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Travel: China - Yunnan - Kunming - Lijiang - Shangri-la

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:28 pm
by thebusybee
Was talking to friends during the Xmas gathering. Got to know that Lijiang has the best weather in China (Spring-like throughout 4 Seasons!)

That tempted me to plan a trip there during the coming CNY holiday period. (14 days)

Anyone been there on F&E?

Care to share your experience?

Which is the cheapest & nearest city to fly to?


Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:34 pm
by Blobbi
You're right. The place is stunning and very easy to love. We were there during one December and the weather was 12 degrees C. The old town has a history of nearly 1000 years and is extremely charming and well preserved. It's a great place to just walk around, drink tea next to the many rivers and streams than flow from the Tibetan plains. Because the locals (mostly urbanized hill tribes) believe that the water spirit has to be respected, the rivers and therefore the whole city is very clean and clear (at least it was 3 years ago).

We stayed at the Banyan Tree, which was really fantastic except they still had (dunno if it's still the case) the crazy idea of putting a plastic jaccuzi in front of every villa. (That's the one feature I dislike about Banyan Tree - to think we're paying for that without using it! :x ). Every day was just free and easy as the sites are all within easy reach and sight seeing is easily arranged by the hotel. I think we even went up a mountain to see a glacier (forget what it's called), but it's the Southernmost glacier and doomed to melt in the near future because of global warming :(.

We flew Sin-Kunming and then Kunming-Lijiang. I think the layover time was quite substantial - not pleasant because of the local toilets (phew).

Food - love it! A lot of mushrooms, all sorts!!

Shoping - Jade. :!: Seems its a direct smuggling route straight from Myanmar ...

Scenery - surreal. The sky seems so close cos of the altitude.

We didn't go to Shangri-la which was about 4 hours away by car because we had a young child back then. Actually, this area is one of the places I want to go back to, so we'll do Shangri-La next time.

So lovely to relive the memories :D. Gonna dig out my old photos now.

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:55 pm
by thebusybee
hey Blobbi,

Your post got me more wanting to make this trip happen.

The wonders of internet, allowing me to gather tons of info on many attractions (another headache to choose the best spots to visit)

My family of 3 (a 2YO DS) intend to explore that region, with Mountains, gorges, glacier parks in mind, and some easy hikes.

Thanks for your input. Cheers!

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:31 pm
by Blobbi
You're welcome, busybee!

You mentioned Gorge - yes - we managed to walk into and back out of Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡). It's very dramatic to walk next to the world's deepest and narrowest gorge with the waters surging by. I was told by the driver that the safest way to approach is from the Lijiang side as the other side (I forget where) is prone to rockslides.

All in all, we spent a very leisurely 7 days, I think. There are loads of wild bison on the mountain sides too, so even us adults were fascinated (frankly, I'd be fascinated by cows since we're from Singapore, but being fascinated by bison sounds a lot better :lol:).

When we were there, we attended a performance (think it's nightly) by the Lijiang or Naxi Orchestra, which was composed of so many octogenarians. They played ancient songs with traditional Chinese instruments. Even my son said it was music from heaven! Apparently there are two such troupes performing (one is a pretend one for tourists), so you have to enquire about the correct one. The conductor was a very charming 90-something year old who spoke beautiful and politically correct English while making fun at the westerners in the audience when he spoke in Chinese.

Think I just convinced myself to plan another trip back soon :wink:.


Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:48 pm
by thebusybee
Back from 2 weeks (mid-end Feb):

Szechuan's pandas welcome. Food's too spicy & oily. (mouth numbed by the hotpot - we drank the soup which is not meant for drinking!)
Leshan & E-mei-shan's boring trips and Temples. (believable, but ridiculous stories, reasons and idols to pray, multi-pay-to-pray incense.)
Jiuzhai's shocker guest lone traveler (quarrel-with-husband-for-promising-too-many unfulfilled holidays, runaway wife-and-now-good friend), 7-hr flight delay (Ntuc-travel makes it difficult to claim), & 'Illegal' Tibetan Homestay within JZG NPark.

Lijiang's 10x better & more romantic and happening than Venice.
Tiger Gorge's midway closure (collapses/repairs)..3 days off-track Gorge exploration reduced to half-day visit.
Lijiang's conmen: wetland horse-ride and boating. Skipped Meili Snow Mt, too commercialised.
Shangri-la's a disappointment. Lugu Lake compensated more than enough.

Lijiang-Kunming mass student (CNY15, yuan-xiao) rail exodus.
Kunming's ppl surprised with poor service & PR attitude.
Shilin's rock and bus-trip Adventures.

Impressed with Yunnan & Szechuan modern art, service, lifestyle and ppl.

Amazed by the high park entrance fees of National Parks, as high as Disneyland or RWS, just for nature walks..and the money the govt. collects.

Disturbed & mystified by the noisiness/rowdiness of Guangzhou tourists cf Beijing/Shanghai & other Chinese tourists. And also the notorious public toilets.

Intrigued by Chinese versions of US-Sino-Taiwan-Tibet politics.

Glad with the Chinese wisdom, new-found freedom, entrepreneurship, very high national/industrial/political pride and optimism, wealth and spending.

Unused and Uncomfortable with Chinese ideology and culture of:
1. Customer arrogance, attitude and disrespect for service/restaurants staff, 2, Lavish over-orders & wastage of leftovers..

Will share on-demand.

p.s. Spent total of S$4000 for the 15 D trip. (Bro n mum gg this weekend for 8-D JZ-Emei-Lesha by packaged tour cost near to S$2000 each after the ++ of taxes and tips, excluding pocket money & with options to see Panda+Changing Face+Hotpot @ S$100 more each!)

Posted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:49 am
by 1place1dream
We went 2 years ago in December, freezing but wonderful experience. Spent 10 days with less than S$3000 for the family of 4.

While in Lijiang, my teenage daughter actually said that she would like to visit the place again.

Same for myself. I would love to return to Dali and Lijiang some time. Perhaps at warmer season to try a different experience.

I recently recalled our iterary and posted whatever little i still remember on blog. Check out and feel free to use as reference.

Posted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:00 pm
by verykiasu2010
Fly Silkair direct from Changi to Kunming

Make your connection at Kunming to Lijiang, Xi Shuan Ban Na, Da Li, Zhong Dian .......

CNY is peak travel period in China - beware ! It is a sea of humanity moving from one place to have you seen the whole of US population on the move ? That is China during CNY - more than 300 million people criss-crossing the country

Posted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:29 pm
by carebear
Thanks 1place1dream.
I would like to visit Lijiang, Kunming and Dali in November.
May i know how did you find the standard of hygiene in their restaurants?
What about water, did you have to drink bottled water?

Posted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:22 pm
by 1place1dream
Hi Carebear

Go to tourist class resturant ;-)

Lijiang, Kunming and Dali are very touristic places. So you will have no worries to find one that matches your standard. You can also ask the hotel for reference. Like the first dinner i had in Lijiang was recommended by the hotel, cost much more but the standard is also much higher.

And you would be ashamed by the toilet hygene in Lijiang old town. Because the town is well looked after as a national pride, their public toilets are well cleaned and with reception. And it is FREE!

We drink bottled water all the way, won't take chance. You can get them easily every where. We are ok with brushing teeth and cleaning with tap water.

carebear wrote:Thanks 1place1dream.
I would like to visit Lijiang, Kunming and Dali in November.
May i know how did you find the standard of hygiene in their restaurants?
What about water, did you have to drink bottled water?

Posted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:25 pm
by verykiasu2010
One thing about bottle water in China

There has been lots of rampant filling of plastic bottles with tap water, and paste the stickers...... this is China

buy the trusted brands of bottled water from trusted places, avoid road side stalls