a cool room, so this will be much better than the heat we had in Vietnam and during the first part of China.

After writing the journal and sorting photos we tried to get on the internet with no luck. We were to find out that the internet would be down until close to midday the following day. We have three more nights here in Shangri-La, so hopefully this will not be our regular routine for the next few days.

Accommodations: Gyalthang Dzong Hotel - - - Meal: B, L, D

Please see our Trip Evaluation -- Click Here -- A Complete Review of Myths and Mountains -- From Vietnam to China: Ethnic People of the Border -- China with Tashi Lamasang


Sounds wonderful. And cool. Maybe you give us all a few chopstick lessons. Very warm here. Very warm. Mid-70's. Very still though. A slight chance for rain but probably nothing significant. No bears yet at our house. Blessings and be patient!!

David Barrett   April 26, 2012 - 12:25pm
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Yangtze River Overlook

Yangtze River Overlook

The First Turn of the Yangtze

The First Turn of the Yangtze

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Vic and Gennie

Vic and Gennie

Tibetan Village and Plateau

Tibetan Village and Plateau

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