2013 - Shangri-La the last frontier day 19

Backpacking Adventure to ShangriLa China the Last Frontier
30 March to 23 April 2013 (25 days)

Day 19 (17.04.2013) Shangri-La to Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡) / Bai Shui Tai terrace waterfall(白水台)

We took the 7.15am bus to Qiaotou(桥头) (Bridge Head) 105km arriving at 9am. After breakfast in Qiaotou we split into two groups. The first group – four trekkers namely Bernard Lee, Lee Kam Boon, Lim Cheng Tee and I trekked the mountain tea-horse trail along the Tiger Leaping Gorge to Tina’s Guesthouse while the second group took the van to Tina’s Guesthouse and then to visit the Bai Shui Tai terrace waterfall.

Trekking the tea horse trail led by Bernard – We trekked about 27km for almost 10 hours, starting at 9.45am from the entrance ticketing office and arriving at Tina’s Guesthouse at 7.30pm. That night we slept like logs at Tina Guesthouse. It was one of my longest trek in a single day. We were very lucky that the weather was fine except for some light drizzle in the afternoon. Normally, trekkers would break journey and stay a night either at Naxi Family Guesthouse, Tea Horse Guesthouse or Half Way Guesthouse. However, we did not break journey and trekked all the way to Tina’s Guesthouse. It was really a punishing journey to make especially going up the 28 bends. The highest point along this trek is about 2,500m. We trekked on the side of the Haba Mountain (哈巴雪山) above the Jinsha River (金沙江) of Tiger Leaping Gorge. Opposite is the Yulong Mountain (玉龙雪山) (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain). A word of advice from Lee Kam Boon, “those who are not fit please do not attempt to trek this 27km in one day”. I must say that this formidable and full of danger trek is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for me and glad that we decided to undertake this challenge before we are too frail, to do any mountain trekking.

Sleeping: Tina’s Guesthouse
took the 7.15am bus to Qiaotou(桥头) (Bridge Head) arriving at 9am for lunch

starting at 9.45am from this entrance ticketing office at Changsheng village of Qiaotou town where the tiger leaping gorge hiking starts - there were 2 trails, the higher trail which was our ascent to the mountains, and the lower trail which was the descent into the gorge below

the upper Jinsha River (金沙江) of Tiger Leaping Gorge near Qiaotou town

the writings on the brick wall is for the trekkers at one of the rest area

Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) is one of the deepest in the world. It measures 16 km long, and is a whirling 3,900 m from the swirling waters of Jinsha River to the snow capped mountaintops of Haba Xueshan 哈巴雪山 (Haba  Snow Mountain) to the west and Yulong Xueshan 玉龙雪山 (Jade Dragon Mountain) to the east.

view of our trek and below the Jinsha River (金沙江) of Tiger Leaping Gorge

the Tea-horse trek all the way

the mountain views from here were inspiring and astounding

the Tea-horse trek all the way along the mountain side

every trekker must be careful not to walk to near the edge or fall 1,000+ feet below

one can always hire the horse along the trek if needed

the rough and rugged terrain made our climb very strenuous and exhausting - taking a break with other trekkers

the valley views of Jinsha River (金沙江) of Tiger Leaping Gorge were breathtaking

the mountain views from here were inspiring 

the valley views were breathtaking

there goes the public toilet for all

along the uphill trail villages and guesthouses dotted the mountain slopes and the landscape resembled a patchwork of rice fields, wheat fields and corn fields

the Naxi Family Guesthouse is about 2 hours trek from the ticketing office

at Naxi Family Guesthouse

it was a 2 hours hike to Naxi Family Guesthouse and had a short rest there with the horsemen and then continued to hike another 2 hours further up the steep 28-bends and the valley views were remarkable

at Naxi Family Guesthouse rest area

ha ha! looking forward to trek the 28 bends also known as the killer zone

gain energy here which is the start of the 2 hours hike up the very steep 28 bends - known as the killer zone

it was really a punishing journey to make especially going up the notorious 28-bends

the Jinsha River (金沙江) below

along the trek we met herdsmen with their mountain goats

the hike stretched our perseverance and patience to the limit and most of the time we climbed at full stretch with utmost caution

the spectacular Jade Dragon Snow Mountain scenery at the backdrop

at Tea Horse Guesthouse which is a 3 hours trek from Naxi Family Guesthouse

Tibetan villages adorn the rustic countryside

Yulong Mountain (玉龙雪山) (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain)

part of another 2 hour trek to Half-way Guesthouse from Tea Horse Guesthouse

certain parts of the trek are narrow and dangerously high or steep and one slip would send us rolling down the cliff to be swallowed by the gushing waters of Jinsha River

this part is the narrowest trek and are extremely dangerous

this large piece of cracked rock looks like going to fall off any moment

view of Yulong Mountain (玉龙雪山) (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain) strike by a ray of sunlight

a great view of Yulong Mountain (玉龙雪山) (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain)

after 2 hours on the mountain trek we arrived at the Half-way Guesthouse, with a great view of Yulong Snow Mountain and overlooking the Jinsha River Valley

The gruelling climb took more than 7 hours from the ticketing office before we arrived at Half-way Guesthouse. This guest house used to be a mid-way station for tea traders who carried their tea from China to the West, along the Silk Route. This guest house commanded a majestic view of the Haba Snow Mountain behind me.

the rooms at Half-way Guesthouse

we had the best apple pie and green tea for tea-time at Half-way Guesthouse

with other trekkers at the guesthouse

the boss of the guesthouse is second from left - an old friend of Bernard

From Halfway house it was another 2 hours hiking down to Tina's Guest house, we passed through Guanyin waterfall and canyons on the way.

Tibetan villages adorn the rustic countryside

the Jinsha River (金沙江) below

view of the gorge from the high path, showing Jade Dragon Snow Mountain on the right and Haba Xueshan on the left and the Jinsha River (金沙江) below

we passed through Guanyin waterfall
Guanyin waterfall

another narrow trek through this cut-out rock

we were glad that we experienced one of the great gorges of the world on this 27-kilometer hike in 10 hours

All in all, we trekked about 27km for almost 10 hours to finish the hike over steep terrain, starting at 9.45am from the entrance ticketing office and arriving at Tina’s Guesthouse at 7.30pm in the valley at lower part of Tiger leaping Gorge. That night we slept like logs at Tina Guesthouse.


Bai Shui Tai terrace waterfall(白水台)

Chew Leng Soon's report on trip to Bai Shui Tai terrace waterfall - We took a 7-seater van at Qiaotou for a half hour road journey to Tina’s Guesthouse which is 22km away. After checking-in and dropping all the backpacks including those of the trekkers at Tina’s they continued to Bai Shui Tai which is 107km away in 2 hours road journey. Along the way we passed through Kangbiancun as well as Habacun. From here we trekked about 1km to the terrace waterfall.
the landscape along the road journey to Bai Shui Tai

along the way we passed through the first town of Kangbiancun

we then passed through the second town of Habacun

the vast farm land in the valley

at the entrance to Baishuitai - White Water Terrace

farm workers cutting up a pig for sale

a horse and an elderly woman below carrying fire wood back to their home

from the entrance gate we trekked about 1km to the terrace waterfall passing through farmland

at the foot hill of Baishuitai

White Water Terrace in Naxi means 'growing flower'. Not only a place of beautiful scenery, it is also one of the birthplaces of Dongba Naxi culture, widely known around the world.

occupying an area of about 3 sq.km. with green plants and springs setting off each other, just like a "field in heaven"

Bai Shui Tai is located in the foothills of the Haba Snow Mountains, 101km southeast of Shangri-La

Baishuitai covers an area of three square kilometers (about 741 acres)

landform of the tableland is due to a continual deposition of calcium carbonate that is contained in the spring water and every year, the surface of the land is covered by the deposition and finally transformed into the terraced structure you see today

spring water runs down along the slope of the mountain, leaving an impression of a large white jade carving among the green mountain

view of Tina's Guesthouse from the other side of the mountain

a long bridge beside Tina's Guesthouse

a lorry carrying a big rock

Total Grand Per Pax

19 a. Bus  - Shangrila to Qiaotou rmb35 X 10 350.00

b. B'fast - noodles @ Qiaotou 100.00

c. Entrance fee - Tiger Leaping Gorge rmb65 X 10 650.00

d. Room - Tina GH rmb160 X 4 640.00

e. Dinner 330.00

2,070.00 207.00

click below:
Day 01 (30.03.2013) AirAsia D7-320: K. Lumpur to Chengdu (成都), Sichuan (四川)
Day 02 (31.03.2013) Chengdu to Hailuogou (海螺沟) (296km/7.5hrs bus)
Day 03 (01.04.2013) Hailuogou (海螺沟) Red rocks @ Swallow Gully (燕子沟)
Day 04 (02.04.2013) Hailuogou (海螺沟) Luding (泸定) Kangding (康定) to Xinduqiao (新都桥)
Day 05 (03.04.2013) Xinduqiao (新都桥) to Danba (丹巴) Land of thousand watchtowers

Day 06 (04.04.2013) Danba – day trip to Jiaju Tibetan Village "the most beautiful ethnic town
Day 07 (05.04.2013) Danba (丹巴) – staying in Jiaju Village
Day 08 (06.04.2013) Jiaju Village (甲居藏寨) to Xiaojin (小金) to Rilong (日隆)
Day 09 (07.04.2013) trekking up Changpinggou (长砰沟) middle gully of Siguniang (四姑娘山)
Day 10 (08.04.2013) Rilong (日隆) to Chengdu (成都)

Day 11 (09.04.2013) Chengdu (成都) day trip to Huanglongxi (黄龙寺)
Day 12 (10.04.2013) Chengdu (成都) to Xichang (西昌)
Day 13 (11.04.2013) Xichang (西昌) to Lugu Lake (泸沽湖)
Day 14 (12.04.2013) Lugu Lake - cycling around Lugu Lake
Day 15 (13.04.2013) Lugu Lake (泸沽湖) to Lijiang (丽江)

Day 16 (14.04.2013) Lijiang (丽江)
Day 17 (15.04.2013) Lijiang (丽江) to Shangri-La (香格里拉) (Zhongdian (中甸)
Day 18 (16.04.2013) Shangri-La (Zhongdian) - day trip to Potatso National Park
Day 19 (17.04.2013) Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡) / Bai Shui Tai terrace waterfall(白水台)
Day 20 (18.04.2013) Tiger Leaping Gorge to Lijiang (丽江)

Day 21 (19.04.2013) Lijiang (丽江) to Lugu Lake (泸沽湖)
Day 22 (20.04.2013) Lugu Lake (泸沽湖) to Xichang (西昌) to Chengdu (成都)
Day 23 (21.04.2013) Chengdu
Day 24 (22.04.2013) D7-327 Chengdu to K. Lumpur (2355 – 0430)
Day 25 (23.04.2013) 25 23/04 Arrival K. Lumpur: 0430 hrs

      RMB        RM
Total Costs per person excluding Air fare    4,664.15      2,360.06

Return Airfare per pax incl. insurance, meals   1,632.41    826.00 

Total Cost Per Pax incl. of Airfare    6,296.56 3,186.06


  1. Oh my! It's no easy feat to have trekked 27kms with 28 treacherous bends in 10 hrs! You fellas are so bold to prove your extreme endurance - X-factors, all looking radiant with high spirit and were blessed with fine weather. One thing good, LeeKamBoon maintained his ubiquitous smile all the way despite the torturous journey. Despite the tough gets going, the going gets tough, you fellas smiled heartily for the group pics. I like the picture you 3 guys taken at the scripts written on the brick wall near the 'Pay 1 Yen' for topest toilet. NB has captured skilfully and intensely the wonders of the highland mountains of this part of Yunnan Territory with vivid candour. The Tea Horse trails are very imposing, my legs would wobble for sure if I were to be there. Half-way Guesthouse looks okay for minimum comfort-anyway all of you slept like logs. The apple pie served with green tea in remote hilly zone seemed so unreal, but appetizing! The old lady carried fire woods on her back might not want sympathy nor help, she probably just wanted to go on her life that way. Bai Shui Tai Waterfall is so refreshing as compared to your ordeal in trekking through the narrow multiple bends. FYI, I had been to the peak of the 玉龙雪山 Jade Dragon Mountain few years back. My group took the easy way-cable car hoisted us 4,000meters high up at -14 degree C. Snowy mountain alright. Regards, sorry for writing too much.

    Alan K.

  2. TEONG JIN LEE11 July, 2013

    Thanks for sharing. Very useful tips and love the breath taking views!!

  3. Wong Wen Fatt24 July, 2013

    Thanks for sharing. It's indeed an adventurous and memorable holiday for you & the gang.

  4. Irene Tai24 July, 2013

    Hi Mr Ching, I don't know you but I've always been receiving your interesting mail-blogs of travels. Very interesting and I hope one day if you need people to fill up your group, you will let me know. Small groups are more interesting. I only know Chew Leng Soon in your photos! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Very nice one and Many Thanks for sharing the nice photos, Bro Ching.