2010 - Backpacking to Tibet > Part 3

Backpacking Adventure
30 days to Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet, China
20 Mar <> 18 Apr 2010

(L-R) Bernard Lee, Chan Meng Fai, Choo Chiew Chin, Sharon Tan, Chew Leng Soon, Chew Siang Peng, Ching Neng Bin at Tiger Leaping Gorge
The route: Lijiang > Xiatio > Tiger Leaping Gorge > Lijiang > Dali > Kunming > Chengdu

Day 15 (03.04.10) Lijiang > Xiatio > Tiger Leaping Gorge

From Lijiang, getting to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, we took the 10am bus (26Y) bound for Shangrila at the long distance bus station to Xiatio which was a 2 hours journey. Had our lunch at Xiatio, a small town, and was from here the trek starts.

To get to the high trek, we walked across the bridge first and then took a left fork, went through the school yard and then up the tractor road. Continued until the track ends and then followed the yellow arrow to the right on a dirt trek all the way up. It was a 8km gentle trek and took 2.5 hours to reach the Naxi Family Guesthouse where we stayed for the night.

Tiger Leaping Gorge is a canyon on the Yangtze River - located 60km north of Lijiang City, Yunnan.

The gorge is one of the deepest in the world, measures 16km long and is 5,600m from the waters of Jinsha River to the snow capped mountaintops of Haba Mountain to the west and Yulong Mountain or Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to the east. Its in a series of rapids under steep 2000m cliffs. Legend says that in order to escape from a hunter, a tiger jumped across the river at the narrowest point (still 25m wide), hence the name.

Sleeping: Naxi Family Guesthouse - 120Y a room for 3pax

Xiatio town, the starting point of the trek
The tractor road

Jinsha River between the two mountains

Baishui Terrace is the birthplace of the Naxi ethnic minority Dongba Culture. Amid the mountains is the stretch of crystal terrace. Spring water flows down from the mountain, leaving crystallized sodium carbonate along its slopes.

Chew Leng Soon shouted - "beer first, food second". On! On!
Naxi Family Guesthouse - served delicious traditional Naxi food, clean and cosy rooms, hot shower and very friendly operators and helpers.
Taken together with the guesthouse owner and 3 lovely daughters.

85 year old lady at the guesthouse
Magnificent view of the snow covered peaks of Haba Xueshan Mountain
Beam of sunshine striking the Haba Mountain top during sunset
Day 16 (04.04.10) Tiger Leaping Gorge Trek

As for today, the trek to Half Way House is much longer and steeper. There were 28 bends and on the highest trek at 2,670m. We started trekking at 8.30am after breakfast and arrived at Tea-Horse Guesthouse for tea at 10.30am. Continued at 11am until we arrived at Half Way Guesthouse at 2pm for lunch. All in all we trekked for 5 hours. Cindy and Siang Peng hired a horse each in view of the long journey.

Sleeping: Half Way Guesthouse - 100Y a room for 2pax
Our lovely cowgirl, Cindy Chong
Cowboy and cowgirl on horse trek
The long and winding road
The view of Haba Mountain

(L-R) Sharon, Choo & I - at the highest point of 2,670 m
The view of Haba Mountain

Tea-Horse guesthouse courtyard

Tea-Horse guesthouse courtyard

One of the sharp 28 bends - no horse riding here, just walk carefully
An amazing walking trek in one of the world most beautiful gorge.

It was really torturous - half the way!
Halfway Guesthouse is an excellent popular place that's gone from a cosy little guesthouse to one of the bigger operations on the trek.
Rooms looking into the central courtyard
Has 'scenic toilet' with views of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
Best guesthouse apple pie for dinner
Cheap beer, great food and clean rooms.

Day 17 (05.04.10) Tiger Leaping Gorge > Lijiang

Today was another 5 hours trek, 2 hours to reach Tina's Guesthouse for lunch and 3 hours trek down to the gorge and back to Tina's Guesthouse. The man who restored the path charges 10Y to use it. We hired 2 vans to take us back to Xiatio and there we changed to another bigger van to Lijiang.

Sleeping: Old Town Youth Hostel - 60Y a room for 2pax

All the Naxi villages terraces up the sides of the Gorge

It was a long long dirt trek by the mountain side

The long, strenuous and dangerous but amazing view - I loved it
This trek got the best rating for the whole of China
One of the two spectacular waterfalls
This high path is quite dangerous that requires some previous trekking experience and good fitness. The waterfall areas are slippery and sometimes very narrow and also next to the ravine.

One can only dream at the scenery and drink rewarding beers at guesthouses
Met two Singaporean girls trekking from opposite direction
We were all over the slope, we got lost here but managed to recover the trek.
Sharon appeared lost, lonely and bitten by the trek
We trek one hour down from Tina's guesthouse to the middle rapids. We pay 10Y each to the guide and 10Y each for admission starting from the Teacher's House.
Trekking down the gorge
A close-up view of the gorge
Bernard and I couldn't stop admiring the breathtaking landscape
Chew Leng Soon walked across the river - so easy!
The tiger had to jump across the river at this place - notice the stones.
This is the middle part of Tiger Leaping Gorge
Trekking all the way up to the 'Ladder'
Day 18 (06.04.10) Lijiang

Another free and easy day after the strenuous 3 days of trekking through the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Took a bus to get train tickets to Kunming. As this was our last day in Lijiang, it was shopping night for the ladies and the cheap beers for guys.

Sleeping: Old Town Youth Hostel - 60Y a room for 2pax
Ancient architectures of Lijiang with intricate design and colours
One of the typical entrances into the courtyard
Day 19 (07.04.10) Lijiang > Dali

11.30am bus (66Y) from Lijiang to Dali arriving at 2.30pm. This long distant bus stopped at the highway just outside of Dali and we had to take a van into Dali. The atmosphere in Dali is almost like Lijiang but on a smaller scale. We walked to the South Gate then to the North. Had western dinner at our Inn.

Sleeping: Mercury Inn - 100Y a room
Lijiang country side farm land
Dali Central Gate
Our lunch in Dali - Yak meat and Small river fish

Stayed in Mercury Inn
Walking along 'foreign street' in Dali

Dali is a small village town at an elevation of 1900m situated next to Lake Er Lai. It has impressive gates, old houses, walking streets and plenty of souvenir shops.
Walked the street of South Gate

Free entertainment by local artists beside our Inn with songs and dances
Day 20 (08.04.10) Dali > Kunming > Chengdu

This morning, Chew Siang Peng and I bid farewell to the rest of the team as we both had to rush back to Chengdu to make the necessary arrangement for the Tibet tour. Traveling to Chengdu, we had to take a taxi (35Y) to Xiaguan for the 11.30am bus (133Y) to Kunming. Arrived Kunming at 3.30pm and continued by overnight train (248Y) to Chengdu at 7.30pm.

Sleeping: Overnight train to Chengdu
Day 21 (09.04.10) Chengdu - rest day

After a 19 hours train journey from Kunming, we arrived at Chengdu at 2.15 pm. We checked in at Traffic Inn to catch up with lost sleep. Evening was walking to Carrefour to buy bread and fruits.

Sleeping: Traffic Inn at 80Y a room

Mr.Chew made new friend on board the train
Dams along the railway line to Chengdu

Chengdu railway station
Day 22 (10.04.10) Chengdu - preparing for Tibet

Today we finally confirmed our tour with Sichuan China Youth Travel Agency (CYTS) for the amount of 5,500Y per person. It was a 6 day tour - includes air tickets, food, accommodation, transport, government TTB permit and a English speaking guide.

The Chinese Govt. has imposed travel restriction on foreigner. Need to apply the permit through an agency, which will only sell you the permit as part of a package tour into Tibet.

Sleeping: Traffic Inn at 80Y a room

Total expenses for 24 days adventure inclusive of air tickets
to Sichuan and Yunnan was RM2,750-00 per person.


  1. Anonymous24 June, 2010

    Simply breathtaking!!!

  2. Yong Choon24 June, 2010

    Beautiful mountains n walks... spectacular scenery
    and attractive bright colour costumes..
    Thanks for sharing...

  3. Hoh Kelly24 June, 2010

    It was fantastic...amazing trip. I don't know if I can do it.

  4. Hi
    You are a great traveler & i really enjoy looking at the places you visited.

  5. Kudos! Simply breath-taking photos and so very very well documented. I felt like I was there too!! TQ TQ for sharing all these ...

  6. Very beautiful scenery and appreciate your informative captions too.


  7. Jacey Yew24 June, 2010

    Mr Ching,
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful trips photos - its all so beautifully captured..
    Is it ok if i forward to some of my friends? [closed friends] they would certainly like them.
    Best regards

  8. Hi Bro Ching,

    All 0f you are great man,, I really admire everyone for the effort and determination for the hard and encouraging journey all of you conquered. Keep it up man, I will only go if there is a horse to ride all the way.........hahaahahah.

  9. Anonymous27 June, 2010

    Mr. Ching,
    Spectacular sceneries and kudos to all of you, with those trekking and climbing! Fuyoh Terror!

  10. Koay Bee Lee28 June, 2010

    Hello Mr Ching,
    Friday night I was looking at the beautiful and fantastic pictures you sent me. Your trip for 30 days is not for those faint hearted, climbing mountain & cross the huge land, anyway, good memories linger.
    Shall chit chat some other time. Thanks once again for the fantastic pictures, shall show to my sis when I am in Taiping.
    Regards to yr family
    Bee Lee

  11. Hong Eng Koi28 June, 2010

    Hi Ching,
    Thanks for sharing your Tibetan Adventure. Thank you especially for featuring my 'Half Moon' in one of your photos; this really brings back my memory of our fishing trips.
    Warmest regards to you and family.
    E K Hong.

  12. Sim Goay Chye29 June, 2010

    Hi Ching
    I am Sim from Property Div of Public Bank. Came to know that you have been organising
    backpacking trips all over and would like to join some of your trips if time permit. If you don't mind, would appreciate if you could put us ( me and my wife ) on your mailing list for your future adventures.
    Sim GC

  13. Hi Ching,
    Looking at all yr interesting amazing adventures, you should join the Amazing Race Asia to make Malaysia Proud since you are so experienced & been to so many Asian Countries, so fit and now that hv all the time in the world. We definitely will support you.

  14. Koay Seok Khim27 July, 2010

    Congratulations! That was indeed a great achievement. You both are an inspiration for all retirees. I marvel at your energy and fitness as it is indeed a beautiful and long journey. Your adventurous spirit is most admired. The whole journey is most picturesque. How long did it take you both to prepare for the trip?

    Which part of china that you find most breath taking to you?

    Thanks for keeping in touch and do keep me posted of your future adventures. I am a contractor and my career days are also numbered.


  15. Jennie Chew31 July, 2010

    "Wow!!!! The pics are simply awesome. Who took the photographs?? Beautiful scenes captured in perfect angles. Breathtaking indeed."

  16. Goh Tong Kai10 August, 2010

    Hi Ching Neng Bin. Many thanks for sharing with me your backpacking trip to China and Tibet. I thoroughly enjoyed going through those excellent photo albums and account of the month long journey. It is as if I am also on this trip.